December 2011 – January 2012
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in any big city is always a lot of fun — for me, it’s always been San Francisco, or maybe Los Angeles… even Las Vegas. But for my first New Year’s Eve outside of the good ol’ U.S. of A. — how about Havana?!
This was a small trip — really almost an extended weekend — but it was a trip I’ve been dreaming of for a long time. After a couple of days in Miami and the beautiful Cayman Islands, it was finally time for Cuba. How I have always wanted to see this place first-hand. But more than see it, I wanted to experience it. As it turns out, the only way to legally see it as a U.S. Citizen, is to experience it. You’re not allowed to just hop on a plane, check into your resort hotel, and enjoy the beaches while drinking the essential daiquiri — you are forced to experience Cuba, understand the history, the culture, the lives of its citizens. Perfect.
While most people I know who have been to Cuba do so ‘under-the-radar’, and from a different country, taking care to leave no trace behind, I didn’t want to have to hide it — I wanted to bring back meaningful art, and music, and souvenirs (no cigars though, unfortunately!).
Among all the required people-to-people cultural activities, we of course saw all the most important sights of Havana including Hemingway’s hangouts, saw hundreds of old American cars driving past crumbling historic buildings, and even had free time to visit the pristine beaches in nearby Santa María del Mar.
The licensed tour company I found not only offered this great cultural itinerary, but also included a ticket to one of the most beautiful and elegant New Year’s Eve celebrations I could have imagined — incredible food, live performances, dancing, and first-class service, all set against the richly decorated and flood-lit 18th-century Plaza de la Catedral in Old Havana. Absolutely phenomenal.
|1||Tampa, United States||December 26, 2011||December 26, 2011|
|2||Fort Lauderdale, United States||December 26, 2011||December 26, 2011|
|3||Miami, United States||December 26, 2011||December 27, 2011|
|4||George Town, Cayman Islands||December 27, 2011||December 28, 2011|
|5||Miami, United States||December 28, 2011||December 29, 2011|
|6||Havana, Cuba||December 29, 2011||December 30, 2011|
|7||Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba||December 30, 2011||December 30, 2011|
|8||Havana, Cuba||December 30, 2011||January 1, 2012|
|9||Miami, United States||January 1, 2012||January 2, 2012|
|10||Homestead, United States||January 1, 2012||January 1, 2012|
|11||Everglades, United States||January 1, 2012||January 1, 2012|
|12||Miami, United States||January 1, 2012||January 2, 2012|
|13||Fort Myers, United States||January 2, 2012||January 2, 2012|
|14||St. Petersburg, United States||January 2, 2012||January 2, 2012|
|15||Tampa, United States||January 2, 2012||January 2, 2012|