Statue in Plaza del Carmen, Camaguey, Cuba

3 Ridiculous Stories From Travelling As a Woman in Cuba

I’ve always been fairly lucky as a a female traveller. I’ve rarely encountered hostility or harassment as a result of being a woman with the audacity to travel without a male chaperone, and while women shouldn’t have to feel grateful for being left alone to go about their business…that’s not the world we live in. So I have always appreciated my good fortune.

But in Cuba, things were a little different. For a start, there was the catcalling. This happened to varying degrees depending on which city we were in, but at its worst it seemed that every corner we turned there was a new shout, and we hated feeling forced to look at the ground, to pull our jackets across our chests and make ourselves smaller. But there were also the more subtle things – the men in bars who would not take a hint, the unsolicited advice, the slightly incredulous “So it’s just the two of you?” comments. It wasn’t the majority by a long shot, but more so than anywhere else I’ve been I encountered men (‘not all men!’) who just didn’t seem to want to believe that two adult women could travel around without any help. For the first time in my life, I felt like travelling was a feminist act.

If you’re still not convinced, let me tell you a few little stories about my experience as a woman backpacking in Cuba. Cringes guaranteed. Continue reading

Convent of St Francis of Assisi in Trinidad, Cuba

Two Weeks in Cuba: The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful

Way back in April, I jetted off to Cuba for a two-week adventure around a country that has been on my bucket list for years. With no solid plans in place beyond three nights of accommodation in Havana, one of my best travel buddies and I improvised our way around Cuba with no internet for a whole fortnight, staying in casa particulares arranged by our host in Havana and car sharing between towns in ancient collectivos (if you don’t know what either of those terms mean, check out my know-before-you-go guide to Cuba). Once we’d subtracted flying time we had thirteen full days to see as much as we could – this is how we chose to spend our time.

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Street in Havana, Cuba

The Know-Before-You-Go Guide to Cuba

When I was planning my trip to Cuba, I found that there was an infuriating lack of information available online. While I’m used to being able to find basic information about transport, visas and things to do on official websites, Cuba is annoyingly lacking in these and I ended up piecing together most of what I wanted to know from various blogs that often contradicted each other or were quite obviously out of date.

So I’ve put together my own ‘know before you go’ guide to let you know what I learned while planning my trip, and while living it! Cuba is chaotic and unpredictable and full of surprises, but we found that it was quite easy to get by once you’ve picked up a few key facts. Here are the important things you need to know…

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Kotor, Montenegro

My 2017 Travel Wishlist

Every year, I like to set myself a little list of travel goals. There are so many countries I want to go to, but I like lists and I find it fun at the end of each year to make a list of the places that are particularly on my mind for the coming one. I might not manage to actually get to them all – I only did two of my four wishlist destinations in 2016 – but when I don’t have any trips planned in it makes me feel better to at least put some ideas down and consider how my year in travel might look. So, here are the places I’d love to visit in 2017. Continue reading