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Riding Solo in Cuba

Riding Solo in Cuba

Cuba, Habana, Havana

I had 14 days of vacation with no destination in mind and only three requirements – reasonable price, new location and safe for a woman to travel alone. I receive this question often – “so… why do you travel alone?” This question is quickly followed by “…don’t you get lonely?” To answer these two questions – Yes I enjoy traveling alone and no, I don’t get lonely! After researching some possible destinations, I choose Cuba as it met all three of my requirements.

Although staying in an all-inclusive 4 star resort in Varadero is not my preferred accommodation, it was ideal for my first trip to Cuba. From the moment I stepped into the streets outside of the resort in Varadero, I felt a sense of ease and safety as there were plenty of tourists and Cubans enjoying the warm Caribbean weather. Rather than spend all of my time just laying around the pool and beach at the resort, I ended up booking a few excursions. These “mini-vacations” would allow me to experience Varadero, Matanzas, Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara, Topes de Collantes and Guama.

There was a lot to see and my “adventure seeking bug” went into overdrive – I couldn’t wait to start!

I haven’t found a person traveling on their own who didn’t say that they enjoyed the freedom of travelling alone. I can do anything I want, when I want- it’s all up to me! Scary? You bet but exhilarating at the same time. Traveling to Havana “solo”, I was open to the possibilities of meeting the most incredible people both locales and other solo travellers.

One such experience was with my tour guide, Carlos Nunez, a retired principal from a high school in Havana. I call Carlos my ‘singing tour guide extraordinaire”. From the Boca de Camarioca outside Varadero to the Vedado area of Habana there were phrases that Carlos used to describe the area that would relate to a song lyric and off he would go and break into song! Lucky for our small group of 8 that we were all musical buffs and enjoyed his singing and often joined in.

About an hour into the trip, Carolos told the driver to stop the mini-bus. Everyone was stunned at the unforeseen stop until Carlos turned back to us and said “This is not the overnight tour to Habana that you booked”. We were all curious until he turned to us and asked us what WE would like to do in Habana!  What? We could customize our tour? Unheard of? Fortunately we were all able to agree on a walking tour not only of all the wonderful sights but also to some of the out of the way “none touristy” neighbourhoods to enjoy the true Habana.

Not only were we going to be treated to a unique journey to Habana with Carlos, we were going to see it through his eyes. Enjoying the journey with all of our senses started off with the first “pit stop” which was also a stop to try out a Cuba Libre and some Guarapo…refreshing!! If this was the way to experience Cuba, than the next two days were going to be incredible and I could hardly wait to be immersed!

14 Comments

  1. Noreen
    March 28, 2017 at 2:11 pm
    Reply

    Sounds like a fun adventure!

    • just_adventures
      March 30, 2017 at 5:31 am

      If you loved this article you should check out the other articles on Cuba !

  2. Laurie Kingdon
    April 24, 2017 at 6:03 pm
    Reply

    I’m now inspired to go to Cuba. You really have your finger on the pulse for traveling in a unique way. And with your travel experience, I feel reassured I’m in good hands. Please let me know when you are planning your next solo travel vacation.

    • just_adventures
      May 2, 2017 at 4:48 am

      Well, Laurie you won’t have to wait long as there is an adventure to Eastern Europe brewing….stay tuned for articles to come from Poland,Prague and the former East Germany!

  3. Nicole
    May 4, 2017 at 2:08 pm
    Reply

    It sounds like you make the most of your trips!

    • just_adventures
      May 4, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Nicole, when I travel now, it’s certainly with a different lens. It’s now more about the people I meet as well as to experience of the places I travel to !!

  4. Lisa
    May 30, 2017 at 6:42 pm
    Reply

    I think it is wonderful that you are traveling and actually being immersed in the culture of the places you visit rather than just staying inside the gates of a resort. Enjoy and live life to the fullest with no regrets!

    • just_adventures
      August 15, 2017 at 8:35 pm

      Thank you for your comments. Immersing myself in the culture, as well as seeing the sights of the places I visit are the most important reasons I travel. We are just but a small speck on this planet and I make it a point of learning as much as I can about the people, the land and the culture of the places I visit. I am truly living my wanderlust !!

  5. jean Lane
    May 30, 2017 at 7:21 pm
    Reply

    Sounds amazing! I’ve traveled alone too and people do treat you like you’re a little nuts for it haha but I love that sense of freedom! Nothing else like it

    • just_adventures
      August 15, 2017 at 8:32 pm

      My friends and family often shake their heads although the secretly look forward to all the tales from my travels as I travel and when I return. There is a sense of wonder and realization that you are just a small (but mighty) speck on this planet. I would love to hear about your travels. Please email me justadventures.ca@gmail.com. Maybe we can collaborate on an article or two.

  6. Neelie
    June 1, 2017 at 3:22 pm
    Reply

    I love Cuba and totally think it’s safe to travel there on your own. Glad to see that by the looks of it you enjoyed it, will check out your other Cuba posts!

    • just_adventures
      August 15, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      There is just something about travelling to a country that has sometimes been shrouded in mystery and misunderstandings! I found the Cubans very feriously proud of their heritage and wanting to share it with anyone that takes the time to listen. Please check out the rest of the Cuban posts as well as the ones from the South Pacific

  7. Julie
    June 1, 2017 at 6:22 pm
    Reply

    I’ve never travelled alone but I admire you for doing it!! And I’m dying to go to Cuba!

    • just_adventures
      August 15, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      Cuba is incredible. I hope to go back in the near future and explore the areas around Santa Clara and south east. Thank you for your comments and I hope that you enjoy the rest of the articles.

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