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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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.
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.
- New Figures Show Latin America Leading World in Percentage of Women in Government
Posted on March 9, 2010 by Dan Prescher
Some Latin American countries, including Ecuador and Costa Rica, rank among the highest in the world for women in government.
There seems to be an unwritten rule that all travel writers are obliged to describe Cuba as forbidden, mysterious and “lost in time.” But Canadians, Europeans, and others–especially those from Latin American nations–travel to Cuba without a thought…there is nothing forbidden, mysterious, or lost about it.
Most of us envision Cuba as a sun-kissed land surrounded by warm, turquoise waters with miles of virgin beaches and swaying palm trees…where sugar cane fields give way to rolling hills and foreboding mountains shelter bearded rebels.
- The Next Big Find: Where our Scouts are Headed Now
Posted on March 25, 2009 by Len Galvin
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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