Havana, a photo essay
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to travel to Cuba due to travel regulations (new ones added yesterday by the Trump administration), but the good news is it’s not impossible!
The Support the Cuban People Visa is a great way to experience Cuba. The requirements are simple; be able to prove a full-time itinerary that would benefit locally owned businesses and artisans. This doesn’t require a travel agency or other service; you can do this yourself. Havana felt very safe both day and night.
For our stay, we stayed in a wonderful Airbnb (this one) (not a hotel; several of which are owned by the Cuban government) and planned our days using Airbnb Experiences. These included cooking a seafood dinner with a Cuban family, a historical tour with a professor, a Cuban cocktail mixing class to learn how to make proper mojitos, daiquiris, and Cuba Libres, and finally an analog photography walk through Havana (which is how I got all the black and white photos here). I’ve always been iffy about Airbnb Experiences but these linked were awesome. I also won’t re-write what’s been written, but this article provides a lot more detail on how this kind of tourism benefits the people.
There’s a lot to be learned about Cuba and the way people live there.
Grocery stores are not readily available. What you can get from the subsidized stores are controlled by the government (i.e. 10 eggs per person per month, milk is only available for babies), everything else is “black market”. Because of this, restaurants can’t guarantee menu items.
They only recently got 3G service and even that is expensive for them. Internet is a luxury and what is available is located in “internet parks”; public parks with a vendor that sells a card with wifi code available in 1 hour increments. You need an id to buy these and there’s a maximum of 3/4 hours a day.
The average salary is about 30/40 CADs a month.
Education is free, but even the most educated people turn to cab-driving because it’s better paying than most government jobs. I heard that even doctors will leave the medical field to be a taxi driver.
There is no bad music in Cuba. (Well maybe, but I didn’t find it!) Cafes and bars are alive with afro-cuban music and the vibes are good!
Graham and I had a wonderful trip together. This marks our 8th country together in our 2.5 years together. With each new adventure, we continue to capture the world, inspire each other, and continue to laugh daily. I’m continually grateful to be able to live with and travel the world with him. Here are the film shots I captured in Cuba; ones that I hope will make you feel the warmth of the sun and the people. Admire the color and architecture, but also see the true living conditions, especially with the last set of black and white images.