Cuba is an addicting and fascinating destination. My trip there last July thoroughly blew my mind and ingratiated my soul to this beautiful and passionate country. The people, the music, the fishing, and the incredible state of change and sense of immense possibility made for an exhilarating atmosphere and an incredible travel experience.
With the recent changes in decades old rules more and more Americans are traveling to this forsaken island nation in the Caribbean. I visited the country mainly for the fishing possibilities but quickly realized that aside from amazing fishing there is so much to offer those open-minded travelers with a sense of adventure.
The Cuban backcountry is a well preserved, expansive and pristine environment. Regardless of what you may think about Cuba or Fidel Castro, it's impressive how well the regime has managed to take care of its natural resources. With large expansed of strictly protected marine reserves and highly regulated commercial fishing practices, incredible opportunities await the adventurous fly angler.
It's an amazing experience to catch large, plentiful and tasty specimens like the above mutton snapper when in so many other places across the Caribbean, these species have been over-harvested and are now seldom seen. The remote saltwater environs of Cuba still harbor great populations of highly sought-after and tasty species like mutton snapper and large cubera.
Yes, shooting pictures of old American cars in Havana is certainly a cliche' and not exactly an original idea. However, it is literally impossible not to shoot these relics as they inhabit nearly every corner of the city. These cars are so much more than a mode of transportation in Cuba, but important family heirlooms, prideful symbols of their owners individuality, business tools and loving icons of a bygone era. It's apparent from the moment you step foot in Havana how important these autos are to the culture and heartbeat of the city. Yes, it may be a cliche' but the scene is also just so damned charming in every way, I defy you to go to Havana and not love every minute of shooting these classic beauties.
Havana's energy is infectious. The music, the heat, the spice, the sweat and the passion of this place echoes throughout every corner of the city. Beautiful and ornate colonial architecture blends with crumbling splashes of Art Deco and Stalinist heft. Buzzing brass, people dancing in the streets, loving embraces and copious amounts of unabashed PDA (public displays of affection) on the famous Malecón Esplanade make Havana easily lovable.
The mighty struggle Cubans have undergone and the grueling 50-plus year history of the embargo are evident everywhere you look. Yet somehow in the face of endless crumbling streets, failing buildings and dismal infrastructure, this rebellious island and its spirited locals thrive with what they have and are masters at taking what comes and making the best of it. In talking with forward thinking young people, there is immense hope in the improving relations with the U.S. The promise of increased freedoms, the Internet, Coca-cola and private business opportunities is very real.
If you're interested in seeing Cuba before the rise of capitalism, cruise ships and mega-advertising, the time is now. It's clear that things have been changing for quite some time and more change is on the way every day. The relationship between the U.S. and Cuba has never been better and it's anyone's guess how the country will change with the pressing reality of American tourism and capitalism pounding on the front door. The beauty of this place lies in its time capsuled history, its resilient and proud people and the incredible expanses of pristine wilderness.
I was thoroughly captivated by this land, its people and its wild places. The more I dream about Cuba the more I can't wait to get back.