Why is Cuba Your Next Girl’s Trip?

And why is it better than Vegas??  Don’t get me wrong ~ I love Vegas.  The clubs, the DJ’s, the gambling, the inevitable drama that ensues…it’s all great.  But sometimes it’s just too much.  And here’s the problem with Vegas lately: I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but its gotten really freaking expensive!  Let’s take a quick look at the cost of my last Vegas trip, so we can compare prices with Cuba later:

Last Vegas Trip...By the Numbers:
  • (Shitty) Table at XS Night Club (split between 10 people) = $2,500
  • ONE drink at MGM Grand Pool during daytime Tiesto set = $40!!??!!  (I’m still in shock).
  • Hotel Room at Cosmopolitan = $495
  • Average Meals = $15-35+ per person

I still can’t get over that $40 drink ~ my insides cry every time I think about it.  Even for Vegas, I found this shocking.  It seems that Vegas is trying to price out the average, run-of-the-mill, middle-class American.  And we were on a girl’s trip!  Imagine how guys feel ~ it’s even worse for them!

Vegas Girl's Trip

Vegas: I love you. But can you please not be so expensive?!

Enter: CUBA.  

I know what you’re thinking: “Cuba is too hard to get to!”  Ummmm…not really, this is 2017, people!  Three of my friends and I just returned from Cuba ~ here’s how we got there: I flew to Cuba from Cancun, Mexico (quick, one-hour flight) ~ my friends flew in from Miami.  I flew with Interjet; them with American Airlines.  Other than paying for visas ($20 from Mexico, $100 from the United States), Cuba was no harder to enter than any other country.

So now, let’s get a side-by-side comparison with my Vegas trip to compare costs ~ and then we’ll get to the fun stuff : )

Cuba Trip, By the Numbers: 

Cuba Trip...By the Numbers:
  • Beautiful 2BR, 2BA Airbnb in Central Havana = $75/night ($25/per person)
  • Average Drink Cost = $2-4 ($2 for beer, $4 for cocktails)
  • Average Night Club Entrance Fee = $3-10
  • Average Cost of Meal = Under $10
  • Cab Rides = Negotiable ~ the nicer the car, the more expensive (30-minute ride in vintage car cost us $10)

In seven days, in Cuba, I spent less than $350 in cash.  And you CANNOT use credit cards in Cuba if you’re American ~ so that’s how much I spent, minus our prepaid Airbnb nights.  I could spend $350 in Vegas in ONE HOUR without even trying!

Okay, so you get the picture: Cuba is ridiculously cheaper than Vegas.  But why else would someone want to go to Cuba?  And why is it an especially great destination for a girl’s trip?

Answer: The Men.  

Cuba Girl's Trip, Cuba Travel

Do you want him driving you around town in a beautiful red convertible? That’s what I thought.

And the culture.  And the cars.  But mostly ~ it’s the men.

Why are Men in Cuba So Special?

Let me give you an example.  There’s a waterfront nightclub in Havana called 1830 ~ a great place to salsa dance pretty much any night of the week.  And here’s what it looks like on a Tuesday: the place is packed, everyone’s on their feet, men ask you to dance with zero hesitation (they’re confident in Cuba) ~ and they dance so well, with so much passion and intensity ~ you’ll be wondering what the hell you’ve been doing with all your free time (Netflix?!) and why you can barely keep up with them.  You feel like a girl again.

And you want to know the best part?  NO ONE is on their phone.  Wi-Fi is shitty in Cuba, so it actually forces people to be in the moment.  In this day and age, that is nothing short of a revelation.

Contrast this with a Vegas EDM show.  Everyone’s got their cell phones out: they’re Snap-Chatting, taking selfies, posting to Instagram, swiping right, texting, looking up Trip Advisor reviews (hard to believe, but I’ve seen it)….you name it.  In the States, we love our phones and apps and YouTube videos and you name it.  We love being…DISTRACTED.

And what’s the problem with that?  What price are we paying, in the States, for our near-addiction to technology?

When you go to Cuba, the answer will caress your lips, whisper softly in your ear, then smack you in the face with full-frontal clarity: we’re missing the human connection.  We’re striving for connection via our phones.  Meanwhile, when we actually encounter connections in real life, a lot of us don’t know what the hell to do.

Because we’re afraid of the intimacy of the moment.

Girl's Trip, Salsa Lessons Cuba, Havana

Why do you have to be so damn sexy?!

