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Cuba - Life of a Digital Nomad | Work - Travel - Repeat

Cuba

Etymology

The name Cuba comes from the Taíno language. The exact meaning of the name is unclear but it may be translated either as ‘where fertile land is abundant’ (cubao), or ‘great place’ (coabana). Authors who believe that Christopher Columbus was Portuguese state that Cuba was named by Columbus for the town of Cuba in the district of Beja in Portugal. [wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Encuentro Social de Desarrolladores – An open meeting place for those interested in learning, making contacts, getting to know projects, finding opportunities in the Cuban technological / entrepreneurial sector. [meetup]

HackerNest Havana Tech Socials – HackerNest is an international nonprofit community movement focused on building supportive Silicon Valley like tech communities in every city – strengthening local tech ecosystems globally through unpretentious social events and hackathons. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Cuba Dating – Welcome to Cuba’s No. 1 online dating site that has some of the most exciting girls you can only touch once you are a member. Incredibly hot and sexy girls are just a click away on Cuba Dating Singles. Did you know that Cuban women are the sexiest in the world? We bring them to you. Are you single and looking for love in Cuba Island? [cuba.singles.dating]

Cuban Dolls – Meet cuba girl or a cuban lady in a cuba dating site for your beautiful cuban girl. Find a single cuba woman in a cuban personal of a cuba dating service to start dating cuban woman. [cuban dolls]

Date in Cuba – Our mission is to bring singles together. So we created Dateincuba to be a simple and easy way to meet and find a true connection. This site is mainly intended to promote the Cuban dating scene so will have the opportunity to find your special someone. [date in cuba]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Cuba People-to-People Walking Tour – Some places are worth the wait. On this special Cuba trip, learn firsthand about the enigmatic island nation as you enjoy a full week of meaningful interactions while exploring alongside the locals. Soak up culture and history. Experience music and dance. And savor every imaginable occasion to interact and connect with the Cuban people. [backroads]

Cuba Unbound – Cuba is an enigma, able to confound and intoxicate with its embodiment of colonial grandeur, revolutionary rigor, and Caribbean panache. Classic cars glide by on Havana streets. Salsa beats percolate through the night. Rum finds its way into many a glass. [cuba unbound]

Havana Free Walking Tour – We do a FREE tour around 2½ hours, inside the Old Havana exploring this irresistible city and its lifestyle. Havana City has no worlds to be described. The best way to know it, it’s walking through it to feel that unique experience. [facebook]

Old Havana Walking Tour – On this Group Havana City Walking Tour you will experience a city that has morphed its face over five centuries of architectural design. La Habana Vieja (old Havana) is a virtual time machine of methods and techniques. [havana tour company]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Dance in the street – Might seem crazy to us, but dancing down at the Callejon de Hemel is just a normal day in the life of a Cuban. Spontaneous live music is the norm and the pounding Afro-Cuban rumba is a hypnotic draw for passing tourists. Get sucked in to the raw Cuban culture and crack out those night club moves – you’ll soon get knocked down and shown how to do it properly by a friendly Cuban. [gap year]

Dress head to toe in Che Guevera gear – ‘I’m really having trouble finding a Che souvenir,’ said no one in Santa Clara, ever. This is the best place for some Che worshipping and where the most significant moment of the Revolution occurred – the battle that ended Batista’s rule in Cuba. [gap year]

Drink more Mojitos than you ever have – And make sure they contain the authentic Havana Club Rum for a true experience. Top places to enjoy a Mojito include the Hotel Nacional de Cuba – where the likes of Churchill, Al Capone, Sinatra, Ava Gardner and Nat King Cole supped the good stuff with a beautiful view of the harbour, the sea wall and the city – La Bodeguita del Medio and El Floridita. Although these venues are mostly for tourists now, as inflated prices and questionable quality has pushed the locals out. [gap year]

Explore the city in a classic 50’s car  Cruising around Havana in an open top 50’s relic would have to be the highlight of any trip to Cuba. It’s the way to take in the sights and think of yourself as just one of the locals. Coast along the atmospheric Malecon and take in the dilapidated yet beautiful colonial buildings. [gap year]

Hang out at the Christopher Columbus Cemetery – An odd suggestion I know, but the amount of work that’s gone into creating the Cemetario de Colon (as it’s known locally) makes it well worth a look. The eclectic mix of beautiful tombs make for incredible viewing. To get the most of the experience see if you can hire a guide to take you through the rich history of today’s inhabitants. [gap year]

