By David Stanley.
1st edition, 396 pages.
Lonely Planet, $17.95.
It has a rich culture, warm people, unblemished beaches,
colonial towns, sizzling nightlife, world class scuba diving
opportunities, revolutionary monuments, potent rum and top
It is the largest country in the Caribbean; its capital city is
one of the oldest in the Americas, and it is a very hot destination
with almost as many international travelers per year as Jamaica
(which welcomed 1.2 million visitors in 1996).
Americans cannot go there.
Where is it?
It is Cuba, of course, and it has been officially off-limits to
most U.S. travelers for 34 years, although an increasing number of
intrepid Americans are making clandestine visits each year.
When and if the U.S.-Cuba trade embargo is lifted, Lonely Planet
Publications is ready with its Cuba guidebook.
Tucked in the midst of 396 pages are 14 pages of color photos,
50 pages on the island's history and a section outlining how
Americans can elude the State Department's regulations against
travel if they choose to do so.
"Despite the restrictions, thousands of U.S. citizens travel to
Cuba each year. Lonely Planet believes the decision to visit Cuba
is a personal matter and travelers should weigh the risks before
planning a trip there," a spokesman for the publisher said.
Canadian author David Stanley, who led tour groups through Cuba
in the 1970s, spent six months driving 4,000 miles to research the
According to Caroline Liou, LP's publishing manager, the
decision to get a guidebook on Cuba into the U.S. market was
"The destination is timely, and we had the right author," she
Fodor's Travel Publications has a book on Cuba; Moon
Publications is due out with its Cuba guide later this year.
The nuts and bolts of LP's book include coverage of Havana,
restaurants and hotels for all budgets and 60 maps of Cuba's 13
The guidebook spotlights Hemingway and human rights, slang and
cigars, cocktails, cabarets and Castro.