Cuba’s political murals are one of the most potent images of this country: the faces of Che and Castro, strong and resolute, looking out over their people. You happen upon them like old friends: some images remain vibrant, freshly painted by teams of fastidious workers; others are faded and chipped, the walls crumbling beneath them, a potent metaphor for the aging administration.
When I first arrived in Havana I knew nothing of the Cuban War of Independence. I had a hazy recollection of learning about the sinking of the USS Maine, and that Cuba had played some part in the Spanish-American War (note: no mention of Cuba in the title).
This entire country seems to move to a Cuban rhythm, as if its beating heart were percussive and its stories told in song. But there isn’t just one type of Cuban music: salsa, rumba, baroque, jazz, son cubano and many others can be heard on any single day in Havana. Many of these are unique to Cuba, where West African and European influences have merged in this steamy cultural hot pot.
I didn’t go to Caibarién on purpose. My bus pulled into Remedios where I had planned to disembark. But when I looked out the window at yet another gorgeous colonial town: pristine multi-coloured houses, sandy streets, wide-open plazas and the scent of flowers in the air - it left me dead. After months of postcard perfect colonial vistas, I had become inured to it. So I simply stayed on the bus, a sense of adventure in not knowing where it would take me to next.
I always try to immerse myself in the stories and sagas of a country before I travel, so when I’m lost in the beauty of it all, I have something to guide me. There is no more immersive way to contextualize yourself than through the fiction of that country. Cuba is ripe with stories; it has a history so utterly unique and dramatic, that many people both Cuban and otherwise have brought the past to life in stunning and compelling ways.
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† The Carefree Booking policy is not travel insurance. With our Carefree Booking policy, if you book one of our scheduled departures and decide later not to travel for any reason, you can transfer all payments you've made excluding the cost of any issued flight tickets, towards another available departure date or package, with no change fees or penalties. Alternately, you can choose to receive a future travel credit for all payments made, excluding the cost of any issued flight tickets; or you can choose to receive a refund for that same amount, minus the deposit, per person future travel credit. You may use these credits anytime, however they must be used or transferred within 5 years of your bookings, and some restrictions apply. Travel protection premiums may be credited to your new tour provided: no claim is filed; (no vendor penalties such as Air, sea or rail etc have been incurred); and your new trip departs within 1 year of the cancellation of your original tour. Valid for bookings made on or after August 2, 2022. Changes or cancellations requested after final payment due date are subject to our regular change and cancellation fees & policies. For more information and some additional restrictions, see our terms & conditions.
†† $199 deposit available on select packages. Valid for new bookings only. Changes to your package, departure date, or flights may require an increased deposit. See additional terms & conditions.