I went to Cuba June this year with my family and stayed at a resort in Varadero. June is the low season for tourism in the Caribbean. It's especially low in Cuba since Canadians account for one-third of all tourists to Cuba and Canadians generally only visit Cuba in the winter to escape the frigid Canadian winter.
During my one week stay at the resort, it was evident it was indeed a very low season for Cuba. Everywhere I saw empty beach chairs and smooth sand without footprints. It was quite nice - I felt like I was on a private beach on certain stretches. At the same time, it felt eerie. The rows and rows of vacant resorts made the area feel like a desolate post-apocalyptic town.
It makes me wonder, how did this happen?
Back in the days of the Soviet Union, Cuba experienced stable economic growth due to its alliance with the Soviets during the Cold War. The Soviets would purchase Cuban sugar at prices well above the international market rate. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the Cuban economy followed - no one was willing to pay ridiculous prices for Cuban sugar.
In the late 20th century to present, Cuban pivoted to focus on tourism to revive its economy by building resorts all over the country. Despite the efforts, Cuba has been failing to meet it's projected goals. This could be largely attributed to America's embargo against Cuba, which also isolates Cuba from the rest of the Caribbean.
With this history in mind, I spent a large portion of my vacation time trying to capture the desolate resorts and the pristine sands. While incredibly beautiful, it's also saddening.