Video from my Great First visit to Cuba

 

Lisas first great visit to cuba: carsI have spent months and months in the Caribbean. I worked on cruise ships for many years and sailed nearly every itinerary in the Caribbean. I would look at the map and every week that we sailed around Cuba, I wondered if I would ever get to visit. The United States embargo against Cuba (called el bloqueo “the blockade” in Cuba) began on March 14, 1958.  On July 20, 2015, diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States were reestablished and it was time for me to journey to this beautiful island.

For my birthday, I was able to see Havana for the very first time. Cuba is the 94th country that I have visited! I flew from Mexico to Havana and stayed at Aby y Anisley’s which I found on AirBnB. In Cuba, you can stay in a casa particulares or a government approved bed and breakfast. The inside looked exactly like the photos, and my lovely hosts arranged for my airport transfer.

VIDEOWelcome to Cuba Oct 20 2016!

What to Explore: First Visit to CubaI had read that there was a 10% commission fee to exchange United States dollars so I brought Mexican pesos with me. At the suggestion of my driver, I did not exchange money at the airport. I wish I had. Actually, I found out I could have exchanged for Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC)  in Mexico. Next time I would change my money in Mexico or at the airport, as the line for the cadeca took nearly an hour. I met interesting people in line but it did take longer that I imagined.

After researching online I knew where I wanted to walk in Old Havana and visit the historic squares as well as the Museo de la Revolución. You do not need a guide to walk around and I speak enough Spanish that I felt very comfortable on my own. There was wi-fi at the hotels but only for their guests. I did buy a wi-fi card one night to check in but the card only worked in the square where I bought it. I have heard more internet access is on the way.

VIDEOCan You Sleep and Explore Alone in Havana?

I loved hearing music in the street in Cuba, I danced salsa on the Prado near sunset and went to hear live music at El Floridita which is famous for its daiquiri and being the spot where Ernest Hemingway hung out in Havana.

I thought about taking a tour of the city in a classic convertible for sunset but that did not happen on this trip. Next time I will go with a group of friends, this trip was about the diving. I hope you enjoy my videos from my Havana visit. See my next Cuba post for my videos from the incredible diving at the Jardines del Reina Archipelago or Gardens of the Queen.

VideoAre you ready to dance to the Music in the Streets of Havana?

What to see on your first visit to CUBA

See my underwater videos from Cuba:

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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