The capitol building in la Habana is modeled after the one in the US, but is a little taller.
When you are looking to visit some place unique that has little American influence, and has had to learn to be fairly self-contained, Cuba might be a place to go. Travel restrictions have been getting easier and hopefully the US government will, if nothing else, see the market they are missing, especially in these economic times. The people that are actually suffering are not the government and the reasons for embargo are no longer valid. Looking at the bigger picture would benefit people and businesses on both sides of the Caribbean. Unlike other Spanish conquered colonies, there isn't a big religious influence or a church on every corner. Open doors would allow the opportunity to build relationships and share Jesus Christ, something of infinitely greater value than the ability to eat at McDonald's.
The sights are varied and colorful, from the colonial streets of Trinidad, to the famous waterhole in la Habana of Hemingway.
There are a variety of animals that make Cuba their home.
Animals in Cuba
A trip down memory lane can be had as you check out the late model cars from the 50's and 60's that still travel the streets of Cuba.
Cars in Cuba link
Cuba Travel Suggestions
- ideas from travelers for places to go if you find yourself visiting Cuba.
A Cuban Foto Journey
No matter where you are in the world - even Cienfuegos, Cuba, people like to sit out on the street and watch life go by.
The plazas in each town reflect the personality of the people, as well as the history and culture of Cuba.
Small homes dotted the countryside and it seemed that each place got two rocking chairs on the porch, either a set of oxen and a plow or a horse and cart, and possibly a bicycle. The mangoes were huge, sweet, and delicious. The biggest area that even locals are looking for the greatest change is public transportation. There are several ways to get a ride and since most people didn't seem to have cars, they had hitch a ride in the dump truck (below), get a ride in a government vehicle - if you drive one, you are required by law to pick up people if you have room and are going that way - or look for the limited bus service.
The absence of advertising and billboards was counterbalanced by the presence of government messages to encourage the people. Fidel and Che Guevara are central figures in the history of Cuba and the revolution and can be seen in a variety of media.
Downtown la Habana has some beautiful old homes and tree lined streets. Before the revolution, many of them belonged to foreign investors and companies but when Batista was overthrown, they became property of the government and were subdivided or used for schools or other government buildings. The embassies of many nations also reside in these large older estates.
Downtown la Habana and Habana Viejo may remind you of Cartegena, Colombia, with the plazas and old colonial architecture. Taxis include the Coco Taxi, horse drawn and bicycle powered vehicles, and a myriad of cars from the 50's and 60's for a little nostalgia.
Tobacco is one of the crops that is associated with Cuba because of their production of quality cigars. Above is a tobacco barn on a farm where the tobacco is grown and processed, while below, is the Guiness World Record holder of roller of the largest cigar. Jose "Cueto" Castelar almost doubled his previous Guinness World Record in the attempt, which measured 43.38 meters.The Cubanos are very proud of their cigar making history and harvest the best tobacco in the world.
La Habana is right on the sea so it is a port city where lots of trade and commerce is done. The city also boasts one of the largest cemeteries in the world. The cemetery itself is about 137 acres and only recently started offering cremations.
A great step back in time and example of Spanish colonial architecture is 500 year-old Trinidad, Cuba. The red tiled roofs and the cobblestone streets with the brightly colored buildings make it a fun place to explore. The downside is you may not find a convenience or hardware store if you need something, but you won't starve or get stuck there! You will learn to be flexible and adapt. If you become somewhat of a world traveler, you may find as you listen to stories and share adventures with other people from around the world that you'll become more of a global citizen instead of people from different countries.
The evidence of the friendliness of Cubans can be seen in a story heard about a wrong number. A man was trying to reach his tour agency but dialed incorrectly. It took some time before either party realized it was a wrong number as the man calling couldn't figure out how the man on the phone didn't know his agent or where his transportation was, and the other man offering that all he had was a bicycle but he would see what he could do to help. They hung up with no answers and the wrong number man called back to suggest that maybe the last number of the phone number was incorrect because that sometimes happened and he was right. He wanted to do what he could to help even if it was just offering his bicycle. Fortunately the man got the right number and contacted his tour agency and all was well so he didn't have to travel by bike!
Maria la Gorda
It is always amazing when you are somewhere where there are no distractions and rather than being bored, you are entertained by the show that unfolds around you as nature comes to life and God displays His majesty. No loud music, no cell phones, no one sitting around texting ignoring the people sitting right next to them, none of the daily busyness and media that seems to bombard us daily, possibly causing us to miss life in the moment. That is what it is like at the resort at Maria la Gorda. It is a place for diving but for the non-diver, it can be enjoyable as well if you can entertain yourself.
The water is an amazing turquoise blue and so clear that you can see the bottom from the shore to a long way out. Right along the shore you can snorkel and see an amazing amount of fish among the coral formations. The beach itself is white sand with reefs of snails and other crustaceans. For divers, you can go out on three dives a day to different locations and dive tunnels, caves, and sea walls. The guides are well-trained, friendly, and you can easily rent all the equipment you need. Bring your own mask and snorkel if you want to be sure it fits exactly right and then you can use it on your own time as well.
It is always interesting the defenses found in nature either from man or for man to use against each other! Turtles nest in Cuba during the summer months so look at the Cuba animals page to see more about that.
Webpage design and production and photographs by Cathleen L. Carpenter Photography - copyright 2012
page last updated 8/11/2012
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