International Travel, Travel Photography

Cuba in Photos

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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, 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.

Trinidad, Cuba

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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13 thoughts on “Cuba in Photos

  1. Great photos from Cuba! Sound like you had a great time! I agree with you in Santa Clara, you can get some great food!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Your beautiful pictures bring back so many memories! I spend my honeymoon in Havana and Vinales and it was great. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. I loved Cuba so much! I love that you reference our lack of learning about it in history. I did the same thing in my guide to Cuba!! Beautiful pictures! Wish I could go again. I wonder if it’s any different visiting from the states now that Trump has tightened restrictions again.

    1. I’ve heard it’s really quite similar on the people-to-people visa, but then again, it seems like every airline has its own guidelines.

  4. I’m so envious of your trip to Cuba. It’s been on my list for a while and I truly hope I get a chance to visit before it changes beyond recognition. Little by little our world is changing and evolving, and I know we can’t stop progress, but I hope that Cuba keeps one foot in the past.

    1. I hear you! It’s one reason I went to Cuba as soon as I legally could and also why I went to Bhutan a couple months ago, because I want to see them before they’re spoiled by globalization, if you will. At the same time, I’m not sure it’s good for the people in those places. Should we ask them to stay in the past while we move forward for our own traveling pleasure? I explored this concept recently in a post on cultural tourism. I don’t think there’s a black/white answer for all situations, just something I’ve been thinking about!

  5. Beautiful photos! Cuba looks to be amazing and so colorful. It’s definitely a place I’ve been looking to go to this past year, but flights have always been ridiculously over priced. For getting around outside the cities, is it safe for a solo female traveler? Driving yourself around? thanks!

    1. Hey April! It is gorgeous indeed, isn’t it Where are you flying out of? Sometimes it can be cheaper to fly into one of the main Florida ports (Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale) and catch a flight there for like $100 RT.

      I can’t speak about driving because I hate driving and we had no intention of doing it on our trip when Viazul buses were so easy to work with (until we messed up our booking, haha). As for safety, it’s a little bit of a toss-up and dependent on your comfort level. We were constantly verbally sexually harassed though never once did we actually feel threatened by it. Only a few times were there some unwanted touching — from like boys and teenagers who were so sneaky! The adult men were actually generally quite polite when it came to physical contact, i.e. asking if you want to dance before putting their hands on you (I know this should be standard practice but I feel like in the US many men have forgotten this rule!). You know when we weren’t verbally sexually harassed? The one morning when we split up for an extended time and did our own things. It was like all of a sudden we were off limits. So, take what you will of that.

  6. Fascinating! I was so curious to hear what it would be like to experience Cuba as an American. It looks like such a vibrant area. Your photos really seem to capture the heart of the region and expose its true soul.

    1. It was a wonderful experience, the people are so friendly and yes, there’s a vibrancy in life there! Hoping it’s been revived post-hurricane.

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