SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - As diplomatic relations improve between the United States and Cuba, more Americans are beginning to travel to the island.

A CBS News 8's photojournalist recently returned from a trip to Cuba. Jay Likes captured the Cuban people, culture and life through the lens of his camera.

Jay was in Cuba for five days, and described his trip with his wife as a very exhilarating experience. "It's a place that's been off limits to most Americans, when you go there, it's like stepping back in time," he said.

During their trip, Jay and his wife visited landmarks like the Cuban capital, and the two famous restaurants where Ernest Hemingway would frequent.

What really caught Jay's attention was the disparity between the haves and have nots, and renovated buildings and those crumbling.

"It was a very eye-opening experience," he said.

Jay and his wife said the people were friendly, and they never felt unsafe.

"They, [Cubans], are very hopeful about possibly the U.S. coming in and helping, at least economically with business, and embassies. They've been talking about that, hoping that will bring a little bit more prosperity to their people." said Jay.

Travel websites report violent crime is almost unheard of against tourists in Cuba.

Experience Cuba through the lens of Jay's camera in the above video report.