As you may know from our recent posts on our Facebook page and our big announcement on our YouTube channel (video embedded below), we decided to drop everything that we were doing here on beautiful Lake Atitlan to travel to Cuba.
Our Big Announcement:
In reality, this was an easy decision for us to make. We’re somewhat close by, we have a 3.5 week window before we start pet sitting, plus, we always try to go to places before the crowds and modernization take over. Cuba’s relations with the US are becoming more and more friendly. Obama has been lifting travel restrictions for the American people and the trade embargos that have been in place for over 5 decades are sure to follow. In fact, talks have already started and on January 21st 2015, President Obama and Cuban officials had a little sit down in Havana.
Part of what makes Cuba such a fascinating place to visit, is its disconnect from modernity and from the rest of the world. It’s possible that soon, the old Pontiacs and Chevrolets that have become so iconic for this Caribbean paradise will slowly start to disappear and be replaced by 2016 Fords and Chevys. Local markets and tiendas will slowly start to be replaced by Wal-Marts and 7-11’s and we want to get there before all of this happens.
Isn’t that why we all travel? To see somewhere and something different from what we’re used to in the western world?
We hope that new trade policies will help the local people, and that the modernization of Cuba is a good thing for the country and its economy. Hopefully American companies with good human rights open up in Cuba and help to provide jobs and a better future for the Cuban citizens. We’re all for economic improvements that can pull people from poverty, but that doesn’t change the fact that we want to see the “old” Cuba first.
This also doesn’t mean that we won’t visit the new Cuba. No amount of other tourists or companies would completely scare us away from a destination! If a lot of people head to one place, there’s usually a good reason for it…but we still want to see the country before that happens.
The Cuban population is in desperate need of change. Their economy has slumped extremely low, as has the quality of life throughout the country. For this reason, we would love to see the American trade embargos lifted, solely for the purpose of elevating a struggling people out of despair. We just hope that the US employs trade policies that help to expand the economy, not exploit it.
What Makes Cuba So Desirable For Us?
Cuba has been on our travel bucket list for a long time now and we’re thrilled that we’re finally making the steps to get there. There are a few things that make Cuba appear so high on our list and they include:
Ever since watching our favourite travel show “Departures” on OLN, we’ve wanted to go to Cuba to meet the locals. From what we’ve heard, they lend their traits and culture to neither Latin America nor the Caribbean, so we’re eager to meet them and find out what they’re all about.
Recent research has shown us that some foreigners feel like walking dollar signs while in Cuba, so we’re hoping that this isn’t the something we experience while there. I’m looking forward to smoking a big fat cigar (while coughing a lot because I don’t smoke) and talking with some local Cubans about their way of life. Hopefully they will be patient with me and my atrocious Spanish-speaking abilities.
The Home Stays
We’re excited to be partnering up with HostelsClub.com for our accommodation needs while we’re in Cuba. They have some awesome hostels, B&Bs and guest houses around the country, but they also have listings for home stays and the famous Casa Particulars! We are really looking forward to staying in local’s homes and tasting the real Cuban food (not the bland resort cuisine that so many holiday-makers complain about). This is a real highlight of planning our trip to Cuba. The excitement of staying in families’ homes and getting in with the local people is a big part of our drive to visit the country.
We’re not really heading to Cuba for a beach holiday, but who doesn’t like a couple of days of lazing on powder-pure white sand beaches! Cuba boasts some of the world’s best, so we may have to stop by the sea for a couple of mid-day mojitos!
From what we’ve seen in pictures and videos online, it looks like pretty much everywhere in Cuba is historical. We can’t wait to walk down the streets of Old Havana and see vehicles from the 1950’s cruising by with the backdrop of the baroque and neoclassic-style architecture that the country is famous for.
Since our planning process started, we’ve been reading books, websites and watching documentaries about Cuba’s unique history and the rebels that shaped the country into what it is to day. It will be interesting to follow the footsteps of famous revolutionaries like Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and to explore a nation with such a turbulent and exciting past.
When we get back from Cuba, we’re going to share our experiences with you and help you to better plan a trip to this amazing country. We’ve had a few hurdles to jump over in our preparations, so through our articles, videos and pictures, we hope to help you to have a smoother planning process. We’re eager to get to Cuba, but we’re even more excited to show you what this Caribbean nation has to offer, and how you too can experience its cultural and adventurous side.
Have you been to Cuba? Is there anything you would recommend? Please share with us in the comments below!
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