Cuba was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. We booked our flight on a whim one day when we just happened to see that flights were super cheap. In order to travel to Cuba, you must have a valid/legal reason. Because of this, we decided to travel under “support for the Cuban people”.
Our next step was to get an itinerary so that we would have “legit” travel. Then we booked a company to give us a tour. We booked a two-day tour so we would not have to worry about what to do the first couple of days. Our tour was booked through Havana Memories.
From the second we stepped off the plane, we were greeted by the culture. It was also surprising to see so many others who looked just like us. We were mistaken for Cubans so many times until we opened our mouths, then people would scream AMERICANOS! lol. The best part about this trip is that we really got to immerse ourselves in the culture, see how people lived, and we were able to bring back such an appreciation for the life we currently have. Instead of staying at a hotel (which Americans aren't allowed to stay at most Cuban hotels thanks to President #45), we stayed at the home of locals by the name of Damian and Chavelis (Casa Habana).
Damian aka Damiano was the best host ever.
We arrived a little earlier than expected, but it wasn't an issue. Damian welcomed us with open arms, as did his wife, and their adorable son Mathias. We were shown to our room which had our own bathroom and air conditioning (this is unheard of in Cuba if you're staying with a local). The room and bathroom was very clean and accommodating. There was space to store our belongings and a cleaning lady came every two days to clean our bedroom and bathroom as well. Casa Habana basically has a 5 star rating (they're a "superhost"), they're located in the heart of Havana, and the cost is super affordable (on average ranging from $22- 27 per night).
At first, the trip was a bit challenging because we know limited Spanish. Luckily, Damian could speak English and was able to tell us places that we should visit while on our trip. We got settled and took a walk to the famous Malecón which stretches for miles across the coast of Havana.
That is a long bridge, so we walked a bit and went back to our hosts' home to get some rest so we would be alert the next morning for our tour.
Our tour guide, Roly, picked us up in a classic, old school car from the 50's - 60's. He had his camera ready to take pictures of us and the locations we visited so we would always have memories from our trip.
We stopped to have breakfast (I cannot remember the name of the place) and then we were off to see all that Cuba had to offer. A few places that Roly took us to included Revolution Square, the Revolution Museum, the Capitol building, the Ernest Hemingway Home Museum, the historical center of Old Havana (this includes its main squares, Bodeguita del Medio, Ambos Mundos Hotel, Obispo St. and Morro’s Castle), and many other places. This took up the entirety of two days.
My trip to Cuba made me realize that I should always be grateful for what I have because there's always someone who has less. This trip taught me to be content, to be positive, to be happy, and to take my time in life. Everyone in Cuba seemed so laid back. People who did not have much at all still appeared to be happy and were making the most of the life they had.
If you ever have the chance to visit, please do. The experience you will get from the warm people, to the food, to the architecture will be unmatched.
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