10 Experiences When Interacting With The Cuban People
It is common when you are planning a trip to have some expectations about climate, nature, architecture and culture of the new places that we are going to visit during the holidays. For years it has been a trend that interaction with locals is prioritized as one of the main added values of certain destinations, among which is, without a doubt, Cuba. So … what exactly should we expect from people to people interaction. Below we analyze 10 main aspects that you will surely notice when interacting with the population of the island.
1. Always a smile
Cubans are gentle, friendly and hospitable people. It is part of the culture and formal education in the country to welcome visitors with kindness, to make them feel at home. This is one of the main characteristics that stand out the moment you arrive in Cuba.
2. Cubans are overprotective
After five minutes of conversation with any Cuban you automatically become a friend of the house, after knowing you for two days you are a family member. This means that, even without asking, you will be adviced about the street you should or should not walk on, what to eat, where to do it and where to go. This can be interpreted as meddling, but don’t be alarmed, they are just looking out for you.
3. Invasion of interpersonal space
One of the main characteristics of Cubans is proximity. In Cuba it is not considered rude to be too close to each other, even if you are a stranger, so do not be too alarmed if someone suddenly gets too close.
4. Excessive gesturing
Many say that our language is very rich, but Cubans have multiplied it by a hundred using extraverbal communication. It will not be necessary to speak Spanish to understand more than half of the things that a Cuban has to say to you, just paying attention, you will surely find funny the incredible amount of movements we make when speaking.
5. No conversation lasts as long as expected
It is proven, we are very sociable and extremely talkative; we have opinions about everything and we are not afraid to let you know. Cubans are very outgoing, so many times what starts out as a simple greeting with a stranger ends up being a conversation lasting an hour and a half, which can range from global warming to health advice.
6. Highly qualified people
The fact that education is free in Cuba has given many the opportunity to study university degrees. After the 90s crisis and the opening of the island to international tourism, many professionals stopped practicing and went to work in tourist facilities . For this reason perfectly your bar tender is an engineer and your taxi driver a doctor.
The objective of interacting with the people is to know how their day to day works. The moment you start to obtain information about how most Cubans live and how things work on the island, you will realize the particularity of the Cuban reality; so don’t be surprised if you end up having a lot more questions, just do not be judgmental, enjoy your stay and try to be positive.
In Cuba there are many shortcomings, so do not take anything for granted, as soon as you go out you will realize that we are simple people and that we live with the basics. Of course, if you are planning your vacation on the island, think carefully about what you consider necessary because when you go to the local shops you may miss more than one thing. To be more prepared, we recommend reading our article ¨24 Cuba Travel Tips You Should Know Before Going¨.
9. Technological Detox
When you arrive on the island, you will immediately notice the low levels of technology with which we Cubans live, although lately there are many who have mobile phones and internet connection, do not expect it to be up to what you are used to. If you need internet connection, probably will be better for you to use the prepaid cards for the Wi-Fi connection, or to buy a temporary SIM card for tourists.
10. Cuba is a safe destination
During your stay you are going to be able to go out almost at any time without taking great risks. Here it is not common for violent acts or bloody crimes to exist. In fact, one of the most widespread criteria among those who have visited us is that Cuba is a safe destination; Although it is never good to be overconfident, because bad people exist anywhere and you cannot go around without taking basic precautions.
Although many will tell you that the best way to check if all this is true will be by staying in a Hostel or a Casa Particular, you do not have to give up the comforts of a hotel. You will always have the alternative of go out to discover the surroundings or to do some tours. Of course, if you want to say that you have known Cuba, we do not recommend you to stay drinking Cuban Coctails in the pool or sunbathing on the beach. To know Cuba you have to know its people.
Thank you for the great information! So, do US citizens need to pay the entry fee? I’ve seen that you do and that you don’t. Also, do US tourists need to apply for the general license to visit? Is that the same as a travel visa?