A Little Confession… Cuba Gets an “ish” from Me

I have a confession to make about why I rarely mention the eight days I spent in Cuba a year ago … I stayed mum because much of it’s lukewarm. And I steer clear of overtly negative posts on a country or city because travel is so very personal, and I’d hate to steer someone away from visiting Cuba because of a mediocre review from me. So hear me out, because a lot of people might not agree with this, but I will probably not travel back to Cuba—and definitely not while the US embargo is in place.

Earlier in the year I met my travel buddy, Louise, in Cuba for a week of fun—it was totally legit for her to go, she’s South African. For me, an American, it was a bit trickier and I felt some general malaise and anxiety for the several weeks leading up to my trip.

"Streets

But that was all just the fear of my government, repercussions, fines, lying, people being angry with me. I’m a tiny bit of a goody-goody deep inside.

I abide by the rules, so Cuba was huge for me.

And I’d love to say government restrictions is the reason I don’t plan to go back to Cuba, but that’s only part of it.

I didn’t absolutely love sum total whole of my experiences as I sorted through the memories on the flight out of Cuba. I was sitting in the cramped, nearly antique airplane with a mere foot of legroom, my head cocked sideways because of the planes curvature, and it struck me that I felt relatively ho-hum about it all.

I had just dropped nearly a thousand dollars in Cuba and yet never felt like I was able to get under the country’s superficial tourist exterior. And I really thought I would before I left.

I wasn’t going to a resort so Louise and I stayed at casa particulares, family run guesthouses, throughout our stay. We were there with the locals, and yet so clearly on the tourist path controlled by the government.

Cuba Viva Fidel

At times I felt like the experience was a well orchestrated government-run show where so many of the locals were smiling and friendly but they were cautious too, watching their words and keeping a physical distance.

They were very friendly but not always open.

And that’s out of fear. The touristy areas of Havana and other city centers are closely monitored and all of my interactions were, well, orchestrated. The police keep tabs on the tourists, the tourist restaurants, the tourist taxis and the locals fear getting overly friendly because of the possible harsh repercussions.

I feel like I could have done Cuba better, that there is another side to this country that I just couldn’t see and touch because I was a CUC-carrying  tourist. The CUC, the convertible peso, is the tourist currency in Cuba and main currency non-Cubans are encouraged to use; it’s stronger than the US dollar and the vast majority of tourist transactions and money exchanges use the CUC. On the beaten path tourist travel in Cuba is tightly controlled by the government and when you hand a local a CUC it is then given back to the government in the way of hefty licensing fees to operate a tourist-centric business (cabbies, busses, guesthouses, restaurants).

La Habana Vieja, Cuba

The local currency, on the other hand, the Cuban peso, is remarkably cheaper and works outside the tourist channels.

Which we got our hands on some pesos a few days into traveling within the country. With my passable Spanish, (much better now but merely passable at the time) I convinced a pizza vendor at one of the street-side hole-in-the-wall shops (literally a hole in the wall looking out over the cobblestone street) to deliver my change in pesos instead of the initial CUC he had handed to me.

Cuba got a whole lot cheaper on the peso, and a lot more fun.

I wish we had changed some money into the peso on the very first day because we were welcomed a bit more warmly at the establishments that dealt in pesos. The peso was our ticket into the other side of Cuba, and on the other side of Cuba the interactions were less constrained. Less fear perhaps?

I just wish more of the experience had been like that.

Cuban man with a cigar, TrinidadOur salsa teacher Doors of the world, Trinidad, Cuba style.

The “ish” side of this comes from the fact that I felt like there were few opportunities for me to really set off and explore. The government controls were effective in keeping me right on the line all the other travelers frequent.

A fellow traveler rented a car and drove the length of Cuba over several weeks and thus stayed in the tiny towns and ate at small local spots—surely she saw an intriguingly different side of Cuba from my experiences.

I would love to go back one day in the hopes of perhaps finding a less sanitized version.

