Lately we are hearing a lot about experiential tourism and creative tourism as some of the most innovative trends in the tourism sector.
A new concept: Experiential Tourism
I would summarize the experiential tourism as the one where the tourist seeks a more intense and authentic contact with the destination inhabitants. In short, unique experiences that make you feel something special and arouse your emotions.
Creative tourism is basically a type of experiential tourism, because what a creative tourist is looking for is learning and interaction with locals and their idiosyncrasy through creative and artistic activities of all kinds.
This way of traveling is not something new, as emotions are a distinctive feature of people, and many of us, while travelin, seek getting to know about the local culture and people.
What touches our hearts and excites us is what we later remember best, right? Well, I said "many of us" and not all, because there are tourists who prefer to travel to Cuba to stay at a beach resort and not look beyond the seashore!
I can not say that it is a bad choice, as they say: different strokes for different folks.
You will, however, miss part of the essence of this colorful and beautiful island if you stick just to the crystalline blue of its ocean or to the almost white sand of its beaches.
What is relatively new in our era is the way tourists interact, thanks to the emergence of the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
Now we are much more informed, we use comments, experiences and recommendations from others. We are more demanding, much more autonomous when it comes to defining itineraries, and, in short, more authentic, and that is what many of us are looking for, authentic and unforgettable experiences.
Cuba: A place to live unique experiences.
So if you are one of those travelers looking for experiences, I can assure you that Cuba is the perfect place to travel alone, as a couple, as a family or as a group, due to its great human, cultural and natural wealth.
Cuba is known for its wonderful beaches of fine sand with turquoise waters, but the island also has a lush natural landscape that allows multiple activities of ecotourism, nature sports and navigation.
National parks, ecological and biosphere reserves, cave systems, coral reefs, incredible and amazing ecosystems with waterfalls and springs, mountain ranges, etc. Its flora and fauna are also worthy of observation.
But if there is something that Cuba can also take pride in, it is its culture: music, cinema, theater, salsa, Latin jazz, plastic arts, ballet, contemporary dance, etc.,
Culture in its varied disciplines spreads through the Island by means of textures, colors and sounds. The creativity of Cubans also begins to be reflected in their culinary creations.
If you add the human quality of its people, we have the perfect mix for Cuba to be the ideal experiential and creative tourism destination. Cuba is full of welcoming, friendly, cheerful people, full of smiles and optimism. Let yourself go and blend in. It will be the best memory you will take with you from the trip.
The experiences, better guided by professionals
But careful! From my experience I can tell you: traveling to Cuba without recommendation can become an irreversible mistake. The web is full of bad experiences of many tourists who have mischosen their destinations, transportation or accommodation.
Actually, the quality and services of hotels, restaurants and private homes of Cubans (a very interesting option as accommodation on the island) is often disappointing and does not stand for the high prices. So before traveling, get good advice !!
Here you have 10 experiences to live Cuba from the emotion:
1. Hiking or horse riding route with specialized guide, through the landscapes of extraordinary beauty of Viñales. You will visit tobacco plantations and dryers where local farmers will show you their way of life and the handmade production of tobacco. Lunch in Paradise, unique agroecological incredible farm.
2. Feel like Robinson Crusoe and enjoy a boat ride through the virgin, tiny and unknown Cayo Mégano to take starfish with your hands and cross the fantastic mangrove ecosystem. Meal between mangroves on the island based on seafood.
3. Get out of the usual and do a thematic mini-tour, for example: art, visiting private studios of Cuban artists and contemporary avant-garde spaces; or take a design route to know the latest trends on the island, or a photographic safari with the best views of the island, or simply a mojitos tour or a gastronomic tour.
4. Visit the “house-museum” of a babalao who will explain the variety and complexity of the Afro-Cuban religion and, if you get the chance, attend a ceremony of santeria, a snails roll, or find “Yabo” .
5. Visit El Nicho Natural Park accompanied by the Cocuiche Cuban family, in the Guanayara Park of Cienfuegos, a hidden place with dozens of waterfalls and natural ponds where the Cuban counter-revolution was forged. Have lunch at a country house, a rustic ranch of Creole food surrounded by extraordinary beauty.
6. Live with families that will open the doors of their houses and even accompany you in citytours, cook for you, take you to local parties, etc. and above all, they will talk with you, because Cubans are chatterboxes! Not all houses are in good conditions, so look carefully, beyond the 4 typical pictures you can see on the internet, because some may be authentic boutique hotels.
7. Visit Cafetal La Dionisia, an old coffee mill from 1820 in Matanzas, and immerse yourself in the history of slavery and coffee cultivation, while enjoying its exotic vegetation and fauna, as well as a horseback ride or a typical Cuban homemade food.
8. Sign up for a music, dance, crafts or cooking workshop. There are many interesting ones, depending on your hobbies.
9. Walk through the Valle de los Ingenios, a landscape forged for centuries by the cultivation of sugar cane. The starting point is La Casona, a beautiful restored 19th-century ranch located between the town of Trinidad and the Santa Rosa Valley, overlooking the countryside where you can enjoy birds, leafy mangroves and purebred horses.
10. Discover a unique eco-lodging, El Manantial, in Sierra del Escambray and Tope Collantes, and enjoy nature and its natural water pool. From there, you can visit the town of Trinidad and organize mountain activities.
Do you want to discover more unique experiences? Visit www.cubaunique.com
See you soon!!
By Bárbara Pérez García. Travel Experience Planner @ CubaUnique.