The hospitality travelers receive in Cuba speaks for itself. From the moment we stepped off the plane onto the tarmac, the welcoming nature was evident from each and every employee at the airport was so different from what we experience in North America. Along with the hot sun shining down onto our then fairer skin, we were each led the way to an unairconditioned bus, the bus drove us to the immigration area of the airport in which we, like any other airport, we were asked for our reasons of travel. Those were the only unfriendly faces we saw for the next 7 days.
From the resort, to the excursions the people we encountered along the way of our vacation made the biggest difference. When you go to a third world country such as Cuba, you expect the residents to keep to themselves and be very reserved- or at least that’s what I thought- but this was definitely not the case in Cuba.
For one of our excursions we were able to drive an envoy of jeeps through the small and loving towns. As our red jeeps passed through the narrow roadways, many of those residing in the area ran to the edges of their land just to greet us. Many adults stood on their front porches waving and shouting “Hola!” with smiles that showed from one ear to the other. It really made you want to smile.
The people and friends you make while travelling their beautiful country really allows you to see things from a different perspective. The values that Cubans have are so tremendously different compared to what us North Americans value. These people lived in small homes, built of concrete floors and concrete walls, their livestock filled their neighbouring land.
Because of the standard of living in Cuba, they don’t always get the best treatment in terms of lifestyle. Although these kind, hardworking and caring locals do have jobs, even those working on the resort and for the resort (running the excursions) do not make much money to take home to their families.
To prepare for our vacation we decided to share the caring Canadian culture with
Cuba so we pack slightly used items we had at home to take and give to the locals we met during our trip as well as those working on the resort. In addition to clothes and house items, before we set off on our trip we went to the dollar store just to pick up a few things we thought they might’ve liked. Just as small tokens of our appreciation. We bought some Canada souvenir items, stationary (colouring books, pencils, storybooks etc.), chocolates, some body wash sets and a few other things.
Every day before we left our resort room we left a pile of gifts for our housekeeper to find with a little note thanking them for what they do. In return they would create little figures with the towels.
Let’s just say first impressions really do go a long way. Just to experience the level of hospitality again, Cuba is most definitely on my list to visit again in the near future!
What makes you want to go back to destination? The people? The beaches? The weather? Comment below and let me know, maybe I’ll plan my next trip there!