Cuba has always held a mysterious fascination for Americans. For nearly 50 years U.S. citizens have been restricted from traveling or doing business in Cuba, except under special circumstances. Even though Cuba lies just 90 miles off the coast of the U.S., very few Americans have ever been there. But all that may be about to change.
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- Population: 11,061,866
- Capital City: Havana
- Climate: Tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October).
- Time Zone: UTC-5
- Language: Spanish (official)
- Country Code: 53
September is a special time in the South African town of Hermanus. The end of this month heralds the arrival of giants just offshore, as the southern right whales return to mate and reproduce. You can get amazing views of these 50-ton behemoths from your hotel room, or catch one of the many chartered boats for an even closer look. Right whales are famously friendly and will often approach boats…a trait that made them an attractive target for the whalers of old. The waters off Hermanus are home to another, more terrifying denizen of the deep: the great white shark. And this is one of the best places in the world to get up close and personal with this awesome predator…from the safety of a cage, of course. For around $110, you can even get a cameraman to ﬁlm your dive for you.
Scandinavia is one of the most expensive regions in the world… and Norway is usually the most expensive country within Scandinavia. But thanks to a falling oil price coinciding with a rising U.S. dollar, Norway is on the bargain counter. The Norwegian krone recently touched a 13-year low against the dollar, while the shares of Statoil, Norway’s largest oil company, recently bounced off a six-year low (in dollar terms). These multi-year lows offer enticing buying opportunities for the forward-looking investor.
If you visit Havana, Cuba it’s crucial to know exactly where to eat. That’s because there are no concierges for directions, no Yelp service to read reviews and no signs advertising the restaurant’s best features. In fact, until recently there were no options for a high-end meal at all. But that’s all changing. Cuba is opening up to Cuban entrepreneurs…and the best way to see it is through dining. If you’re making the trip then you should visit these restaurants…
Asia is vast and diverse but a few things unite it, one of which is a love of noodles. Every day from Beijing to Bangkok billions of noodles are sucked up and scoffed by everyone from lunching laborers to office workers in a hurry. And for the biggest producers times have been good.
For any careful investor it’s important to understand not just the current trend but rather where we’re headed. As such, keep an eye toward the future for the growth leaders of tomorrow. Since 2007, emerging markets have been outspending American consumers. Take a look at the charts here to see how the international growth/redistribution of current consumption trends will change the landscape of international business.
When I started learning Spanish in Spain some years ago, I never envisioned how helpful it would become. Mostly, I just wanted to know how to order food, talk to people a bit and avoid embarrassing myself as much as possible. The more I learned, however, the more I discovered how much of a key that speaking the language is. Spanish has opened many doors for me—in Spain, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Cuba and Mexico.
Figures released by the IMF reveal that the three least-affordable cities to buy a home in are Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzen in Mainland China. And the fourth least-affordable city is Hong Kong!
The Burmese story is pretty simple. There’s an economy of 60 million people that were shut off from the rest of the world and now the doors have opened. But what exactly will you find if you walk through them?
For the divers out there and indeed for anyone with an interest in idyllic getaways… begin June on the paradise island of Curaçao in the southern Caribbean.
Cuba’s muggy humidity made our lazy wanderings feel like we were walking through soup. But despite the heat and our rusty Spanish, we made it from Havana to the small rural town of Viñales and into the welcome arms of Thomasina and Juan Rivero. The couple opened their home to nomads almost 10 years ago. It’s just as well that they did, because Cuba has no hostels, and all hotels are government-run—and expensive.
Seaside docks are scattered all along the coastline in Belize. They’re great places to watch the sun rise, fish from, or lounge on as you enjoy the mild sea breezes. From some of them you can also catch boats to Belize’s white-sand islands (known as cayes), or to snorkeling and diving spots along the world’s second-longest barrier reef, just offshore.
The Cayman Islands hosts an annual Pirates Week Festival from November 10 to 20. It’s got everything you’re looking for in a pirate fest: an underwater treasure hunt, paddleboard races, and a Miss Pirate Queen pageant. Don’t forget your costume!
In Havana, the Cubans are waiting. Waiting in line for a bus, waiting for an ice cream, waiting to use the food-ration cards at the bodega, waiting for the street lights to come on—which they don’t. If you are young and Cuban, you hang out on the street with your friends waiting for morning. And of course, everyone is waiting for the U.S. to lift the trade embargo…and that won’t happen any time soon.
Take a tour of the lively and colorful Callejon de Hamel in Havana with IL’s Latin America Editorial Director, Suzan Haskins.
Some Latin American countries, including Ecuador and Costa Rica, rank among the highest in the world for women in government.
Celebrating Darwin’s 200th birthday, visiting Cuba and staying with the locals in Latin America.
I began working at International Living nearly a decade ago—20 years after we first started identifying gorgeous real estate in not-yet-fashionable places…
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Dance yourself around the world!
Bring the language to life with activities as diverse as sangria tasting or salsa lessons at these six inspiring education centers