These days it seems like everyone wants to visit Cuba. And even if it’s not already on your bucketlist, you’re probably more than just a little intrigued by this very mysterious country.
But what is it about Cuba that makes it seem so cool? So intriguing? So, well, wanderlust-worthy?
Any country based in the Caribbean has a certain kind of appeal about it, but Cuba has an added mystique that gets people curious every time. And it’s more than the Cuban cigars and CheGuevera images.
Sure, it has an interesting history, a kind of ‘forbiddenness’, but beyond the peeling paint, the economic sanctions and those cigars you’ll find a vibrant, resilient country that will get under your skin and leave you wanting more.
It’s a cliché, but you really can’t go to Cuba and not take a tour of the capital Havana in the back of an Old Timer. When Fidel Castro took power in the late 50s and introduced communism hebanned any new cars being brought into Cuba. That means that for the past 60 years Cubans have kept those classic old American cars running using any means of ingenuity. Don’t be surprised if you’re in the back of an old Buick that has a modern Ford steering wheel. You’ll see the cars driving throughout the city centre, and you’ll be struck with awe each time. It’s like being in a living museum.
Check out some Cuban music
Don’t miss the chance to head out to see the live music at the Buena Vista Social Club. Think dark smoky rooms, the coolest Cuban musicians and mojitos. Without American TV and foreign music, Cuba has stayed true to its music roots. And not all the performers here are older artists, young singers are also taking up traditional Cuban music sounds. The performers will have you tapping your feet and up dancing in no time.
Dance over lunch
Head out to just about any café or bar for lunch and you’ll find a band playing in the corner. They’re not just there to serenade you over lunch, but to encourage you to get up and practice your samba moves. Don’t worry if you don’t know any moves yet, there are lessons throughout Cuba, or just follow the locals. They’ll show you how it’s done.
Visit the Vinales countryside
While Havana is bustling, vibrant and edgy, Vinales is quiet, serene and surrounded by farmland. You’ll want to check out the tobacco farms here, learn how cigars are made and try the local version. This is Cuba afterall.
Relax on a beach.
You’re in the Caribbean, remember, you don’t want to go all this way and not see the water, not lie on a beach. We visited Playa Ancun beach in Trinidad. Think bright blue water and white sand. There’s a resort nearby if you need a mojito or just some respite from the Cuban sun and outdoor showers. You can rent a sunbed and stare out over the ocean. What could possibly be better?
Diane Squires is a tour host with Two’s a Crowd.
Two’s a Crowd has a tour to Cuba in May, 2018. You can find all the details here.