Looking for a way to get to Cuba? These fitness retreats offer easy access.
Just before President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba in March—the first such trip for a sitting US president since 1928—the Department of Treasury announced it was relaxing Cuban travel restrictions for US citizens. The move is expected to spur even more Americans to visit the country just 90 miles south of Miami, and JetBlue is set to be the first commercial airline to fly into the country later this month. But the keyword here is relaxing restrictions; they haven’t removed them entirely. Officially, Americans now are allowed to travel to Cuba without booking the trip through a tour group. However, straight tourism isn’t permitted, and visitors are required to have a full itinerary of educational activities that foster engagement with the people of Cuba on their trip. (Read the full guidelines here.)
Yoga and wellness retreats are on the cutting edge of Cuban health and fitness tourism, bridging the gap between recreation and education. Although there’s luxury to be had on these retreats, many organizers advise travelers new to Cuba to have an easygoing attitude and to try to be flexible. Wi-Fi and water pressure in the country can be spotty, for example; outside of Havana, English speakers can be scarce; and you’ll need to bring an electrical adapter and cash because your ATM card probably won’t work. Ditto for your phone. You’ll also need a Cuban visa and Cuban medical insurance, which are included in some retreat packages (make sure to ask about both when you book).
But pack a sense of adventure and an up-for-anything attitude, and you’ll get to practice yoga with top-notch instructors, swim in tropical waters and witness the blossoming nightlife and art scenes in Cuba before it becomes too Americanized. Here, the best yoga and other healthy vacations worth booking in Cuba: