Cuba has always fascinated me. We’ve all heard of the classic cars, bright coloured buildings, incredible white sandy beaches and vibrant salsa music filling the warm island air with joy and energy, but beneath this picture perfect surface lingers a complex and unique society that has been shaped, for better or worse from over 50 years of communist rule.
The concept of communism completely baffled me and Cuba was a real eye-opening experience. Before going, and even now I couldn’t get my head around how everything works out there. Like hotels and restaurants, shops and bars; everything is government owned and Cubans have so little entrepreneurial freedom to start their own enterprises. We made friends with some Cuban guys who told us that these days, things are changing for Cuba especially now the embargo with the US has been lifted – but to have a business is still hard, as the government taxes them 60%.
Cubans get subsidised food prices (as shown on the boards in the ration shops) and the poverty here is a real problem. The buildings are crumbling and decaying, but families earn on average $10 a month and can’t afford to maintain them.
On the other hand, Cuba is so rich in culture because there are no effects of globalisation on the island. There are no brands (like Coca Cola or Mcdonalds) limited wifi and no advertising anywhere. There are lots of posters and murals about the revolution (in my opinion they definitely border on propaganda!) but there’s a really refreshing lack of consumerism in Cuba that I think is so important to see and experience.
Here are some of my favourite photos from one of the most exciting and interesting trips I’ve ever been lucky enough to experience. From the colourful streets of Havana, to the beautiful white sands of Varadero and tropical, diving paradise in the Bay of Pigs; Cuba is a truly magical country that I can’t wait to visit again.