Cuban Girls and Havana in Hindsight
Cuban girls are some of the most sexy I have seen when it comes to Latinas. They come in every color under the sun and I would gauge their median level of hotness as being above that of the Dominican Republic. They are sensual, affectionate, dress well (as well as they can), have style. There is just one problem….
Cuban girls are all whores.
At least, all the Cuban girls I encountered were whores, and trust me when I say this. I met a lot of them.
Without question, almost every one of them will ask for money, and if they don’t, you are very lucky or you have convinced them that they will get more money later and it’s in their interests to wait (I never did the latter as I feel it’s unethical, yeah me with ethics go figure)
Before I go on about the nature of Cuban girls, I should give an explanation about the situation I found myself in.
Prep for Cuba
Before going to Cuba I reached out to RVF member Lavidaloca. This guy spends months at a time in Cuba, and gave me all sorts of important intel, where to stay, where to go, even down to which night was best to go out etc. He gave me a useful website that had listings for “casa particulars” that was in Spanish and gave the area, amount of costs, and emails to contacts renting things out.
A “casa particular” is just a room or apartment that a person rents out. In hotels, it is against the law for Cuban girls to come back to your room, but in a casa particular it’s not an issue.
In addition to Lavidaloca’s advice, I contacted an American friend of mine who has been to Cuba multiple times and told me all sorts of cool activities to do like going Marlin fishing, scuba diving, etc.
I had also learned that when you exchange U.S. dollars you are automatically penalized 10% off the top. I had budgeted 100 dollars a day (16 days) plus I figured I might need some backup (400) and I was planning to bring $2000 with me. Losing 200 dollars for exchanging U.S. Dollars was not something I wanted to do. I decided I was too sly for that and went to a Bank in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and pulled out 2000 USD worth of Dominican Pesos. I would just exchange them there.
The trip seemed destined for success.
As an American, I was not allowed to fly from the States to Cuba and technically, going there is against U.S. Law. What most Americans do when they go there is fly to Cancun, and then on from Cancun to Havana.
Since I was buying a ticket from Santo Domingo, it was a non issue. Although I did have some reservations about putting my passport details in the Cubana Air website…
The cost was around 250 Dollars if memory serves for a one way ticket and maybe 2 weeks notice.
Upon arrival I encountered a hellish baggage claim scenario where a few different carousels were running and people who had landed hours before were still waiting on their bags.
When asking which carousel our bags would arrive on, we were told “Look at that carousel, and if they are not there, check the other ones”.
The trouble with that strategy was that they were all packed 3,4, and 5 people deep from the belt. All that and there were zero Cuban girls to at least ogle at.
When we finally got our bags I went over to a money exchange booth to get a few Cuban CuC (there are two currencies in Cuba, Money National and CuC, more on this confusing system later)
I walked up and tried to exchange my Dominican Pesos and the gentleman behind the counter was confused. “What are these”?
“I need to exchange them”.
“Oh, well we don’t accept them here”.
“Ok…Well where can I go to exchange them”?
Laughing he says “The Dominican Republic”.
Damn Damn Damn Dammit.
Just like that, I went from high roller with a decent bank roll to penniless degenerate.
On the whole Island of Cuba, no bank would accept Dominican Pesos.
Yes, I should have checked. Don’t worry, I said that to myself over and over.
After that interesting piece of news it was time to get some info. Generally what I have discovered as a good technique not to be ripped off by taxis, is to ask a nearby person with no money interests with the taxis in the airport what the rates are for different destinations within the city.
This prepares you when negotiating a rate so you don’t get nailed with a “Gringo tax”. Most tourists just ask “How much”? and pay whatever ridiculous price is told to them without any idea the real price.
We didn’t know where we were going in the city yet because, even though I asked THC several times to look through the online listings of Casa particulars (he speaks/reads Spanish and while I tried to read about the place, I just couldn’t do it), He never did and I gave up trying to get him to do it. So once again, we were inconvenienced unnecessarily because of general fuckupery.
We spoke to a lady about the true taxi rate for a bit and she let us know she had a friend who rented a casa particular (everyone has a “friend” for whatever you are looking for).
She called her friend and her friend assured her there was room for us.
