The more rural areas of Cuba at first felt like a culture shock compared to Havana. It was refreshing to be places with a slower pace after the jam packed days in Havana. One of the rural places that gave me the biggest culture shock was the disco we went to in San Diego de Los Banos. I’ve never felt more out of place, but it was nice to be pushed outside of my comfort zone. I appreciate that we got to experience where the locals go, and not just touristy spots. The sulfur baths in San Diego de Los Banos was also a fun, yet unexpected situation. The building the baths were located in resembled something out of a post-apocalyptic horror movie. However, it made for a memorable experience with my classmates turned friends, and was one of the highlights of the trip for me.
Vinales was the most gorgeous place I’ve even been. Tracey told us to expect the houses we stayed in to be slightly less nice compared to where we stayed in Havana, and he was right. I knew that as soon as we checked in and were given instructions to use as little electricity as possible because they only buy a certain amount per month and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Even though the living arrangements in Vinales weren’t as nice, I appreciated the authentic Cuban experience we got by staying there. The view from our house more than made up for it. Experiencing where and how Cuban farmers live really opened my eyes. They work so hard in extreme heat to have 90% of their crop taken by the government. Hearing their stories made me sympathize with those who the socialist system negative affects.
PHOTOS BELOW WERE TAKEN BY OUR HOUSE IN VINALES