I recently found out that in Belgium, nobody under 84 actually uses the word ‘cool’ anymore. I wasn’t in the know yet and unfashionably pronounced those 4 letters when in company of some teenagers who must have thought I was close to retirement. They looked at me as if they’d seen a unicorn sitting on a spaceship to Mars. They say ‘swag’ nowadays, or so it seems, and saying ‘cool’ isn’t ‘swag’. But this is an article about Cuba, and that, my friends, is beyond cool! Let me tell you why.
Here’s my list of ‘swaggest’ things to do in Cuba – all tested thoroughly by yours truly.
Except for [W], you’ll understand why!
[A] Almost get arrested because some waiter thinks you didn’t pay the check and calls the police, who promptly decide to stop every car in the area to find the ‘thieves’.
[B] Take a boat tour at Cueva del Indio in Viñales and drive through the mojotes afterwards.
[C] Stay with the locals in a casa particular, chill at one of the many casa de la musica and smoke hand made Cuban cigars.
[D] Go dirty dancing with the locals at the ‘Copacabana’ in Camaguey.
[E] Return to your room in Habana after a night out to discover it’s empty… Turned out the owner of the casa rented 3 rooms, while he was only allowed to rent 2 and an inspector passed by so he had to quickly put all our stuff in the wardrobe.
[F] Talk about Fidel Castro and socialism for hours with your taxi driver on the way from Trinidad to Santa Clara.
[G] Meet these lovely grandmothers in Trinidad, where they run a casa particular.
Directions: the casa particular is located at the intersection of Calle Alameda and Calle Amargura. It’s the house with the green doors. When you come from the Casa de la Trova, follow Calle Alameda – stop for a drink and some live music at Las Ruinas de Segarte on your right – and you’ll see it right in front of you.
[H] Wander through the streets of Habana Vieja.
[I] Visit one of the many iglesias.
[J] Discover how in Cuba, EVERYONE has a job. Even the guy sitting behind a closed entrance gate all day reading a magazine.
[K] Discover how kind and helpful the people are.
[L] Sleep at the ‘love shack’ in Habana – but only if you like shiny pink sheets and you’re not too difficult about hygiene… If you want to do something that’s actually cool – excuse me swag – go listen to live music at Plaza Mayor in Trinidad.
[M] Rent a motorbike and drive from Viñales to Cayo Jutias for some white sand and perfectly blue water.
[N] Get a ride in a car with nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine kilometers on the counter. Because that’s where it stopped turning…
[O] Get lucky when the owner of the most awesome turquoise oldtimer parks his car at the picture perfect spot by the beach.
[P] Go to a Peso store or eat at a paladar (‘restaurant’ in the home of the locals) for cheap local food.
[Q] Eat quesadillas – because there’s really not much else to find if you’re a vegetarian.
[R] Drink rhum. Do I need to explain why?
[S] Take salsa lessons and dance all night with the locals in Trinidad or Santiago de Cuba.
[T] Visit a tobacco barn in Viñales or go to the casa de la trova in Trinidad.
[U] Don’t forget your umbrella. In Cuba, when it rains, it pours and you’ll have water up to your ankles in no time. Not that an umbrella will do anything to solve that problem but ‘bring boots’ doesn’t start with a U.
Time to prepare an umbrella and a pair of boots in Trinidad…
[V] Take pictures of every ‘Hasta la Victoria siempre’ or other propaganda you see. You might want to consider extra storage.
[W] Get your money stolen by a girl that hits on you at a party but turns out to be a whore (I would have written prostitue but P was taken already – this happened to my friend who was travelling with me).
[X] Look for a relevant word that starts with an X for hours but don’t find a single one. Suggestions anyone?
[Y] Drink yummy fresh fruit juices.
[Z] Zigzag your way through the market stalls and troba singers in the cobbled streets of Trinidad.
Alright, now that you know all the coolest – excuse me swaggest – things to do in Cuba, it’s time for some practical stuff. Check out these Cuba Travel Tips from fellow blogger Raphael!
So is your plane ticket booked yet? Nope? Go ahead, I’ll wait here!
Or have you already been to Cuba? What’s the ‘swaggest’ thing YOU did over there? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!
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