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Growing up in Florida, Cuba was always just a hop and a skip away, and Cuban people and Cuban food were all around. Yet it was also as foreign as Bhutan given the little education we’d received in school (mainly regarding the Cuban missile crisis). So when President Obama relaxed travel restrictions to Cuba right around the time I got a save the date for a wedding in Florida, I knew I had to go. Planning a trip to Cuba is so different than doing so for many other places given the restrictions on our credit cards, debit cards, phones, and more, but it was well worth the time. More to come on Cuba planning tips later, but for now, a photographic tour of Cuba.
Havana exudes life and energy and a nostalgic air of class and grandeur. The buildings may be deteriorating and the streets in ever disrepair, but the people are full of laughter and joy. (We even had a cross-building rooftop dance-off with some locals!)
As a friend said, it’s like Detroit but with life and hope.
Vinales Valley, Cuba
I’m not sure what I expected from Vinales the town and its surrounding valley, but its rustic beauty blew me away. We encountered some gorgeous views and spent an afternoon drinking Santiago rum, smoking hand-rolled Cuban cigars, and half-conversing, half-playing charades with Vinales farmer Jose Antonio.
Santa Clara, Cuba
Santa Clara, home to Che Guevara’s mausoleum, has all the features of a small college town. And despite what guide books may tell you about its food scene, we had some of our best meals of the trip there.
For me, Trinidad exemplified what I’d always imagined Cuba to be like given depictions in the media. Colorful, cobblestoned, and full of music.
We spent a total of 8 full days in Cuba and I wish we had more time (and fewer restrictions) to explore. At the moment it’s not as easy to travel on your own as an American in Cuba as it is in Europe or Asia, but I’d absolutely encourage going now. There’s something about having those restrictions and difficulties that adds a certain charm. Go enjoy it while it lasts.
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