Cuba: The Pearl of the Antilles

This fascinating destination in the Caribbean is one that you need to put on your travel bucket list!

Did you know that Cuba is super colourful and a great place for vintage car enthusiasts? Following the Castro takeover in 1959, there was an abrupt stop to the importation of any new automobiles and thus, Cuba’s streets are lined with cars from the 50s and older!

The culture of Cuba is just as vibrant as its buildings with five centuries of rich history that sets it apart from the other islands in the Caribbean.

El Capitolio Havana

Colorful street in Old Havana It is an island famed for tobacco, coffee and rum but also music, dancing and so much more. So, what are you waiting for?

Havana 

This is the capital city of Cuba and has over two million inhabitants, making it Cuba’s most populated province. There are 15 districts but one that you must go and see is Old Havana which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is also where you can find international hotel chains if you prefer luxurious digs.

Colorful street in Old Havana

 

Places that are must visits in Old Havana include El Capitolio, the National Capitol Building, which is also one of the most visited sites in the capital of Cuba. This is also the place to visit for those who appreciate architecture and love seeing the historic heart of a country.

For those who love the seaside, the Malecón, an esplanade along the coast of Havana, is perfect for a romantic stroll. End your night at the rooftop bar of Hotel Ambos Mundos, built in the 1920s famous for being the place where Ernest Hemingway lived in the 1930s. Unwind with an ice cold mojito and drink in the views of the city here.

Malecón

Trinidad

You’ll need sturdy walking shoes when exploring Trinidad, a town in central Cuba with their cobblestone streets and beautiful colonial buildings. For a panoramic view of the city, head to the top of the yellow and white bell tower of the St. Francis of Assisi Convent.

Plaza Mayor

Keep your cameras and smartphones charged when you’re at Plaza Mayor because the colonial houses of Trinidad usually have red terracotta roofs, painted pastel colours with contrasting colours between the wood and plasterwork. Head to the Municipal History Museum which details the history of Trinidad, housed in an impressive building which features a spacious entrance hall that leads to a large galleried courtyard.

Catch the sunset at Playa Ancon, a beach considered to be the most beautiful in Cuba.

Cayo Largo del Sur

Beach lovers will love this destination, a small resort island off Cuba’s southern coast famed for the fine white sand and sea turtles.

Playa Sirena

Playa Sirena and Playa Paraiso are beaches that are super popular with tourists. Sea turtles lay their eggs on Playa Tortuga and Centro de Rescate de Tortugas is a sea turtle farm and conservation centre. Do note that during turtle egg laying season, beach activities may be reduced. One of the main attractions of the island is the living coral reefs so snorkelling is a must!

Special events

A great way to start planning your trip would be centring it around a special event. It might be a little late, but the Havana Jazz Festival happens in January and is an event that attracts jazz musicians and aficionados, both Cuban and also internationally. Enjoy the festival with evening performances at outdoor terraces and also impromptu street jam sessions along the Malecón.

A street band playing on instruments in Santiago de Cuba

There’s also the famous Carnaval de Santiago de Cuba, a week-long celebration that happens in July in Santiago. This is actually the biggest Carnaval in the Caribbean with floats and performers coming from all over Cuba and even other parts of the Caribbean. Expect colour, music, conga lines, beautiful costumes and party the week away! 

References: Cuba Travel Tourism Portal.