When President Obama announced that the U.S. would be lifting its sanctions on Cuba for the first time in 54 years, I had to jet down there and document the island nation before the massive and inevitable change that is sure to sweep across the entire country. I spent five days in Havana, the island’s biggest city. I rented a room for about $18 a day (after splitting the cost with a roommate) and spent about $5 per meal. I also rode taxis a lot, because you can’t go to Cuba and not ride in some vintage cars. Click through the gallery above to see what Cuba looks like before it becomes Orlando South, awash in Western dollars and investment.

(Photos: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)