2016 / People / Culture

Cuba now

  • Photographer
    Jesse Petersen

The boom is just one sign that the rush is on to see Cuba now — before, as many predict, McDonald's claims a spot in Old Havana and Starbucks moves in on Cubita, the island's premium coffee brand.The sense that detente will unleash an invasion of Yankee tourists and change the unique character of one of the world's last remaining bastions of communism is shared by many travelers flocking here."Cuba has a very authentic atmosphere which you see nowhere else in the world.Outsiders may romanticize the "time-capsule" nation, but many on the island are ready for change.Where foreigners see charming, historic architecture, bright 1950s-era American cars and vast stretches of white-sand beaches, locals see decaying buildings in need of repair, new vehicles priced beyond their reach and a lack of economic opportunity.