Sunday, April 22, 2007

Don't go to Santiago de Cuba

Posted: 16 Apr 2007

Don't go to Santiago de Cuba

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There're many great things about Cuba, not just the beaches or the landscapes, but also the people. I just came back from a 2 week trip. I visited Habana, Trinidad, Camagüey, Santiago de Cuba and Cayo Largo del Sur, so I think I got a pretty good idea about Cuba and Cubans. I stayed in private houses (casas particulares) and I am Spanish native speaker, so I had the chance to get to know many interesting things about Cuban life.
After this great experience, I wanted to post this message in this forum also to give my opinion about people in Santiago de Cuba. I got there by bus, and I suffered the harassment since the very begining.
In all the country, Cubans offer you different kinds of services: taxi, house, restaurant, horse riding, diving, fruit... all the time. You listen to them, say yes or not, thank you, and that's all. But in Santiago the Cuba there was a inhuman pressure over tourists, it's not enough to tell them that you don't need the service, they continue insisting, even touching you, trying to convince you. A lot of times, they lie about the service (they don't even have a taxi, they are just playing with you...), so I was cheated several times. I must say that it wasn't dangerous in any case, but they made me feel completely stupid, and forced me to be "in alert" all the time. I didn't want to be mean because i'm pretty easygoing and I like talking to people, I love the Cuban way of being, so I talked to many Cubans. Probably, that's the reason why they cheated me again and again in Santiago.
If you go with a tourist guide or choose a jinetero to "protect" you, you may not have the same experience as me, I guess.
For those of you who have already been to Santiago de Cuba, I'd love to know about your experience. Deep inside of me, I'd like to think that I was just not lucky.
For those of you who are planning to visit the country, I'd recommend to visit other places instead of Santiago, there are many great villages around.


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