GO Conference & Incentive

GO Conference & Incentive
GO Conference & Incentive
GO Conference & Incentive
GO Conference & Incentive
GO Conference & Incentive

Destinations

So you’ve been everywhere eh… really… but what about Cuba? Cuba is a frontier very few have crossed into. The country has been isolated from the rest of the world for decades and as a consequence of its exclusion from our commercial world offers an experience like no other in our modern times. The 50 year iceberg blocking relations between USA and Cuba is now finally thawing, so be quick to experience the real Cuba, as it won’t take long, once the gates open, for Starbucks and all those similar vanilla enterprises to stamp their mark.

Cuba has a rustic charm, something I hope they can hold onto, despite the inevitable foreign invasion. Even since my last visit a year ago tourism numbers have increased. A lot more visitors are walking around asking for directions and the limited number of hotels are very booked up, an early sign of what’s to come.

Walking is the name of the game in Havana and if you are into photography then you will be in heaven. Every corner you turn there is something of interest. All of the beautiful old and sometimes derelict buildings are crying out for some TLC, a reminder of how gorgeous these old girls must have been in their hey day. There are signs of work commencing to restore some of these old beauties so they again stand elegant and proud.

Local people are smiley & friendly, and always up for a photo, as long as you make sure you return the favour with a few Cuban peso “cuc”.

Surprisingly, Havana has a fun mix of transport modes. There are the rickety “bicitaxis” which are similar to a rickshaw but on a much “simpler” scale, a great way of getting in & around the cobbled alleyways. The zippy little “coco taxis”, which look like small yellow motorised helmets zooming around the city, great for getting to places quickly. For a more traditional feel you can opt for “horse and carriage” rides, and then of course, the good ol’ “American Classic Cars”. Worthy of at least a half hour ride through the suburbs and along the Malecon (Havana’s version of Mission Bay or Oriental Parade). These classic cars are a fun way to get around and are plentiful. The hardest part will be choosing what make and colour!. Everything in Cuba is on a “negotiation basis”, so make sure you have an agreed price with your driver before getting underway.

Cuba has a really interesting mix of eateries from traditional and quite basic to gorgeous restaurants hidden away behind old crumbling facades. The food quality will also vary enormously as will the level of service, which means the whole eating experience may require enormous patience or completely blow you away. The best way to find out what life is really like for Cubans is to hit a local supermarket if you happen to stumble across one. The lack of good will put a sobering perspective on how tough their lives are compared to ours. You can’t snap your fingers and demand whatever you want when you want it…. that’s just not Cuba. Locals still heavily rely on the “Libreta de Abastecimiento” (ration booklet) which restricts what they can buy through the system… and even then only when very limited products are available.

In Cuba music is everywhere… on street corners, in restaurants, everywhere. All of the bars simply ooze good fun and dancing is in the Latin blood. Rum flows freely, cigars are the encouraged and quite frankly it’s such an easy atmosphere that it’d be hard not to fall in love with the unpretentious simplicity and casual charm.

Ernest Hemingway is the icon for Cuba and “supposedly” put the Daiquiri and Mojitos on the map. A couple of very well known bars in the old town pay tribute to Hemingway’s frequent visits.

The warm and humid weather can be a bit tiring for us Kiwis, but in order to see, feel, live what this place is all about, it’s well worth sucking up the journey and heat and ticking Cuba off your bucket list while it is the real deal!

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