• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Country: Cuba

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

The largest of the Caribbean Islands, Cuba has much to offer for those travellers that have an interest in history, current and ancient, music, architecture and stunning beaches. Add in friendly people, varied and interesting scenery and direct flights and it is a great destination for most at reasonable prices.

This is a Third World country with 97% literacy and one of the best health services anywhere. Doctors and nurses and the chief export of Cuba.  But money is scarce so do not be surprised that all of the roads have potholes that rival African ones. Of course cigars feature heavily in the economy as does sugar but tourism is very much a prime industry and a hope for their future. The horse, oxen and mule are still very much in evidence. For every cowboy you saw in the USA there are 5,000 Cuban ones and they do truly work on the land.

Because the US has enforced an embargo on Cuba for the past 55 years things have to last, be renewed, worked around etc. There are 75,000 old cars still running and they cannot be exported. Many are in a really good state and fun to ride in. The iconic photo of an ancient Buick, Ford or Chevy outside an ancient Spanish colonial era building is one that you will keep taking.

Things are changing slowly, so do not delay too long before heading out there.

 

 

Cuba

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Cuba

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Cuba

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Cuba

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Highlights of Cuba

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Cuba has always been a beach destination with perhaps a quick tour in to Havana, the capital. However it is so much more than just excellent beaches. The architecture is amazing with a heavy Spanish influence, the biggest fortress in North America, stunning mountain ranges and music of quality everywhere.

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Highlights of Cuba

Cuba has always been a beach destination with perhaps a quick tour in to Havana, the capital. However it is so much more than just excellent beaches. The architecture is amazing with a heavy Spanish influence, the biggest fortress in North America, stunning mountain ranges and music of quality everywhere. The 75,000 old cars are a huge attraction and you will see 10 times more cowboys in Cuba than any country north of it. Friendly and welcoming people will make you feel you have chosen well.

It is a third world country that has suffered a 55 year embargo, so things like roads are poor, but they have a richness in other ways and make the most of life.

 

Day 1: Havana

Day 5: Guama, Zapatas Peninsula

Day 7: Cienfuegos

Day 8: Trinidad

Day 11: On the beach

Day 15: Havana

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Description

 

Havana has much to offer but you would be missing so much by just going there and the beach. What follows gives a flavour of other locations and activities to ensure you experience the richness of the largest Caribbean island.

 

Day 1 Havana

Arrive Havana and transfer to your B&B in the centre of Havana. Over the next few days explore the city on foot with a guide taking you from one magnificent square to the next, explaining the history of the places and giving you a taste of Cuban life. Experience different ways to travel around – from biki taxis, coconut taxis to a 3 hour afternoon drive in a classic old car. Eat out at Paladars (private restaurants) and immerse yourselves in to the night life and the music and dancing. Follow the Hemingway trail in the city and venture out to his Finca (farm) which is now a museum to his time in Cuba.

4 nights Havana

 

Day 5: Guama, Zapatas Peninsula

Transfer to the south and the Zapatas Peninsula and visit a croc farm that is breeding the endangered Cuban Crocodile. Then catch your boat to your Eco Lodge deep in the National Park. Time to relax in the pristine environment and to explore it further.

2 nights Zapatas Peninsula

 

Day 7: Cienfuegos

Catch the boat back to your transfer to Cienfuegos, stopping along the way at the Bay of Pigs and a “Sink Hole” connected to the sea. A chance to swim with the colourful fish found here or snorkel off the coast. Explore Cienfuegos on foot and enjoy the French inspired architecture and clean city.

1 night Cienfuegos

 

Day 8: Trinidad

Drive up to the mountains for a 3 hour trek through the forest, stopping to explore the caves, waterfalls and to swim in the clear pools along the path. Finish with a lunch in the mountains before continuing to Trinidad, one of Cuba’s jewels in the crown. It is a truly magnificent city, untouched by modern architecture and easy to explore. Here join a salsa class and then practice your moves on the steps at Casa de la Musica. Then take the train out to the Valle Los Ingenios to learn about the sugar trade, the sugar barons and the slaves that worked here.

3 nights Trinidad

 

Day 11: On the Beach

Stopping at Santa Clara to see the Che Guevera mausoleum before heading to one of the pristine beaches that Cuba is famous for. Time to relax and take advantage of the water sports on offer. Diving and snorkelling is excellent in certain places.

4 nights Beach

 

Day 15: Havana

Transfer back to Havana to catch your homeward flight.

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

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Little Gems

When in Havana climb to the top of the Edificio Gomez Villa and see the oldest “Camera Obscura” in the New World. This will give you a unique panoramic view of Old Havana and people moving across the squares. The camera zooms in magnificently on local sites.

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