Cuba is a meeting of people and cultures. I had the pleasure of experiencing 3 ports in Cuba flying from Austin, TX. This is definitely a great opportunity for people to experience since US travelers have not been able to travel to Cuba for more than 50 years. You do have to have a current passport and a visa to visit Cuba.
While in Cuba you are able to immerse yourself in the history, culture and people to people connections. The first port of exploring was Havana, the capital of Cuba. The local currency is the Cuban CUC. The money will have monuments/memorials on it. This is important when getting currency. You don't want to confuse it with the CUP which has pictures of Cuban heroes on it. There was much excitement from the locals when we arrivedvia ship. They were happy to share with us what they did for a living. There were many artists with original works of art, musicians that enjoyed playing their Cuban rumba which was very entertaining, as well as the Cuban cuisine. One of the main objectives for most travelers when they get to Havana, Cuba is to be able to ride in one of the old Chevy cars. It was interesting to find out that in order to keep many of cars running they had to use parts from other types of vehicles. Many locals don't have cars like we have here in Austin, TX.
While exploring Havana we learned that each home is rationed for food and water even if they raise their own food source. Their healthcare is free. The homes they live in house many generations of family members as homes are expensive. Cubans can't have weapons, knives, machetes, etc. Could you imagine what the US would be like if we couldn't have any weapons?
The Basilica and the Monastery of San Francisco De Asis
When you first come off the cruise port into Havana you will come upon this Basilica and Monastery. Today the church, with its excellent acoustics, is one of Havana’s finest concert hall for the classical, choral and contemporary concerts. It is also where many of the aristocrats of the 17th and 18th century lie.
One of the people to people connections we had was learning how young deaf adults such as high school age and older were taught cosmetology. It is a 2 year program. It allowed them to learn and if they wanted to they could work for someone else or open their own business once they completed the program. The owner of El Fiagro Havana is the one in charge of the cosmetology program and had the opportunity to talk to Obama for a quick few minutes when he arrived in Cuba. They have the oldest barbershop in Cuba. The food at El Figaro is worth a try as well. One requirement while in Cuba is that you have to document who you interacted with and what you talked about and keep for up to 7 years. The people to people connection is a requirement to visit Cuba. It is not just to be able to vacation there. As US citizens from Austin, TX we have guidelines to follow.
Another people to people connection we had was meeting the family of a family owned restaurant at La Moneda Cuban. The food was excellent!
Lobster and rice with a Cuban sangria
Do you like chocolate? Well you have to try the Cuban chocolate. You won't be diappointed.
Ernest Hemmingway's place was interesting to see. While driving through the town you could see that things were run down on our way to Hemmingway's home. Here are some pictures from Hemmingway's place.
I would recommend Cuba for those that have an interest in visiting the destination.
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I love to travel and explore the world. My goal is to help others actually experience their desired destination(s) whether they are traveling solo or as a group. The world has so much to offer.