Havana ~ The Highlights

Cuba is very popular at the moment, with restrictions being lifted in the near future for American tourists, travel articles the world over are urging us to visit the “real” Havana before its unique qualities disappear under the weight of the mighty American dollar. But how fast could this actually happen? Islanders seem to think this is gross misrepresenting the situation as nothing ever happens quickly in Cuba; probably due to a crumbling infrastructure and the sheer scale of improvements needed to renovate this once beautiful city to its former glory.

There is no doubt the place is amazing, charming and very special, the islanders seem so friendly, but some of the living conditions and levels of poverty that you witness can take your breath away. I was told that the main income of the island is already extremely focused on tourism, ( approx 1.2 million tourists in the last year), but there is still a long way to go for this semi-isolated island to be able to offer anything that approaches the luxurious standards that most of us expect these days…

Still an injection of cash could help raise living standards, but as always with commercial tourism – at what price to the islands cultural heritage? Overdevelopment can be as damaging as underinvestment. How this once staunchly Communist Island will cope with the imminent changes will be interesting to watch; not from just an economic viewpoint, but for those of us who have seen the “real” Cuba in all of its crumbling glory and uniqueness.

 

 

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