Cuba : An island of music and white-sand beaches ripe for rediscovery as the United States eases travel restrictions.

With its sea-sprayed, pastel facades, white-sand beaches and tobacco-rich valleys, Cuba sits tantalizingly close to the United States, though it often feels out of reach - especially in recent years, when the Trump administration reinstated strict rules for American citizens hoping to visit.

But a confluence of factors just made travel to the island nation a bit easier. Last spring, President Biden relaxed many of the restrictions imposed by his predecessor.

And in November, American Airlines resumed flights beyond Havana, adding departures to the beach town Varadero and the interior city Santa Clara, a regional capital steeped in revolutionary history.

More flights from other carriers are set to begin in the coming months. Cuba's people are as generous with their stories - of history, family, and even politics and protest - as they are with their music, an omnipresent, joyful soundtrack thrumming through the island's cities and towns.

Less than two years after historic protests were met with harsh repression, and as the country rebuilds from Hurricane Ian, which struck in September, travel to Cuba and support of its people may never be more valuable. 

[ Lauren Prestileo ] 


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