Here’s the thing, this isn’t necessarily a post on “is it ethical to travel to Cuba?” though I didn’t love the fear and caution exhibited by the locals. Moreso this has to do with my lasting impression leaving. I went with the expectation that I could give money into the hands of the locals since I wasn’t staying at a resort and instead traveling through several Cuban cities albeit via the tourist bus/tourist taxis. That expectation never materialized and I ask myself, “how do I overlook the fact that I spent a huge sum of money and most of it went through the tourist channels to support the current government?” I have traveled in other communist countries and it just wasn’t the same experience, I was able to go local and not feel like Big Brother was watching me every moment.

The Malecon in Havana, Cuba

I guess more than anything I’m confused. Though I may go back some day in the future, I can’t wholly explain why I didn’t enjoy traveling in Cuba. I loved the salsa dancing (even though watching me dance salsa is akin to witnessing a spasming fish gasp for one last breath on land), the people were friendly and welcoming, the country is beautiful. There are many elements of my trip that I loved and enjoyed, just not what it all added up too.

Does that make any sense? What are your experiences in Cuba and would you ever travel there?

Heading to Cuba?

Check out A Little Adrift’s Cuba Travel Guide

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93 Responses to A Little Confession… Cuba Gets an “ish” from Me

  1. Debbie Grraham December 10, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    Hi! Love your writing and since we visited Cuba this year, your post caught my eye.
    We had an incredible experience and I was “lost in space” one evening and brushed my teeth with the water, so yes, very sick for weeks. STILL, every waking moment ( except the time in the bathroom) was fascinating to us. We also stayed in the Casa Particulars, therefore the whole family took care of us, taxi’s tours, etc.
    I would highly recommend going to Cuba. Feelings, opinions and attitudes are mixed and ever changing.
    After a few days with he family, I was felt comfortable enough to ask one of the family members ( He is around 30), how he felt about the government and living in Cuba, Here is what he said, “There are a lot of opinions, but I live in a society where my children are safe on the streets with no fear of rape or trafficking, there are no guns or drugs on the streets”. “It’s not perfect, and there are some bad people, but my children and I have free medical attention; education and Fidel has taken care us”.
    I have the utmost respect for the Cuban people, with the exception of the government and I was happy to see that the the heavy reins of the government are loosening slightly. We would love to return.

    • Shannon December 19, 2017 at 10:20 am #

      Hi Debbie, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and impressions. Cuba is such a fascinating place and with it just opening to tourism it’s an intriguing time to visit. How wonderful that you were able to become on such warm and open terms with the family at your Casa Particulare. Again, thank you for articulating just what made your time in Cuba so special.

  2. Ermis November 27, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

    I live in Cuba and felt very bad when i hear someone did not feel well here, specially if that has to do with their interactions with the people. I have never seen a tourist wanting to talk to someone in Cuba and this person not answering every single question with a smile. I even think that we Cubans sometimes are so kind with tourists that they might think that we want something from them (to be honest some people are dedicated to try to get money from tourists). Sometimes with treat tourists as if they were coming from another world. Dont take me wrong , what I mean is that because we were so many years isolated from the rest of the world, not many tourists traveling here. When they started to come many were so surprised that had the feeling of being receiving someone from Mars. We give all kind of priorities to tourists, many times if there is a line to exchange cash we let them to pass first, or to buy in a shop first. I have been to different countries in the world (Germany, France, The Netherlands, Chile, Mexico, Greece, Spain) and I have never been treated the way I have seen tourist are treated in Cuba. I think that if you want to talk to someone in Cuba, just approach anyone on the street ask whatever you want and you will see that common people are friendly and open. Learn to distinguish between common l people (those minding their business, not willing anything from you) from those who are apparently more friendly and approach you to try to get something from you, these last ones are sometimes criminals. So dont be dummy.

    You can not expect that in Cuba things will work as good as in your countries, specially if you come from US or other developed countries, the economy here is weak in part due to the blockade of the US for more than 50 years and in part due to inefficiency of the productive system.

    Finally just a comment about those who sad they dont want to give the money to a communist government but prefer to give it to people directly.

    Lets say I ( or anyone else) dont own a Paladar, dont own a room for renting, dont have anything to do with tourists (as is the case). You come and give the money to those who do have houses to rent or something like that, what you do is increase the incomes of these particular people making they earn hundreds of times more than the other people that dont work in CUC areas, they are the ones who increase prices of things in Cuba, of cars , houses , etc. However if you give it to the government at least a part is returned to us as services (education, healt for example). Take into account that the largest investments of the government in Cuba are in health (which is completely free and education which is also free and this requires money).

