There’s an easy way to get to Cuba—within Tampa’s Ybor City
. In the 19th century, this district with its cigar factories drew a number of Cuban immigrants and led to a one-of-a-kind park. Jose Marti Park (aka Parque Amigos de José Martí, at 1303 E. 8th Ave.), was given to the Cuban government to celebrate the “Apostle of Cuban Independence” with a statue in the center and soil from each province. (Martí once had sought refuge at a boarding house at the site after an assassination attempt. It's compact—0.14 acres in total—but a unique thing to see.)
After paying your respects at the park, which is still claimed as Cuban property, walk toward Seventh Avenue, the place to go for entertainment and nightlife in Tampa. Enjoy a Cuban sandwich, which was reputedly created in the district (though Miami challenges Tampa’s claim), and peek into lounges like Long Ash Cigars, 1728 E. 7th Ave., where cigars are still rolled by hand.