Rum, Fidel Castro, the Cha-Cha-Cha dance and the birthplace of Salsa – Cuba is famous for many things, and every year over 2 million travelers visit the country to explore its many treasures. From the historical streets of Havana and world heritage sites to a vibrant music scene there is a lot to experience in Cuba, but few things beat the beautiful beaches, historic cars and fragrant Cuban cigars (Check prices here)
With its crystal clear, turquoise water and white sandy beaches, Cuba has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean islands.
There are different beaches for different tastes, from the more developed Varadero to less developed beaches like Playa Paraíso and Playa Sirena where you can’t find much else than a simple beach side restaurant. Cayo Sabinal is a beautiful secluded beach protected by coral reefs, and a great place to spend some time in if you’re interested in eco tourism. If you’re interested in more developed beaches Varadero is the most popular beach-resort destination for Cuba all inclusive holidays, but Guaralavaca (another popular destination) is prettier, less busy and no way near as massively commercialized.
In Cuba you will see the coolest 1950’s cars everywhere, some in brand-new condition, others on the verge of collapse. The funky retro Fords, Pontiacs and Buicks cars parked next to bright colorful buildings make for some amazing photo opportunities – however this might not last much longer. The reason why there are so many cars from the 1950’s is because for almost half a century there was a law prohibiting Cubans to freely sell and buy any cars made after Fidel Castro’s 1959 Revolution. The only cars they were allowed to freely buy and sell were cars that were on the road before 1959, but since year 2011, this 50-year ban is now dropped – this is great for the citizens, but who knows how many of these awesome cars will still be on the road in a few years?
The one thing that Cuba is perhaps most famous for are its cigars – and unless people stop smoking cigars altogether, they will remain synonomous with Cuba. Pinar del Rio is the capital of the cigar industry, but the best place to actually spend time in is the little city of Vinales and the surrounding valley, a 20 minute bus ride away. It’s considered to have the richest soil for growing tobacco in the world, and some of the most respected farms are located in the valley – huge uniquely shaped limestone hills and caves are scattered over the valley between large fruit and tobacco fields. Horses are as much a part of Cuba as tobacco is, and the best way to get around the valley is on horseback ride along the tobacco field paths.
Cuba: land of rum, fat cigars, vintage cars and Latin music – if you want to experience a completely unique culture with a raw yet delicious flavour, there is no better place to go than this sun drenched Caribbean island where wit, storytelling and skill seem infinitely more valuable than wealth.
to Cuba give you an action-packed itinerary and the opportunity to see all of the country’s highlights. If you’re unsure about going it alone and would like some help from local experts, a multi-destination holiday like this could be the perfect option.
Cuba’s vibrant capital gives the impression of a place where time has settled down to retire, causing everything to slow down. It’s no wonder, then, that visitors get the feeling of having been transported back to a bygone era.
Soft guitar music drifts through open doorways in the old town, classic fifties cars fill the streets, and faded colonial architecture stands proud. Havana
One of Havana’s most famous residents was American writer Ernest Hemmingway, and visitors to the city won’t go long without discovering some reference to him.
For the ultimate Hemingway experience visit the Floridita bar in Havana where he whiled away the house sipping on mojitos. It was during his residence that he wrote some of his most famous works including The Old Man and the Sea, and you can find traces of Cuba in much of his writing.
To learn more about Hemmingway’s life visit his former home,, which has been preserved as a fascinating museum.
Rum and Cigars
Cuba’s most celebrated exports can be enjoyed and explored throughout the island. For an insight into the cigar making process visit Partagas Cigar Factory where you can take a tour and watch the experienced staff drying, rolling and boxing cigars as the rich smell of tobacco fills the air.
You can, of course, purchase your own and sample the goods with the accompaniment of a quality measure of rum.
Continue your education by taking a look at the rum making process on a visit to a factory in the Pinar del Rio province. The whole area is a joy to explore with natural pools for swimming, coffee plantations and verdant valleys.
This enchanting city known as ‘The Pearl of the South’ is like something from an old fable. Pastel coloured palaces and mansions stand between swaying palm trees before the turquoise lure of the Caribbean Sea.
Of course there are the unavoidable signs of development and industry, but on a boat tour around the Bahia de Cienfuegos the hustle and bustle of modern day living can seem a world away.
The city, like Havana, has earned UNESCO world heritage status – it is no wonder that so many, like Hemmingway, fall in love with this charming island and its unique ambience, causing them to return time and again.
(photo credit: 1 – 1 – 2 – 3)