  3. Gelin February 6, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

    I’m a Cuban who lives in Havana. I really love the post. I found the post when I was searching some information and tips of the best experiences in the others provinces of my country, and was really surprising to find this sort showing that not everything is sheer and joy.

    I think that what made your trip so “ish” was probably the 6 days of rain, and maybe a little lack of tips to improve your experience. I want to share with you some Cuba side information, so you can have a much better experience when you come back. You’ll see, I’m a student of the University of Havana, one of the historic and architecture landmarks of the city, and I have seen a lot of tourist having the same troubles that you’ve exposed in your post.

    Cuba have changed a lot since your last visit, with a big increase of tourists arriving to the island, so there is a lot of people taking advantage of it. That’s the reason why may happens that a lot of people approach to tourist for taxis or to sell something.

    About the currency problems, you don’t need necessarily some pesos to go to establishments that use pesos, you only need to be aware of the exchange rate (1 CUC = 25 pesos), now almost every place accepts both currencies (except museums). There are a lot of places to eat really good meals for no more of 50 pesos (2 CUC). The average price of pizzas is 15 pesos. Ask to your host for this places and he will show you, every neighborhood has at least one.

    You need to know about the different ways to travel in Havana, if you want to save some money and some waste of time too. The public transportation “guagua” costs barely 0.05 CUC (1 peso) for Cuban and foreign people, it’s a cheap and good way to travel if you avoid the peak hours (6:00-9:00 am and 4:00-7:00 pm). The “Almendrones”, a Cuban kind share taxi or Uber (?!?), are a taxi with fixes prices that covers all the city and the prices go form 0.50 CUC (10 pesos) to 1 CUC (25 pesos) depending of the distance, for me this is the best option for you, the only problem is that you need ask where to take the “almendron” to go to your destination. About the normal taxis, I dare to say that none of the Cuban people use this kind of taxis except on especial occasions, so you can take advantage of that they’re only focus on you. Always try to get down the price as much as you can and take it to the limit, if this one goes away, don’t worry, let him go, and use his limit price as base for your next time. Lift your hand for every car, almost everybody with car in Cuba use it once in while like a taxi.

    If you want to find people willing to talk and share with you without any interest in your pocket, I recommend the Malecón and the campus of the University of Havana. Each group of more of 3 people in these places are perfect to talk and discuss, and find out all kind of thing about Cuba. The university is more crowded on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Malecón is crowded almost every day, but more especially the weekends.

    To travel outside Havana, I can only recommend places where I have been. I’m nature guy, so I only go outside my dear Havana to go hiking in the mountains and the beautiful and completely save rain forests (we don’t have any kind of dangerous animal here in Cuba). In my opinion the best option is the Turquino National Park, a place with astonish views, especially if you go and climb the mountain very early in the morning. I also recommend El Nicho, Topes de Collantes y Las Terrazas, this places have all kind of waterfalls, caves and beautiful ecosystems.

    I hope this tips can make your experience in my beautiful country better.

    • Shannon June 11, 2017 at 6:51 pm #

      Your advice is incredible! Thank you so much for sharing the detailed ways to get around and really experience Havana. I am sorry that this comment was lost until now, but I am thankful that you shared your insider perspective on how my next visit might be better, more in tune with the locals and hopefully free from rain! Many, many thanks, ~Shannon

    • Mike Mc November 3, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

      I totally agree with Gelin. I just returned from Cuba 5 days ago. I found the people very easy to talk to and very willing to discuss everything. They are a little guarded around specific political issues but the will talk very openly about life in Cuba. Despite what our government is saying, it is very safe and easy to enter Cuba and to return to the US. The one experience that Gelin mentions about being free to talk with anyone, always have you guard up to scam artists, even on the college campus. Please go to Cuba now, they need our support and our money to keep moving forward.

