It’s ok if you’ve got a million questions about what’s going on in Cuba. How do I travel there? What do Cubans really think of Americans? Where can I learn to salsa? We’re here to answer everything. First, we went to the source and interviewed a local Cuban.
Roger is an Intrepid guide who’s lived in Cuba his whole life. He may be the most passionate and knowledgeable person about Cuba and its tourism industry. Seriously. We asked Roger some questions to get his take on the changing American-Cuban dynamic. Here’s what he had to say.
What do Cubans really think of American travelers?
Not only does Roger embrace travelers from the States, but he believes the Americans that come to Cuba are interesting and open-minded:
“Americans we’re getting into Cuba are interesting people always to meet and to talk to. Most [American travelers] are either from universities or religious groups or people that have truly just traveled a lot before coming to Cuba and will be a lot more open-minded. They are a lot more engaged and really into learning about the culture and interacting – trying to understand Cuba and Cubans.”
Move aside, Havana. Where should people go in Cuba?
Roger has explored Cuba in its entirety, so he’s definitely the right person to answer this one. His top two picks are Camagüey and Viñales. Camagüey, he says, is where you want to go for culture and arts, while Viñales gives you a great insight into Cuba’s unique landscapes and the authenticity of the Cuban people.
What do locals think of corporations coming in (and the travel buzz to visit before it happens)?
Although not too keen to have big-name corporations file in, he does think it’s a contributing factor to the buzz about coming to Cuba right now:
“Most of our clients – not only the American tourists, but tourists from all over the world – seem to have kind of a rush now to come to Cuba and see it as it is before the big companies arrive. Then all of a sudden you find a McDonalds, a Starbucks, or some Coca-Cola signs on every corner. It is expected to happen.”
What’s it really like being an American on an Intrepid Cuba trip? These blog posts will explain:
-What traveling to Cuba taught me about making the most of life
-What a tobacco farmer taught me about the art of Cuban cigars
Americans may have been visiting Caribbean resorts for years, but there are two major things that Roger believes set Cuba apart: 1. Its geographical size, which offers more beautiful landscapes to explore, and 2. the people. In case you didn’t know, Cubans are notoriously friendly, hospitable, and always willing to lend a helping hand.
Where would he want to visit in America?
The hype is around Americans coming to Cuba, but aren’t you curious to know where Cubans want to go to in America? Personally, Roger is itching to visit the natural areas with specific shout-outs to California and Oregon. He’s definitely got a soft spot for nature.
Lastly, what would he say to an American thinking of coming to Cuba?
“Please do not hesitate. Come down, you’re going to have a great time, guaranteed. The number one thing is that it’s one of the safest destinations. The weather is guaranteed: 300 days a year of sunshine, lovely people to talk to, and a lot of very good music and dancing.”
Want to explore Cuba (before the crowds get there)? Check out our legal people-to-people Hola Cuba trip, specifically for American travelers.
Feature image c/o Eliza Gower.