How to See the Real Havana

by  Kristen Boatright | Jul 5, 2016

Even if it's getting easier to travel to Cuba, straight tourism is still off-limits for U.S. citizens. Visiting community projects and meeting with the locals there is one way to satisfy the U.S. government's people-to-people travel requirement. The cruise line's staffs arrange tours to help you learn about some of the organizations that are slowly shaping the city, walking you through some of the most dynamic parts of Havana.

Of those, Arte Corte is one of the longest running and most successful of these projects. It was started in 1999 by Gilberto "Papito" Valladares, and has been instrumental in cleaning up a section of Old Havana (now known as Barber's Alley) where more than a dozen businesses, including restaurants and art galleries, are located. 

We sailed on Fathom's Adonia to the island nation not long after it started its Cuba routes in May, visiting Arte Corte and Barber's Alley. There, we met Papito and other cuentapropistas (self-employed business owners) to learn more about the entrepreneurial spirit in Havana today. Watch our video above for more: Cuba may only be 90 miles south of Key West, but it can seem like a world away for American travelers. We take you behind the scenes and introduce you to the locals.  

Rendering of The Manor nightclub on Scarlet Lady
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