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Our Travels to Placetas Cuba

Our Travels to Placetas Cuba

After driving four hours from Havana we arrived in the town of Placeta Cuba.  Placetas is where all my family lives and that’s where we decided to spend the majority of our trip.

As soon as you get into the town of Placetas you see all the different means of transportation that they use to get around.   Anything and everything is used as long as it moves.   The streets are filled with people on bikes, cars, tractors, and horse-drawn carriages.    Most of the buildings have aged and are falling apart from the lack of repairs.

 

Bridge into Placetas, Cuba
Bridge into Placetas Cuba
Placetas, Cuba
Streets of Placetas, Cuba filled with people on bikes, cars, tractors, and horse-drawn carriages.
Building in Placetas, Cuba
Building in Placetas, Cuba
Streets of Placetas, Cuba
Streets of Placetas, Cuba

 

We spend two hours sorting thru all the clothes, medicines, household supplies that we bought from home and distributed to five households.  Did I mention that I  have twenty-one cousins that still live in Cuba.   One by one they came over to greet us and to take their bags of goodies home.

 

My Cuban Family in Placetas, Cuba
My Cuban Family in Placetas, Cuba

 

My Cuban Family in Placetas, Cuba
My Cuban Family in Placetas, Cuba

 

My Cuban Family in Placetas, Cuba
My Cuban Family in Placetas, Cuba
My Cuban Family in Placetas, Cuba
My Cuban Family in Placetas, Cuba

 

The best feeling you get is when you see a piece of clothing that you brought worn immediately. Some of the things we take for granted are basic necessities for them.  For instance, toilet paper. We made sure to bring with us a few rolls of Charmin toilet paper.   Most of the bathrooms in the houses have a nail on the wall with pieces of newspaper attached. Toilet paper is very expensive so they do with what they can. One of my cousins neighbor came by one day and had to use the restroom.  My cousin told them the toilet paper was for the guest.

The streets of Placetas are filled with street vendors trying to earn a living by selling fruit, meat, and whatever they can.

 

Street Vendor Selling Fruit and Pig Head
Street Vendor Selling Fruit and Pig Head in Placetas, Cuba
Street Vendor Selling Lettuce in Placetas, Cuba

 

We spend five days in the town of Placetas. Riding around in bicycles and using the horse-drawn carriages to take us from one relatives house to another. We experience the apagones (lights out) in Cuba.  The government turns the lights off for hours at a time in different sectors of the city to save money.  The people have no warning on when the lights are going off. Flashlights are kept around the housein case this happens.  Kids have to do their homework with flashlights, people have to eat dinner in the dark with lanterns. We of course had the flashlight app on our iPhones that came in very handy during this time.

 

The darkness of the streets of Placetas, Cuba
The darkness of the Streets of Placetas, Cuba

 

This grocery store didn’t have much to offer with nearly bare shelves. The vast majority of Cuban families rely, for their food intake, on the Libreta de Abastecimiento (literally, “Supplies booklet”).  The system establishes the rations each person is allowed to buy through the system, and the frequency of supplies. Most of these products are distributed at the local bodega (convenience store specialized in distributing these rations), and in the case of meat, poultry or fish, at the local carnicería (meat store).

 

A grocery store with barely no supplies in Placetas, Cuba
A grocery store with barely no supplies in Placetas, Cuba

 

We were amazed by some of the things we saw.  For instance, this stove which was used by my cousin to cook.   It has a hand pump similar to one that is used to pump up a bicycle tire. The tank which is propane sits on the side of the burners.

 

Cuba Stove in Placetas, Cuba
Cuba Stove in Placetas, Cuba
Cuba Stove in Placetas, Cuba
Cuba Stove in Placetas, Cuba

 

Our trip to Placetas Cuba was a eye opening experience. It brought me back in time to where I was born and gave me the opportunity to meet some amazing people.  People who don’t have much but would offer what little they have to you. If you’re thinking of going to Cuba to stay in the keys at an all inclusive resort.  Enjoy. You’ll be missing out on the reality of how the people actually life and struggle to support themselves.

Read more about our Travels to Placetas Cuba – Havana

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

12 Comments

  1. John
    Reply

    They did most of their construction from 1900 to 1950 which means that their newest buildings are older than the oldest buildings in Ft Lauderdale.

  2. Parece que viven en otra época.

  3. Looks like you had a nice trip! Cuba is definitely on our list of places to visit 🙂
    Lovely blog, Carmen! Thanks for connecting with us on Twitter! Keep up the great work and travel safe!

    • Carmen

      Thanks Jon and Ania, We did have a nice trip. Planning on returning to Cuba in March. I hope you guys get a chance to go soon.

  4. Wow Carmen! Wow!
    So I’ve been to Cuba but definitely not there. I was on the other side of the country. Long story that we can chat about offline. I’m glad that you and your guest writer showed these realities of Cuban life for people who believe that Cuba’s nostalgia is something to wane over. Old cars and colorful buildings do not paint the story of what life is like in many parts of the country. Please continue sharing.

    • Carmen

      Everyone wants to go to Cuba to travel back in time and see the old cars. But as you stated, they don’t see many of the struggles that the local people have to deal with everyday. This would be a great topic for a podcast show.

  5. Maria Maiz
    Reply

    Thank you Carmen for posting ! It is very important that people see how the average Cuban lives and how difficult daily life is. l born in Placetas in 1965 and left Cuba in 1967. I would like visit someday, although I no longer have any family in Placetas.
    Thanks again for letting me a little bit of the town I was born in. 🇨🇺

    • Carmen Edelson

      What a lovely comment! I grew up in Cuba too. Thank YOU so much for reading and sharing 🙂

  6. Cuba is really a historical place and most of the traveler go there to see those historical place. I already plan to go to Cuba beginning next year.

    • Carmen Edelson

      I hope you have an amazing time in Cuba, Tiffany!

  7. Cuba is a beautiful country!

    • Carmen Edelson

      I totally agree 🙂

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