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Santa Clara Cuba

By Steve Tiveron

Until four years ago the most I knew about Cuba was the Cuban missile crises, they spoke Spanish and Fidel Castro was there president. Since that first day my feet touched down on Cuban soil I have fallen in love with this place where until now time has stood still. Coming from a modern society to a land where every turn in the road is reminiscent of earlier times back home, instead of being small town Canada 1900's its Cuba 2005.

My partner and I vacation in Cuba and nowhere else for a few reasons even though our friends think we should try something different each time. I'm all for trying other places but when we go away we do so because we want to relax, some go for other reasons and that's ok too but for us quiet and the sound of the ocean is like a great big tranquility sound track except its surround sound and not just on the dresser beside the bed if you get my meaning. There is nothing better than laying on the beach where the only sound is ocean waves.

When we first decided to go to Cuba we had no idea where to go, I searched for a month or so until we decided on the Occidental Royal Hideaway or RHE as commonly known to us regulars. I have to tell you that I was a little concerned with the just over an hour bus trip from the airport but soon found out that its not just a bus ride but a wonderful visual experience to see the Cuban country side and how Cubans really live.

Yes, we were on our way to a resort Hotel out side of the day to day lives of regular Cubans but we were so intrigued with what we saw on our way to the RHE that we made it our mission to take one day of our vacation to travel outside the walls of the Hotel and visit the real Cuba and take in it's culture,history and hospitality.

Since that first day four years ago landing in Santa Clara we have re visited three times a year and each time have taken that one day to travel to different destinations. Our first was Santa Clara, then Remedios, Trinidad, and last trip we took an hour plane ride to Havana for the day. One of our favourite day tips was renting a taxi for the day and traveling to Remedios with some friends. I realize that we could immerse ourselves more into the day to day Cuban life if we stay at a Casa Particular and hopefully one day we will, but for now we enjoy the relaxation of the resort with the ability to travel around Cuba when and where we decide.

The Cuban people are wonderful people, they have little but give a lot, they are so hospitable and friendly even though they lack much. One thing that they do not lack that we in our fast moving lives seem to be loosing is the family spirit and finding joy in even the littlest things. Cubans are a very proud people who live in what we may call a third world Country except they are highly educated and have one of the best medical systems in the world.

We continue to travel to Cuba and to the Santa Clara area because it feels familiar to use and because we are made to feel welcome each time we go back. Everyone has a different story about Cuba and their experiences, some good some bad but one thing you can count on is this wonderful and magical place stuck in a simpler time with it's people willing to share its hidden gems and wonderful spaces.

So if you want to visit a place that is not crime ridden, where the people are happy you came and a land where you feel like Christopher Columbus exploring a new world for the first time you will want to travel to Cuba and even if you stay in a Resort Hotel you can take a day to immerse yourself in the real culture of Cuba.

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