Cuba is a famous country with an interesting history. Nowadays, it is also known for its magnificent beaches and nightlife options. Interestingly, the authentic Cuban experience differs a lot from what one may have in mind. Landing on the island for sure gives a special atmosphere but not in the exact way you would think.
- A cultural view
Museums are mostly around the period of revolution in Cuba and are not expected to surprise you. Regarding arts, we would say that Cubanese is strictly oriented around dancing. At the bars, you will also have the chance to listen to great voices singing hits of ”Buena Vista Social Club.” What will catch your attention though is what’s out there on the streets. Buildings are also impressive, even though they are neglected. They have a great influence on Spanish architecture but a little differentiated and enriched. The buildings look like cakes; they are colorful, curvy, and joyful. The cars are old and colorful. Get a taxi in Cuba and you are automatically transferred into a movie in the ’70s.
- How do the locals live?
Cubans live in a particular regime. The government provides everyone with a certain amount of goods to spend the month. Coffee, rice, sugar, etc. are given to the people wisely. Everyone can have the basics to live a healthy life but few can afford luxuries that western society enjoys. This shapes the reality in Cuba accordingly. A great advantage that most of us would never think of and the locals do not seem to realize its importance either, is the fact that they are extremely healthy.
Not overconsuming simply keeps them in shape. In addition, their love to dance further helps them keep a perfectly healthy and beautiful body. A walk to the Malecon, the famous street next to the beach, in Havana will convince you. The street is empty during the day because of the abundant sunlight, but as soon as the sun sets people gather to enjoy themselves. Not having much money to go into bars they turn on their radios and dance on the streets. The scenery will remind you of a carnival and the atmosphere is very festive.
The Internet is not available everywhere, yet there are places you can connect. This works for both locals and tourists. Traveling is not seriously an option for the Cuban and it is only a few years since they opened the borders for the American tourists. Their poor interaction with the rest of the world has led many of them to believe that life outside Cuba is a paradise. They do not appreciate their physical condition and the fact that they are not obliged to work long hours.
Seeing the tourists having fun on their island makes them think people from other countries live stress-free for the rest of the year also. The young ones are divided; some are proud of their revolutionary history and some feel trapped in their own country. Prostitution is strictly forbidden by the authorities and often checks are taking place by the police. However, many people do it indirectly. The impressive part is that men also tend to provide this ”service” in exchange for money. Many of them hope to get married to have the possibility to travel outside of Cuba.
- How do the tourists live?
The most splendid places to visit would be Havana, the capital, and Varadero. Havana will give you a taste of the cultural background and Varadero will be a splendid place to go for swimming. The climate and the beach are similar to Cancun of Mexico; fine sand and warm turquoise waters. The temperature is good for swimming all year long. As for Havana, well the city is a true gem. You have the option to live in expensive hotels but we strongly suggest spending a night in an alternative place for accommodation. As you have probably understood by now, in Cuba everything is different. While the rest of the world has Airbnb, Cuba has ”Casas Privadas.” They are the houses where Cubans live and they rent a room to a tourist.
You will call them to get in touch with them and every part of your communication will take place as if it was twenty years ago. They are very warm and if you know some Spanish they will love to talk to you about their culture and their country. They will be better than professionals guides! Finally the big question: Is it safe? It is more than safe. As we said Cubans may not be rich but there is not a single homeless person on the streets. Their government has taken care of so that no one is too poor or too rich. Besides, Cubans are a proud nation and therefore you have no reason to worry about criminality.
Have you read?
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