Geography & Languages
Cuba is a northern Caribbean island south of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti, and north of Jamaica. The official language of Cuba is Spanish. Spanish as spoken in Cuba is known as Cuban Spanish and is a form of Caribbean Spanish. The second largest language is Haitian Creole and is spoken by Haitian immigrants and their descendants.
Cubans are famously warm and welcoming, well educated and sensible, take pride and care in their person, and live in remarkably safe and calm communities. You will meet open-hearted, honest and kind people who put you at ease in their culture. You will be impressed with strong, healthy values of family and community, clearly at the center of Cuban lives. People will be interested in you, but not pushy if you choose not to engage. You will have great conversations, and great fun doing ordinary things. You will eat food that is all organic, local, fresh and completely unprocessed - deliciously prepared by local chefs. You will absorb layers and layers of aesthetic detail in your physical environment. You will sleep well after days of exploring, painting, dancing, and learning. You might just fall in love with Cuba - and find yourself coming back again!
Technology & Infrastructure
Cuba is not a developed country. Most Cubans do not have running water in their homes. Cheese and hair conditioner are hard-to-find luxury items. The internet situation resembles what it was in the US in 1995. Many families live in one or two-room apartments. Plumbing systems throughout the island can not support anything other than organic matter, so toilet paper goes into a bin beside the toilet, not into the toilet. Virtually every sidewalk in Havana is crumbling. Those old cars are on the road because new cars are unbelievably expensive and hard to come by. Sometimes the electricity, gas or water go out for a few hours at a time.
Cuban friends say that the two most important things for visitors to bring to Cuba are patience and understanding.
Constrasting with luxury tours to Cuba, Cuba Art Adventures introduces travelers to the real Cuba: a beautiful, rich, and uniquely inspiring country. We craft our trips to give authentic, fun experiences every day, open your eyes and leave you thinking and smiling. Our guides, friends, teachers, and participants are here to share experience as it unfolds, and help discuss the questions that are part of any mindful trip to Cuba. Anchoring your experience in your artwork, you'll gather your own deep impressions that will last far beyond your week.
Cuban cuisine is a blend of its many cultural influences — Native American Taino food, Spanish, African, and Caribbean cuisines. The food is similar to what you may find in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Rice and beans are a staple. Seafood is plentiful, as are other types of meat. Due to Cuba's tropical climate, green vegetables are hard to come by, but fresh fruits and root vegetables are plentiful.
Food photo by Clare Putnam
Cover photo by Alison Darrow