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Superb art and culture tours grant insider access as Cuba reopens to American travelers

Word of Mouth"The advantage to a tour [to Cuba] is that you'll have access to doing and seeing things you wouldn't be able to do as a tourist," says Fodorite cw. "And meeting the Cuban people this way is one reason that American visitors gain a new understanding of the country and its challenges."

Why Go NowBecause Americans can again! Guided travel to Cuba was reintroduced in August 2011, giving trailblazing visitors access to organized itineraries packed with educational and cultural activities. Tour the cobblestoned streets of Old Havana, undoubtedly the most historically interesting UNESCO-protected district in the Caribbean; listen to jazz at legendary La Zorra y el Cuervo; view artwork from Caribbean and Latin artists at the Havana Biennial Art Exhibition (May 11-June 11); drop by Ernest Hemingway’s countryside estate; and puff on a few Cohibas (though smoke them there because bringing them into the U.S. remains strictly prohibited).

Where to StayThe Hotel Saratoga is one of Cuba’s most elegant hotels. Its central location in Old Havana and gorgeous rooftop pool—with 360-degree views of the city and the coast—make it our top pick. Or book at NH Parque Central, where a new annex features 149 deluxe rooms. See more Havana hotel reviews.

Insider TipThe only official way for Americans to visit Cuba is by organized tour. We recommend the insider art and architecture tour offered by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Havana jazz experience trip from Insight Cuba, and the cultural highlights tour from the Smithsonian Institution.

When to GoTravel November through May for dry, sunny weather.

Plan Your TripVisit Fodor's Cuba Travel Guide for the latest hotel, restaurant, and shopping reviews in Havana and beyond.

Photo: Cuba Tourist Board

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