Cuba is filled with a tremendous amount of things to do and places to visit. From experiencing the country from a locals perspective to enjoying the life filled streets of shopping areas, each experience has a magnitude of things to offer a traveller. Here are some of the experience I think are crucial to any visit to Cuba!
VISIT THE MARKET
Visiting the market place definitely won’t disappoint. From the culture that seeps out all aspects of the market place it a place you don’t want to miss out on. The market was just steps away from the resort I stayed at. If you’re looking for a good, sweat filled walk, you can definitely make it to the market. I for one, did my best to stay away from getting a sunburn. For our trip to the market, we caught a swift ride on the nearest golf cart, as they were the main mode of transportation within our resort.
The market is a huge outdoor area, where you can find just about anything you’re looking for. From Spanish CD’s (which I definitely regret not buying), to musical instruments, or even jut small souvenirs. The experience you have when walking through the market is like no other, each part of the Cuban culture protrudes and exposes itself even more.
SWIM WITH DOLPHINS
Swimming with the dolphins was a dream come true. For just about any animal lover, swimming with dolphins is the most treasured experience when vacationing to the Caribbean. Through this specific excursion a group of us were led into a captivity unit- I had also done my research before contributing to this specific dolphin sanctuary. Turns out the dolphins that were kept in captivity were one’s that had been rescued and needed to be taken care of by humans in order for their survival. Once we were in the mid-deep water, within the sanctuary, we would line up shoulder-to-shoulder as the dolphin swam buy, doing tricks, eating and even splashing us with his tail and fins. The dolphin that we were lucky enough to interact with was Kiki and he was 18 years old at the time.
Aside from this experience, I paid 10 CUC to get an individual experience with Kiki. As the he laid on hi dorsal fin, I was instructed to hold his fins as we began to swim, taking me around the deep waters that filled the sanctuary tank (No I don’t know how to swim, No I didn’t wear a life jacket, and no none of this came to mind at the time, but I’m alive! That’s all that matters right?!).
It’s an amazing chance to get an up close and personal interaction with one of the most beautiful animals in the ocean.
Another excursion that was crossed off of my Cuban bucket list was deep sea fishing. For this trip, my family and I chartered a boat that took us deep into the Pacific Ocean – it didn’t hit me, that we were meters away from any land, surrounded by meter deep waters until after we got back home. The captain and fisherman that showed us the ropes to fishing in the depths of the ocean, with nothing but hospitality.
Throughout the day trip, we each got a turn to reel in a line. We caught half of a king fish – the other half was eaten by a barracuda as it was being reeled in, and 4 barracuda’s.
Aside from the fishing, our boat ride through the ocean was filled with luck and good sightings. We were able to spot a flamingo in the distant, running and eventually lifting its graceful wings right before taking hovering just a few meters above the water. As the day continued, we were able to spot a pair of wild dolphins. It was absolutely breathtaking. Sure seeing dolphins and swimming with them is just about as awesome as it gets, BUT seeing these dolphins swimming freely, splashing the water as they dove down just before coming back up and squeal, as water spouted from the top of their backs, was truly a highlight of my trip (Can you tell I love dolphins?).
EXPLORE ON A JEEP EXCURSION
This was definitely life changing excursion – sounds cliché, I know, but hear me out. For this trip, we were given Suzuki Jeeps to drive as an envoy through the streets of various cities, the main one being Caibarien. There were around 6 red Jeeps driving down the streets of residential areas and what seemed to be city streets. As we drove little kids ran from their houses to greet us and collect anything we were giving, some gave out toys, while we gave out chocolates.
Through this excursion we were taken to a ranch, where we were given the opportunity to do some horseback riding as well as get a tour of a forest. We saw the various tree and plant types that fill Cuban lands as well as a cave that is usually filled with water- but during the time we went there was a dry spell.
We were also taken to a home in which was in the country area of the town. They grew their own crops and cared for their own livestock. This is where we were gracefully given a deliciously home cooked meal, with rice and peas, green bell peppers, orange juice and a salad. When lunch was over, we were given a tour of the home and land which it sat on. The land was home to a large amount of livestock including cows that we were given the chance to milk-strange by really amazing; have you ever milked a cow? Tell me about it in the comments below, so we can compare our stories! We were even given a small history on how sugar cane played an important role in Cuban societies AND we were able to grind pieces of cane through a manual juicer.
This excursion also took us to a local farm in which was the real eye opening experience throughout the entire 7 days. The ranch was owned by an elderly man, and was home to his wife, daughter, and granddaughter (as well as himself). While we spent time on his ranch, he allowed us to help feed his chickens, goats and calves, as some swam in a naturally developed water hole just behind the farm area. The hospitality on this farm was like no other. We were treated as though we were part of his family. They were even kind enough to give us a tour of their home.
Each excursion has an unlimited amount of opportunities and educational aspects to it. Whether it’s learning about history or just learning cool facts, each of these excursions above made my visit to Cuba the most memorable trip I have ever been on.
Have you visited Cuba? What excursions did you take part in? Here’s a list of what was offered when I went, maybe it’ll jog your memory. If you’ve never been, what interests you the most from the list? Let me know in the comments below!