In March 2012 my wife and I travelled to Cuba for a week. We spent most of our time in Havana, staying in a hotel called The Lincoln in the old quarter of the city, and just a few hundred metres from El Malecón, not very far from where I took the photograph below.
Havana is one of the most beautiful cities I have visited. It is replete with Spanish Colonial buildings, most of which are in a fairly poor state of repair due to the lack of money in the country. But, to me, their decaying nature added a certain charm to their beauty, and the colours were stunning. Hopefully the photographs below will give you some idea of the beauty of this city.
The people were very friendly, the main downside we found of visiting Cuba is that it is quite expensive for a “developing country”. Tourists have to use a different currency from the locals, and so pay what often seems to be about 10 times more for even basic things. Whilst I think it is fair enough that tourists pay more than locals when there is such a disparity between their relative wealth, I think a factor of ten was too high, putting the daily cost of being in Cuba about the same as being in a developed, Western country. The other downside we found is that most of the food is pretty bland – you have to hunt around for restaurants that serve tasty food.
We also spent two nights in the tourist resort of Varadero, I will show some photographs from there in part 2 of this blog.