You might often hear it when talking about Cuba, it is simply the truth – arriving there is like stepping back in centuries, when life was easier and time seemed slower. The largest island in the Caribbean is, definitely, the most fascinating one.
The charming Havana, the historical and cultural Trinidad, the antique cars passing faded colonial buildings, the tobacco plantations, the breathtaking beaches, the salsa clubs and the vibrant ambiance all over the country that comes from its population – that is Cuba, and even more.
Cuba’s capital Havana is something else. It combines the sun, the sea, history and art, the old with the new, and it can feel simultaneously joyous and sad. This is a place of uninhibited dancers and masterful musicians, where the simplicity and warmness of the people add a specific charm to its ambiance. The Habana Vieja is, probably, one of the most beautiful sights of the whole Americas, with so many things to do and see.
Trinidad, a UNESCO heritage town, with its cobblestone busy streets, multi-coloured houses and friendly locals, happy to exchange a word or two as you pass. The town comes to live at night, especially in Plaza Mayor, where live music and dancing take over the evening ambiance.
Santa Clara is one of the largest and liveliest cities in Cuba and a place of pilgrimage for Che Guevara’s worshipers, with a huge monument and a very interesting museum commemorating the revolutionary man. The city’s social life revolves around the central square, Parque Vidal, where much of the city’s students bring their guitars and come to play the songs of Buena Vista Social Club.
Remedios is famous for originating the Parrandas Cuban carnival. This is the place to be if it happens to travel in Cuba during Christmas time, when the streets are full of parties with fireworks, ornate lighted floats, dancing and parades.
Cuba boasts stunning beaches and bays to rival any other Caribbean island such as those of Varadero or Cayo Largo. But, honestly, you should forget about these too touristic places and go off the beaten track to beaches such Maria La Gorda, where you might be surrounded by more locals than tourists and where diving is one of the best you can have in Caribbean!
Valle de Vinales has one of the most spectacular and unique landscapes of all Caribbean. Situated in Pinar del Rio province, it is the region where Cubano farmers cultivate tobacco and create the most famous and fragrant cigars in the world. Here, old-fashioned farming methods are still in use, as well the horse-drawn carts, that really give a feeling of stepping back in old times.
But one of the country’s most valuable attractions are simply the people. In general they’re outgoing, sociable, lively and hospitable. The easy interaction that travelers can have with locals transform a simply stay with a Cuban in his casa particular– one of the most authentic Cubanese experiences, where visitors can get a real glimpse of Cuban’s lifestyle and traditions.
And even if you sometimes get frustrated when waiting too long for a ride or queuing for a train ticket, try to look at such irritations as part of the local charm. Better go and become part of the ambiance – share a glass of Rum with the locals in a bodega, invite a morena lady for a dance, whether is in a salsa club or on the streets and let yourself carried away by the touching tunes of the Cuban music, wherever you are travel in Cuba. You might just fall in love with this country. We did!