Cuba is a fascinating destination. Closed off to Americans (for the most part) until recently, we were fortunate to have spent two weeks on the island in February. Everywhere we went, from Havana to the Bay of Pigs to Cienfuegos and Trinidad, the Cuban people welcomed us as friends. In all of my travels to various countries I have never felt more safe than I did in Cuba.

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With a population of 11,200,000 on an island that stretches over 700 miles from east to west, every area has its unique history, topography, difficulties and triumphs.M

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Cubans are very proud of their country, their heritage and their history. We met several yellow taxi drivers (government owned) who were educated as lawyers, chemical engineers and even physicians. Remember, a taxi driver makes the same salary as an orthopedic surgeon in Cuba.

Yes they are proud. The US embargo of Cuba, which has been in place since Revolution triumphed, has severe repercussions for the Cuban populace. Ending the embargo would make life for Cubans more tolerable and would be welcomed by all on the island. But, they do not desire to become a satellite island for America or any other country coming to their aid.

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Even slightly inebriated Cubans are friendly to their core!

Nina and I separated one day in Trinidad, a city of 75,000 people. She walked back to our hotel, through a residential neighborhood near the city center, and I continued on with my exploration of the city without her. Our plan was to meet at our Air Bnb in an hour.

When I arrived at the BnB, Nina was nowhere to be found and it was evident that she had not been there in the past hour. I wasn’t too worried, but as time  went by and Nina didn’t return to the Bnb, I became more concerned for her whereabouts and her safety. Our friend, Karen, helped me walk throughout the neighborhood searching and calling out for Nina, but we couldn’t locate her.

Finally, about 90 minutes after I determined Nina was missing, we found her in the city center park with a big smile on her face and no worse for the wear. We were told by one of our guides early in the trip, that if we found ourselves lost, stop any Cuban on the street and ask them to use their cellphone to call our guide. This is exactly what Nina did, and she easily found someone to help her make a call to our guide, who informed me where she was.

BOTTOM LINE: Cuba is a safe country for Americans to travel in!

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Mornings, we watched as school children of all ages made their way to school, alone, in groups or on the back of their mom’s motor scooter. Education is free in Cuba. School uniforms for the equivalent of K-12 were different colors, depending on what level you were in.

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They say “pictures say a thousand words!”

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Stop back soon for my next installment on Kayaking in Cuba!

Happy trails!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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