Travel to Cuba

Exploring and Living in Cuba

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Thursday, 18 August 2016 16:42

Stars are falling over Cuba

With recent thaw in Cuban and U.S. Relations, American tourists are now flooding the island. Among them are the famous who have descended on the country.

TV host Conan O'Brien spent several days shooting an episode of his late-night TBS show in Havana in February 2015. It was the first visit by a U.S. talk show host to Cuba in more than five decades. While he was there and made some hilarious videos like this one

The Rolling Stones played a free concert in Havana on March 25, which the biggest act to play Cuba since its 1959 revolution. The Stones played in Havana's Ciudad Deportiva three days after President Obama visited Havana.

Madonna just celebrated her 58th birthday in Havana.

Rihanna visited Havana in May 2015, where she shot a Vanity Fair cover.

Pop star Katy Perry visited Cuba in October 2015, and wrote that the country is "one of the COOLEST vibes alive" and called it a "Disneyland for creatives minds.”

NBA basketball star Carmelo Anthony visited Cuba with Vice Sports in 2015 to explore street sport culture in the country. Here is a good video of his trip. http://www.cbsnews.com/ media/stars-who-have-visited- cuba/11/

Now, almost anyone can is it the country under one of these categories the most important of which is the “People to People” which is designed to help the much-in-need Cuban people. 

1. Family visits
2. Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
3. Journalistic activity 
4. Professional research and professional meetings
5. Educational activities
6. Religious activities
7. Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
8. Support for the Cuban people
9. Humanitarian projects
10. Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
11. Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
12. Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines.

Published in News about Cuba
Friday, 10 June 2016 08:48

Our real man in Havana

Our Man In Havana (1958) is a famous novel set in Cuba by the British author Graham Greene. He makes fun of intelligence services, especially the British MI6, and their willingness to believe reports from their local informants. The book predates the Cuban Missile Crisis, but certain aspects of the plot, notably the role of missile installations, appear to anticipate the events of 1962. The book is a black comedy  set in Havana during the regime of Cuban dictator and Castro’s predecessor, Fulgencio Batista. 

Briefly, James Wormold, a vacuum cleaner retailer, is approached and offered a job working  for the British secret service.Because Wormold has no information to send to London, he fakes his reports using information found in newspapers and invents a fictitious network of agents which later leads to many complications.

The book was adapted for a film with the same name and takes the action of the novel and gives it a more comedic touch.

Well, our real man in Havana really has nothing to do with the novel or movie by the same name. He is our Cuban contact or facilitator. His name is Eddie “G” and here lives in the neighborhood of Vedado. The latter is is a central business district and urban area in the city of Havana. Bordered on the east by Central Havana, and on the west by the Miramar district, Vedado is the most modern part of the city, developed in the first half of the 20th century, during the Republic period. The main street running east to west is Calle 23, also known as "La Rampa". The northern edge of the district is the waterfront seawall known as the Malecón, a famous and popular place where Havana’s people or Habaneros gather both day and night. 

In addition to Cuban Eddie, we have another  great contact on our team, Max Gómez. Maxie has 20 years experiences traveling  all over Cuba while running a successful travel business there and in Central America. Between both of these “go to guys," travelers could never be in better hands while in Cuba. However, Eddie is the one with more "boots on the ground experience” and a real “mover and shaker."

Those thinking taking an introductory tour or doing long-term stay in Cuba need to have good contacts  in order to get the most out of the country and especially to see the “real” Cuba before it changes. Most of the tourists who are currently flocking here from the U.S. will never  see the country like our clients.

We have been conducting tours to Costa Rica and Central America for over 30 years and can assure you that the average tourist on a regular tour will never experience what we offer, which is exactly why we have experienced insiders who can help with your trip.

What  we mean by experienced are people who  were either born in Cuba or who have many years living there, speak theSpanish  language, know the culture,  the ins and outs,  dos and don’t’s, can walk the walk and can guide visitors. 
 
 
 
 

Published in Travel to Cuba
Thursday, 09 June 2016 18:46

The Young Men and the Sea

The title of this article probably brings to mind Hemingway’s famous novel, The Old Man and the Sea. Briefly, the book tells the story of a battle between an aging, experienced fisherman, Santiago,and the greatest catch of his life. It opens opens with Santiago having gone 84 days without catching a fish, and now being seen as "salado”, the worst form of unluckiness in Spanish. He eventually hooks a marlin and despite his efforts the fish is devoured by sharks. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, and his supreme ordeal -- a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.

The books main theme is of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novel confirmed Hemingway’s power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for literature. Hemingway’s love for the sea, for fishing and above all for Cuba are embodied in this masterpiece.

Like Hemingway most Cubans have a love affair with the ocean since they are surrounded by it on all sides and affectionately calle la mar in Spanish. During the day and especially at night, people flock to Havana’s 7 kilometer seaside walkway called the Malecón. Here they gather to talk, drink, watch the beautiful women stroll by and to fish. You see young men standing standing or sitting on the wall with their fishing poles in hand waiting for a fish to bite. Most fish at night because of the cooler temperatures. On my last trip to Havana I even saw people fishing during the wee hours of the night. I have an American friend who hangs out in Havana, likes to fish side by side with the Cubans at night and interact with them since he speaks Spanish. He stays at a private home or casa particular in Vedado section of the city which is not too far from the malecón.

Live in Cuba offers affordable short and long-term stays in the Vedado area in casas particulares where you will see the real Cuba first hand and have the chance to interact with its people. Our company also has homes in other parts of the country. However, every trip should start with a visit to Havana – a city frozen in time with an incredible amount of history and culture.

Published in Living in Cuba
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