Learn how to roll your own cigar – Of all the must dos in all the world, a cigar in Cuba is up there on the list – if only for the photographic evidence. The fine grade tobacco comes from the holdings in the nearby Cuban countryside. It’s then transported into Havana and into the factories, known as habanos, where Cuba’s most famous export is then rolled. [gap year]

Look at Havana through a convex lens – Check out Da Vinci’s Camera Obscura perched above the city. It’s a super cool convex lens that warps your view of the Havana streets, yet lets you view it all in one go too. He was recorded to have said: ‘Here the figures, here the colours, here all the images of every part of the universe are contracted to a point, what a point is so marvelous’. For only CUC2 you can while away an hour seeing the city change on the corner of Plaza Vieja, Havana. [gap year]

Party in Santiago de Cuba – As the second city to Havana, Santiago de Cuba can get overlooked, but the relaxed party atmosphere here is one all gappers will fall in love with. Cespedes Park is the centre of the action and is flanked by the beautiful Cathedral Church. The nearby Revolution Square is filled with history and also makes for some great photos. For day and evening parties check out the Tropicana Santiago and the Casa de la Trova. The morning after the night before is a great time to visit Turquino National Park and climb Cuba’s highest peak up into the Sierra Mastra Mountains. [gap year]

Pop round to Hemingway’s for a drink – Given that he died in 1961 you might have to get your own drink, but you can still go round and see his house as he left it. Hemingway’s white colonial Havana home has been preserved as Ernest last saw it for all tourists to see. Sadly, thanks to a number of theieving tourists the doors have been locked, but you can still have a nose through the windows of the Musea Hemingway finca vigia and imagine the great man sat at his typewriter penning The Old Man and the Sea, or For Whom the Bell Tolls. [gap year]

Watersports in Trinidad de Cuba – Some would say Trinidad was frozen in time. Whether that’s a plus or a minus, it definitely makes for an interesting visit. The preserved old palaces and colonial architecture create a fascinating atmosphere. Even more fascinating, for some, are the Caribbean beaches. [gap year]

Festivals

Festivals

Havana Carnaval – July – Until 1998, this Cuban festival was annually held in February, but has since been moved to July. Each neighbourhood organises their `comparsa’ (performing group), which is to perform in the parade and dance show. Each group practices their talent for months in advance, and the big day is always memorable with colourful costumes, energetic dances, lively music and plenty of fun! A vibrant gift to all the senses, the carnival also provides Cuba holiday makers with authentic culinary treats with roast pork, tamales and chicharritas all readily available to festival goers. Alongside the parade, visitors will also delight in the outdoor concerts, which showcase Cuba’s best bands over by the Melecon. [captivating cuba]

Havana Jazz Festival – February – The Havana Jazz festival is probably the most renowned of Cuba’s Jazz festivals held throughout the year. First started in 1978, the first few Havana jazz festivals attracted big name artists like Chucho Valdes, Dizzy Giullespie and Max Roach. Nowadays, with Valdes as the artistic director, Cuba’s main jazz festival has expanded to include all of Havana’s main concert halls, but still keeps the impromptu jazz spirit with unexpected street jams along the Malecon. [captivating cuba]

Remedios – December – If you are lucky enough to be spending Christmas in Cuba, be sure to pay this small village outside Santa Clara a visit on the 24th. This is the culmination of the Christmas festival – “Las Parrandas de Remedios”, which sees fireworks, a street party and friendly competition between the neighbourhoods of Son Salvador and El Carmen. A lesser known but heart-warming and unique Cuban festival. [captivating cuba]

Santiago de Cuba – July – While the partying in Havana is in full swing, holiday makers almost 620 miles away in Santiago de Cuba will also be enjoying the street party of a lifetime. The best days for this most famous of Cuba’s festivals are from the 24th to the 26th, where you will find a city that literally never sleeps! People gather in the streets partying all night long, waiting for the exciting annual performance at the Cuartel Moncada. Holiday makers will delight in the colourful and eclectic scenes, as they stroll along the famous Trocha Avenue lined with local food and drinks stance and punctuated by stages for bands to perform. This is one festival in Cuba not to be missed – a truly joyous celebration. [captivating cuba]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Bici-Taxi – Bici-taxis are big pedal-powered tricycles with a double seat behind the driver and are common in Havana, Camagüey, Holguín and a few other cities. In Havana they’ll insist on a CUC$1 minimum fare (Cubans pay five or 10 pesos). Some bici-taxistas ask ridiculous amounts. The fare should be clearly understood before you hop aboard. By law, bici-taxis aren’t allowed to take tourists (who are expected to use regular taxis), and they’re taking a risk by carrying foreigners. Bici-taxi rules are more lax in the provinces and you should be able to get one for five pesos. [lonely planet]