And here is an important part of this system to remember, these people will ALWAYS say they have room, even when they don’t because once you show up, they will call another friend until they find someone with a room so they will get the commission.
We waited for a taxi for another excruciating amount of time. I had to take a piss so bad my back teeth were floating. When we finally got a guy, we had to share with two other backpacker dipshits from Canada.
These guys were dressed like they were going mountaineering and one of them was trying to regal the car with one of his “interesting” travel stories.
Why backpackers all fit this ridiculous cliche will never cease to annoy me. Are you going mountaineering? No. Is carrying a bag you have to take everything out of every time you need something and then repack it better than a suitcase with wheels? No.
Do you think I give a flying fuck about your hasty ride in a shitty pickup to the airport in whereverthefuck India?
No. I don’t. Please shut the fuck up so I can concentrate on not pissing myself every time we go over a bump.
By now you can figure out that the 1st place we go to didn’t have rooms, and even though we were literally blocks from where these two back packing idiots were staying, we had to pay as if it was just the two of us and could not share the fair (the only thing I figured these guys were good for).
So we finally made it to Luisa’s place. It was sort of like staying in the Twilight Zone, only with worse dreams. You can read about it in THC’s post here. There were two rooms and even though I had no money, I was of course stuck paying double what the other room cost. Why? Because fuck Fisto, that’s why.
Luisa was a very nice lady, and we took to calling her our Cuban Mom, but her place induced nightmares.
My only comment is that there was a life size Porcelain Boxer (the dog) that was really cool in the entryway. I have no idea how that thing was so intact and unscathed.
Now. I want to make something even more clear. All the advice, everything I was told from both my friend and Lavidaloca was not to stay in this area. But here we were.
I wasn’t happy about it but there wasn’t much I could do.
(Over the next 6 weeks I found myself beyond frustrated as I was saying over and over “yeah, this is what I said would happen, you guys don’t listen”.
Which of course was returned with “No you didn’t”. Even though I know damn well what I said. Moving on….)
And this is why I say all Cuban girls are whores. We were in the part of town where most tourists end up, and girls walking with guys just normally will be pimped out by there brothers if they see you looking at her.
It’s a pay for sex culture, even the Cuban guys are PAYING Cuban girls.
We never made it out of there. We only went one place that was on Lavidaloca’s list and even there it was girls openly wanting money for sex.
I don’t even want to get into the reasons why we stayed stuck in this area right now but if I had to do this trip over, here are a few things I would do differently.
Regrets and Observations (First the bad news)
1. Obviously I would lock down my money situation. It was impossible to get money into Cuba. As an American your ATM card is useless. There’s no wiring money in, there’s no paypal, nothing. You are stuck with what you bring in there. I had to rely on THC for money and he was near the end of his own money.
You do not want to be underfunded in Cuba. It is a fucking nightmare.
2. Don’t show up unless you have a decent level of Spanish. Most of the people there don’t have functional English. A few do here and there but when you really want to get something hard to find, if you don’t have functional Spanish, you are functionally fucked.
Spanish for girls. These chicks often know zero English, it would have been a lot smoother for me if my Spanish was better. It’s actually one of the reasons I ended my Central America tour. I want to return when I have better Spanish and don’t have to rely on anyone for help when I get stuck.
3. Money permitting, I was resigned to doing what my travel companions wanted, which made things very limited. Going to some of these night clubs and getting a table was something I wanted to do. That was impossible under those circumstance.
I also wanted to do the Marlin Fishing thing and perhaps scuba dive. That would have been nice I think. But again, zero money. So this regret is tied to the first but these are places I wish I had gone.
4. Cubans are all liars. I think it’s an escapism thing. They want so badly to connect with you, that they will say anything. The Cuban men are worse than the Cuban girls because they don’t have sex appeal to try and speak with you. I had numerous people see my cauliflower ear and tell me they were a national champion in Lucha Libre (freestyle wrestling) or Greco Romano (Greco Roman Wrestling). I trained with the Cuban National Team once, these dudes were animals and these others were dreaming if they thought I believed them. That’s just one example but there were 100s of the most outlandish lies I encountered when speaking to these people.
5. If someone approaches you asking for a light, be very wary. It’s a scam of some sort. The “do you have a light” opener never turned out well.
