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Cuba - interesting article about the flood of tourists

In case you are considering a trip to Cuba, you might want to read the article in today's Wall Street Journal re: the flood of tourists (which, of course, we all knew would happen....who doesn't want to be first on their block to visit a new location? LOL). It seems almost every week I receive a mailer with some sort of new offering for Cuba.

What's interesting, though, is how (some) food supplies are becoming harder to get. I guess it's a mixed blessing to have so many curious Americans showing up to spend money!!

I know some of the regulars on this Forum were among the earliest to visit Cuba....good timing on your part!

Posted by
8293 posts

Well, I read the whole lengthy article and there are only two short paragraphs about the shortage of food and it didn't sound dire. It certain,y is nothing new and I doubt has anything to do with an "influx" of tourists. When we were there about 15 years ago our experience in restaurants was this: we were handed a lengthy menu, which included various dishes of beef, chicken, pork etc. and a variety of vegetables. In actuality only chicken was available and only one veg.

Our friends who were posted there at the time spent a good deal of their time driving around the countryside to find eggs, butter, fresh fruit, etc. One large grocery store we went to with them had empty shelves except for jars of pickles.

The situation is bound to change. In the meantime I hope you like chicken.

Posted by
2127 posts

Thanks for sharing your perspective from the experience you had in Cuba. Not many Americans would have the insight you do (for obvious reasons).

Posted by
4535 posts

Everything I have read has consistently stated that Cuba is not physically prepared for the eventual influx of tourists. The article touches on almost everyone of the reasons.

I'm heading to Cuba in January on a professional continuing education trip. I'm a pretty veteran traveler but am very glad that the trip is completely organized by someone else.

Posted by
98 posts

I've visited Cuba a few times first in 2000 around the time Elian Gonzalez was still in Florida and most recently three years ago over New Year.

I don't think the WSJ article is particularly fair but its ideological stance is somewhat to the right of Cuba's. In 2000 food for tourists was pretty dire as it was for everyone else on the island but in subsequent trips a tourist could eat well in both private and state owned establishments. I didn't travel independently being on small group tours but met plenty of British and other Europeans who had hired cars and made their own arrangements as far as accommodation was concerned.
I would have preferred to have more Spanish than I do but local people are friendly and interested.
One mistake would be to suppose that it is a cheap destination for tourists in the better known or "swanky" eateries.

It is the historical , musical and cultural resources of the island that make it so special. Havana itself has so much to see and lots to do which would make a holiday on its own as could Santiago de Cuba but its a big place and maybe a city or two plus beach might be best. Don't spend all or any of the holiday in all-inclusive resorts .