I have not written about many destinations I went to more than 10 years ago, and I write about Cuba just 3 months after my return. It is not because I’m amazed or because a friend asked me, it is because if there is a tourist destination that is changing at full speed, that is Cuba. That is the main motive, for me and most travelers, to have gone before it became another overdeveloped Caribbean country like Bahamas or Turks and Caicos.
They tell you that all Cuban cities must be seen, they all have something to do, they are all different, but I disagree: Havana, with its great Old Havana, and Trinidad, with its beautiful little historic quarter, are worth a visit. The rest, while not lacking in Spanish neoclassical architecture, resemble one or the other. Different is that you want to know what happened in each of them in the revolution or before it, then you have mandatory stops in Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba among others.
Cuba has beaches that would be in the top positions of any world ranking: Cayo Largo del Sur, Cayo Coco and Varadero, although sold entirely to tourism, are the best known. Diving in some of them is top too, although my personal experience is not so satisfactory. The rest is an attractive mix between nature and farming areas that fit in a very harmonious way, dotted with some mountains that make up unexpected landscapes.
But in addition to buildings and nature, you probably have the most interesting experiences of the whole Caribbean, because it happens that Cuba is full of things that annoy you, but when you don’t have them, you miss them:
- Cubans are generally friendly and close people since the first moment. As in any developing country, there are always those ones who annoy the traveler with the intention of selling something, but even these are usually friendly.
- Leisure is always the same, but actually, it’s very funny: drinking and music. Cuban music, lively and cheerful, is everywhere; at some point you miss listening to other types of music, but when you listen to other music, then you miss Cuban. And the “tragos” (drinks), as they are called here, are cheaper than anything else in the country.
- The food, while abundant, is not very varied. You’ll end up a little fed up of the same meals day after day, but the day that with rice they do not bring you beans, that day you’ll find yourself asking for them.
- After three trips, those magnificent old American cars will seem like insufferable coffee machines, but when you make one on a normal bus, you will think “very comfortable, but what about my anecdotes?”
So my recommendation is the following: to Cuba you have to go the sooner the better. So, when you come back in a few years and there are all kinds of people, food, music, no cars from the 60s in the streets, and, finally, do not know if you are there or in Cayman Islands, you can remember what you lived and miss it with a big smile on your face.
- WHEN TO GO, MONEY, HEALTH
- HOW TO GET THERE, AIRPORTS
- GETTING AROUND:
- BUS AND SHARED TAXI
- RENTAL CAR, BICYCLE AND HITCHHIKE
- TRAIN AND PLANE
- DANGERS, PROBLEMS AND ANNOYANCES