Living in Ecuador, Carley Rojas Avila, a native of Rochester New York, met her husband José who is from Cuba. The two shared a love for traveling and Latin America. The pair were even considering splitting their time between the U.S. and Cuba before the COVID-19 pandemic and a new baby caused them to reevaluate their plans.
Still inspired by a life abroad, they decided to make a website instead. “We realized that a lot of travelers didn’t have enough information to make their trips to Cuba a reality or had a lot of misconceptions about traveling there,” Carley recalls. So she began working on their site, Home to Havana to provide quality content about traveling to Cuba.
“Starting Home to Havana during the most intense part of the COVID-19 lockdowns - it was a crazy time to start a travel website,” she says.
But the two were driven by their passion for the country. “The streets of Cuba seem to hug you when you visit,” says José. “I’m so happy to be able to share that with Home to Havana and show a vision of Cuba many people don’t see.”
They began learning technical and production skills on the go. Carley took charge of the writing, while José, who taught himself how to code, took care of the backend design and development.
“We wanted to put out the best, most informative content on Cuba possible,” she explains. “But it was hard to do that in a way that could help support us and make money.”