Cuba For The Cult-Cha

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How lucky am I to be whisked away to be apart of bae's dream vacay to Cuba :) Don't mind if I do!! I've been getting a lot of questions on my trip so i'll try to sum it all up in one post. This will prolly be a lengthy post esp due to pics but I'd like to think I'm pretty entertaining so it'll be well worth it. Let's seeeee where do I begin...

We got our visa's from Cuba Visa Services and yes it's for "people to people" which arrived in like 3 days-thank goodness cuz we got em last minute **eyeroll** As far as the monies, I went to a money exchange place in Alexandria and got Euro's then we converted to CUC's once we got to Cuba. I would recommend ur driver taking u to an exchange place OUTSIDE of the airport to avoid high azz fees and long lines. I wouldn't recommend using credit cards (i think a few places to eat n shops accepts them) and keep in mind the American dollar is worthless there.

Cuba is fairly inexpensive. The most you would need to budget for is taxi rides which on average was about $15-25 but we stayed in the middle of Old Havana so we pretty much walked everywhere. Speaking of stay, we enjoyed a really good Air BnB spot which was perfect within the location. Close and within walking distance were places to eat, the cigar factory, museums, hotels and the cruise ports were down the street. They docked overnight. Our host, Hector was really good and his niece fixed us breakfast every morning (5 cuc pp).

Stairway to Heaven

Views from the Balcony
Soon as we touched down we hit the town. The weather was HOT but not sweltering miserable hot. You can feel the energy in the air as you see the mix of tourists n locals around. There's music playing everywhere. We found a spot for lunch and deliberated on what to scratch off our "to do" list:

I don't even drink buuuut I knew I was looking forward to an authentic Mojito which they're so famously known for. It was sooooo good. The food was pretty good for the most part. Their "seasonings" are a tad different than here so don't look to find no Lawry's Season All sprinkled around lol. They mainly do sauces for flavor and the typical dish consists of rice (n beans), root veggies, cabbage, chicken, pork, shrimp or lobster. It wasn't until the end of the trip I remembered I never recalled a collard green on the menu!

The locals are excited for tourism and rightfully so lol. They are really helpful and willing to give you tips on where to go-hooooowever, just be aware that by saying your from America they instantly hear **cha-ching** You might find someone who directs you to their "favorite" spot to eat and say "it cost ju nothing" then start to call a taxi for u (knowing they not paying for it) to "help" u out. They mean well as they start off with some history of Cuba and what they think they know about certain places in America (which is mainly what the media portrays) but be smart and use your gut instinct. 

Wifi is something I know dmnnnn well we take for granted. We are so connected to hopping on n off to post on social media and to stay in touch with the world. Wifi is a rarity there and you can mainly find it around hotels. I chuckle as I watched teens finding a cozy spot around the building for some strong wifi pull. In the hotels you can find 5 hour wifi cards for about 10 CUC's. On the streets someone will try to sell you an hour for about 3 CUC's. 

My first impression upon arrival was how stuck in time they are. The vintage cars I loved tho. I appreciate the authenticity they have with their buildings but I can already see within the next 10 yrs it'll look different. They're already building new swanky hotels that'll cater to us and looking forward to tourism making them a hot spot to visit. 

I noticed a lot more people are starting to travel solo. I've always wanted to do so. Easier, less headache and you are more reliable than anyone when it's time to roll. I feel I could safely venture out solo in Cuba. Even at night. The party really gets going once the sun goes down and they get all the way liiiiiive!!! People are everywhere and you can see kids out playing pass curfew (toddlers have hella energy after 11p that's for sure), there's plenty of bars and clubs with live bands and my favorite after dinner snack was Cholo's found on the streets. 

Good Wifi Spot

There's plenty of great art work found, mainly in the streets but also museums around the city. They have stores that sell vinyl's and books (u know stuff that's obsolete here :7) Next up on my to do list was to find some Cuban cigars. Me thinking my spanish was on par kept asking for Cohiba's thinking it meant cigar in spanish :7 There was a cigar factory not too far from the house, however, I didn't find it cuz I couldn't really comprehend the directions :( So I found a plug at the nearby hotel who led me over the river n thru the woods to the connect **cue random trap music** 


Again, folks on the streets will try to sell u some BS for a few CUC's but I was lucky enuff to find my plug and grab a box of 25 for 80. I went to the nearby cigar spot near the downtown area and they're priced at 325 (13 a stick). Had I researched these more BEFORE getting there I would've made more room to bring more back becuz there's no longer a limit. 

Aaaaaah The Beach!!! At first I had Varadero in mind but didn't want to be in the touristy spot nor did I wanna ride almost an hour to get there. I'm not that much of a beach bunny so we went to one that was closer called Santa Maria. 

For those interested in traveling to Cuba be open minded. The luxuries we are afforded here are not there. We stopped in local corner store n seen how little the shelves were stocked. They sell toilet paper by the singles. Ain't no rows of can goods on the shelves. I seen like 5 "stocked". It's a humbling and teachable moment to be amongst the people. Take time to listen to the locals (some of the english is broken but after awhile u can catch on n keep up) as they tell the difference of how Cuba was then and now. PAAAAACK LIGHT **Badu voice**and practical. During the day it gets hot, at night it's cooler (light jacket needed type cool). This is my first trip I've done carry on ONLY and I must's the only way I prefer to travel now. I ended up having to check my bag anyway (at the gate) and it took forever for them to unload n toss on the over an hour! One thing i did wish i packed was comfortable walking shoes. I am a flip flopper but even too much walking in those cause blisters n wreck havoc. Oh...toilet paper...I suggest packing a roll and carrying tissues as some un bano's (bathrooms) don't have any. Also, don't forget bug spray cuz those mosquitoes are ruthless!!

Water: We brought our own bottled water. The restaurants do of course only serve bottled water. The place where we stayed had a filter of some sort outside of the home which makes it safe to brush ur teeth and shower in. Although I did appreciate the hot water (i love scorching hot showers) the water was a tad hard for my skin but thank God I moisturize well afterwards. Nonetheless, stay hydrated as much as possible with all the walking and sun!

Quite sure this is the most i'll drink all year
from a non-drinker haha

I caught this little girl posing for the cam n reminded me of something my daughter would do

Overall, it was a great trip indeed! I'd love to go back and really get into some salsa dancing cuz they party HARD. If your on the fence of going...just do it. Scratch it off ur bucket list asap. I'd even take Mason next time around becuz there's plenty of kids around that play WITHOUT controllers in their hand which was refreshing to see. Laydeez...nevermind the cat calls lol like the typical construction worker type advances. They loooove voluptuous women!! I've even made a friend who keeps in touch for next time ;)

My 2017 is going phkn fabulous, how bout urs?? I had Cuba on my vision board and I can now cross it off thanx to my boys!! Where to next fellaz???? I'm down :)


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