August 13, 2010
Cuba. The beach. A resort hotel. At $75 a night, not a bad choice, especially when the package deal includes meals and drinks.
Then there is the frugal cyclist's alternative. A tent. Pitched not far from the resort hotel. Cost? Free.
Same view. Same ocean.
The difference? Flexible transportation.
Kat and I talked with folks who had been vacationing at the above resort for over 15 years. They had never been more than 5 miles beyond their tourist encampment. They flew into Havana and were bussed out to their vacation resort.
Their experience and views of Cuba were very different than ours. We used local currency. Ate local food. Stayed with locals (or camped near their homes).
I know for a fact that the beds at the resort were more comfortable than our sleeping pads. But I also know that we connected with the people and culture of Cuba in a more real, intense and visceral way than any package tour could ever provide.
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His latest book Travels with Willie: Adventure Cyclist will inspire you to hit the road and just might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.