Cuba As A Whole
Known for its music which has inspired musicians around the world, Cuba is a country with a rich culture. Here you can find the legacy of a mix of Spanish and African roots – and also the largest, arguably most interesting, and least commercialized island of the Caribbean.
Cuba – known most as the land of Fidel and Che Guevera – is the largest of the Caribbean islands, and is home to 11 million people. The island is still a communist nation, and as a result the locals live on meager rations totalling about $10 per month. Though the locals generally do not have much, they are happy.
Stepping away from the harsh reality of the political and economic situation for locals on the island, Cuba overall maintains an upbeat and noisy atmosphere – swinging music (salsa and reggaeton) resounds through the streets, and you can find plenty of places to salsa dance and tap into the local groove. Musicians pack into restaurants to serenade guests, and clubs blast reggaeton (a popular music style in the Caribbean) for partiers to enjoy. The music makes the island come alive with its own beat. I personally didn’t get too much sleep on my visit here, the beats of the island kept me up and moving into the early hours of the morning.
Local rum and cocktails (mojito, Cuba libre, pina colada…) are also great on the breakfast menu. This island really is for those who want to experience everything and be taken over by the rhythms that never cease.
And What Else?
I think I’ve exhausted my praises of Cuban musicians, dancers, and world-renowned cigars. Less-well known is the fact that Cuba also has some of the world’s top athletes (especially in boxing and baseball) and ballet dancers. The island has a unique way of making its visitors feel full of life and enthusiasm.
Fun Fact: Dominoes is a favorite pastime on the island – it is played everywhere in the streets. Tournaments are also held often, with the participants being of all age groups. I did my best to compete, but of course they crushed me. Regardless, it was such a fun experience.
An incredible energy flows from Havana, the capital city of Cuba. Today, the vast majority of the buildings reflect the country’s impoverished state, but one can imagine the beauty they must once have displayed.
In Havana, life takes place outside. In the evenings everyone sits out on their balconies or in the streets talking, laughing, dancing, singing, and playing dominoes. Malecon, a famous street by the sea, is where locals drive at sunset or sit by the sea to calmly watch the beauty. You will also see natives walking in the square here in traditional outfits with cigars in their mouths – if you want a picture you’ll have to be sneaky, but it’s totally worth it.
Heart Fact: To be completely honest, Havana is my favorite city in the world.
Varadero is one of the largest Cuban resorts, and is located on a peninsula near Havana (in Matanzas province). It offers glittering white sand beaches that brush the unbelievably turquoise sea. Just grab a mojito, head down to the beach, and soak in the picturesque beauty.
Vinales is a slightly more mountainous farming area on the island. It is located in the karst valley in western Cuba, in the province of Pinar del Río – about 150 km southwest of Havana. Vinales is a region of tobacco producers, and is a popular place for a daytrip out of Havana. You can also choose to spend the night here, trek around the area, or plan an outing on horseback.
Fun Fact (Story): I have the fullest respect for horses, but I thought to myself that I would give horseback riding a try. I arrived in flip-flops and did my best to claw my way into the saddle – and in the beginning it looked like I was off to a crazy day at the races. In the end my little mare carried me, but it was accompanied by heavy breathing (from both of us!).
Would you like to personally get to know the incredible island nation of Cuba? Are you drawn to her colors, nature, energy and originality? Get in touch with me and together we’ll make your Cuban dream trip a reality! I can give you great tips for the trip, compile an itinerary for you or plan a neat expedition, and offer you the cheapest (but greatest) holiday in Cuba!