Spring Break is one of the most dynamic and exciting weeks during the Spring semester at USC. Not only are many friends relaxing and traveling together, but students get to see a huge variety of places and people during their trips.
For my Spring Break, two friends and I decided to go to Cuba to experience a different attitudes and perspectives while still being in a warm climate with great outdoor activities. To get to Cuba, our group drove to San Diego, crossed the border into the Tijuana Airport using the CBX (Cross Border Xpress), and then flew to Mexico City. From there, we caught our last flight into Havana.
On arrival into Havana, we dropped our luggage at our residency for part of the week, called a casa particulare. These are essentially local’s own homes that they rent out specific rooms in for a nightly charge. You can pay extra for them to give you home cooked meals as well.
Our time in Havana was very revealing of the different attitudes of the Cuban people, their strong nationalist views, and their pride. One of the most interesting sights was the Museo de Revolucion near Old Havana, which displays many artifacts from the Cuban Revolution. Beyond museums, Havana sports a great waterfront promenade (the Malecon), and also hole in the wall local restaurants (Cafeterias) that offer great food at dirt cheap prices. (For example, imagine a huge lunch portion of pork, rice, beans, and vegetables for one dollar).
After our group saw Havana for a few days, we ventured to Vinales, a mountainous town of about 8,000. There, we mountain biked to see the surrounding scenery, had a great dinner on a hillside, and also went horseback riding through sugar and coffee plantations.
Since the previous days were substantially tiring, we decided to use the next day (Wednesday) to relax during a travel day back to Havana. On Thursday, we headed out to an oceanside town, Trinidad.
Trinidad is an 1800s era colonial town, vibrant with history and visitors. We decided to rent mopeds and jet to the nearest beach, Playa Ancon. After our beach day, we headed back to our casa in Trinidad, stayed the night, and then returned to Havana. Finally, to conclude our trip, we saw the Fabrique de Artes Cubano on Saturday night in Havana, a warehouse art gallery exhibit and club. It was truly an amazing atmosphere and experience, and the art included in the gallery spoke to many of the pressing political and social issues that Cuba is currently encountering.
The next morning, we packed up our bags and headed home after an amazing Spring Break!