By Martina Sheehan for the Orbitz Travel Blog
These incredible experiences are now closer than ever.
The U.S. government announced new rules on January 15 that will significantly liberalize travel and trade between the U.S. and Cuba. Orbitz hopes to be able to start selling flights and hotels to Cuba sometime in 2015, as Orbitz CEO Barney Harford discussed on CNBC this morning. But, in the meantime, let's take a look at some of Havana's top attractions, which now seem closer than ever.
1. Speed through the narrow streets in a 1950s American car.
In Havana, these vintage beauties are everywhere. And you can ride in one. Many serve as shared taxis, so just flag one down and tell them where you're headed. If it's a match, start negotiating your price.
2. Shake your rumba at Callejon Hamel.
The bold, colorful art installations towering over this charming alleyway make it worth a visit any day of the week. But be sure to go on a Sunday to catch La rumba de Cayo Hueso, a big rumba dance party with a live band that brings everyone to the streets.
3. Fall in love with the crumbling splendor of Havana's colonial architecture.
A classic scene: Laundry flaps on a line on the balcony of a once-opulent, now-crumbling paint chipped apartment building. Mosaic floors and walls, and stained glass abound. You'll also want to explore Havana's many historic plazas, cathedrals and fortresses, many of which date back about 250 years.
4. Get some novel ideas at Ernest Hemingway's Finca Vigia.
The Cuban government took over Hemingway's estate just outside Havana when the American author died in 1961. And it seems they haven't changed a thing. Magazines from that year still stack the rack in the living room, and the closets are still filled with Papa's shoes and other everyday accoutrements. The stately home -- excellently decorated -- is where Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. Be sure to stop for a Hemingway cocktail with fresh sugar cane at the pop-up bar located on the grounds.
5. Soak up some sun at Tropicoco Beach.
A 15-minute cab ride takes you just outside of Havana to this idyllic beach that attracts locals and tourists alike. Flag down one of the roaming vendors for a refreshing rum-coconut water combo sipped right out of the coconut.
6. Bask in glitter and lights at the world-famous Tropicana Club.
Soak up some charming vintage entertainment at what's arguably the world's most famous cabaret. Not much has changed here since the club opened in 1939, so expect to be dazzled by flashy musical numbers, sparkly bikinis and wild carnival headdresses.
7. Enter the magical land of Fusterlandia.
Imagine a magical place -- not Disney -- where every surface is covered in colorful mosaics, where you can explore soaring sculptures, statues and arches that wind up, over and around what the artist calls his home, studio and "wild kingdom." Fusterlandia's creator, artist Jose Fuster, has also taken his creative touch outside the walls of his creative complex, covering many of the town's surfaces in his trademark mosaics.
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