Cuba, a country so well known for its cliches, offers a lot more than you’d expect.
Viñales; a valley of rusty brown landscapes, relaxed natives, tobacco and rum. The smell of tobacco follows you through the fields of Viñales Valley. The best in the world they say. After hours of hiking you feel lost in a rural world.
The cities; some of them quiet and slow, where people repair cars on the streets and children play nearby. There is a feeling that time is standing still here. Those old houses and cars with layers of colour and flaking paint seem to tell a story. And everywhere music, that special kind of music that could only be Cuban.
Walking through the more modern tourist districts, people try to sell you bad tobacco for a lot of money. But then, turn left; traditional Havana! Where horns blair and the ocean crashes in the background. Elderly people invite you into their homes for drinks and late-night-talks, drinking rum on their rusty cars. There are so many authentic places to see.
This is a romanticised description that only concerns the beautiful. Nevertheless, there are a lot of problems in this country that should not be ignored. So, before travelling to wonderful Cuba, be well-aware of its diversity.
Stefan Hoening is a full time freelance photographer based in Frankfurt, Germany. He has travelled extensively around the world, but enjoys Asia the most. In his photographs, he always aims to get the most authentic feeling and atmosphere of a place. His pictures have been published in several magazines and on the web in publications such as National Geographic and GEO.