Boat – Some towns, such as Havana, Cienfuegos, Gibara and Santiago de Cuba, have local ferry services that charge in moneda nacional. [lonely planet]

Bus – Very crowded, very steamy, very challenging, very Cuban – guaguas (local buses) are useful in bigger cities. Buses work fixed routes, stopping at paradas (bus stops) that always have a line, even if it doesn’t look like it. You have to shout out ¿el último? to find out who was the last in line when you showed up as Cuban queues aren’t lines in the normal sense of the word. Instead, people just hang around in a disorganized fashion in the vicinity of the bus stop. [lonely planet]

Colectivo & Taxi – Colectivos are taxis running on fixed, long-distance routes, leaving when full. They are generally pre-1959 American cars that belch diesel fumes and can squash in at least three people across the front seat. State-owned taxis that charge in convertibles hang about bus stations and are faster and usually cheaper than the bus. [lonely planet]

Ferry – The most important ferry services for travelers are the catamaran from Surgidero de Batabanó to Nueva Gerona, Isla de la Juventud, and the passenger ferry from Havana to Regla and Casablanca. These ferries are generally safe, though in 1997 two hydrofoils crashed en route to Isla de la Juventud. In both 1994 and 2003, the Regla/Casablanca ferry was hijacked by Cubans trying to make their way to Florida. The 2003 incident involved tourists, so you can expect tight security. [lonely planet]

Hitchhiking – The transport crisis, culture of solidarity and low crime levels make Cuba a popular hitchhiking destination. Here, hitchhiking is more like ride-sharing, and it’s legally enforced. Traffic lights, railroad crossings and country crossroads are regular stops for people seeking rides. In the provinces and on the outskirts of Havana, the amarillos (official state-paid traffic supervisors, so-named for their mustard yellow uniforms) organize and prioritize ride seekers, and you’re welcome to jump in line. [lonely planet]

Horse Carriage – Many provincial cities have coches de caballo (horse carriages) that trot on fixed routes, often between train/bus stations and city centers. Prices in moneda nacional cost around one peso. [lonely planet]

Taxi – Car taxis are metered and cost CUC$1 to start and CUC$1 per kilometer in cities. Taxi drivers are in the habit of offering foreigners a flat, off-meter rate that usually works out very close to what you’ll pay with the meter. The difference is that with the meter, the money goes to the state to be divided up; without the meter it goes into the driver’s pocket. [lonely planet]

Truck – Camiones (trucks) are a cheap, fast way to travel within or between provinces. Every city has a provincial and municipal bus stop with camiones departures. They run on a (loose) schedule and you’ll need to take your place in line by asking for el último to your destination; you pay as you board. A truck from Santiago de Cuba to Guantánamo costs five pesos (CUC$0.20), while the same trip on a Víazul bus costs CUC$6. [lonely planet]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

CubanTech – This is a group for anyone interested in technologies, ranging from geek culture to business aspects of technology ventures and startups. We have started this meet-up to provide Cuban entrepreneurs with outreach and education on these subjects so as to help them succeed in growing their ventures. Look forward to meet with you in Havana, Cuba! [meetup]

Docker Cuba – Find other developers and engineers using Docker in Cuba. Docker is an open platform for developers and system administrators to build, deploy, and run distributed applications. [meetup]

Docker Havana – Meet other developers and ops engineers using Docker. Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship, and run distributed applications. Consisting of Docker Engine, a portable, lightweight runtime and packaging tool, and Docker Hub, a cloud service for sharing applications and automating workflows, Docker enables apps to be quickly assembled from components and eliminates the friction between development, QA, and production environments. [meetup]

Merchise Startup Circle – Merchise Startup Circle has been formed to help all those who are involved in the Cuban startup scene in any way. The goal is to create a regular meetup for anyone interested in startups, tech and entrepreneurship. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Your Expat Community in Cuba – ¡Hola! And welcome to our expat community in Cuba! InterNations is a community for expatriates around the world, so sit back, relax, and let our well-researched articles and member-driven forums guide you through everything you could possibly need to know about expat life in one of the most diverse corners of the globe. Your InterNations expat community can answer any questions you may have, such as “where should I live in Havana?” or “where are the hotspots in Santiago de Cuba?”. [internations]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Resources

Resources

Places in Cuba

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