Cuba is famed for some of the finest things in life: cigars and mojitos. Cuba’s charm lies in the fact that it is a place of contrast. Ration shops stand alongside ornate colonial palaces, American classic cars are powered by Russian engines and though the country is ruled by a communist regime, it has a vibrant nightlife. This country is truly unique!
For most people visiting Cuba, Havana will be the first point of contact and what a place to start. Spend time visiting some of the colonial monuments in Habana Vieja before strolling along the Malecón, taking in Havana’s stunning location by the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. The capital boasts some modern and luxurious hotels as wells as some fantastic restaurants but if you are looking to be hurled back to the 1950s simply head a few streets north of verdant Parque Central.
By the end of a long day exploring Havana, the lure of a soft bed might seem overwhelming; however the rhythms of salsa and rumba, amongst others, emanating from the numerous lively bars and clubs will dispel any notions of wanting to hit the hay. Do not forget to pack your dancing shoes before leaving for Havana! Or if you’re really not a dancer you should at least watch the pros at the Tropicana Club whilst you enjoy a few Cuba Libres.
Trinidad, like Havana, really shines in the evenings when the streets come to life as all ages transport their lives outside. The top of the hill overlooking the town is where everyone congregates. Local bands gather together to jam and the evening air is filled with the noises of dancing, singing and chatting and the sweet smell of cigars. The town is UNESCO protected and you can happily spend a couple of days wandering through the pedestrianised, cobbled streets filled with tempting art and handicraft stores.
The list of things to do in Cuba appears never ending. In fact Graham Greene summed up Havana by saying that it was a city ‘where anything was possible’. The energy and animated nature of the locals is infectious and is illustrated best in the country’s music genres which will lift you out of your seat.
No trip to Cuba would be complete without a visit to the tobacco fields. Viñales, situated in the western most part of the country, is an ideal base for trips into the tobacco fields. There is the chance to visit a traditional cigar factory as well as to look at caves in the surrounding area which served as refuges for runaway slaves. The region is commonly viewed as the most picturesque in Cuba, with its limestone cliffs covered in lush vegetation that enclose a valley of green farm land. The rewards for making the trip to Viñales lie in the chance to speak with friendly locals and learn about their customs and craft as wells as the breathtaking views.
After a few days in the lively capital almost anyone will be in need of some rest and relaxation and the country’s endless white sand beaches offer a dream location to reenergize. In addition, the beach spots vary in mood and atmosphere, so you will be sure to find one that suits your needs and taste. Cayo Ensenachos consists of a white sandy beach that slopes so invitingly and gently into the turquoise water that it is possible to wade out nearly 100m. Excellent diving and water sports opportunities abound in Cayos Coco and Guillermo.
The list of things to do in Cuba appears never ending. In fact Graham Greene summed up Havana by saying that it was a city ‘where anything was possible’. The energy and animated nature of the locals is infectious and is illustrated best in the country’s music genres which will lift you out of your seat. The transfer of power to Raul Castro has not dramatically altered the situation in Cuba, however it is only a matter of time before the country undergoes unrecognisable changes. It still remains a country completely unlike any other where you will return having had some exceptional and strangely contrasting experiences. You will also return hopefully with the ability to move like a local to salsa music.