No better time to visit Cuba
One of our clients, Richard Clifton, recently travelled to Cuba with his wife Gloria. Here he shares his experience and a few highlights.
There is no better time than now to visit Cuba. You have the feeling that it is in a time warp, with at least some of the population just waiting for Fidel and Raul to pass on, so they can join the twenty first century. There are no Starbucks, no Macdonalds, no American capitalism. The wonderful old American cars are a reminder of when Havana was a playground for rich Americans. At that time, Cubans were not allowed into the American clubs in New Havana, due to the colour bar. Today, tourists will probably find the floor show in the Hotel Nacional just as good as it was on the day Batista fell in 1958.
Our trip had many highlights. Being driven along the seafront in Havana in a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air. Visiting Che Guevara's mausoleum at Santa Clara and seeing the train his forces derailed to cut off Batista's troops in the south and win the decisive battle. In what other country is a train derailed 50 years ago still lying there and now a national monument ? The meal we had in a room with a bed in it looking out onto the beautiful central square in Trinidad, which looks like a Hollywood re-creation of a street scene in a tropical town. Under communism, it is difficult to open a private, commercial restaurant in Cuba, but you can serve meals in your house. Hence the bed. In every bar and restaurant we went to there was always a small band playing Latin American music. The Government insists everyone auditions, so the standard is fabulous.
When will it all change ? Maybe soon, so I would advise making the visit now.
Richard and Gloria Clifton toured Cuba with Cox and Kings in November 2011.
Cox & Kings organise luxury tours to Cuba.