Cuba, a country with a diverse and distinct history, favorable climate, and amazing beaches is surely a heaven for tourists. The colonial architectures never cease to amaze the tourists and the diversity is such that explorers like me really want to experience. It is a country where you will still find a touch of 60s and 70s lifestyle. Old cars, colorful buildings, cigar farms, and the music which you can hear everywhere in Cuba was surely a majestic experience.
I was in Cuba for 9 whole days and explored Havana, Vinales, Soroa, and Varadero, and to explore them I rode horses, bikes, drove classic cars and of course walked on foot. In simple words, my trip to Cuba has made me understand a lot about the country, its people and culture. I am glad that even after what you read about Cuba on newspapers or internet and see on the news I went there. And believe me, it is a great experience of my life. Though, I tried to relish the urban life and enjoy the rural experience, but you can’t learn everything about a country in just 9 days. There’s still a lot more to explore in Cuba but for now let me pen down the highlights of my 9-day trip.
Before I start, let me tell you that the country is still a dictatorship and you can reminisce the past of communism, Spanish rule, and Europe on the land. Since Cuba is known for its cigars, it was natural for me to go visit the best cigars farms in Vinales and see the process of making cigars and what make them special. Well, I can’t say with much confidence that I learned how to make Cuban cigars, but I learned a thing or two about them. It was also good experience riding the horses while exploring the cigar fam.
THE COUNTRY SIDE
The country side of Soroa – Cuba has a charm of its own, so I wanted to experience their way of doing things. You know there’s a saying that to know about a country, one must learn about the urban and rural cultures. This is what I did. I went to a farm, lived with the Cubans, saw their farming techniques and explored the nearby areas. I witnessed how the run their lives. I saw how their coffee making techniques and climbed a mountain with the local. When sun goes down in the country side, you have a lot of free time like in the 60s as people in Soroa really like to hangout and live together as a community. I literally stayed up late chatting with the locals, drinking their unique coffee, and playing dominoes with them. Even in the country side the main modes of my transportation were horses and bike. You can imagine how wonderful it is. One thing that I couldn’t do is capturing the beauty of country side using drones. There were vultures on the mountain who wouldn’t hesitate attacking my precious drone. This I learned the hard way by attempting to fly my drone in that area.
A PARADISE NOT TO MISS Varadero is a must to visit if you are in Cuba. It’s a paradise with exotic beach and resort that will surely calm you down. It’s a beach around 133 KM away from Havana, but this beauty is one nobody wants to miss. The flora and fauna there is known around the world and in terms of beauty it has one of the world’s best beaches in my opinion. I did diving jutting out into the clear blue water and escaped from the hustle bustle of the city life in one of their amazing resorts.
HAVANA – LIVING A DREAM
My next stop was Havana, where I explored the city on a bike. Also by a classic car, the ones Cuba is famous for, and though the ride was a bit bumpy but the car turned it into an awesome experience. I rode a bike for a full day to explore Havana. I walked the roads to feel the city. The life in Havana for the locals is not really easy, but they sure are welcoming and hospitable people. The life in the city still gives you the feeling that you are living in 60s or 70s, but Havana is changing. Cuba is changing. And I am sure that the day is not far when I will visit Cuba again and will find it a lot different.
Life in Havana for the residents is not a piece of cake. The city has its 60s appeal intact but this also shows that progress over there have slowed down and the world has move far ahead. But the people there know how to enjoy life and perhaps people dancing everywhere in the city is a great way to be at peace and not think about all the hardships endured.
Limited internet penetration kind of keeps you disconnected from the rest of the world and you can truly enjoy life. Cuba has recently introduced 3G and WiFi is only available at selected places.
What makes Cuba a great tourist attraction is not just its beaches, but its diverse culture, rich history, colonial architecture, and certainly a lifestyle of the past. I sure enjoyed a lot and learned a lot. Now I am off to explore something new, because life is a