Cuba – mysterious, diverse and charming, is an often overlooked destination. The largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba sits between the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas, just 145km from the coast of Florida.
More than a handful of influences and lifestyles converge in Cuba, making it a fascinating fix of European luxury, Afro-Latin culture and Caribbean island life. Cuba will surprise you with its striking combination of white sand beaches, dense forests, sprawling countryside and ragged mountains. While each of these has its own appeal, most people visit Cuba for the coastal regions.
The country’s capital; Havana, located on the beautiful northern coast of Cuba is the country’s most popular tourist destination. The city is a lively and contradictory feast for the senses. The European colonial history is still celebrated in beautiful cathedrals, castles, museums and ornate buildings in the city centre, but it fuses inexplicably with a Spanish and Caribbean lifestyle, with a resulting excitement and verve in the cobblestone streets that’s palpable. Billboards above tiny cafés show the celebrated face of Che Guevara, while the unique Cuban brand of music featuring the Spanish guitar and African drum pours out onto the streets and straight into your soul.
Cuba’s beaches are as picturesque as the Cayman Islands, but unspoiled and undeveloped. The sun shines in Cuba for 11 months of the year, making it a perfect beach destination year-round to enjoy the powdery white sand, the warm sub-tropical turquoise waters and the shade of immense palm trees that jut out of the sand.
Years of economic and political unrest have done much to preserve Cuba’s unique way of life, but more than that; it has also preserved the world below the glistening waves. Cuba is a diver’s dreamland. Stunning conditions await you year round, and you’re spoiled for choice in terms of diving options. Of the most popular dive scenes is wreck diving, but nothing can compare to Isla de la Juventud - Robert Louis Stevenson’s inspiration for Treasure Island. This remote corner of Cuba is rich with legends of pirates and hidden treasure, but the real treasure is definitely the diving. Turtles, barracudas, huge shoals of colourful fish and endless unspoiled coral reefs await you.
One of the things that always come to mind when you think of Cuba is mojitos, and happily, it’s not just in the movies. Cuba has a vibrant nightlife, and you’re likely to enjoy an ice cold, refreshing mojito at an open air restaurant after a long day of exploring or soaking up the sun. When the sun goes down, the towns become alive with vibrant live music, dancing and happy, infectiously vivacious people.
But music isn’t the only well-kept cultural secret of Cuba. Especially in Havana, you’ll find world-class theatre, opera, and especially ballet performances. Art too, is becoming a bigger movement in Cuban metros, and first-rate galleries are starting to crop up.
Cuba is fascinating, varied and beautiful, but above all, it really is alive.
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CUP : Cuban Peso
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