“You can finish your drinks up her – but please be sad.” “There is a police control coming – turn of the music – quickly!”
The timing for my short trip to Cuba couldn’t be worse. Since I arrived there, national mourning for Fidel Castro is ongoing what basically means: no music, no drinks (officially), no fun. The owners of hostels and taxi drivers are super worried that the easy-going travellers will get them into trouble with the police. Like I said – my timing could have been better.
Apart from that – how is it for me to travel Cuba?
Without WiFi and Lonely Planets it’s quite a challenge to travel around. As I spent more time in Mexico and Guatemala the originally planned 3 weeks were condensed to a 5 days trial visit in Havana, Vinales and Varadero. This short stay was quite enough for me so far – from the first short glimpse Cuba is not (yet) a country to travel on small backpacker budget and without a travel buddy. (Mission for next time: get a travel buddy and more money :-))
During the national mourning it’s getting very spooky outside at 6 p.m. – darkness in the streets of Havana, no music in the streets, no salsa rhythms, no nightlife at all.
Despite the pretty bad preconditions Cuba presents itself as a pretty divers travel country which is kind of a mixture of things I have seen before – Caribbean socialism with Spanish and American colonial heritage:
- Havana: with its beautiful partly renovated houses and typical cars
- Vinales: with its tobacco and coffee farms and
- Varadero: with its beautiful Carribean beaches.
Especially after having spent quite a while in Guatemala, Cuba appears to me pretty developed (much more than I expected!).
At some WiFi hubs the Cubas are almost stepping at each others feet to get online with their new smartphones or iPads and besides the old American cars lot of brand new Asian medium-sized vehicles were scooting around.
People are getting along – even if still not everything is available. E.g. it’s a waste of time to look for pepper and the Coffee-to-Go cups are always out of stock – well – then the food is served without pepper and you have to bring your own cup. It’s simple like that 🙂
Cuba is changing rapidly. For me this short stay was enough for a tiny first impression of the country. If I will come back at any time I will probably see glass skyscrapers everywhere and Cigar-smoking Cubans serving Coffee-to-go at every corner – hopefully next time again with Caribbean backround music.
I am now heading further into the direction of South-America – nexts stops on the way: Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.