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Staying Safe on a Trip to Cuba: Tips for Female Travelers

cuba dani trinidad

The first, and most important thing, you need to know as a solo female traveler to Cuba is that you can be perfectly safe there. Of course, you should exercise caution and plan your trip in advance for maximum safety. However, these rules apply no matter where you go. And the truth is that Cuba is a much safer place for solo female travelers than many other popular beach vacation destinations. Violent crime is pretty low in Cuba by default, and main streets of the cities are the safest place for a traveler.trinidad horse

4 Tips for Staying Safe for Solo Female Travelers in Cuba

1. Follow the people

This is a personal safety tip that can help any traveler regardless of where you go. You should always take the lead from the locals. See which street vendors have the longest line, take cues on how to dress, and generally pay attention to manners and interactions.

This tactic will not only help you avoid food poisoning, high risk areas and social faux pas, but also enable you to discover some places usually hidden from the tourists. While you are at it, you should also make friends with the locals as they can help guide you.

If possible, you should start making friends before you even arrive at Cuba. Meet people online so you come to the island already knowing someone who won’t let you get lost or fall prey to scammers.trinidad cuba

2. Get touristy entertainment from reputed sources

As the tourism industry is the main contributor to the Cuban economy, a great number of businesses on the island are oriented toward travelers. But not all of them are ‘official businesses’, and dealing with the ‘unofficial’ ones is a major risk. Therefore, if you are looking to enjoy some Cuban diving, or popular horse rides, or to take an old car tour in Havana, you should research the provider of said activity.

Airbnb Experiences are a great way for solo travelers in Cuba to meet other people. Make sure to read reviews beforehand, and print out all the details of the Experience you book before your trip, in case you won’t be able to access the internet while you’re there (this happened to me!).

If you book through a local Cuban company, check if business has a website and some independent reviews posted online. It’s true that the Cubans have yet to join the global digitalization, but reputed businesses have a solid online presence. If you book through Airbnb, you still support independent locals, by the way.

Ignore all offers coming from ‘personal guides’ who will throw themselves on you. While these people know the place and really can take you to some interesting attractions, they will require a hefty fee and you can’t be 100% sure that they are safe.Cuba solo female travelers

3. Be prepared for catcalls

While catcalling on the street is seen as rude and downright offensive in many Western cultures, in Cuba it’s a common thing – I already talked about this when I shared the most important things you should know before you visit Cuba. As a solo female traveler in Cuba, you will stand out and garner this kind of attention. This is a good example of cultural differences that one has to accept when traveling.

As it’s literally a part of the local culture, and Cuban women get those same catcalls and wolf-whistles you do, you shouldn’t take offense. In the majority of cases, this kind of behavior is harmless and you can ignore it completely.

However, if the people who first show those reactions to you start getting pushy, like following you or trying to get into your personal space, you should be prepared. Start with saying ‘no me moleste’ (don’t bother me). If that doesn’t work and you don’t have an opportunity to simply leave, take out your personal alarm or other personal defense tools you have on you and do your best to get to a populated street.Cuba solo female travel tips

4. Leave expensive jewelry at home

All tourists stand out in Cuba, so you’ll definitely attract attention, and this includes attention from pickpockets and other nasty individuals who prey on tourists. Avoid becoming a target by not wearing anything these people might be tempted to steal. This includes carrying your fancy smartphone in your hand.Cuba solo female traveler

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Enjoy the flavor of the Caribbean on a Cruise

Dream Beach

The Caribbean is one of the most popular and exciting cruising destinations in the world as it guarantees you cone of the best spectacles and experiences. You have an opportunity to choose between the Eastern and the Western circuits which are still the most dominant cruising circuits in the region.

The two circuits have a lot of similarities in terms of year-round temperatures, sea time, outstanding snorkeling and diving, and historic cultural landmarks. However, the Western circuit has a slight edge over the Eastern circuit in terms of attractions and activities. The following are some of the major reasons why one should consider a Caribbean cruise:

Multiple Excursions and Adventures

There are many instances when you feel that you do not have a sense of adventure, but cruising across the Caribbean can help you rediscover your sense of adventure. Each Caribbean port offers you a list of things to do including excursions to rediscover your adventurous nature. Example of such excursions and adventures include;

  • Zip-lining in the thick jungles of Antigua
  • Cave tubing in Belize
  • Swimming in Grand Cayman with stingrays
  • Exploration of the ancient Mayan ruins located in Cozumel
  • Relaxing under the waterfall in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
  • Shore excursions in New World plantation houses

tubing

The physical activities associated with such adventures promote optimal health by boosting your mood and energy levels.

