National Geographic : 1920 Jul
CUBA-THE SUGAR MILL OF THE ANTILLES Photograph by Walter RuKeyser A VIEW OF MORRO CASTLE AND TIlE ENTRANCE TO THIE HARBOR OF HAVANA FROM TILE BASE OF TILE SEA-WALL ON THE CITY SIDE OF TIlE HARBOR situation where dollars are even cheaper than they are now in the United States. Tens of thousands of acres of land are being laid out in residence sites, and the Vedado district, the Riverside Drive and the Sheridan Road of Havana, is being extended until it reaches farther from the Prado than Riverside Drive from New York's City Hall Square or Sheridan Road from Chicago's Loop. There are no advertising signs on these lots. But as one motors along one sees nestling close to the ground inconspicuous little boards, about a foot long, and half a foot wide, bearing the legend in Spanish "Sold to Mr. So and So." And Mr. So and So is usually some rich Cuban who has made a fortune out of sugar down in the provinces and is coming up to the capital for the social seasons. If not that, he is probably an American who likes to be reasonably near the country clubs, and prefers to live where the cocktail has not lost its legal status. The price of the lots is from one to three dollars a square foot, or from $43,000 to $130,000 per acre. THE TOURIST'S BILLS If high prices hit those to whom Havana is home, it is, of course, natural that they should strike the transient even more forcibly. Hotels everywhere are always the advance guard in the price climb, and those in Cuba have been no exception. There is only one hotel in Havana that gives anything like the American stand ard of service, and its rates during the past season were $25 a day for an outside room with bath, without meals. It pur posed to cater only to those to whom prices are no object; but that sort of patronage failed to develop in sufficient volume to maintain a full house. The other hotels charged rates of from $6 to $12 for accommodations far from asgoodasonegetsatfrom$3to$6in New York. The result was that many people who came to spend a week or ten days moved up their return dates con siderably, and the tourist population changed on the average every four days. The disappointments of the past sea son promise for next year a saner ad justment between rates and service. The Cuban National Tourist Associa tion is working out a program which aims to lay a solid foundation for a steady de velopment of a healthy, growing tourist traffic. Under this association's plan, every room in Cuba that is open to the tourist is to be listed as soon and as long as it meets the required conditions of sanitation and moral surroundings.