I recently went to Cuba for the first time, and it stands as the most unique trip of my life thus far. As much as I prepared myself by chatting with Cuban friends and reading up on the country’s storied past, I still had a hard time swallowing the intensity of life in Cuba. It’s host to more conflicting opinions than many countries in the world, but one agreeable constant was the kindness and warmth I found in the Havana locals. Here’s how to see the transitional country differently when you go. 1. Make new friends in the plaza It’s easy to pass an afternoon in Plaza Vieja. There are restaurants lining the entire city square, and many local families gather while kids play in the cobbled streets. I met so many great people there, but the best encounter was meeting Yudel, the boy in the red in the picture above. We played catch one afternoon, and he became my shadow for the entire trip. I was able to meet his family, and hear more about their life and experience living in the city, further proving that connecting with locals is the best way to see Havana.
Want more? Check out our favorite spots in Cuba!
All photos by Michaela Trimble