Not so in Cuba.  In Cuba, if you are a woman, you will FEEL like a woman when you walk down the street.  Men will really LOOK at you. Yes, you will hear some catcalls.  But for the most part, my friends and I agreed: there was a different quality to the men’s attention in Cuba ~ different from anywhere else we’ve traveled.

Here’s the best way I can explain it: imagine how much time the men in Cuba have spent to restore and keep their beautiful, old cars running ~ often in near-perfect condition.  That requires love, care, and attention.  Contrast that to the States where, when things stop working ~ we simply throw them out.  Whether it’s cars, appliances, or phones ~ why fix the old one?  We can find a newer, better, cheaper one more easily, can’t we?

But this disposable attitude has, in some ways, transferred to our attitudes toward people as well.  What is Tinder, after all?  Don’t like that person?  No problem!  Swipe left and move on.  There’s always someone new to be viewed with a simple swipe.  Technology has made it ever easier for us to “dispose” of people ~ and quickly, without hassle.

Now, I don’t know if Tinder exists in Cuba.  As slow as their Wi-Fi is, I’m guessing the answer is no.  But even if it did, the disposable mindset that comes with it doesn’t seem to have permeated their culture yet.  They savor things.  From the sway of a woman’s hips as she walks down the street to the gleam of a Cadillac’s polished cherry hood: attention is paid.  It’s not as easy for Cubans to dispose of things as it us for us.  Therefore, they must care for what they have.  And when you are a woman, held in the arms or the gaze of a Cuban man, you feel this.

Cuba Girl's Trip

In the arms of a Cuban man…

Why Cuba is Your Next Girl’s Trip

It didn’t matter if the men in Cuba were young or old.  Most exuded something we couldn’t quite name….a supreme confidence, a protectiveness, and perhaps above all: the sense that they were a MAN.  Which then of course made us feel like, WOMEN.

Oddly enough, this isn’t always the case in the States.  Particularly in Vegas, where the general vibe of men, particularly those in bachelor party “wolf-packs,” leans more towards douche than gentleman.  (Sorry, guys: I love you, but in Vegas ~ you tend to forget your manners…)  Even if a guy’s not being a douche, in general, I think American men like to appear that they don’t care all that much.  They can take it or leave it.  This concept perfectly melds with the Tinder mentality.  The American male, I believe, has somehow come to equate not caring, with being masculine.

But the irony is: the men in Cuba DO care, so much, about cars, and music, and women.  And how does that feel, to a woman?  To us, it felt like the essence of masculinity.  Because the essence of masculinity, is focused, unwavering, attention.  That, is true power.

And it’s about a thousand times more powerful than being distracted.  Or pretending not to care.

What you will discover while you’re in Cuba, as a woman ~ is the remembrance of how good it feels to simply be a woman.  Because part of the problem in the States lies with us, too.  More and more, us ladies are leaning towards our masculine sides.  We, too, can easily dispose of things, and relationships.  We are independent.  We make our own money.  We don’t “need” men anymore, at least, not in the ways women used to need men.  Most of my female friends in Portland, in fact, make more money than their husbands.

How far we’ve come.

And yet, Cuba reminded us of that one, simple thing: that it feels pretty fucking great to be a woman.  And that it takes the contrast of a true man to make us feel that way.

Cuba Travel, Havana, Girl's Trip

This is how Cuba made me feel: like a damn WOMAN.

And all of that feels about a million times better than being distracted.

Because it reminds us who we are.  We were never intended to be disposable.  We weren’t designed to be hand maidens to technology, nor beholden to it.  We aren’t robots…yet.

We are, after all, and above all else: human.  And we, my fellow sisters and I, are women.  Glorious, red-blooded, fully-realized, intricate, strong, ripe with sensuality and wonder, and wondrously complicated…WOMEN.  In an increasingly technical, hyper politically-correct, homogenized, sterilized world, filled with strip centers and all sorts of modern “progress” ~ we don’t always feel this way.

But Cuba made us feel that way.

Thank You, Cuba

Noelle Bertram is a former fitness coach & restaurant owner who travels full-time now & writes all about it. Catch up with her on Instagram or @ her website about being the ultimate, fearless travel girl: GirlWhoTravelstheWorld.com!
Travel Insurance, World Nomads, Girl Who Travels the World

Why I Use World Nomads

Whenever I travel ~ especially if I’m traveling solo, I always get travel insurance.  It gives me the peace of mind to go out and have all kinds of adventures, because I know someone’s got my back.  Who do I use? World Nomads. They cover you whether you’re sky-diving, spelunking, or cave-diving.  And they even cover travel to Cuba: they’re not your average insurance company.

Read more about travel insurance here.

And Happy Travels!

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