Falling in Love with Cuba AND Why You Should Travel to Cuba NOW

The Beginning of a Romance with Cuba

Colorful_Havana_Street_CapitolFrom beneath a large Banyan tree on the patio of a paladar (private restaurant) in the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, I rang in the New Year and made a big resolution. Instead of champagne, I toasted this life change with a refreshing mojito, which washed down the traditional Cuban holiday meal of roasted pig, yucca, and moros (beans and rice). That evening on my first trip to Cuba, which was six years ago, I resolved to come back to Cuba to learn as much about it as possible and to share my knowledge with others through my stories and pictures.

At that time, I had no idea that a few months later, I would be leading educational tours to the once-forbidden island for Americans. This led to me having the perfect hybrid career allowing time for writing three books; the third of which is solely about my adventures in Cuba and the opportunities that it has provided for me called Cubicle to Cuba.

A True Love Story with Cuba

Heidi_Siefkas_in_Old_Havana_CubaFirst, it was just curiosity; however, that lust quickly turned to love as I peeled back the layers of Cuba. From first glance, Cuba appeared third-world with its dilapidated buildings, potholed streets, and barren store shelves, but it isn’t. Cuba’s culture is rich in spite of its third-world infrastructure. From my taxi drivers to hosts at my casa particular (BnB), everyone I met in Cuba was very well-read and highly educated with at least one college degree if not more than one. On that maiden voyage to Cuba, I tried to soak up the complicated history of the island. However, a true understanding of why there is a whole generation of Cubans with Russian names like Boris and Conrado or how the American classic cars can still be running took various trips. Consequentially, the more I learned made me love it more, which continues to this day.

The portion of Cuba that was not difficult for me to grasp nor will it be for you is its happiness. The people are truly warm, genuine, and full of life. In spite of great hardships from the lowest point in the 1990’s (called the Special Period) to even now with strained relationships with the U.S., the spirit of the entire island is all about turning lemons into lemonade or better said turning lemons into mojitos. It’s the Cuban way of life. Living in the moment and this zest for life is what makes Cuban culture so rich and distinct. This is also what keeps pulling me back.

Life Lessons from Cuba

Author_Heidi_Siefkas_at_Jose_Fusters_Home_outside_of_havana_CubaI had always known and have been reminded by my mother, other authors, and even gurus that happiness is not about things, but about the people around you as well as your perspective. In Cuba, you witness this daily. Everything is about community and family. They worked together to survive the 90’s. Today, they share small homes with multiple generations. Cubans will invite you into their homes and/or businesses to have whatever food, coffee, or rum they have. In fact, when life deals a Cuban a bad hand of dominos, flat tire, or worse, he/she moves on, perhaps laughing about it with a friend. Cubans are known to enjoy the simple things in life such as smoking a good Cuban cigar, drinking Cuban coffee, sipping rum, or just watching the world go by with a friend, neighbor, or family member.

Why Travel to Cuba?

How_to_Travel_to_Cuba_imageIf you haven’t traveled to Cuba ever or maybe not for a while, I encourage you to do so. The creativity, warmth, and perseverance of its people are reminders for us all. Plus, NOW is a very interesting time in its history to witness what Cuba has been and what it will become. Cuba is in a transition to its next chapter, Cuba 2.0. Learn how you can travel to Cuba!

Will you fall in love with Cuba?

I’ll hedge my bets that you will, but you let me know.

24 Responses

  1. I am dying to go to Cuba! These photos are amazing, they are giving me so much wanderlust! xx
    • Heidi Siefkas
      The time to go to Cuba is now. It is a very special time in its history where you can witness the past and present coexist.
      • Do you need to carry toilet paper with you?
        • Heidi Siefkas
          It is a good idea to carry tissue and hand sanitizer with you. My Cuba 101 video should be very helpful for you.
  2. Heidi, your article has inspired me to know more about Cuba - especially its history with the USA.
    • Heidi Siefkas
      Gracias! The history between the US and Cuba is complicated. Most people want to travel to Cuba before it is Americanized, but it already has. By looking at its rolling museum of the 1950's classic American cars. Also, you will see architecture from the early 1920 and 30's that are very American, like the Havana Capitol or the Nacional Hotel. I sincerely hope that you are planning a trip to Cuba. If you are looking for travel tips or my top picks, surf my blog for various posts I have written. Additionally, my book, Cubicle to Cuba, will help you understand my love affair with Cuba through fun anecdotes, recipes, and songs.
  3. I've always wanted to go to Cuba. It looks like a fascinating country.
  4. My husband and I keep talking about going to Cuba. I love how it literally looks like its still stuck in the 1950s, especially all the old fashioned cars. Wonderful
  5. I have always had Cuba so high on my list... just sad that we have to jump through so many hoops to visit from the US. What a great post!
  6. Cuba is a great and interesting country with a Communist history. This country is in my travel wish list.
    • Heidi Siefkas
      A rich history with Spanish, African, and American roots. NOW is the time to see Cuba.
  7. Discovery of the day! Thanks a lot for sharing :-) it helped us a lot to finally plan our trip to Cuba and have some adventures there to write about :D Best, Ach
    • Heidi Siefkas
      I'll be heading back to Cuba next week. I'm still in love.
  8. Cuba has such colourful streets, it is hard not to love the country. Not been in a long time but I would love to go back again. Thanks fo sharing!
  9. Visiting there Aug.2020. Do you need to carry toilet paper with you?
    • Heidi Siefkas
      This post and video should help: https://heidisiefkas.com/2019/05/29/before-you-go-cuba-101-video/ BTW, you should also get a copy of Cubicle to Cuba (Amazon or Audible).
  10. We were trying to go this year but then they closed it off to US citizens! boooo Thanks for the great post!
    • Heidi Siefkas
      Americans can still travel to Cuba. Cruises to Cuba have been canceled; however, you can still fly. Check out my post: https://heidisiefkas.com/2019/06/05/qa-how-to-travel-to-cuba-in-2019-what-has-changed-with-us-travel-to-cuba-and-what-has-not/
  11. Cuba is one of the countries I’ve had my eye on forever. I can’t believe I still haven’t visited! Loved your take on it! ❤️
    • Heidi Siefkas
      De nada - NOW is the time to go. If you want to go with me, I'm heading to Santiago and Baracoa in Oct 2020. Check out my page on Adventure Tours to find out more.
  12. I have never been to Cuba but looks like an amazing place. Definitely in my bucket list of 2020
  13. Such a beautiful country! Thank you on a detailed impressive guide! Saved your post for the future 🙂
  14. I love how colorful Cuba is!!!! Man, I can't wait to visit this place soon. I really hope the COVID situation improves quickly around the world so that we can start traveling to different countries and continents without any issues. And bookmarking your guide to remind me why I ABSOLUTELY need to visit this place! :D
  15. What a beautiful country with great history and traditions been there already 3 times when working in the caymans but can't get enough of Cuba so planning again soon..can't wait to walk the passeo e malecon, tropicana caberet, capitolio and the paladars..viva Cuba

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