Don’t take a cruise to Cuba
Leave that to the travel zombies.
Royal Caribbean just started taking boat loads of American travel zombies from the shores of sunny Florida to Cuba. Revelers can stumble around Havana for a staggering 11 hours before being herded onto Zombieland to float back to the sunshine state’s safe haven. I suppose that’s the perfect amount of time Royal Caribbean discovered their type of traveler needs to take a ride in a classic Chevy and sip a mojito at Hemingway’s old hangout before being exhausted of Cuba’s Communist ways and sub-Miami-esque conditions. Here’s why taking a cruise to Cuba will scar your traveling soul for eternity.
Why cruises suck.
Cruises are the black hole of travel and every real traveler knows it. They can be a fun thing to do with your family and that’s about it. They’re really not about travel, they’re about being strapped to a gigantic floating city with a dozen buffets, tiny little rooms, and yellow-ish tinged pools for you to play in. Now if that sounds like fun, here’s a link to purchase yourself a ticket on the 21st century’s Walmart version of the Titanic.
I’m not even going to get into the statistics of diseases that spread on every single cruise ship ever. You can do a quick Google search to discover the horrific details for yourself.
A better way to get there.
During his presidency, Obama shook hands with Raul Castro and they made a pact to start letting our people visit their people again. Then Trump came along and tried to undo the pact, but that basically didn’t work. So you can still get to Cuba on your own or with a group. You just need a flight, a visa (you’ll get it with the flight), Cuban state-sponsored health insurance (you’ll also get that with the flight), a place to stay, an itinerary, and a local Cuban connection.
We can help you sort out the details, just use our chat box to ask us a question.
Experience Cuba like a Fresh Nomad.
Dancing late into the night at local rum and rumba joints, eating traditional dinners prepared by Cuban grandmas, smoking freshly rolled cigars with local farmers on their tobacco farm overlooking Viñales valley. These are just a few examples of some experiences that can easily be had in Cuba if done right. Every day can be filled with real, local, authentic experiences with the locals to really experience what it means to be Cuban. And you can do it all on your own, with the help of a local to show you the way. This is the key to seeing and experiencing the country in your own raw way.
When you travel with the help of a local you are immediately immersed into the authenticity of the country, rather than through the veneer of plasticity provided by a guide from Miami. Getting picked up at the airport, seeing the local historical monuments, and finding places to eat are all going to be in local, authentic fashion. You’ll hear the history through their own experience. You’ll travel in the types of transport they travel in. You’ll eat at the restaurants they frequent. Every aspect of your visit to the island will be pure and true.
Cuba is a gold mine of cultural authenticity.
One of the most interesting things about Cuba is it’s history with the United States. And there are endless ways to learn and experience the turbulent relationship. But the real gold mine of Cuba is it’s cultural authenticity, which comes from being isolated from much of the west, particularly influences from the United States. Visiting Cuba is a way to see what the world looked like 50 years ago in some ways, and to see what life could be like (for better and for worse) without the influence of capitalism, especially that from the US.
When you visit Cuba, the plane you fly in acts as a real life time machine. Just 75 minutes flying through the Caribbean breeze and you land in the 1950s. Step out of the plane into Havana’s airport and you’ll instantly feel it. The building is old, the paint is old, the baggage claim is old. There are nurses in white gowns and caps sitting at an old desk that will take a piece of paper certifying your health. Step outside and you’ll see old Chevys and old Russian cars. There aren’t any new stereo systems or fancy lighting on store fronts. The road is ancient. Construction of new buildings hasn’t happened in decades. The furniture in your casa will be from the 50s or older. Seeing and feeling the entirety of the country feel like a time warp, and it’s refreshing.
You won’t find American products, post-1962, in the country. Coca-Cola is non-existent. American alcoholic beverages are nowhere to be seen. Food products are all domestic or from Cuban-friendly countries. The only hint of the U.S. I’ve seen in Cuba is a bottle of A-1 steak sauce in a tiny restaurant in Trinidad, which must have been smuggled in. It’s refreshing to experience an entirely different way to live, outside of the norms of the States.
Visit more places capitalism hasn’t dominated.
There are only a few places left on the earth where you can see what humanity outside of capitalism really looks like. Places that have not been influenced, at least not recently (reference Cuba when it was the U.S.’s Vegas before it built Vegas), by man’s desire of money and power are diminishing by the decade. This decade you ought to visit Myanmar and Cuba, because those are the countries just “opening up” to Americans to legally visit. And it will give you a glimpse into the soul of the human spirit where community thrives.
So the next time you’re thinking of visiting Cuba, know that you can do it on your own and avoid the 11-hour zombie crawl. If you’d like some help getting started, want to learn more about the travel regulations, or want to get connected to a Cuban local, reach out and we’ll be happy to help out however we can.
Destinations in Cuba: Discovery Map
Getting around Cuba: Transport in Cuba