Insider Guide: Welcome to the Cuba Conga

Insider Guide: Welcome to the Cuba Conga

by cubapura

In order to keep this blog running this post contains affiliate links.

The WhyNotCuba team spoke with one of the most secretive travel bloggers in Cuba, the person behind the underground Cuba travel guide. He also offers bespoke itineraries at TripUniq. This is what we found out.

We love your blog and it has interesting information but why is it anonymous?

Well, Cuba is a socialist state and opinions or information can damage people. I’m very happy with my residence here and want to protect everybody around me. Hence my identity will remain undisclosed.

We Googled your real name and you are rather famous in your home country. How come?

I wrote some books about some things and before you know it people start to talk about those things and soon thereafter you’re one of those talking heads on TV they call ‘experts’. I seem to have a keen eye on things and strong opinions about them.

Why so vague?

See my first answer.

How did you end up in Havana?

A long story very short: I came here for the first time 16 years ago with a friend that did business in Cuba. That’s a different entrance than a normal tourist. Fell in love with the country, studied Spanish at the university, kept coming back a bit longer every year and now live here 8 months per year since 2010. Things just grow you know.

What do you like to do in Havana?

I don’t like to muddle in the middle. I like high society so I have lunch with our ambassador and other important people in fine restaurants, ballet and opera, which are an experience in Cuba, openings of art galleries and the likes. But I also like to mingle with the riffraff. Have friends that are hookers and pimps. Actually, once they accept you, they are fun to hang out with.

You also design trips for tourists in Havana. Can you give us an example?

People that read my book and get my drift want to see more than just the highlights. So in Old Havana I show them what you have to see. You cannot miss Plaza Vieja, Prado and the like! But also the things nobody sees. I show people the ‘hole in the wall’ places to eat, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the first drive-through hamburger place where it is impossible to drive through. The real local stuff! I’ve got some bike itineraries too.

Can you give an example trip?

Have a Moneda Nacional day.

Get on the 222 bus on Parque de Fraternidad (and there is a trick to get a seat) and stay on it until the terminal in La Lisa. You will see how big Havana really is! Then once in La Lisa see the real Cuban life and you can only buy stuff that is sold in MN. Live like a Cuban for a day, stroll about, eat in a cafeteria, enjoy the scenery from the only terrace in town and then get on the bus back. Takes half a day and teaches you a lot and it is a really interesting experience.

If there is one thing you want people to understand about Cuba, what would that be?

Cuba and the Cubans are not living in the past.

Everybody that thinks that Cuba is 60 years back in time did not see ‘Back to the Future’. Changes in the past change the present. Cuba changed it system 60 years ago and took a different direction.

But it is the present. Due to that change in the past Cuba is now in a completely different dimension than ours.

Nothing is what you think it is from your Western reference frame and you are always mistaken.

Cuba Conga

Cuba is a tough country for the clueless and the ‘clueless tax’ can be very high. I wrote my book to give people a clue because Cuba is not ‘just another tropical destination’ it is a different universe!

In order to keep this blog running this post contains affiliate links.

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