I’ve just returned from an 11-day trip to Cuba. Like most, I’ve wanted to visit that country for as long as I remember–and when the opportunity and window of time presented themselves this month, I leaped. I visited Havana, Trinidad, Vinales, Santa Clara, and Cienfuegos.
This trip was not for a work assignment. It was for my overall knowledge of the Caribbean–it was a missing piece of the puzzle–and to get insight into a tourism hotspot neighboring the DR, that is about to receive a large and steady influx of Americans starting in September.
In sum, Cuba was not anything I expected. I went through a range of about 100 emotions in 11 days, from happiness to sadness, laughter, frustration, and compassion, to name a few. But more importantly, I learned a lot of history during my visit, and a lot about the way of life, thanks to my local guide. It’s a difficult place to grasp even a little, because it’s hard to infiltrate the local life–I imagine it takes longer than most places. I certainly knew I wouldn’t come remotely close in just 11 days. But it was worth the visit, to see and experience it for myself.
In the coming weeks, I’ll share stories and photos from my cultural trip–which I took with an educational tour company called Locally Sourced Cuba.
For now, you can read this first note I wrote about my first night in Havana.
I survived La Vega Carnival, by far the most crowded and popular of all carnival parades in the Dominican Republic. Considered to be the oldest running, La Vega–located 20 minutes south of Santiago–is known for its diablos cojuelos or limping devils and their intricate costumes and dramatic, bejeweled masks.
It’s also one of the biggest street parties you’ll ever see in the country, where everyone lets loose and parties the Continue reading »