Last week, the competition for routes to Cuba from the US truly hotted up as top airlines announced they were seeking regulatory approval. Add to that President Barack Obama's announcement to ease travel restrictions and Cuba will be easier than ever for Americans to visit. These developments are just one of a number of reasons to get there as soon as possible...
With the imminent influx of visitors from the U.S. on their way, time is of the essence to visit Cuba as you know it. Although this will mean rubbing shoulders with a number of our American counterparts - it could be busy - the lasting impact of tourism will not have taken effect yet. That means that Cuba will be waiting in all it's rustic, historic and timeless beauty, not trying to cash in on every tourist who visits with a gift shop.
Instead, you'll be greeted by a place that has been in somewhat of a timelapse. One that has hardly changed in the years that have passed, but shows the wear-and-tear of such a period without change too. So, to tick a few stereotypes (albeit much-loved ones) off the list, the majority of cars will still be Chevys, cigars will be smoked and there'll be plenty of rum too.
Which brings us onto the topic of food and drink - one of the major plusses about going right now - if you know where to look. Food in Cuba is cheap and good in certain spots, but rationing has lowered quality in other areas. One positive is that it isn't tailored for you or any other visitors arriving on the doorstep. It's Cuban food made for Cuban people, it's the best of the local produce, it's local favourites and it's what Cuba does best.
That means seafood (lobster, fish, shrimp), pork and chicken predominantly. Add a side order of tostones (fried plantain croquettes), rice, beans or salad and you're not missing the plain plane food one bit! Head to private restaurants for the best experiences with sizeable portions and at a very good price at that! You can see where to find the best grub here. La Guarida (above) isn't to be missed though!
One of the greatest benefits you'll see though is in the locals, for whom these are exciting times. Many will be delighted to welcome you and the influx of visitors coming along with you - a number of whom will likely be returning home for the first time in years. Celebrations, festivals and other events will be shared and Cuba will undoubtedly have its groove on!