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Choose your own adventure travel blog
HAVANA, CUBA -- You can never be ready for everything you encounter when traveling. That’s half the fun.
But before you head to Havana, Cuba you should be made aware of some things most travel blogs will leave out. And I’m not talking about how there’s no internet or that you shouldn’t drink the water. I’m talking about giant, massive, important aspects that get completely glossed over by Instagram couples traveling the world on sponsorships.
Here’s a brief list of some of things you need to know
Transportation is very difficult
Many travel blogs and books make it seem that it’s easy to navigate Havana. Just hop on a coco taxi. Take a bus. Use locals-only private taxis. Yeah. No.
Getting around Havana is not an easy proposition, unless you are from there or speak fluent Spanish. Don’t plan your trip around being able to easily find a ride. Plan on walking a lot. We average 7 miles a day.
Tourists should always be on the lookout for scams while exploring Havana.
Scammers -- of which we encountered many -- take advantage of unassuming rubes in a bevy of ways. Nonexistent cigar festivals, ridiculously overpriced taxis and adding drinks/food to a bill are just some of the scams Cubans tried, unsuccessfully, on us. Be vigilant.
The infrastructure in Cuba is TERRIBLE. The streets are dirty and torn up all over the place. You can’t flush your used toilet paper in many bathrooms. The water is undrinkable.
Just be aware that you can snap and ankle in a giant pothole or you’ll be on the toilet all day if you don’t watch what water you’re drinking.
The biggest surprise Abby and I had while exploring Havana was how absolutely mediocre the food was. Restaurant after restaurant provided little flavor or creativity. We tried to eat at different places for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday to try as many restaurants as possible.
And while we found some bright spots (shown above), the food was very underwhelming.
Understanding the stereotype of the loud American traveler, I pay close attention to how I interact with locals of any country I’m visiting. I learn as much of the language as possible, read about the history of the country and am typically over-apologetic and polite.
Despite our many attempts to interact with people, they just seemed to not want to speak with us or interact in any way. Conversations were short and kinda rude. My biggest regret of our Cuban adventure was not being able to have positive interactions with Cubans -- which many travel bloggers made seem was in abundance.
Thanks to the influx of tourists -- specifically asshole tourists -- Cuban beaches are in rough shape. On our visit to Santa Maria del Mar, we saw a girl finish her beer, and drop the bottle in the sand. Apparently, she didn’t care about someone stepping on the bottle and slicing their foot open. We were livid. It took everything for Abby and I not to scream at such a selfish person.
While there was trash all over the sand, it luckily didn’t make its way into the water. Which was a nice consolation.
Disclaimer: I am in no way trying to talk you out of visiting Havana. The country is beautiful and I would go back in a heartbeat (Check out some of my other posts praising the many awesome aspects of Cuba).
However, I feel it’s my duty to peel back the Band Aid for those planning on visiting a country.
What were your experiences like in Cuba? Leave a comment and let me know!
Hey! I'm Christian.