The winter sun

A Caribbean cruise gives you an opportunity to enjoy the winter sun. This is a perfect opportunity for you to escape winter and go to the Caribbean to enjoy some natural light and absorb healthy sun. Natural sun helps your body to produce Vitamin D which is good for your mood and health.Being out at sea helps you calm down as you enjoy fresh ocean air. The Celebrity Caribbean cruise destinations are the most exciting for families that want to enjoy themselves on a small budget. Apart from the comfort, they also offer an all-inclusive entertainment and dining for families as they enjoy the amazing winter sun along the Western Caribbean coast.

Rejuvenating Spa Opportunities

A Caribbean cruise provides you with a perfect opportunity for rejuvenation as you refresh your body, spirit and mind. Examples of luxury spa treatments that are available on a Caribbean cruise include:

  • Soothing facials
  • Acupuncture treatments
  • Scrubs
  • Body wraps
  • Massages
  • Pedicure
  • Manicure
  • Salon services
  • On board workouts

You can pamper yourself onboard a Caribbean cruise as you take advantage of the many opportunities to look your best.

Convenient Home Ports

A Caribbean cruise in the western circuit is characterized by convenient home ports that are located along the Gulf Coast in the Southern parts of the Unites States. Passengers can embark in any of the ports to enjoy the Royal and Carnival Caribbean. Some of the notable home ports that are convenient for a Northern American winter travelers include

  • Miami in Florida
  • New Orleans in Louisiana
  • Mobile in Alabama
  • Houston in Texas
  • Galveston in Texas

In conclusion, a Caribbean cruise guarantees you an amazing experience if you are in need of adventure and exploration. Some of the major attractions include; convenient home ports, winter sun, ancient monuments, outstanding water sports. The Caribbean Islands are incomparable and it is a good idea to make plans for a cruise in the region.ajaccio yacht & cruiseship

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6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your St. Lucia Vacation

Sunset

If you’re looking for a great vacation spot in the Caribbean, check out St. Lucia. This popular destination offers beautiful beaches, lush rain forests, and favorable exchange rates. But before you head out the door, let’s look at some things to do before you visit.

Accommodation

The choice of places to stay includes everything from inexpensive motels to luxurious resorts. Choosing a hotel or Airbnb costs relatively little with single rooms beginning at $50 per night. But for those wanting pampering and relaxation, check out the Serenity at Coconut Bay hotel and resort. Included with the many amenities are suites with butler services. This adults-only resort also offers poolside attendants at all five of the pools, cabanas, and a water park for channeling your inner child.St. Lucia

Volcanoes and More

Long dormant but still exciting is Soufriere Volcano. This beautiful area features waterfalls, sulphur springs, geysers, mud baths, and nature trails. At Hummingbird Beach, let a local take you out on a speedboat instead of paying tourist prices for the official excursions. You’ll enjoy the ride and get the inside scoop on the island as well.Petit Piton, St Lucia

Rainforest Adventure

The Bois D’Orange Swamp and Boriel’s Pond areas are rainforests offering a splendid place for bird watching. Local species include the St. Lucian Parrot, the White Breasted Thrasher, and the St. Lucia Peewee. If you’re looking for adventure, try zip lining through the canopies of the rainforest. Visit the nearby Morne Fortune (or Hill of Good Luck) where you’ll see an old fortress began by the French and finished by the British during the 17th century.

Hiking the Trails

If hiking is something you enjoy, visit the trails of The Barre De L’isle Rain Forest including a steep climb up the Morne la Combe. The hike takes about three hours but it’s worth the view. For a special treat, stop at Diamond Falls. This 50-foot tall waterfall features water full of many different minerals and volcanic material giving it beautiful color.St. Lucia Pitons

History and Local Culture

See Castries, the capital of St. Lucia. It’s a wonderful place for learning the history of the island with historical sites like La Toc Battery, the Cathedral, and the Central Library. Stop by Castries Market, where friendly vendors like talking about their wares on Saturday morning. If you’re hungry, try the roadside stands for cheap and delicious food featuring beans, plantains, rice, sweet potatoes, and coconut along with pork, beef, chicken, or fish. There’s plenty of fruit for munching too. Enjoy a tasty meal for around $5 for lunch and $15 for dinner and avoid the pricey touristy restaurants.

Saving Tips

If you’re looking to save money, visit the many duty-free shops where designer goods, perfume, and jewelry come with huge discounts. Plus, travel during the off-season beginning in late April and running through October. Prices plummet about 30 percent during this time of year.Rodney Bay

No matter what your interests, there is something for everyone in this island paradise. Your best adventures come from taking in the nature and beauty of St. Lucia.

Photo Credit: All photos used via Flickr’s Creative Commons Licensing. (1) St Lucia by Michael Sean Terre7ta; (2) Petit Piton by Simon Phipps; (3) St Lucia Pitons by Pablo Marx; (4) Rodney Bay by Andrew.

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