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The Cuban flag waving in the wind

Katie's Cuban Memories

By Jessica Whyte

Last updated: 15th July 2015

After returning from a recent, amazing trip to Cuba, I asked our Operations Manager Katie Penberthy to share some of her incredible memories of her time in this up-and-coming Caribbean destination…

Jess: Why did you want to visit Cuba?

Katie: There has been a lot of talk about Cuba recently, especially as the American government are now looking to create ties once again with this Caribbean nation. I wanted to get there ahead of the rush, while the country is still relatively unspoilt and retains its authentic character. So I thought I would head on over to Cuba to find out exactly what this fantastic country was all about – and I was not disappointed!

Jess: Had you been to Cuba before?

Katie: No, this trip was the first time I have ever headed to the Caribbean and I was so excited! I had also never been to a Spanish-speaking country before – I’d always tended to travel East – so this was a completely new experience for me.

Jess: What were you most looking forward to?

Katie: The warm weather, the beaches and salsa dancing – there’s not much of that going on in the UK right now! Luckily our Completely Cuba programme combines all of these things so it was the perfect choice for me! I spent a few days taking part in all the programme activities and it really gave me a flavour of what Cuba is all about.

Jess: Describe Cuba in five words

Katie: Friendly, hot, colourful, loud and fun!

Colourful street art on a wall in Cuba

Jess: What did you do during the weekdays?

Katie: I had group Spanish lessons every morning after breakfast with my Spanish teacher Pablito. The afternoons were varied. I either had a 1-hour salsa dance lesson with my sexy Cuban partner Felipe (!) or I set out to see the sights of Old Havana on one of the inclusive cultural walks around the city.

Jess: What about the weekends?

Katie: The weekends are completely free to do what you want! There’s a beautiful beach only half an hour away with gorgeous sands and sparkling water and on one of the weekends there is an inclusive 2-night trip to the rural country village of Vinales, which is an amazing place to try loads of exciting activities. Or you can head out on your own to explore – I took a trip to Trinidad and saw even more of Cuba.

A Cuban beach

Jess: What activities are included in the Completely Cuba programme?

Katie: There is so much included on our Completely Cuba trip and I got to sample most of these inclusive activities – Spanish lessons, salsa classes, walking tours, beach excursions and of course a weekend in Vinales!

Jess: What was the best thing about your trip to Cuba?

Katie: Experiencing the Caribbean/Spanish-speaking culture, which was a first for me.

Jess: Can you share your most magical memory of Cuba?

Katie: Travelling from Havana to Trinidad in a 1950’s classic car was a pretty unforgettable moment!

A Cuban streetfront with old buildings and a red classic car

Jess: Would you recommend taking a trip to Cuba?

Katie: Absolutely! Cuba is such a cool country and my advice would be to go there as soon as you can, before it gets spoiled by tourism – it’s a really special place.

Jess: Ok, I’m officially jealous – when can I go?!

Next, I ask Katie all about learning Spanish in Cuba; keep an eye out for our next Cuba chat, coming soon…

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