Written by Kieran

Cubans – Musings Of A Longer Term Visitor

So, Cuba. Times they are a changing. Having seen Cuba at its darkest point during COVID and now, the differences ...

So, Cuba. Times they are a changing.

Having seen Cuba at its darkest point during COVID and now, the differences are amazing.

The new foreign funded and crewed construction projects operate 24/7. Even on Christmas and new years.

Huge skyscrapers (40 floor +) are appearing in less than 6 months. The one below went from a couple of colonial houses to what it is now, in 7 months.

New Cuban Building In Vedado Cuba

Cuban People

Yet what’s more interesting are the people. For the average tourist to Cuba who is here at the extreme end for 3 weeks at most, they never really get to know the people of Cuba.

You need to think of Cuba as an island setting for the TV show ‘Westworld’. Where the inhabitants are nothing more than bit players; sims in a game where rich tourists pay to come and do whatever they please.

Spend months in Cuba and even the street hustlers drop their act. And you’ll hear them whisper to each other as you walk past, ‘he’s Cuban now’.

What you as a tourist or short term visitor to Cuba see and experience isn’t the real Cuba. And you leave still believing the same old myths that continue to circulate on the internet.

Myths like the one that Cubans live on less than $7 a day is utter rubbish.

Every Cuban has more than one side hustle. And those side hustles bring in far more cash than their official jobs.

Someone who looks poor in a tourist area can be flush with $100USD bills buying drinks in the ghetto at night.

Myths like the one that Cuba is dangerous is just that, a myth. You’ll often hear hustlers tell tourists an area is dangerous, to keep them and their fat wallet close.

I often walk around La Lisa or Diez de Octubre in the tiny hours without a care in the world. These are supposedly the most dangerous parts of Havana. And they closely resemble any footage you’ve seen of Damascus in the days after it was liberated.

Get to know the people of Cuba and spend some significant time here and the bullsh*t stops. And you can’t help but fall in love with them.

Cubans can shrug and laugh off what would crush the soul of the average westerner. And they can Macgyver anything together with a little bubble gum and ductape. 

US Sanctions Will Never Stop Cubans

US sanctions will never beat Cuba. Want proof?

Bet you’d never believe there’s an underground Apple Store in Havana that is modelled on a real Apple Store. Replete with life size posters of Steve Jobs and every product currently available on the Apple online store?

I’d also bet you’d never believe that below the surface appearance of chaos lies a level of organisation and networks with global reach?

How do you think Cubans still get Western Union transfers abroad or the Apple Store in Havana gets its products? Thousands upon thousands of organised smurfs moving in and out of Cuba every month.

What to you looks like chaos on the surface has a level of organisation and camaraderie that defies belief. The Cuban Government might be useless, but the older Cuban citizenry are strong.

Cubans. If you spend significant time here in Cuba it’s absolutely impossible not to admire the Cuban spirit and ingenuity!


Where Can I Get More Information About Cuba?

I’ve made my Complete Guide To Traveling Cuba available on this website. And I would strongly advise you to read it before traveling to Cuba. It will help you navigate Cuba and Cuban society.

My Complete Guide To Cuba will save you a lot of time and a significant amount of money on your trip to Cuba. Cuba is not the sort of destination in which you can just arrive unprepared. 

Read the most Complete Guide To Traveling Cuba here.

Kieran Proctor author at and tattoo

About The Author

I’m Kieran and I write & manage ‘In Lovely Blue’. I was born and raised in Brisbane, Australia. I moved to the beautiful and sunny Gold Coast for my undergraduate university studies. Before finally moving to Canberra (the Capital of Australia) to finish my studies and work in the Australian Public Service.