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Pastel hues, '57 Chevys, neoclassical architecture — most of us imagine Cuba as a bubblegum-pink time capsule that smells like cigar smoke and coffee.

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And we want in.

Havana always steals the tourist spotlight, but to truly understand this destination, give yourself a week beyond the capital to explore the valleys of Viñales, Trinidad, and Veradero. Budget travel will be a bit more difficult than you probably realize -- and there are other things you should know before you go, too, like how the island has two currencies or how toothpaste and WiFi is 100% pure luxury.

You'll most certainly live differently here, but you'll love the "Pearl of the Antilles" all the more for it. Especially once you try the rum and authentic Cuban food.

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