Exploring Cuba. From Santiago to La Habana. (Collaboration with @Martista_)

Welcome to the community!

Tell us about yourself, about where you come from and about how and when did your passion for traveling start?

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Hi! I am Marta Lapuente, I am originally from a small town in Zaragoza, Spain. I am a licensed Geographer and I am working on the competitive examinations to become a teacher. I’ve alway love traveling and I wish I could do it more often. Time and money don’t let me do it as frequently as I would love to. I am extremely lucky to have friends around the world in places like Germany, United Kingdom or the United States and it is a pleasure to collaborate on my friend’s website.

Today you are going to share your recent trip to Cuba. Quite exciting!  How did you decide on this location?

To celebrate our graduation from university, a big group of friends from school decided on this location. We had always liked the idea of visiting Cuba one day, and this occasion seemed perfect for it.

Tell us a little about your trip.

The trip was planned and partially sponsored by the Geography Education Program, so we traveled accompanied by a teacher and guided by a PH doctor with Cuban nationality, who was finishing his project in our country. We visited Cuba for 11 days in the month of April. We moved around almost the whole Island, we landed in Santiago de Cuba and departed back to Spain from La Habana.

The Itinerary was: Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Bayamo, Holguín, Camagüey, Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Girón, Guamá, Varadero, Matanzas y La Habana, so each day saw and stayed at a different place.

How did you travel to the location? Where did you stay? Is there/how is the transportation there? Did you use an agency, a guide or you did it all yourself?

We flew out of Madrid towards Santiago with the airline: Cubana Aviation. Once we arrived, joined a bus we had previously booked with a local guide who stayed with us during the entire trip, showing us every corner, every local spot.

Cuba doesn’t have a very organized public transportation system as we are used to, nor it has availability to rent cars easily. It is best to just visit one city if you want to explore on your own, or previously hire an organized tour for groups as we did.

Could you explore on your own? Was there any language barrier?

You could explore on your own but there is always the risk of people taking advantage of tourists, like scammers. We learned a lot spending time with our local guide. We didn’t experience any language barrier since we come from Spain, but I think only a few of people speaks English, maybe at the hotels in La Habalan, but not in any of the small towns with less or no tourism.

Was the trip mostly sightseeing, or you enjoyed activities and shows as well?

It was a mixture of both, which made it a great trip. During the day, we visited place and learnt about the Island, and at night we went for walks, dancing, or drinks at the Casa de la Trova, which is a place for the community, uniting locals in every city, where they would go spend the evening, have a drink and enjoy live music.

What surprised you there in a good way? Any strange/unpleasant experience?

The only not planned event was the cancellation of our outbound flight which resulted in 2 free night stays at one of the best hotels in La Habana, so it turned out to be a great gift from destiny!

What did you learn from the culture and/or the locals?

I loved the culture, Cubans are very friendly, very eager to learn and see the world around them. the cities look like time stood still for them. There culture, art, and salsa.

Did you enjoy the cuisine there? Which were your favorite dishes?

We really loved the food there, so much fresh fish, rice, chicken and especially I enjoyed their fruit. delicious Caribbean pieces of fruits, rich in size, color, and flavor.

What was your favorite sight/thing in Cuba?

I fell in love with the Malecon de La Habana, de Trinidad city and its beaches bathed by the Caribbean sea.

Why should people visit it?

It is a special place, different from other Caribbean islands. its colors, its buildings, its people, its culture, its Rum, it’s sugar cane, it’s street music, its art, its natural landscapes, its beaches…

Any tips for future visitors?

I would suggest visiting the island soon, the opening to American tourism can cause a change in the island, with corporations and more tourists spots installed in its cities. it can also bring a change in their politics, economic and society, and alter the pure Cuban essence which makes you fall in love with the island right now.

Do you have a bucket list? What are some things/places on it?

I don’t really have a planned list, I believe adventures come to you, don’t really like planning things very much. Right now I don’t have anything planned yet for my next trip, but I hope it involves a beach since summer is almost here. I would have liked to explore the cities within my country more than I had and more places worldwide, but we’ll see when I get a chance to do so.

How can we see more about you and your trips? what is your website or/and social media?

You can find me on Instagram as @Martista_ and on Facebook as Marta LB, these are platforms I used to share with friends the pictures from my trips. I hope you liked my experience is Cuba, see you the next time! and…

BON VOYAGE!


Hope you liked this post. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate in commenting below or contact me.  If you want to collaborate in the blog, with your experiences or your trip’s photos, get in touch!

Be wise!

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