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 is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 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. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.6 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.6 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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