  4. Shannon September 27, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    I realize this is coming quite a bit late after the original posting (and comments, too), but I came across this when looking for similar exit opinions to mine. I just got back from 10 days backpacking in Cuba, and right now it is September 2016, so the relations with the US have eased slightly. (For the record I am also American, but I am a permanent resident of Canada, and read enough before going to feel confident that it wasn’t too big of an offense to travel there.) I experienced many of the same feelings you did…like “meh” and “ish”, and the same confusion about how the country really works. However, even though we got ourselves some pesos, we were turned away from using them a time or two (museums) and honestly, the logic made sense…the dirt cheap prices should be for the people who are a part of the system. And what’s more, in some places, the CUC and peso prices were the same. But at the same time, it felt so strange, as you say, to be kept at a distance from “real” Cuba, and to feel like our spending (which was pretty expensive for us, since the CUC is tied to the US dollar and we were converting from CAD which was not in our favor) was not stimulating an economy that the people could profit from.

    HOWEVER, the most challenging part was the locals actually being TOO much, in our case. We felt like walking ATMs. We were approached a lot, mostly for taxis, or we were cat-called to no end. (We were two women traveling). We didn’t feel like the locals would be at all in trouble talking to us. In fact, in Havana, on two separate occassions, a couple would approach us, tell us there was a “free salsa festival” and that they would lead us there, and would continue talking to us until we got uncomfortable enough to try to shake them off. We have no idea where they would have lead us, but we had some other travelers tell us to be weary of people telling us there is a festival, because there wasn’t any salsa festival, or cigar festival…these were scams to give these people tips or something. We were also approached for change or cash on the street, for soap, clothes… and never did I once feel like anyone in the government was watching.

    So perhaps certain things have changed since you’ve been there, but this was by far the weirdest travel experience I have ever had. It wasn’t bad, as you said, we enjoyed the beaches and did have some great conversations with people once we got passed them trying to milk us for money. But from what I saw, the Cubans are a desperate, isolated people, aching to be part of a world that only comes to them in the form of white tourists, which is pretty depressing. I would be depressed, too.

    • Shannon O'Donnell September 29, 2016 at 12:05 am #

      Wow, it sounds like a lot has changed for the Cubans, but it’s having some blowback as the country opens. It must have been frustrating and disheartening to be seen as a walking ATM. I have been in other places in the world were I felt that way, and it’s hard to overlook it when you’re forced to constantly be on the offensive. It’s interesting that it was easy to get the pesos. I understand that museums would push for tourists using the CUC. The only place I was really able to spend my pesos was on things like street food and the such.

      For a nation that has been under such tight control, there is bound to be a long adjustment period as large wealth disparities start to appear when more tourists descend. You have me intrigued to return one day and see how things have changed. Thank you for sharing your own experiences there. It’s so interesting to hear what just six years has done to the tourism industry, as well as the Cuban people.

      I am heartened to hear that you still enjoyed aspect of the trips and came away with good memories alongside the others. Like you, I loved aspects of it, but other parts were hard to reconcile with expectations for a tourism experience.

  5. naamnlqheem October 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    I’m Cuban. Thanks God I don’t live there anymore. Cubans are too stressed out about survival. Food, destroyed houses, transportation, constant surveillance from the political police. They don’t really care about being warm or friendly anymore. Most of the population wants to leave the country.

    • Shannon O'Donnell October 21, 2015 at 1:20 am #

      I got the sense of that when I was there and it was very hard to enjoy the show the government orchestrates for the tourists knowing the locals feel that way. Thanks for weighing in on this piece.

  6. Claudia Luxembourg May 21, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    You know, Shannon, I really enjoyed your post. It is perhaps the first time I read someone being so honest about Cuba. I remember before I went there, reading hundreds of blogs and commentaries, all expressing enthusiasm for the country and the people. Don’t get me wrong. I loved it too, and I would love to go back. But I did not find those loving, warm, people that were described. I literally just felt… like a CUC. Do I make sense? There was no way of scraping the surface and finding out what the real Cuba is. There was no way to interact with the locals other than for business transactions. And mind you, I do speak very good Spanish!

    • Shannon O'Donnell May 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

      I know exactly what you mean Claudia, the interactions hinged on being tourists and spending money, from the locals there was also very little push for deeper conversations. It was a tricky place to get under the skin and find people willing to talk about their lives, the issues in their lives, and the deeper nuances of their culture.

