How Meeting Locals in Havana Cuba Saved my Day!

Another day in Havana and even more new things learned. I packed up from my casa and set forth for the omnibus station to try to purchase my boat ticket to the Isla de la Juventud where I plan to go at the end of my trip, again. I say again, since I was there for 2 hours the day previous, but then, classic, couldn’t buy anything (I also got stuck in torrential rain, read that blog about Getting Lost in Havana!

Locals in Cuba are Amazing!

The lady then told me to come back “tomorrow morning”, but alas did not tell me I wouldn’t be able to buy a ticket today either since they only sell tickets ten days in advance of travel and I’m a startling 13 days prior. Mmmmhmmmm. Literally the first time in my life I have been an early bloomer.

Che lives in Havana Cuba interacting with locals in cuba

Old Havana, Cuba havana cuba travel blog for solo travelHow did I understand all of this nuance, en Espangol, and not just end up crying in to my cervesa? Well, since you ask, I was standing there in front of the ticket booth, very patiently waiting, when an older woman carrying a MEC backpack and wearing shorts of the World Masters Games in Edmonton walked up.

Taking a wild leap and assuming she was from Alberta and spoke English, I said hey. Marie and I start chatting about how confusing all of the Cuba travel logistics are, when the previously Spanish speaking younger gentleman, ahem, who had been standing in front of me the whole time, turned and asked, in English, if we wanted him to help translate with the ticket sales guy. I could not say “OBVIOUSLY!” fast enough.

Had I already checked this guy out? Again, OBVIOUSLY! I’m only a human woman. Report card was very favourable.

Old Havana, Cuba frustrations travelling in cuba travel blog for solo femalesSo now my newest favourite friend became the spokesperson for two Canadian female strangers, lucky dude. He did introduce himself, but me being a numbskull didn’t really hear his name, and then later it was just too late. I shall call him Javier.

Javier purchases his ticket, and then tells the guy what it is the two Canadian muchachas need.

To both my request and Marie’s request there are subtle yet definitive lateral head shakes. Marie’s day is sold out and me, well I am just so organized for once that I can’t be handled. Awesome. More than ten days ahead? Get outta here!!! After a small amount of grovelling, and an un-decorous amount of eyelash batting, the head shaker was not to be cajoled.

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Old Havana, Cuba is cuba safe for female travellers

So, not being totally sure how to proceed on that front, I gave up for the day since I needed to head to my bus out of Havana to Trinidad, a city about 5 hours away. I didn’t really want to take a taxi from one station to the next, as I am frightfully thrifty about cabs when I could just walk it myself.

My new best friend though was sceptical, “It is, very…very far”. Well I had three hours, I figured I could make it! “No, I think not”. Especially since I didn’t actually know where the station was…Taking the middle ground, Javier and I hopped a city bus together and rode that for, I will admit, a pretty long time.

Then we got off the bus and still walked for at least 20 minutes. He was probably correct about the distance, I’ll give him that. Havana looks a lot smaller on the map!

15 minutes into the voyage, I asked him if he was going to kill me, he said no, that he did not know how to do that kind of thing. Oh good! It was broad day light in a pedestrian heavy Havana suburb, what could go wrong!

Cute guys are never murderers right?

Old Havana, Cuba meeting locals in cuba travel blog about local people help from locals in cuba

Once getting to the Havana bus station, Javier left me to my own devices, though he seemed pretty sceptical of said devices. I think he was tempted to write “If found, please call ###” on the inside of my jacket.

I got checked in for my bus, and then stood in a half hour line up and bought every single other bus ticket that I am going to need for the rest of my trip (these buses sell out early, so I’m finally, for once, committing to an itinerary, I know scary stuff). I had it all written on a paper where and when I wanted to go and the lady who helped me was a true champ, though I’m sure the people waiting behind me were lightly choked.

And then Another Local Saves My Day!

Upon arriving in Trinidad, in the dark unfortunately, I undertook the next quest of the day, finding a bed. I had not booked a place, not thinking straight and not taking into account the time of day, so I took off and starting walking the streets asking people with the tell tale blue stickers that signify that they are a casa particular, if they had a room available.

I asked one kindly woman, who did not have one, but she invited me in and she called around to seemingly the entire town. In the meantime, I played with her three month puppy. Eventually, Kindly Lady found me a place for my three nights and about 15 minutes of puppy play later a cyclo chariot arrived and took me to a soft bed and a warm shower. To read about my time in Trinidad, click [intlink id=”1313″ type=”post”]HERE[/intlink]

The day was truly one of me being insanely unorganized and local Cubans being absolute saints.

Havana Cuba is full of helpful people, who totally saved my life on this poorly planned day as an independent tourist! And I met a super cute guy! Ola!Travel Blog from Cuba – My Take!

I spoke French this morning! It was actually ok too, better than my Spanish anyways. Thanks Havana!

My ankles are slightly swollen with all the walking and standing in queues, yikes.

In my last blog I had said I would go online and book all of my buses, but alas, the Viazul bus line website, on which to reserve and purchase bus tickets to travel the country of Cuba, does not work within the country of Cuba. Go figure. Hence me bogartting a ticket salesperson at the Havana station for 15 minutes.

Old Havana, Cuba places to visit in havana travel blog about cuba

If you liked this post, you may also like: Havana Nights – Getting Lost in Cuba’s Capitol

Avocados are immense here. Like, honestly, the size of a baby’s head. Granted the pit is also pretty huge, but still!

Old Havana, Cuba being a tourist in cuba travel blog for solo womenCubans are super friendly and helpful, and in some cases really cute. If you’re coming to Cuba in high season, aka January, book transport and accommodation from home, in advance. 

Edit: Cute Javier’s name is actually Julio. I know this because we are now Facebook friends. Thank you Mark Zuckerberg, social networking is the greatest!

Old Havana, Cuba travel blog is cuba safe for women solo travellers?

3 thoughts on “How Meeting Locals in Havana Cuba Saved my Day!

  1. I’m excited to read about your Trinidad travels! I loved it there! I’m also hoping you got to visit Santa Clara. It’s beautiful!


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      Knobby!!!, i didn’t know you were in Cuba! Loved Trinidad too, really I’m a sucker for bands and mojitos!

  2. Catalina Baldwin

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    You should check out the plantation town of Banes and, also, Macabi, Cuba. An American company, United Fruit and Sugar Company, had a large sugar plantation there. It’s not too far from Castro’s family home. Places like this are “the real Cuba”. I know because I was born there and lived there as a child. My father worked on the plantation and at the sugar mill for the company. I believe Castro’s father also worked on this plantation for this company years before my father did. Then, I was told that Fidel’s father owned his own sugar plantation. Many Americans lived and worked in Banes, Macabi, and also, Preston, Cuba for many, many years before the revolution.

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