Incredible Spanish colonial architecture, beautiful white sand beaches, rolled cigars, classic old cars and famous cocktails await adventurous travelers eager to explore the largest island in the Caribbean. Stroll through the streets of Old Havana, discover the world of Ernest Hemingway, get into the rhythm of salsa in Trinidad clubs or enjoy a beach vacation in Cayo Largo – no matter where you go, Cuba will draw you in its orbit and it will remain forever in your hearts …
Cuban beaches are among the most beautiful in the Caribbean: infinite and with white sand, soft sand and coral reefs, crystal clear waters and turquoise waters. The Caribbean Sea is not only perfect for relaxing, but also for sunbathing and diving. Varadero is the most famous place to party in Cuba. The beaches, is located about 100 km east of Havana, and boast a variety of places of leisure and sports activities.
Coffee produced in Cuba is world renowned for its unique flavor and long-lasting flavor. The coffee plantations in the hills of the Sierra del Rosario are, for example, a place worth visiting: they actually include a visit center to learn more about the history of coffee production. You can also have a tasting of Cuban coffee, which is served black, in small cups.
Festivals in Cuba
Brazil is not the only country that knows its stuff when it comes to celebrations and parties, in fact the calendar festival in Cuba is full of interesting quotes: like the Carnival of Santiago, the Caribbean Festival (Fire Festival) and the Easter Procession in Trinidad. The Fire Festival takes place every July in Santiago de Cuba and it is fantastic, it has events with parades, fireworks and a lot of dancing.
Such a mixture of Spanish, African and Caribbean culinary traditions makes Cuban dishes an explosion of flavor. The best food can be enjoyed in a “private house” although the menu offered may have a limited selection: freshly prepared dishes, depending on the day. Food lovers should definitely try the lobster, but if they are not so hungry they can go for snacks, small sandwiches. A recommended restaurant is La Guarida, famous for having had among its clients Fidel Castro, his brother Raúl and Che Guevara, on January 9, 1959. The owner is proud to show the table and photos. Despite getting the most popular blackberries since then, they still serve value for money and good food. You find it in Havana, 401 Monserrate.
In the footsteps of Buena Vista Social Club
After the release of the movie Buena Vista Social Club (Wim Wenders) Cuban salsa became a more famous one. Music is always on the air in Cuba: if you are standing in a bar listening to music, there is no way that you will be able to stand still. You will automatically start dancing to the rhythm of salsa, merengue, bachata and chachachá. Pay a visit to Club Salseando Chevere, Calle 49, C 28 in Havana: this outdoor salsa restaurant is located in Parque Almendares and boasts a great atmosphere. Check out our Havana pocket guide.
Cuba in the Hemingway era
It is common knowledge that Cuba and Havana were Hemingway’s favorite places: he really lived there for almost 20 years. There are several thematic tours that take visitors to where he lived, make sure to visit the “Ambos Mundos” Hotel, that’s where he spent several years of his life, and his favorite cafes and restaurants. The highlight of a tour of the steps of Hemingway is at La Finca Vigía, in San Francisco de Paula. This was the writer’s residence that has remained intact, in the same way he left it. It is almost uninhabited and you can only look at the house through a window.
Islands of Cuba
Cuba is actually an idyllic island in the middle of the Caribbean and hides some of the most beautiful islands, perfect for swimming, relaxing and diving, as well as Cayo Largo and Cayo Coco, where the water is more transparent. Isla de la Juventud, the largest, is known mainly as Punta del Este, and as an important place for snorkeling and diving.
The real Cuban cigars: Habanos
It is no secret that the best cigars are manufactured in Cuba and that the most popular tobacco plantations are found in Pinar del Río.
That’s where the best tobacco is produced, still rolled by hand and they became the famous cigars. Also several tobacco factories are open for visits and give an idea of the secret world of the cigar industry.
If you are not a cocktail person, Cuba may not be the right place for you. Sure, you can cool off with a beer or water, but there is no other country but Cuba in which the Cuba Libre, Mojito or Canchánchara will taste so good, Bacardi, at the end of the day comes from Cuba. For a perfect cocktail, you also need the atmosphere of the ’20s and’ 30s, a bit of jazz and a cigar. Hemingway’s favorite bar, El Floridita, is a must, and also La Bodeguita del Medio, where you can order a rum with ice.
Cuba boasts spectacular natural parks: the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park and the Pico Turquino National Park. The Humboldt National Park, named after a German scientist, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is located near Baracoa. It includes mountains of the best preserved ecosystems of the Caribbean and a great variety of tropical plants. Turquino, Cuba’s highest point above sea level, is located in the Sierra Maestra National Park, in the heart of the Sierra Maestra, a paradise for birdwatchers.
Why luxury travelers should visit with EXOTIKTRAVELER?
As Cuba’s decades of isolation fade, travellers have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience an iconic culture standing at a crossroads of change. Check out our top five reasons to book your journey today.
1. Our people-to-people exchanges deepen interactions: People-to-people exchanges are the only kind of travel allowed under the embargo. They also mirror our global approach to travel, a model where authentic local interactions deepen the experience at every turn. As a pioneer in this approach, our Cuba cruise is chock-full of engaging local interactions you won’t find elsewhere.
2. Cuba is best explored by private yacht: Our upcoming February departure offers a unique opportunity to explore Cuba from a private yacht, affording access to picturesque fishing villages and other remote enclaves rarely visited by land.
3. Going to Cuba is like travelling back in time: With fewer mobile devices and electronic distractions, many Cubans enjoy a largely unplugged lifestyle where the music is live and the culture engaged.
4. A new age of entrepreneurship is dawning: Cuba’s new private businesses bring with them a broader wealth of culinary experiences while encouraging authentic interactions with locals.
5. Cuba is a great place to go solo: From market visits to taking in the local café scene, Cuba is a great place to explore solo, especially with other like-minded travellers – now with an excellent savings of 75% off the single supplement.