Cuba seems to be on everyone’s lips as the destination du jour  following the 2015 reconciliation between Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro.

Though it will likely take decades for Havana’s Hollywood-stage-set cityscape to alter dramatically, and for those classic American cars to disappear, this time-warp nation is already changing.

Exciting new paladares (restaurants) and private businesses are opening, and an uptick in US tourists — thanks to a slight easing of travel regulations — is infusing Cuba with much-needed cash.

The real reason to go now is that finding somewhere to stay (already a challenge) will likely become harder before it gets easier.

To get you warmed up for a trip, here are ten facts about Cuba that might surprise you. For example…

Music by The Beatles was banned until 2000

IMG_0305 John Lennon statute, Havana, Cuba; copyright Christopher P Baker

After 1964, when the world went wild over The Beatles’ music, Fidel declared the rock group a little too decadent for socialist tastes. He banned their music, and Cubans resorted to listening to smuggled recordings.

In 2000 Fidel changed his tune. He declared John Lennon a working-class revolutionary and a statue of Lennon was unveiled in Havana’s Vedado district in Fidel’s presence, with a concert of The Beatles’ music to accompany the big reveal.

Today Cuba has about half a dozen nightclubs dedicated to The Fab Four.

Read more here

Now buy the MOON CUBA guidebook!

12

Christopher P Baker

website

Christopher P. Baker, one of the world's most multi-talented and success travel writers and photographers is considered the foremost authority on Cuba travel and culture. Winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2008 as 'Travel Journalist of the Year,' he has authored more than 30 books, leads tours for National Geographic Expeditions and other companies, and is a Getty Images and National Geographic contributing photographer.