6. Money Nacional is what the Cubans use for their day to day expenses like eating and general buying and selling of goods (one peso is 10 cents USD). CuC is another currency they use (One CuC is one USD). They understand this can be confusing to people and will try and charge you one CuC when something is one Pesos in Money Nacional. Verify things are in CuC or Pesos when paying for things. Not everyone is constantly trying to rip you off, but many people are.
7. Watch out for scams when someone wants to sell you cigars from a friend or take you to a “Palador” (someone’s home they have turned into a restaurant. Kind of what a Casa Paticular is to a Hotel, a Palador is to an expensive restaurant)
8. There is no beef available. Castro declared that raising cattle in Cuba wasn’t a good idea, so any cattle are off limits. They are known as “Fidel’s cows”. Pork, Chicken, Fish, etc are in abundance, but no beef. Cubans are obsessed with getting beef.
9. We would hire a bicycle taxi to drive us around so we could check out the area and pick up chicks while drinking our favorite beer Casique. This was fun for a few days, but I was so sick of doing this routine that I usually ended up just staying in the nightmare room and listening to the Michelle Thomas method for Spanish
10. Getting online is expensive. You can get an ETECSA card for between 6-10 USD (or CuC) that will let you get online for an hour. The trouble of course begin that if the connection is shit, you’ll be waiting for 5 minutes so the page will load.
Now For the Good (Observations and Things Done Right)
1. Cubans are very friendly people and normally when someone just walks up to you and wants to talk, you should be wary. Not so in Cuba, many of them are so starved for information from the outside, they just want to know where you are from. You will see many Cubans wearing shirts with names of distant places.
2. Cubans love cakes! You will always see people carrying beautifully decorated cakes on a cardboard box in the street. They are delicious!
3. Cubans can make anything fucking work with nothing but spit and dental floss. These people keep shit running somehow and they have good work ethics. Not at all like Dominicans taking forever to look up from their phones.
4. Cubans LOVE Americans. When I would say I’m from the U.S. their eyes would light up. Especially the Cuban girls.
5. The Architecture is really awesome. All of these old buildings crumbling away, you feel like you’re in a city of ruins and everywhere you look is another cool old building.
6. Luisa’s son was a good kid. Obsessed with the UFC, he liked to talk about fighting and training for fighting. One day I went with him to train and totally thrashed him. It was fun but I felt bad for showing him the gulf that existed between where he was and where he wanted to be.
7. Food is cheap if you eat in a proper Palador (If one looks fancy and has a bunch of white people eating in it, it’s a rip off that some Cuban lured a dumbass gringo to for their commission). That’s one good thing about not having much money, I was forced to really integrate with the locals. I would spend about 4.50 USD on a huge Lobster Tail (Longaste de plancha) and a Chicken Leg (pollo en salsa) along with rice and vegetables. At these fake Paladors, you would be paying between 20 – 25 USD.
8. Cubans are helpful and don’t mind stopping whatever they are doing to be of assistance. If you want directions or want to know where a nearby palador is, don’t ask Cuban girls. They don’t know shit about their surroundings. Cuban men are who get’s things done, ask a man and he will tell you where you need to go. FYI, sometimes the Paladors where in well hidden places and you’d never know they were there unless someone showed you.
9. Cuba is safe from violent crime. When walking down the street, it looks like you could be mugged at any moment. Cuban men have aggressive body language and hang out in groups. You are perfectly fine at any hour.
10. While not so great for the Cuban people, the policia there will not fuck with you if you are a tourist. You have to do something really messed up for them to hassle you. 20Nation was giving us all sorts of warnings about being snatched off the street and harassed by them but it turned out to be completely untrue.
11. I got a few decent workouts in including one in a gym with cement weights and dirt floors.
12. Cuba Libres, Mojito’s and Casicque beer is delicious. They are in abundance and cheap.
If you go to Cuba, do it for the cultural experience. The place has been in a time capsule for 60 years or whatever. It’s interesting to see all these old cars and guys that dress like our grandfathers. I’m glad I went but I doubt I’ll go back anytime soon.
Do not go for the girls unless you have enough time to really get dialed into where the whores aren’t. Supposedly there are Cuban girls that aren’t hookers but I never saw any evidence of it.