YOU GUYS. Cuba has been on my wanderlust list for so long and the fact that I was able to go this year just delights me. In January, I spent a week in Havana, Cuba with my boyfriend, Michael, on a cultural adventure. Despite all the differences – like no cell service and paying for Wi-Fi a la calling card method – we absolutely enjoyed the country and embraced it with open hearts. Cubans are industrious, intelligent, and incredibly hopeful. I honestly cannot wait for the day when I can return to this amazing country!
Ok, so one major thing – As an American it’s still illegal to travel to Cuba for purely touristic purposes. It is much easier to go now, though, like the fact that there are direct flights from NYC to 4 airports in Cuba (thanks, JetBlue!) Instead, you can declare 1 out of 12 purposes for travel which qualify on a General License, create and itinerary, and go! There’s a little more to it, so I encourage that you do some further legal research. You also need to take into consideration things to pack for your trip, and my previous post details some of the things I took. I personally declared “people-to-people exchange” on my license, which meant that I would stick to a full-time itinerary of activities that enhanced my interaction with the Cuban people. Here’s a peek at some of the things I did:
Eat at a paladar, or privately owned restaurant
Stay with a family at a casa particular – yes, there is AirBnB in Cuba!
Take a tour of Havana – learning about architecture, history, and culture
Take a cooking class – I highly recommend you reach out to Cafe Ajiaco in Cojimar!
Visit art galleries and have conversations with artists
Visit museums and go on a guided tour
Visit a farm in Viñales to learn how cigars and coffee are made
Now what are you waiting for? Go, go, go!