CUBA, VINTAGE PARADISE
If you want to have one of the best times of your life, travel fly to Cuba and enjoy glimmering white beaches along the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea. Most people in the United States believe that Cuba is a forbidden place for us, and that we can only get there by miracle. Well, I’m here to tell you that those rumors are false! Later in this post, I’ll give you a quick 411 on how to get there because if you’ve never been, I want you to add it to your bucket list!
So that you can surrender to Cuba’s exuberance and dance to the sounds of salsa and rumba. Baybeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee(insert neck roll here) we got private salsa lessons and it was way too much fun!
Another reason: This place is soooooooo reasonable. You can ball on a budget fosho! I mean…you can get a meal for $3. Where they do that at? I didn’t indulge in the $3 meals because I was busy getting five courses for under $20. #bloop
You can also enjoy lighting an aromatic Cuban cigar. We did an amazing tour at the Cigar Factory. Now listen, I may have stunted for the gram, but in my Bill Clinton voice, I did not smoke that cigar! However, I did dive into the sheer pleasure of rum-based cocktails – Cuba Libre, Mojito, Daiquiri and Piña Colada. Yes, I tried them all! We had the pleasure of going to Museo del Ron Havana Club. We arrived an hour before the tour started so a taste test was in order. I was tipsy by the time they started the tour. Check this out. YUM!
So, don’t fall into the trap of prejudices that years of isolation diminished the country’s charm. On the contrary, let yourself be overwhelmed by the flamboyance of vintage pastel houses and colonial cobbled stone streets. And please do a tour in a shiny and well-maintained Chevy or Buick that drives you through the vibrant streets. One day we did a pink Chevy and another day, we did an orange Buick! Sooooooo much fun! My matching clothing was a co-inky-dink! Seriously!
Run away to this stress-free destination with a never-ending string of long sun-soaked days where the temperature is adjusted just for your pleasure. Time has stopped in this paradise and you will immerse into the most relaxed atmosphere you can imagine. The people are beyond friendly and willing to accommodate your every need.
Crossing Cuba's border is not just another stamp in your passport – staying in Cuba is acquiring a different lifestyle.For example, if you are from the U.S., your cell phone company will likely not have an agreement with them. Therefore, you will be forced to put your phone down and experience life as it was, back in the day, before cell phones. Remember to keep your phone on airplane mode when you get off the plane. We racked up $314 of roaming fees in the first few hours of our arrival. Luckily, AT&T sent us a courtesy text to call them ASAP. You can use your phone IF you go to a WIFI park and have someone help you get connected properly. Not sure what happened, but we still ended up with an almost $800 bill. AT&T would only waive a portion of it.
Anyway, be sure to stay with locals in a casa. They will show you the ins and outs. Book your stay through Airbnb and be sure to select the drop-down box for “Support The Cuban People” as your reason for visiting. You might not get the luxury the western lodgings offer but you will share a life experience with easy-going people who never rush anywhere. We lucked out and found an amazing Airbnb with air conditioning and the ability to take long hot showers. The host and the space were amazeballs. Our host helped us exchange our money. Listen—you cannot use dollars in Cuba. Nor can you use your U.S. credit or. U.S. debit cards. We learned that the hard way! Take enough cash. Americans are NOT be able to use their ATM machines and Western Union, CashApp, PayPal, Venmo, Zelle…NOTHING will work for you there! PeriodTTT.
Any who, our host fixed us a Cuban breakfast each morning, arranged all our tours, loaned us a local phone, made our dinner reservations, arranged for a school visit with some precious kids, and the list goes on and on. Oh yeah, we were able to donate tons of schools supplies and goodies to the school. Be sure to add that to your itinerary! We hit up the Dollar Store and Walmart hard before we left home.
How precious are these kids?
Next, grab your slice of excitement in Havana, the capital city, and its original colonial 16th-century heart of Old Havana that UNESCO recognized as a World Heritage Site.It includes the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, a fort and maritime museum. Although not as old, the iconic 1920s National Capitol Building bears the heavy burden of history. Sheltered within the 16th-century city borders stand out the baroque Catedral de San Cristóbal and Plaza Vieja. Take a stroll through the magic world of Cuban art at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the Museo de la Revolución and the stately Gran Teatro. Take your camera and dip into auburn sunsets in the MalecónPromenadeor go to the untamed beauty of Playas del Este beaches. One night during our stay, the power went out in or neighborhood at 10pm. Our Airbnb host took us down to Malecónto hang out. It was packed with people…seems like everyone else had that same idea!
I really enjoyed the strong Afro-Cuban cultural influences. We went to the most amazing shows: Tropicana and Cabaret Parisien at the Hotel Nacionale. I don’t know what I enjoyed most; the dancing, drum-beating and music, or the colorful costumes. I would venture to say that my hubby enjoyed those costumes or lack thereof. LOL The people were basically naked! I think I saw a tit or two pop out!
Cuba's thrilling atmosphere is waiting for paradise-hunters. Don’t miss it, it will take your breath away.Traveling to Cuba was easier than traveling to China. It was as simple as 1, 2, 3! Here’s the low down on how I got there:
- I booked an Airbnb. (Hit me up if you’d like a recommendation.)
- I flew on Southwest Airlines from Baltimore to Fort Lauderdale.
- In Fort Lauderdale, I purchased a Visa for $75 from the Southwest International customer service on the lower level right behind baggage claim.
Then, boarded a very short flight (less than 90 minutes) to paradise!
You can book most of your excursions through Airbnb. Here are some of the things we did and places we saw:
- Toured in vintage cars
- Rum Tour
- Cigar Tour
- Private dance lessons
- Multiple food tours (including ice cream)
- Varadero Beach
- The Malecon
- Fabrica de Arte Cubano
- School tour
And lastly, we took a four-hour bike tour! I hadn’t been on a bike (besides an exercise bike), since I was a little girl. I should have been wearing our Adventurous AF t-shirt because it was an absolute adventure dodging in and out of speeding cars!
Questions? Drop them below! And, don’t forget to order your t-shirts so you can Travel FLY!