The tourist influx to Cuba is about to begin


Imagine booking a $4,000 weeklong vacation to an -exotic locale near the ocean. Now imagine that when you get there, your room has no hand towels, the air conditioning is spotty, and it’s illegal to kick back by the beach.

Welcome to Cuba, home to miles of white-sand beaches, premium tobacco, oak-aged rum—and 50 years of a business-phobic government under a crippling trade embargo. Thanks to new regulations the U.S. announced in January, which among other things will eliminate the need for a special travel license to go there, the island nation has become the world’s buzziest destination for Americans. It’s also probably the only one that won’t accept most credit cards.

Cuba has long been the forbidden fruit of the American tourist. A 30-minute flight from Florida, it already draws enough people from Canada and Europe to make it the Caribbean’s third-most-popular destination, after Puerto Rico and the Dominican…

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