Obama is Going to Cuba: So We Planned His Trip
We hope the POTUS isn't too busy for mojitos and salsa.
President Obama took to Twitter this morning to announce his upcoming trip to Cuba—making him the first sitting U.S. president to visit the island nation in almost 90 years, and only the second in history.
"I'll travel to Cuba to advance our progress," Obama tweeted, "and efforts [to] improve the lives of the Cuban people."
Obama, accompanied by the First Lady, will arrive in Havana at the end of March. And while we know that his trip is diplomatic in nature (because general tourism still isn't permitted) and will be filled by meetings with everyone from Cuban President Raul Castro to local entrepreneurs, we hope POTUS makes time to enjoy some of the best attractions Cuba has to offer.
After all, rapid warming of the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba has the island primed to be one of the most in-demand destinations for American tourists. Just this week, U.S. airlines began submitting their bids for highly coveted routes to Cuba's major hubs, including Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santa Clara: not that the prez, who jets around in a Boeing VC-25, needs to worry about that.
Mr. President, we know you're a very busy man, and a trip to see the inside of the reinstated U.S. embassy is probably already on your list. But if you and Michelle want a truly authentic Cuban experience, we'll hope you'll consider a few of these fun things to do in Cuba:
Raise Your Glass to Hemingway
You can't really go out for a drink in Havana without ending up at one of Ernest Hemingway's favorite bars. This expat loved daiquiris, sans sugar, from El Floridita (ask for the namesake Papa Doble) and mojitos stirred at Bodeguita del Medio. He was also fond of the lobby bar at Hotel Ambos Mundos, and Dos Hermanos—one of the oldest bars in the city.
Check out the Live Music
We know that you like to travel with a soundtrack—classics from The Temptations, and Miles Davis, some feel-good Bob Marley and Nina Simone. But when in Cuba, you'll want to listen to a lot of salsa. You never know what kind of eclectic ensemble is playing at Fabrica de Arte Cubano, though you can count on a flashy, over-the-top cabaret at the al fresco Tropicana.
Get to Know the Locals
Want to know what Cubans really think about the embargo and the onslaught of tourists? Chat with residents when they flock to the Malecón—the main waterfront esplanade—to drink, play music, and watch the sunset. Politics is also a major talking point at Esquina Caliente (the Hot Corner) in Havana's Central Park.
Melanie Lieberman is the Assistant Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure . Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.