Cuban Insights

Salsa & fun in the heart of the Caribbean

When I think of introducing others to Cuba, here is how it goes:

“Oh the smells you will smell and the sights you will sight and the music you’ll hear and the toes you will tap.”

And it really is like that… a trip into a time warp, where Chevrolets and Cadillacs are powered by Skoda motors, where colourful lively people eke out their existence with such joy, probably lubricated to a large extent by an abundance of rum.

The transport is ingenious with horse drawn carriages, oxcarts and lots of Chinese cars (one of the few trading partners surviving after Mother Russia pulled the plug) and lots of rickshaws.

Cuba is surprisingly big, 1250 KM, and we travel the length of it. The geography is impressive with a third being covered by big mountains, and then there are the abundant white sanded beaches. You haven’t lived until you’ve laid on one of the beaches sipping a pina colada or a mojito or a Cuba libre or all three!

The flora and fauna are amazing. We’ll enjoy a guided tour through a huge botanical garden possibly lead by a Dr or a Professor. Education is free in Cuba but there are few jobs and one of their biggest exports is human capital. I heard that exported medical personnel bring an $8B windfall to the government.

The architecture would be described in modern terms as shabby chic… and that would be the understatement of the year. Rickety balconies hang precariously from the sides of stunning colonial buildings. Not an OSH inspector in sight!

This is a pivotal time in Cuba’s history. I can say with confidence that another tour, even a year later will no longer capture the uniqueness that is Cuba in 2017.

And just to top it off we’ve included Panama with a cruise on the canal and a good look at this fascinating country suspended between two great oceans.

Gracias mis amigos and I hope to see you in February next year to sip and shimmy and salsa our way across Cuba and Panama.

Written by: Frances Hall

Frances has been a tour leader with Tours Direct for over 10 years. Her primary specialty is guiding tours through Spanish speaking parts of the world, including destinations such as Cuba, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Spain.

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