We uncover the hidden gem that is Cuba and how the island is assisting larger countries during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cuba is a treasure trove of possibility, on the cusp of change. Over the past three years, Cuba’s tourism has seen a boost as tourists are now flocking to visit the once forbidden island. Though traveling has come to a sudden halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the island is still a gem waiting to be discovered and should be on your bucket list once travel bans are lifted. It is steeped in tradition and its culture has been locked in a time warp of almost 60 years of Communist rule. Cuba is vintage cars (which are not just taxis, but regular modes of transport). Cuba is crumbling architecture covered in vibrant colors, some of which is being restored. The majority of its architecture is still in disrepair and is called home by many in Centro Habana, one of the 15 boroughs in the city of Havana. Cuba is art, theater, street life and most of all, music. Dance the salsa or the rumba to Afro-Cuban jazz or the beautiful rhythm of the timbales. Cuba is food. From the fruit carts laden with giant avocados and guayaba, to the inventive paladares (private restaurants) which have grown in numbers with the lifting of government regulations. Cuba is cigars. Cuba is its people: resilient, creative, smart and welcoming.
Cuba to the Rescue:
Though we are all unable to travel to Cuba to experience the island, Cubans have been able to travel to other countries in the name of assistance. They have come to the aid of many countries facing the coronavirus pandemic. Cuba, a communist country that still deals with the effects and challenges of a 60-year-old economic embargo by its largest natural trading partner, was better positioned than most to deal with the pandemic. Despite being a poor country that often experiences economic shortages, Cuba still manages to have a socialized medical system, which offers health care for all its citizens.
When it comes to health care, Cuba is a success story with few parallels. Recently, doctors have become Cuba’s biggest export. When former Cuban leader Fidel Castro established a communist regime on the island in the 1950s, universal health care was one of his biggest investments. And while Cuba is battling its own cases of Covid-19, many countries around the world are looking to the island for aid.
All Hands on Deck:
The pandemic has allowed other countries to discover the spirit of the people of Cuba without having to visit the country. They have rose to the occasion and have united with other nations to combat the coronavirus. About 45 international locations have requested the assistance of Cuba to address Covid-19. They have boldly stood up in the face of this pandemic and have dispatched medical assistance all around the world to join the universal battle. Cuba’s team is made up of doctors and nursing graduates, normally members of the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade in opposition to Disasters and Serious Epidemics.
Cuba is being praised for their swift actions in assisting other countries during the pandemic while also battling the virus on the home front. A spokesperson for the medical team said Cuba was happy to assist its Caribbean neighbors and stressed the importance of solidarity amid the spiraling spread of the virus. “We will assist our sister nation. We are proud of following the principles of the Cuban medical collaboration,” said Eduardo Ropero, head of the 140-member Cuban corps. So far, Cuba has sent medical experts to 12 nations, including Italy, Belize, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti, Saint Lucia, Grenada and Dominica.
Cuba is a Hidden Gem:
Cuba has a lot to offer visitors. And while tourism is at a stand-still around the world, planning a future trip to Cuba once the pandemic is over, is a brilliant idea especially if you are looking for a cultural experience. When selecting the best places to visit in Cuba, be sure to embrace both the rural and the city experiences. The perfect trip to Cuba will include Havana. Start in La Habana Vieja, or the Old Town, where crumbling colonial buildings and vibrant mid-century structures stand side by side. You do not want to leave Havana without watching cigars being rolled by hand in a small factory, or tasting some local rum fresh from the distillery.
If you are a lover of history or architecture, Trinidad is a great place to visit in Cuba. The heart of Trinidad is Plaza Mayor, the main square surrounded by neo-Baroque buildings. Next door to the plaza is a colonial convent that now houses the Museum of the War Against the Bandits, or the Lucha Contra Bandidos. While Cuba has several national parks, none is as beautiful and accessible as the one located in the Viñales Valley. Viñales is known for its stunning scenery, and is a favorite among tourists and locals. These are just some of the places you can visit to have an amazing vacation in Cuba.