I love Cuba!!!
I think it’s an extremely fascinating country with an abundance of history and culture. The people are amazing and of course, the beaches are some of the best in the world.
10 years ago my hubby and I spent our honeymoon in Cuba. Last month we returned to that same beach with our family/friends to renew our wedding vows. It was a very special moment for us both and we were so happy to have done it since we’d been talking about it since spending our five year anniversary there as well. See, I told you we love Cuba! Now don’t get too excited because this post doesn’t contain any of the vow renewal photos. As great as it was, Jamie and I were both overcome with sudden emotion during the beautiful ceremony and let me tell you…I’m an ugly crier. So, no one needs to see that!
This had been our 3rd time to the country and we could certainly tell that the nation isn’t the same as it was a decade ago. It’s kind of bittersweet actually. When we were there for our honeymoon, we were able to roam the weathered streets without being identified as “tourists”. Cuba was authentically Cuba back then. This time around we found that certain neighbourhoods were unrecognizable because of all of building/street construction. Everything was torn up or covered in scaffolding. Keep in mind that all of these repairs were done by hand. We didn’t see one piece of machinery anywhere. In addition, the streets and stores that once reflected the “true Cuba” have now been converted to a place where the locals display copious amounts of goods for us tourists. There were many people dressed up in “traditional” Cuban garb with ginormous, fake cigars sitting and waiting for a tourist to make eye contact. Once that contact was made, you’d be swarmed by several of them encouraging you to take a photo for a couple of pesos at least.
Please don’t get me wrong – I am still in love with this place and we will definitely be going back for our 15th year anniversary!! It has been very interesting to see how it’s changed from 2003 to 2008 to 2013. So why bittersweet? Well, I feel that Cuba is starting to lose a bit of its original charm that it once possessed. It was inevitable though I guess. With that being said, I am genuinely happy that the improvements happening right now are going to without a doubt benefit the people that live there. Tourism is definitely part of their livelihood and we will continue to support the industry as much as we can since it holds such a special place in our hearts.
Thank you for letting me share this with you and thank you for taking a look at Cuba through my lens.