      • Claudia Luxembourg May 22, 2015 at 3:33 am #

        I would love to share with you a post I wrote for another blog. Nothing massive, but it talks about the love/hate relationship I have with Cuba. Mind you, it took me a lot of effort to be “kind” and keep a balanced perspective and not use bad words! I will send you via email if that is ok :)

  7. Amanda Jane Walters February 21, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    This is very interesting as I felt very similarly towards Cuba. We were fortunate to meet some lovely Cuban women who were amazing at salsa dancing. I approached them in the square to see if they could teach my friend and I. They told us that if they are seen speaking to tourists they can get into trouble by the police. Anyway as we had built up a rapport they wanted to teach us. They took us to their very small one room home and we had to walk 10m behind them so it didn’t appear that we were with them. Once inside we had to shut the door even though it was scorchingly hot. Only then did they relax and they gave us the salsa lesson of a lifetime. Such amazing women. The whole family were introduced to us and they were very kind and warm people. But as soon as that door opened at the end … We were sneaked out and had to again follow behind. The people of Cuba when you get under its skin are amazing…but unfortunately it’s not a side that is easy to see.

    • Shannon O'Donnell February 23, 2014 at 1:42 am #

      Hat similar experiences! And I am sorry that it is that pervasive in the country… After many of the commentors noted that they had more open conversations with many people, I had hoped it was isolated. How fun was the salsa though! It was one of the experiences I was so glad to have to the country. :)

  8. Maximuz May 12, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    Awesome post. I don’t feel so bad that I can’t go. While you’re right in not wanting to be too negative, there is a lot of realism and true expectations in negative posts. :) I still however hope to go some day.

    • ShannonOD May 13, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      My friends who blog at Neverending Voyage (http://www.neverendingvoyage.com)
      just got back and they generally really enjoyed it, so it’s good to keep your dream — you may go and love it there! :)

  9. Nilda September 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    I am cuban, fled the country when I was three. I completely agree with your feelings. I hear so many tourists talk about their wonderful experiences in Cuba….but the truth is, they are not experiencing the real Cuba. I haven’t been back there for the same reasons you state….I don’t want to support a communist government that gives nothing back to the people with my money. But I have many Cuban friends that still have to go there to visit their families which are trapped there. The people that live there have nothing to eat, no medicine, nothing. My friends have to take everything…medicine, coffee, soap, clothing, bare necessities and half of it is taken by the police when they arrive. Young girls prostitute themselves for a pair of jeans or a decent meal.
    I’m glad you wrote this article. Tourists need to know that their money does not make life better for the locals…only the government….and that the Cuba they are seeing is NOT the real Cuba the locals are living. Sad but true.

    • ShannonOD September 11, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

      Hi Nilda, like you, so many of the other travelers have raved about it — and I do know that experiences for travelers can really vary depending on how controlling the government is being that year, but it comes down to a sum total of control and repression spanning decades. It’s hard to overlook that. Thank you for weighing in, one of my Cuban friends shares your sentiments and does not have any desire to return, knowing what his family went through to get out.

  10. Ava Apollo April 25, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    I didn’t think about how much it might matter to use local currency.  It was interesting seeing how much your experience changed after you switched! 

    • ShannonOD April 26, 2012 at 4:18 am #

      It’s intriguing how different it can be just a block off of the more touristed restaurants in the cities I visited! The more I ponder back on my visit to Cuba, the more I think I’d like to go back and try again! :)

  11. Horizon Pacific Vacations December 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Thank you so much for your post. Obviously everyone can walk away from a country with their own opinions on what they experienced.  It is nice to hear an honest opinion without simply bashing their experience. I agree though there are so many amazing countries to travel to and to experience.  So if its something you didn’t walk away from with a huge smile on your face, is it something you want to spend time and money to do again?  Thanks for you honest opinion.  

    • Anonymous December 23, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

      I don’t quite understand the bashing people do either :-/  I realize my experience was so highly personal that all I can do it share what I saw; and for what it’s worth, I would return to Cuba again one day if the opportunity arose! Cheers and thanks for weighing in on this  :)

  12. cherrysberries July 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Sorry that you didn’t have an enjoyable experience. Do you think you’ll return and give it another chance?

    I came back from Cuba with mixed feelings – there were parts that
    I liked and disliked. While I enjoyed my time there and stayed with
    locals too (so glad to hear you avoided the resorts) … I came away
    feeling sad upon seeing the poverty and harsh reality of their every day life.

