Cuba is an exotic destination that has enticed the world for many years with its elusive authenticity. Decades of travel restrictions have ensured that the colonial cities are preserved in a time warp that will draw out the romantic in even the worldliest traveller. The splendid architecture evokes daydreams of pirates, the gleaming 1950s cars rev to the beat of ‘Greased Lightning’ and salsa dancing is almost as popular as walking.
The locals eagerly welcome tourism and the changes that it brings, but still hold proudly to the wonderful quirks that set Cuba apart from other destinations. From salsa lessons in home-based studios to local tours in 1950s Chevrolets, Cubans are flaunting their own form of tourism and the world is bewitched.
Stunning beaches are a given, and sipping a rum cocktail while reclining on a sun bed is a must; but venture inland to discover a land of remarkable biodiversity. Wander through lofty, underground caverns or fall in love with ancient landscapes, where you will encounter the largest array of plant and animal species in the Caribbean.
Sites of historical significance and beauty are rich on the ground, and UNESCO hot spots include everything from gracious colonial streets through to luscious coffee plantations. For a dose of modern history, visit the Museo Presidio Modelo or hike the La Plata mountain trail and learn about Fidel Castro and his famous revolution.
Cuba is not known for gourmet cuisine, but meals are wholesome and filling, usually consisting of rice, beans, vegetables and meat. Spices are used sparingly, but simple enhancements are enough to complement the rich flavours of natural produce.
It’s a land of extremes, where crumbling colonial buildings and vibrant culture meet in a striking celebration of difference. Whether you’re seeking jungle adventure or beach bliss outs, Cuba can deliver with a side of salsa and a hearty ‘hola’!
INSPIRATIONS FROM THE BLOG
Sugar-white beaches more beautiful than the mind can conjure; rolling hills dotted with tobacco fields where Cuban cigars are still rolled by hand; classic 1950s cars rolling down streets lined with charming Spanish-colonial architecture.
Everyone is talking about Cuba and the impending influx of US visitors once the embargo is finally lifted. Travellers worldwide are trying to visit now, before that happens. Why? To get a taste of the real Cuba, a spectacular vibrant and very special island republic in the dreamy Caribbean Sea.
Rio and Cuba. The Pope's Year of Mercy and artist Christo's walk on water. Philadelphia, Cleveland and the next US president. Super Bowl in California and the Indy 500 at 100. A centennial for America's National Park Service, 400 years since Shakespeare died and 500 years of pure German beer.
I should have known filming the very first of the Extreme Railways programs when our train in the Congo was six days late – yes that’s six days – and we then broke down in a tunnel in the middle of the night, that it was going to be an extraordinarily difficult series to make. Having jus