You Won’t Believe Where the Only McDonald’s in Cuba Is
Quick: Take a guess where the only McDonald’s is in Cuba? Downtown Havana, perhaps? Down by a popular beach, maybe?
Not even close.
Remember, relations between the U.S. and Cuba are only now beginning to turn around after a decades-long embargo. This means that no American-based companies have been permitted to set up shop in the Communist-ruled country (save for a handful), and vice-versa. This is slowly changing due to recently-restored relations, but you’re still not going to be seeing American chains in Havana should you be permitted to visit.
So, with that said, care to guess again where that McDonald’s is? Perhaps a part of Cuba that’s been in American hands for a long time?
That’s right: Guantanamo Bay. The naval base, which is located on 45 square miles of land in southeast Cuba, has been leased by the United States since 1903, and is perhaps best known for its military prison, which has been in operation since 2002. In 1986, a McDonald’s opened on the base, and it’s the only one in Cuba.
And by the way, McDonald’s isn’t the only American chain on the base. Baskin-Robbins was the first franchise to open there, in the early 1980s, and others include Subway, Pizza Hut, KFC, A&W, and a Taco Bell. These franchises are all owned and operated by the Department of the Navy, and Cubans aren’t allowed access to them.