Cuba is an exciting island nation full to the brim with a distinctive character and rich culture. As the largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba is a melting pot with plenty of places to explore. With a tropical year-round climate, you can spend time on the pristine white beaches of the Caribbean coastline.
Alternatively, coast through Havana in a classic convertible, or wander around pastel-painted towns and take photos of the colonial architecture. Cuba is also home to unspoiled mountain landscapes and the famous tobacco fields of the Viñales valley too.
However, one of the simplest ways to make your trip to Cuba life-changing is to meet the local people and make friends. Most travel experiences definitely become more special and memorable from the people you meet along the way and that is certainly the case in Cuba! Chatting with friendly and hospitable Cubans is sure to enhance your stay on this vibrant and exhilarating island. Here’s five ways to meet locals in Cuba!
1. Chat to people
Although this may seem like stating the obvious, the simplest way to get to know Cuban people is to stop and chat to them. Take the time to speak with the owners of local stores and start conversations at the market or in cafes. Ask your Cuban cabbie for travel tips and restaurant recommendations. Obviously the locals know best!
It should be noted that Cuban people have strong family values and enjoy talking about their loved ones, so this can be a great icebreaker. Additionally, If you can speak a little Spanish this will go a long way and be greatly appreciated.
2. Use local guides
This could be the first local person you connect with in Cuba! Hiring a local guide to show you around town is like exploring it with a friend. Moreover, local guides will be extra knowledgeable and can share stories on the history and culture of the area.
Furthermore, they will be more than happy to introduce you to locals! Local guides can help you understand aspects of Cuban culture that you might not have discovered by yourself. They can also offer tips on where to get the best ice cream or which bars have the best music.
3. Stay in casas particulares
In Cuba, travellers can stay in casas particulares which are a bit like B&Bs but more like homestays. Local families across the island rent out rooms to visitors.
Along with this, you can pay extra money for home-cooked meals or for them to arrange excursions and book local guides for you.
Before you know it, you’ll feel right at home! This is an easy way to connect with local people and experience Cuban life.
4. Visit Viñales
This area of Cuba is a great place to spend a few days. Reached in 2.5 hours by car from Havana, this is a land of limestone cliffs and tropical vegetation where you can enjoy excursions such as horseback riding and nature walks.
Most importantly, you can take a tour of a family-owned tobacco farm which is a great way to engage with a rural community and learn from the local people.
5. Take a class
Last but not least, most of Cuba’s towns and cities have an array of classes available for short-term travellers to participate in. These will directly connect you with local Cubans.
From Spanish language immersion, to cooking classes and salsa dancing, there is something for everyone! The added bonus is the opportunity to discover Cuban culture while you’re cultivating friendships and learning something new!
Are you ready to hit the dance floors of Havana and drink mojitos on the beach with local Cubans? Check out our Cuba tours now!