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Before you book: A look inside Cuba

Anita Balakrishnan

Before you book: A look inside Cuba

A closeup of a hood ornament on one of the classic American cars in Havana, Cuba.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

A wave of diplomatic talks hit the shores of Cuba this week as Washington and Havana work to normalize relations that had been severed in the wake of Fidel Castro's seizure of power in 1959. The U.S. diplomatic delegation is the highest-ranking American group to arrive in Cuba in 38 years. CNBC photographer Justin Solomon is on the ground to give us a glimpse of colorful Havana.

By CNBC's Anita Balakrishnan.
Posted 23 Jan. 2015

Taxi!

A driver washes his taxi in Havana, Cuba.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

Not all the cars in Cuba are vintage American relics. Here, a driver washes his taxi, maybe the one that will pick you up from the airport on your next vacation.

The future of travel looks vintage

A woman hails a taxi in Havana, Cuba.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

Here you go! The driver of this 1956 Buick taxi stops after being hailed. Orbitz CEO Barney Harford told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" that it would be a year before American tourists could book a commercial flight there.

Fewer bumps in diplomatic relations

Tourists take in the the sites on a tour bus in Havana, Cuba.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

Tourists take in the sights from a tour bus. "This is a wonderfully ironic experience," an American tourist told CNBC's Eamon Javers earlier this week. "To be sitting in Cuba—in Havana, Cuba—and be in the basement of the Hotel Nacional watching Obama's State of the Union. I love it."

'Study, Work, Rifle'

The logo for the Young Communist League "Study, Work, Rifle" is displayed on a mural in Havana, Cuba.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

The symbols of Communist Cuba remain. This mural in Havana shows the logo for the Young Communist League: "Study, Work, Rifle," with images of icons Julio Antonio Mella, Camilo Cienfuegos and Che Guevara.

Russian friends

The Russian ship Vishnya (also known as Meridian) class warship CCB-175 Viktor Leonov, docked, on February 26, 2014, at Havana harbor.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

When the talks began, the unsettling appearance of this Russian intelligence-gathering ship was quickly dismissed as routine naval activity.

Waiting

Pedestrians wait for a bus in Havana, Cuba.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

The historic talks have failed to get the attention of local media, although Cubans are bracing for increasing tourism from the U.S., according to Javers. Pictured: Pedestrians wait for a bus.

Have a cigar

A woman lights a hand-rolled cigar.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

Hand-rolled cigars are one of the big draws for Americans. The new restrictions allow U.S. travelers to bring back $100 worth of liquor and cigars from Cuba.

Cuba's culture

A classic car sits outside a movie theater in Havana, Cuba.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

A classic car sits outside a movie theater. "I'm excited to see the culture preserved," Brown University student Hannah Cole told NBC's Andrea Mitchell on the "TODAY" show.

Looking to the future

The promenade in Havana, Cuba.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

This bright promenade gives American travelers a peek of what's to come, even if diplomats won't be sure of the details until the talks close this weekend.