    • Anonymous July 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

      I do think I will go back someday, particularly if I am with someone else
      who really wants to visit. I don’t have an overwhelming urge to visit right
      now, there are so many places I would love to visit for the first time, but
      I would definitely go back and give it a second chance :) Glad you had
      elements you loved from your visit as well!

  13. Dina VagabondQuest July 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    I haven’t been there even though keep planning on going there. I want to see what a communist country looks like. It might be selfish for me to want to inspect the living in a communist country (including the government projects and propaganda) while the people is suffering from it, but while I want to visit the country before the change happen, I also wish the change will indeed happen in the near future for the best of the people.

    • Anonymous July 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

      I definitely recommend that you go and visit the country if you’ve always
      wanted to. That being said, some of the other communist countries feel
      differently in my opinion. Cuba was unique, perhaps because it is so small
      and thus easier for high levels of control. :)

  14. mackenzie101 June 28, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    I am always suprised when I hear someone say that they did not love Cuba. My husband and I were there for 3 weeks over Dec 2009-Jan 2010 and neither of us can wait to go back, even with the epic travel time to get there from Australia. It is one of my two all time favourite countries.
    Not once did I feel that my experience was “manufactured” from a tourist guide and never did I think I was being watched by the police or the government. In fact without the ability to speak or understand any Spanish at all we still had amazing interactions with the locals, even to the point of being invited into random houses to dance with a family. Every person we met was very open about their thoughts on the government and what they thought about the country, the politics etc.
    I was carrying around nearly $20,000 worth of camera gear and not once did I fear being robbed or in danger.
     We even had dinner one night with someone who fought with Che and Fidel in the Sierra Miestro.
    We managed to travel most of the country with the exception of the Vinniales area.
     We did a huge amount of research before we went and I wonder if that helped our positve experience.
    While we were there we met some other travellers also from Australia and they had a totally different experience to us and hated Cuba.
    I cant wait to go back, hopefully at the end of this year if all goes to plan. And that in itself is unusual because we generally dont go back to the same place as there is so much of the world we still want to see.
    I am a bit worried that we could have a totally different experience next time and come away not liking Cuba, but I really hope not!!
    Happy Travels

    • Anonymous June 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

      So glad to hear you really enjoyed Cuba, I know the feedback from others was
      really polarized on that front, and really and truly just could have been a
      fluke of when we were there (terrible storm for the whole week) and who we
      happened to encounter. I do actually have some good memories of Cuba, it was
      an endlessly intriguing country to observe and think about, I just don’t
      think I was able to get under its skin…

      That being said, you have me intrigued some more, it’s definitely a place
      I’ve put on my “to be reconsidered in the future list,” if a friend wanted
      to go, I would give it a second shot :) Enjoy planning your travels!
      http://hereishavana.wordpress.com is a great site of a woman living there if
      you need any tips, she’s in love with the country and people and could
      surely offer some advice for some more fun things to do, see, and
      experience!

  15. Abi March 2, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    It’s a shame when you travel somewhere, anywhere, and feel like that. But it seems to happen to everyone. I had a really “ish” time in India. For my part, when I went to Cuba I found some things strange (the high cost, once a day bus that was obviously designed to keep tourists where the authorities could keep an eye on them…) but actually found the people incredibly chatty and approachable. There was rather less to do than I had imagined, so I ended up going for long walks or sitting around the casa particular chatting or dancing. (I was forced into both, honest!) Even though my Spanish was bad, it was passable, and it didn’t seem to deter anyone from talking…So I suppose I’m agreeing with Faraz’s comments. Maybe there was some friction because you’re from the US – or maybe it was just one of those things.

    • Anonymous March 3, 2011 at 5:34 am #

      Thanks for weighing in Abi – the diversity of opinions in the responses have
      really highlighted how personal each of our travel experiences have been.
      Not sure when you went, but in some towns I saw the tourism industry picking
      up, with day trips out of Trinidad to surrounding areas, horse treks, that
      sort of thing. As for India, you’re not the first to mention that India
      didn’t quite jive with you, the people you meet, time of year, all of that
      can have such an incredible effect on the experience! Glad you enjoyed your
      trip to Cuba though, outside of the costs! :)

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