When you think of Cuba, most international travellers would probably connect it directly with Varadero. The 20km peninsula stretch of beach as far as the eye can see has been taken over by hotels and all-inclusive resorts. Bringing millions of international tourists every year, Varadero Resort staff can make up to $15 a day in tips in comparison to the $30 or so that some Cuban doctors can make in a month. It is no wonder that tourism is an essential part of the Cuban economy.
I am not writing this to try and convince you NOT to stay at a resort. I can completely understand why they are so attractive. They can be very economical when you find the right packages. For a limited time, book your all inclusive vacations with social travel and receive a 2% cash back – you can keep it or donate it. But what I do want to try and convince you is to go out and explore the country you are visiting. Do not spend one or two weeks and leave having only seen the inside of your resort. Spread the wealth around so that tourism touches all parts of Cuba, not simply Varadero.
If you do decide to venture out of the resort bubble, you will be charmed by old architecture and some of the most intriguing historical sites I’ve ever come across. To try and sum up Old Havana and New Havana into one blog post will not do it justice, so I will highlight only the areas that I have visited so that you can either walk in my footsteps or make your own travel plans.
Even though I was never a fan of his writing (please no angry rants in the comments) I can appreciate seeing Ernest Hemingway’s window (top corner of the pink building).