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17 Photos You Should See If You're Curious About What Cuba's Actually Like

For the first time in 50 years, traveling to Cuba from the U.S. is relatively easy. Which is great, because there's a lot to see.

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Zach Urbina

Just after this photo, someone a few floors up, across the street from me, whistled over to this produce vendor. Then the guy in the apartment lowered a basket down from four floors up and bought a few bananas, raising the rope hand-over-hand to bring the fruit up to him.

Zach Urbina

As I was wandering the streets of Old Havana, I was more/less forced into an impromptu guided tour that took me inside a few private homes, much to the surprise of this adorable grandma.

Zach Urbina

This group of girls just happened to be exiting their car as Yasel, my driver, paused at a stop sign on the road to Viñales. Fortunately, like a lot of the people I talked to, they were completely un-self-conscious about having their picture taken.

Zach Urbina

I was walking around close to midnight and noticed that everyone in this square was browsing the web. In Havana, the internet is not just social media; it's properly social. Wifi is very new and because so few people have web access in their homes, public wifi hotspots are packed with people until very late at night.

Zach Urbina

One hour of wifi access is sold for the equivalent of $4.50, in convertible pesos pegged to the U.S. dollar — still expensive given the average salary in Cuba, especially for younger Havana residents.

Michel and his friends found a way to multiplex a single wifi connection using a Windows program called Connectify, turning one laptop into a hotspot for several people. We all contributed a peso to the cause, myself included.

Zach Urbina

I ended up spending a lot of time inside the Hotel Plaza to get a little relief from the tropical humidity. It's air conditioned, which isn't a given in Havana, especially outside of tourist zones.

Some people, although certainly not a majority, have air conditioning at home via wall units, which is noticeable on weekends when the electricity gets overloaded and some neighborhoods (including the one my Airbnb was in) lose power.

Zach Urbina

This was taken near the old Spanish port, which was built in the 1500s and intended to keep out invasion by sailing ships. It's hard not to love a place that lets dalmatians run wild.

Zach Urbina

There was definitely a strong hustle going for tourist dollars, but I didn't meet any other travelers from the U.S. until I was hanging out at the airport, awaiting my departing flight. I think this group was from South America.

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