Let Colour Lead The Way To Cuba

  • Issue no. 2

Of course we are all yearning for blue skies, sandy yellow beaches, but are we aware of the strength of these colours affecting our mental health? With the help of an insider’s guide, get to know the hottest up and coming spots according to Johnny from Cuba Private Travel.

The power that colour has to affect mood is a consideration we should take into account when choosing our next travel spot. We are only just able to safely jump into our international adventures and reignite our passion for exploring. The past two years, whilst limiting in our physical movement, have marked a significant turning point in the public wide discussion and understanding of mental health both symptomatically and exploring methods to take care of ourselves and appreciate the things we enjoy. Travel and taking holidays to have a break is top of the list for our mental wellbeing. As an approach to choosing where we feel we’d most like to travel, we can look through the lens for different colours that are scientifically proven to have an effect on the human mind and match them to places that offer total immersion.

There is no place more vibrant and colourful to start than Havana, Cuba, where dance, music, fine art, film, literature, food and rum (for starters) intertwine in a crucible of colour. Cuba’s economy relies so heavily on tourism that during the pandemic its economy suffered greatly. During the first year of the pandemic, the economy shrank 10 per cent, a figure that has worsened since. Imports fell by 40 per cent over 18 months. Now that tourism has resumed, the majority of the country vaccinated and placed on the green list for travel, it is recovering and there is a new breed of tourism that is growing rapidly that simply should not be missed. 

For even more see Cuba Private Travel or email enquires@cubaprivatetravel.com 

Palette #1

Cream walls, frothy coffee, cotton clothes, painted concrete, cool tiles and chalky interiors

Think creamy, cool walls, frothy coffee and soft cotton clothes wafting against your body on a sticky hot summer day. This palette may induce a calming, cooling state and relaxed mindset. This takes us to our first insider tip off for where you can choose to rest your head when you touch down from Havana airport. Cuba offers a new form of boutique experience in the form of the ‘casa particulars’. White and cream washed walls of Economia 156 as seen above, run by Jazz Martínez-Gamboa, an actor and director, and his partner Stephen Bayly, former director of Britain’s National Film and Television School. Economia 156 provides the respite and escape needed in between activities. These boutique homes are being converted into luxury b and b’s and offer an escape into a totally private space to relax, with the option of the traditional experience ‘offering the full assault of cuban family life, with all the black beans, bad plumbing, eccentricity and cariño (affection) you could ask for.’ 

Colour and its symbolism is closely connected in Afro-Cuban folkloric history, so as colours are mentioned and their effect on mood it is essential to note specific orishas that are recognised by their colour and meaning. Draped in white is the figure of Obatala, one of the afro-cuban orishas who is honoured and channelled through cuban folkloric dance and can be traced back vis modern body shines and movements in modern salsa dance. He is believed, according to Yoruba cosmology, to be the Sky Father and the creator of human bodies. He is dressed in white and associated with honesty, purpose, purity, peace, the New Year, forgiveness, and resurrection.

Palette #2

Raw umbre, soil, rum, organic, fresh, health, earthy, growth, new life.

In Cuba, the protected green land equates to more than 22% of the country and is why Cuba is considered to be the “green lung” of the Caribbean. Unsurprisingly, the effect of being surrounded by green, raw umbre, organic soil and lush green life are an essential part of our wellbeing to breathe fresh air and let our minds have space to think. We are ever more invested in managing our travel in a way that is kind to the planet and our souls. An alternative option to the ‘casa particulars’ is to get out into the countryside. Cuba is home to 3000 native species of flora and fauna, 250 protected natural areas, including 5 that have been designated as biosphere reserves by UNESCO. Eco and Agri tourism is growing in Cuba with options to stay in eco accommodation ever more popular for tourists. The Eco Casa prima is a sustainable eco house in rural Rosario and offers a retreat from the busy city life and an opportunity to relax with yoga, a vegetable garden, horse-back riding and sup paddleboarding around the lake.

Eco Casa Prima’s Website

Rum, also the colour of the earth and essential to the Cuban experience,  is not to be missed with a trip to a new rum distillery made with passion from The Isla del Cocodrilo (Crocodile Island). These moments of indulgence are key to the balance we seek and from time to time we must treat ourselves to. You know, a little self-love doesn’t hurt anybody.

.Eminente Rum’s Website

Palette #3

Avocado green and the cashew nut tree.

To reduce down the vast array of colours within cuban cooking would be an insult. Therefore choosing the evocative thought of ripe avocados hanging from a tree adjacent to a cashew nut tree overhanging a pool is enough to connect the neurotransmitters in your brain from colour to tastebuds and immediately you feel good about your food. The arrival of ‘paladares’ in the 90’s really shook up the Cuban food scene. The original concept consists of inviting guests into Cuban homes for an authentic, family-style meal. Today, you’ll come across more modern twists on the “paladar” which replicate the intimacy of eating at someone’s home but with all the trimmings of a more classic restaurant experience. No matter the style of “paladar”, the menu is often made up of recipes passed down from one family generation to another. There simply is nothing better than home cooked food especially when the dining experience is simply an invitation into someone’s home and tried and tested heralded recipes.

Palette #4

Fiery red, sun-baked yellow and citrus orange evoke higher arousal emotions, such as love, passion, happiness.

The body movement and dance of the Rumba is evocative and fiery. As can be seen from the couple above, the woman uses a red silk scarf to flutter away the advances of a young man both coquettishly and to protect herself. Dance and movement in Cuba is a daily part of life. It’s benefits to your health are clear, but here in Cuba its ritual, religion and an essential part of daily life. Cuba Private Travel can organise dance classes with Raices Profundas, a drumming session with Brenda Navarette and Osain de Monte, young musicians that will bring Rumba tradition alive and make your trip unforgettable.

Palette #5

Ocean blue, the sky and classic 60’s cars. Refreshing, freedom and nostalgia.

We simply couldn’t write about Cuba without  mentioning the blue refreshing ocean that crashes against the malecón, the seawall that stretches 8 km along the coast in Havana. The orisha Yemaya is the water spirit, often depicted draped in the blue of the ocean. Water is known for its healing power and you won’t feel this as strongly as here.

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, a trip to Havana, Cuba will certainly evoke all your senses leading you through a vast palette of colours and emotions. The offerings of the Cuban experience are unique, exciting, relaxing and liberating and provide the perfect post-pandemic trip of a lifetime.

For even more see Cuba Private Travel or email enquires@cubaprivatetravel.com 

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