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How Americans Can Travel To Cuba

The President is headed to Cuba. So are a lot of Americans. We’ll look at Cuba travel, tourism and the new destination 90 miles across the water.

Tourists ride vintage American convertibles as they pass by the United States embassy in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. President Barack Obama said that he will visit Cuba on March 21-22, making him the first sitting president in more than half a century to visit the island nation. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

Tourists ride vintage American convertibles as they pass by the United States embassy in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. President Barack Obama said that he will visit Cuba on March 21-22, making him the first sitting president in more than half a century to visit the island nation. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

President Obama is headed to Cuba soon. You may wish you were, too. All that sun and great music, and tropical breezes, just 90 miles as they say from Florida. Yes, there is tough history there. And the Castros still rule. But three million visitors from around the world poured into Cuba last year. There are Canadians and Europeans all over the clubs and beaches. And more Americans on the streets than ever. How’s that work?  This hour On Point, the thaw with Havana, and all about traveling to Cuba.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Mimi Whitefield, Cuba and international correspondent for the Miami Herald. (@HeraldMimi)

Anthony DePalma, writer-in-residence at Seton Hall University and adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Journalism. Former foreign correspondent for the New York Times. Author of “The Man Who Invented Fidel.” (@depalman)

Claire Boobbyer, travel writer and Cuba travel expert. Wrote the 2015 “Frommers’ EasyGuide To Cuba.” (@claireboobbyer)

From Tom’s Reading List

Miami Herald: Despite differences with Cuba, Obama says now is the time to visit the island — “A thicket of issues still separates Cuba and the United States and a U.S. president hasn’t set foot on Cuban soil in nearly 90 years but President Barack Obama said Thursday now is the best time for him to visit the island.”

Washington Post: Obama’s plan to visit Cuba is reminiscent of opening to Burma — “In each case, as with Burma and Cuba, the administration faced fierce criticism from lawmakers and human rights advocates who said that the White House was too eager to negotiate with traditional U.S. enemies. And in each case, the outcome remains fraught with the potential for failure and political blowback, as well as damage to Obama’s legacy.”

Vox: Travel to Cuba is about to get much, much cheaper — “The Obama administration has already made it much easier to travel to Cuba under one of 12 permitted categories, including trips with humanitarian, religious, or educational missions. Though gaining permission from the government once required preapproval and a detailed itinerary, Americans wishing to travel to Cuba now need only check the right box on a visa form at the airport. Even so, Americans wishing to vacation in the island nation must do so on costly charter flights leaving primarily from Miami and New York, leaving them little flexibility in planning trips.”

Playlist

Mancuso” — Buena Vista Social Club

Okay Cuba” — Gilles Peterson

Casa del Caribe” — Obbatuké

Soy Cubana” — Omara Portuondo

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