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Cuba, people have different attitudes towards money, family, community and
entertainment. Observing the locals and making a few friends will really help you
to understand the Cuban way of life.
7) Keep an open mind and let go of any pre-conceived notions about Cuba or
Havana. Contrary to some claims, everything is not all about politics. The average
Cuban is well-informed of the broad themes affecting their country and the world.
At the same time, they are probably far less concerned with these matters than
you would think. While the most vocal members of society will immediately share
their opinions, that does not mean that they speak for everybody. If you talk to a
variety of regular people, you are sure to gain a clearer perspective.
8) Explore everything. Most guidebooks provide lists of hundreds of different tour-
ist attractions to visit. While these places can help you learn history and facts,
they give you almost no insight into daily life. The best way to discover Cuba is to
leave your map at home and simply get lost as you wander around. Cuban culture
is very open, and you are almost guaranteed to meet people and see fascinating
things as you walk around. In Havana, this is especially true. If a door is unlocked,
you should consider that an invitation to enter.
9) Don't get bogged down by small problems. In Cuba, inconveniences are nor-
mal. Buses will break down, reservations will be changed, lines will be long. The
sun will burn you. The weather will make you sweat and the mosquitoes will make
you itch. In Havana particularly, you might even get scammed out of a few dollars,
despite your best efforts to avoid it. Don't take these problems personally; they
happen to foreigners and locals alike. Don't allow them to sour your trip, or your
image of the country.
10) Enjoy the cheap entertainment. There are a lots of fun things to do in Havana,
and most of them are either completely free, or cost just a nominal price. If the av-
erage local, earning just $30 per month, can find ways to have fun, then you can
surely keep yourself entertained on a tight budget. Don't always expect to go
someplace specific and engage in a particular activity for amusement. In Cuba,
the greatest pleasures come from relaxing and interacting with interesting people.
Consider this an opportunity to slow down your life and enjoy the moment, rather
than simply jumping from one plan to another.
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