20. December 2012: For updates on this post please visit: http://www.circumnavigator.dk/2012/10/16/free-travelling-cuba/
When I travelled around Cuba for a couple of weeks, most of the nights I stayed in people’s private homes – the so-called casas particulares. In every city you come to, there are plenty of these private home stays to choose from and it is very affordable accommodation too. Apart from a private room and sometimes a bath room, breakfast and also dinner is usually included in the price. And it can surely be recommended to go for the casa particular dinner option in Cuba, since the quality of the home-cooked food is usually much better than in most of the restaurants.
Then there is another advantage of staying in people’s private homes. You get to meet and talk with them in their own environment. Since my spanish is not 100% perfect, I was happy to have my Mediterranean travel companion with me to translate, because the talks we had with the locals before dinner while sipping a chilled mojito, were absolutely the best way to learn more about the Cuban culture.
Being a true adventurer and experienced traveller, one of the things that touched me the most during these talks was when the topic came to the obstacles travelling out of Cuba. I consider myself being lucky to be able to freely leave my home country and visit almost all countries in the world without too much bureaucratic hassle.
I have today read the very good news that the Cuban government as of the 14. January 2013 will ease up on the ability to leave the country and with a valid passport and visa only making it possible to go travelling. Read more about the ending of exit permits here. I wish the Cubans happy and free travelling.
And then of course, I can only recommend travellers to visit Cuba – an amazing country indeed. Don’t just stay in one of the big hotels up north. Take a bus to one of the beautiful cities Trinidad, Cienfuegos or Viñales and stay in a casa particular and meet the authentic Cuban people.