For more than 50 years, Cuba has been a pariah state, a country that Americans can’t visit, unless it involves some kind of special cultural program or event. But as the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. begins to thaw, and signs point to a breakthrough in the near future, you may be wondering: why is Cuba so special? Well, unless you’ve been there, you probably won’t ever understand, so here are some of the reasons Cuba is a cool place to visit.

Cigars

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No, not the stuff you buy in cigar stores in America that claim to be from Cuba, but the real thing, rolled in front of you and authentic. Cuban cigars are widely acknowledged as the best in the world, and when you visit Havana, you get to tour tobacco houses known as habanos, where the cigars are made by hand. And even if you don’t smoke cigars, just having been able to see the process of rolling an authentic Cuban cigar is enough.