Top 4 Tips For Traveling To Cuba

Top 4 Tips For Traveling To Cuba

Written By: Carina84

The first time I set foot in Cuba, I was mesmerized. It’s like taking a step back in time with the architecture and the cars, but then there’s some of the modern amenities you expect in this day and age. Depending on where you live, a trip to Cuba is easier in some locations than others, and it wasn’t until recently that the United States started to allow flights from America into Cuba.

Some have said that it’s important to visit this country before tourism gets too busy and some of that authentic charm gets lost -- and I find that to be somewhat true. While there is a political and historical reason why Cuba still looks the way it does, there is still something about it that remains untouched and old world. If you have a chance to visit Cuba before becomes one of the more popular tourist destinations, I definitely recommend that you go as soon as you can. Here are some of my recommendations to make sure that your trip to Cuba is as memorable as possible:

AVOID THE HOTELS

I typically avoid staying in chain hotels when I visit other destinations, and Cuba is no different. One of the best ways to get to know a country and its people is to stay in a more traditional setting. Similar to that of bed and breakfasts, a casa particular is my recommendation for somewhere to stay – you’re living in a room in someone’s house (with privacy, of course) but you feel more like a houseguest rather than a traveler. I cannot tell you how many stories and experiences and memories I have made by traveling and staying in these types of accommodations -- it’s as if a family has somewhat adopted me during my stay and I get to immerse myself in what life is like. I always think that you can learn from someone else’s experience, so a casa particular is the perfect way to get to know new people while you visit Cuba. Many of my Cuban friends have started out as someone who has given me a room -- and I would never trade it in for standard hotel room.

GO OFF THE GRID

In case you might not of heard, Internet access and Wi-Fi is rather poor in Cuba. Due to political reasons, Internet access and connections are not readily available and if you do happen to find Wi-Fi, it’s usually at very poor speeds in an Internet café. For this reason you’ll want to create your travel itinerary the old-fashioned way -- by book and paper. While it’s definitely something to get used to when you travel to Cuba, being off of your smart phone or off the Internet is a great way to unwind and kind of get back to the basics -- you’ll spend more time reading about the area and trying to find things to do than being stuck on your phone. Before I arrive in Cuba, I like to write down a few of the things I want to see as well as their addresses so that I can give them to taxi drivers, and then I kind of just take it as it comes and I don’t have any real plans -- getting away from the Internet and focusing purely on what’s happening around me is truly rejuvenating.

DINE OUT IN ONE OF THE PALADARS

Until just recently, you had to know exactly where a restaurant was in order to visit it because a lot of them were considered to be private restaurants. With many of the restrictions being lifted on the opening of restaurants in Cuba, many chefs and cooks have come out of the shadows and opened up amazing spots to eat. I always recommend eating at one of the paladars over a state run restaurant because you will find a vast amount of delicious dishes full of flavor on the menu.

BRING CASH WITH YOU

This concept is sort of a Catch-22 -- you don’t want to travel around with a large amount of cash, but on the other hand, having access to money in Cuba is pretty rare and if you do find a bank that offers currency transactions, chances are the hours of opening are extremely limited. Have some cash with you to last at least a few days so that you don’t have to worry about finding it while you’re trying to explore the city.

Cuba is still one of those mysterious countries in the Caribbean, but if you have the opportunity to visit you won’t be disappointed.

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Countries: Cuba
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