Cuba! Wow! Who has not wanted to travel to this distant Caribbean country?!? After dreaming for a long time we decided: it's now or never! And this is how we experienced this special island in December 2015.
We, that are two Salsa-enthusiastic guys and a girl at the age between 27 to 36 years from Baden-Wuerttemberg. Quickly the main points of the trip were clear to us: Salsa, sun, culture! We found the Cuba Buddy site and were skeptical at first, if it was really all above board and as serious as it looked. But already after the first contact our worries disappeared and until today we can only say: great thing!! To recommend! Together we designed an itinerary for the almost three weeks: Dancing, round trip and beach visits included.
Full of anticipation it then finally went off. As discussed we were picked up at the airport (Havana) and brought to our first Casa Particular. The Cubans proved to be very friendly and helpful and the Casa was also great. After a rich breakfast, which was lovingly arranged with fresh fruits and vegetables, we met our contact person Abel. We settled the financial matters directly and then jumped into a beautiful old-timer, with which we visited Havana.
As already mentioned, we are passionate about dancing Salsa. Of course, a dance class was not to be missed. Here, too, everything worked out as discussed and desired: our lessons were private, organized only for the three of us, and each of us had a local teacher with whom to dance. We were taught Rueda de Casino and our dance teacher put a lot of emphasis on real Cuban movements – which unfortunately did not always work out as he hoped.
After a few days in the capital we started our round trip. We really wanted to get a real impression of the country and the people. Here we also got our money's worth! Between the larger cities of Cuba there is a good bus service that takes tourists and locals from A to B. But we wanted to have the whole thing a bit more individual and rented an oldtimer including driver. Raudel, the name of the driver, was an enrichment for our vacation and thanks to him we saw many places that would have remained hidden to us without his instruction and experienced with him the real Cuba.
Our first stop was Vinales. A small town with ca. 10'000 inhabitants, nestled in lush greenery, surrounded by undulating mountain ranges. Vinales is characterized by the local tobacco cultivation and meanwhile also adjusted to the growing number of tourists. We took a horseback ride through the countryside to a tobacco plantation and a stalactite cave. Vinales is a small town where you can relax and go out in the evening – otherwise without big attractions. But full of charm!
Next we went to a town whose buildings are silent witnesses of colonial times: Cienfuegos. Situated nicely by the sea and ideal to let the sun shine on your belly at the nearby beaches. This place has its sights, but because of the good weather we preferred to enjoy the Caribbean Sea.
The enterprise "getting to know Cuba" continued, and so we landed with our 1952 Ford in Trinidad. Wow! What a city! There was music everywhere! This was immediately noticeable. Music, music, music. And a lot of art. Especially in the evening, in the silver moonlight, the charm of this city unfolds: every pub, no matter how small, presents a live band, Son, Salsa and other rhythms come from everywhere. There is dancing and drinking rum. The studios exhibit their artworks and small souvenir stores sell their wares. A little tip on the side (literally): there is an underground cave with a disco ("Ayala") built into it. Party mood until the morning hours!
After several days on the road with the silver-green car and our funny chauffeur, our island tour ended again in Havana. There we took our last dance lessons and had once again the opportunity to admire the city, visit museums (e.g. Havana Club Museum) and to enjoy the nightlife.
Apart from the last two nights we always slept in private accommodations (Casas Particulares), which are available in large numbers in the tourist cities. All night quarters were very clean and lovingly decorated. Breakfast was available on request at an extra cost of 4-6 CUC, and the homeowners made a lot of effort to provide it.
What Cuba became for us?!
For whom Internet is vital, Cuba should be avoided, because there is relatively expensive (often unstable) Internet only in larger cities in certain locations (cheap was 2 CUC, expensive 4 CUC per 1-hour card). You also have to know that the food is not as varied as we are used to in Central Europe. Mainly they eat chicken with rice and some vegetables. Or Pizza! It is a little different from the Italian around the corner, but very tasty.
But Cuba is infinitely more! Cuba is a diverse country where people help each other and are very friendly. A country that has really stopped somewhere, where poverty is present and where young people can only dream many wishes because they do not have the possibility to live them (at least for the moment). Cuba, this green island surrounded by blue sea. An island with lots of music, music everywhere! So much music as we have never experienced before. With dance and good mood – the last one is surely also due to the rum. A country in upheaval, but no one knows yet how it will end. A country with pride and hope.
To experience Cuba very closely was the promise of Cuba Buddy. This was completely!
Thank you, Cuba Buddy!
What else the three experienced
Visit tobacco farmer
In beautiful Vinales the visit to the tobacco farmer was of course almost obligatory. But to see this craft directly in your place of origin is definitely a great experience as well.
Excursions into the nature are possible in almost every place in Cuba. Whether in Vinales, Cienfuegos or Trinidad. Every place has its own charm and of course its own inhabitants.
Again and again you find things in Cuba that bring you joy. With these great mailboxes Julia already has her joy, when sending cards to your loved ones.
Cuba Buddy – The Cuba Travel Podcast
Cuba is famous for Salsa – introduced by Spanish and French colonialists, this dance style has now become an icon of this Caribbean island. Follow your Cuba Buddies Chris and Vincent today on a salsa trip through Cuba.
In this basic salsa course you will learn about the history and development of dance and salsa in Cuba, the different styles of music and the differences between the music genres. Learn from our German-Cuban dance experts the top nightclubs in Havana and find out more about where exactly you can learn Salsa on your trip through Cuba.