My daughter and I usually go south for a few weeks in the summer. We spend time with family and then back to New York. Sometimes we visit other places or I take a girls trip with my best bud. This year, my family and I took a cruise to Cuba. Not sure what I expected. What I experienced was wonderful.
I’m not sure what you’ve heard about Cuba. Not the most glowing reviews on the State Department’s website. While I must say a lot of it seems common sense when you travel anywhere, especially the United States. I have included a link so that you can review it yourself. The only problem I have is “Carry a copy of your passport and secure the original.” That’s a little difficult since you can’t get into ANY country without your passport. If you’re staying in Cuba, then that makes sense. But I was on a cruise and I needed the original to enter Cuba. As I said, most of it is common sense for living in the U.S. further more visiting anywhere in the world.
We traveled on the Norwegian Sky. We docked and were in Havana for my birthday. Yeah me. We went through customs and changed our money before we walked on to the streets of Havana. We crossed the busy street to one of the oldest squares. San Francisco Square named after a priest who started a catholic church there. There we met our guide and waited for the taxi that was going to take us around for the day.
My mom and I booked our guide from tripadvisor.com ahead of time. We didn’t want to pay the prices of the cruise ship or wait until we got there and not know where to turn. Also while the cruise had several tours they seemed superficial to me. Why would I want to go to Cuba and just see where Americans lived. I wanted to see Cuba. Well as much as possible. Cuba is huge and since we only had two days we wanted to make the best of our time. Our guides were wonderful. Our tours very interesting as well as filled with so much information on the history of Cuba. If you’re going to Cuba, Cuba Classic Car Tours Havana is the way to see the beautiful island.
Now I’m not here to give you the history, you have to go for yourself. Just wanted to give you an idea. Cuba is a beautiful country. Not to say there aren’t any poor. There are. Of course, a country as rich as America has more then their fare share of poor, so we’re in no position to point a finger. The people were fairly friendly. The neighborhoods calm and peaceful. The children, well, were children. Most of all, no one tried to scam us.
Our first day in Cuba we drove in a classic car to Matanzas. The country side was beautiful. I had no idea how big Cuba really is. We stopped for pina colada’s in pineapples before we drove over the tallest bridge in Cuba. In Matanzas we went to Castillo de San Severino. There we saw images of sugar plantations from hundreds of years before. The city of Matanzas had hundreds of sugar plantations several hundred years ago. The bottom of the building had cells, there slaves were housed in prisons cells. They were dark and musty. There was no natural light at all. I can’t imagine what was going through their minds as they were pushed into the dark area, hearing the cell door close behind them so far from home and not knowing what would befall them. Mantanzas had a large slave population due to the hundreds of sugar plantations. It is evident through Cuban history that Africans played a part in it’s unique culture. One thing that many Americans seem to forget and/or deny.
Our next stop was the Gran Paleocaverna Bellamar. The caves were beautiful. It was interesting and fun. We spent a little over an hour walking the carved path in the cave.
We spent the morning of our second day visiting the museums and neighborhoods of Havana, Cuba. Art at the Fine Arts Museum was exquisite and indicative of Cuba’s complex blended culture. There was so much more to see. We would need another few weeks just to enjoy all that is Cuba.
I would definitely recommend visiting.