I was so excited. I had booked a tour to the rain forest and to a little village outside of Baracoa. Most of the group were Germans and Italians. And as naïve as I am, I did not expect any rain. But duh, this was a trip to the rain forest. So it did rain a bit at the beginning. We did the ‘chocolate walk’ so our guide showed us the cocoa plants and explained stuff about it which was really nice.
We then went to his grandmother’s house who is a cocoa farmer and she made hot chocolate for us and showed us how chocolate is made. We walked through the forest and then went to the ‘paso de los alemanes’. Afterwards, the highlight of the trip happened. We took a little taxi boat on the river to get to a little ‘island’ in the middle of the river. The water was absolutely beautiful and super clear and so we were able to swim there. It was fantastic and it was so nice to have nice chats with people. In the little village of Yumuri, loads of natives came and tried to make us buy ‘polymitas’, beautiful snails in different colours and they make jewellery out of it. DO NOT buy things made of polymitas! They are about to extinct and need to be protected. (see picture above)
After the trip on the Yumuri River we went to a little empty beach- with black sand. It was completely beautiful, but the sea was quite wild and there were big rocks so it was not really possible to swim there. And there, I met the most disgusting guy ever. I know that I have complained a lot about how annoying Cuban guys are and the whole thing how they treat women. Well. This guy was from Canada. He was in his mid-forties and did not really look sexy or anything. He even wore a Canada baseball cap (why? WHYYY??) and typical tourist clothes. He was travelling alone, he doesn’t have any children, no family, etc. And the way he was talking was just disgusting. He complained about the ‘shitty’ job he had, the shitty weather in Canada, how shitty women were in Canada as they were rude when he tries to flirt with them and how much he hates shitty Christmas and New Year’s Eve. He hates his shitty apartment in Canada and that at the end of the month he barely has any money left. So, trips to Cuba are the only thing he can afford. Because here, he can be the king. Since 2009 he travelled to Cuba and he has a Cuban girlfriend in almost every city in Cuba. And then, he started complaining about how demanding Cuban women were. That they want presents from him, one of them wants a bike, the other one wanted a pig for New Year’s (a pig costs $40 CUC btw). I was disgusted. He complained about those women demanding stuff from him for sleeping with a disgusting and disrespectful Canadian guy. Then I told him about my experience with Cuban guys, and he completely defended them! He said that I should be more open-minded towards older men. Wtf? But well, I just wanted to get rid of him. I told one of the people from my group about what I had just experienced, and she said that in the plane when she was on the way from Germany to Havana she sat next to an old guy who was flying to Havana in order to marry his 35years younger Cuban girlfriend so that she would get his German pension. How sad is that? I know that sex tourism is a global phenomenon, especially in South East Asia. But Cuba? I did not expect that.
So, I did some research. And I came across the blog naughty nomad where a guy shares his experience on how to ‘get laid’ in Cuba.
If you’re the type that pays for sex, you’ll be in a heaven. But if you’re like me, Cuba can be a frustrating place. I honestly can’t think of a country where prostitution is so ingrained and pervasive in the culture. “You fuck, you pay. That’s Cuba,”
It really seemed like 80% of girls had a price tag. On one occasion, I even had a perfectly normal girl, walking hand in hand with her boyfriend, get in our car over the possibility of getting some pay for play. Sadly, this is what happens when the average salary is less than $25 a month. And under communism, finding a middle or upper class girl is like finding a Jew in Mecca.
Well I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that under communism girls are more likely to sell their bodies. As a political scientist I can tell you that you should not generalize concepts, such as communism.
Naughty nomad also explains that the police controls it really strictly when Cuban women (especially black Cuban women) walk closely together with a male tourist.
Prostitution is not allowed and Cuban women also cannot just spend the night at a hotel or casa with the tourist together as it has to be registered. (When you stay at a casa they will always register your ID in order to keep track of where you are to inform the government).
But apparently, the possibility to make some money outweighs the risks.
I know, I know. One could say that on this point I am not really tolerant. But excuse me, I do not tolerate Europeans/Canadians/ whoever to come to Cuba/Thailand/ whatever and to take advantage of the awful situation that some of the girls are facing. This is a horrible business which should not be supported.
But hey, it is not only European/Canadian/whatever men who come to Cuba to take advantage of girls. I will also tell you a similar story that I witnessed later on in my travels.