Havana, One of the last true Communist countries
Trip Start Feb 24, 2009
81Trip End Ongoing
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If you go, there are several things to be aware of. Cuba is a country that has been crumbling since the United States embargo began. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba has turned to tourism to keep its economy functioning
The tourist paths in Cuba are thriving with constant renovation. The architecture rivals Buenos Aires or many European cities, altho not nearly as well maintained. Old Havana has one of the largest historical districts in the Americas. The true pleasures of Cuba are the cigars, rum, music and art work. That’s correct, the art in Cuba is not to be missed. The exceptional Cuban artist has little chance of showing their work outside the country. The savvy tourist can pick up some true gems for as little as $30.00. For larger original works of art, you will need to obtain a special permit to take it out of the country.
The non tourist areas are where life in Cuba shows its true grit. With generations of the same family living in crumbling buildings, live can be difficult at best for the average Cuban. Fifty years of no paint or any repairs of significance have taken it’s toll. These areas are easily accessible for the tourist. Any taxi driver will be happy to give you a guided tour. If you are lucky they may even take you inside for a glimpse of daily life, of course a small tip will be expected.
With all the downside of Cuba, the tourist is considered king. The Cuban public has marching orders to do what they can to accommodate their visitors. With indifferent, friendliness the Cubans do what they can to comply. If you do not expect much and treat your host with dignity, you will be rewarded with a once in a lifetime experience.