For 40 years, Americans have been banned from traveling to Cuba. But this week, Barack Obama eased travel restrictions for people with relatives in the communist country. Raul Castro, who took over when little brother Fidel was hospitalized in 2006, said, “We have sent word to the U.S. government…We are willing to discuss everything—human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners, everything.” [CNN]We’re hoping that soon, all of us will be able to go to. And here are the top five places that can’t be missed, according to Lonely Planet. [Lonely Planet]
- Las Terrazas: This miniature city in the middle of the mountains has become one of the places to go for eco-tourists. It’s gorgeous, and the entire community is sustainable. The people here leave as little impact as possible—even the buildings were built to blend in with the surroundings.
- Viñales: A nature lovers paradise: limestone cliffs, lush fields, and a crazy network of caves. Sign us up.
- Punta Francés: This is one of Cuba’s most idyllic beaches and the perfect place for scuba diving and snorkling. The water’s crystal clear, and there are huge coral reefs.
- Havana: Definitely do not miss Cuba’s capital, which seems literally frozen in the 1960s with vintage cars lining the roads. There are also oodles of museums and the best nightlife in the Caribbean.
- Varadero: This is one of the largest resort towns in the Caribbean, and for good reason. There are miles of white sand beaches, with lots of cays (small sandy islands that form in the tropics) and forests to explore. Oh, and swank hotels and extreme water sports.