• Cuba

Cuba

Overview

Cuba is one of the most popular and most visited islands in the Caribbean. It is the largest Caribbean island and is located approximately 90 miles off the coast of Key West, Florida. Their warm and inviting culture is unique and perfect for families, groups and single men and women.

Their music and rich history is one of the most fascinating of all the Caribbean islands. The Alligator shaped island's history goes as far back as slavery and is the home of some of the world's most unique and famous landmarks such as the Museum of Belle Arts and the Castillo de la Real Fuerza in Havana.

The island's most vibrant and ethnically diverse city is Santiago de Cuba. The city is known for its involvement in the evolution of Cuban literature, music, architecture, politics and ethnology and is the most culturally open city in Cuba. Havana, on the other hand, is preferred by many and is the biggest and most historic city in Cuba. This city has evidence of the majority of Cuba's history and is one city tourist must see.

Cuba has entertainment for everyone, whether you are looking for relaxation, nightlife fun, exploration of historic sites or new adventures; this is the best vacation location for you. Regardless of the size of your budget, quality experience is guaranteed.

There is a variety of outdoor activities for you to participate in such as scuba diving, skydiving, golfing, horseback riding, jet skiing, wildlife and nature tours and much more.  There is also a lot of night clubs to choose from, as well as a variety of entertaining events such as concerts and theatres. If you are interested in learning classical dances then Cuba is the place to be, it is the birthplace of dances like; the Bolero, Mambo and Cha Cha.

A vacation in Cuba will surely provide you with the ultimate experience that you will always remember; it will be well worth it to give Cuba a chance.

Weather

The weather is wonderful especially for tourists coming from colder climates and would prefer someplace warmer during their vacation. Cuba has a tropical climate which means no snow, but lots of rain during hurricane seasons; which starts in July and ends in November.  The summers (June to August) are the hottest season in Cuba and when the humidity is high it can sometimes be unbearable in cities such as Santiago de Cuba especially for those who are not accustomed to this type of weather.

It is recommended that if you are not a fan of such extreme temperatures and weathers then summer isn't a suitable time for you to visit. The best time to visit Cuba is during the months of December to April when the island is coolest. Although there are some rainy days, there is not a lot of complaints about the weather, it is almost perfect.

If you love to watch the sunrise and the sunset, you wouldn't want to miss the ones in Cuba because it is breath-taking and like no other that you will ever see in your lifetime. 

Food and Beverage

Cuban cuisine is quickly becoming one of the most demanded and highly rated food in the world. Food in Cuba is a mixture of perfectly flavoured dishes that often consist of lots of cheese, pork, pepper and sugar that are mostly prepared by frying or baking.

Food is often purchased from State Restaurants and Cafes that are either convertible-peso or national-peso establishments. The convertible-peso establishments tend to provide five-star meals and have a diverse menu that is not limited to just Cuban food but a combination of dishes from many different cultures and countries. The menus are often priced in foreign currency and the restaurants are located in the tourist areas. It is also normal for tourist to enjoy food from Paladars and street vendors.

The national peso establishments are local restaurants and cafe that are located outside of the tourist area. You will find mostly Cuban people and Cuban dishes that are priced cheaper and in national peso. Visiting these restaurants is a good way to see what normal Cuban food is like minus all of the extravagances you would have at the restaurants in tourist areas. If you decide to vacation on this beautiful island ensure that you try some of their most delicious dishes like the Cuban Burger, Corn on the cob, Paella, Croquettes, Ropa Vieja, Huevos habaneros, Chicharrónes, Moros y Cristianos, Chatinos, Cuban tamales, Lechon Asado, Medianoche, Pulpeta, Arroz con pollo, Costillitas and Picadillo Cua Cua. You may also try Cuban sweet treats like the Churro, Platanos Maduros, Flan, Sponge cake coated in meringues, and Coquitos.

If you prefer to drink water then ensure that you only drink bottled water because the tap water is not suitable and can make you sick.

You can't go to Cuba and not be exposed to some of their beverages. If you like Rum then Cuba is the place for you because Rum is available everywhere and is one of the island's most inexpensive drinks. You can pick up a bottle of Cuban Rum for as low as $3 CUC at any supermarket or hotel. You may even get attached to their signature cocktails that are reasonably priced and available in all restaurants and bars. You should also expect a hangover because Cubans are accustomed to using large amounts of alcohol in their cocktails.

The island is also famous for their Lager-type beer (Cerveza) in brands such as Cristal and Bucanero. Many Cubans are huge coffee lovers so remember to try out their coffees because it is guaranteed that they have a unique concoction that foreign coffee lovers will want to take home with them in bottles. Don't forget to try their refrescos (Cuban soft drinks), You can try drinks like the Guarapo and Prú. You may also take a few bottles as souvenirs for friends and families.

Popular Vacation Spots

Cuba has a combination of Colonial cities, Historic sites and beaches that are well known as places tourist frequently visit during their stay. The beaches are the best in the Caribbean, they are well maintained and the coral reefs both in and out of the water are healthy.

Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Varadero, Holguin and Trinidad are the most popular cities in Cuba and they boast their own unique attractions and spots.

Havana, the capital of Cuba, is the home of some of the best hotels, colonial streets, houses, restaurants, and galleries. The city has some of the most famous and historic landmarks that are a must see when visiting this interesting Island. Some places to visit in Havana are Napoleon Museum, the Museum of Belle Arts, the Museum of Colonial Art, the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the central Plaza de Armas, the Plaza de la Catedral, Havana Cathedral,Parque Zoologico, the Fabrica de Tobacos Partagas cigar factory, the Gabinete de Arqueologia,  houses of the Marques de Aguas Claras and of Lombilo,  the Rum Museum, the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the Museo de Los Orishas, the birth house of Cuban national hero Jose Marti, and the historic 1856 Hotel Inglaterra  the Parque Zoologico, and the Colon cemetery.

Santiago de Cuba is the city of music; it is famous for the Afro-Caribbean music that is often played loudly on its streets. The city is often very crowded and has a vibrant and energetic vibe that many eccentrics love and enjoy.  Visits to the museum of the barracks, clubbing and carnival in July is among the things locals and tourists do to keep themselves entertained in the city. There are also hill and mountain tours offered by many companies especially during the summer.

Varadero's main attraction is its beach resorts that are perfect for a vacation getaway. The city has over 50 hotels which provide five-star accommodations and mid to high range all-inclusive packages. The city has the second most important airport in Cuba. Exclusive tours of parks and boat trips are some of the things you can do in Varadero.

Holguin's main town is called San Isidore de Holguin and is one of the city's most attractive and diverse places in all of cuba! Along with their large beach resorts, the city has some unique places to see such as the Museo Indocubano, Periquera, pine forests of Mayari, jeep safari and hunt imported African wildlife adventure. In addition to these interesting and fun attractions, tourists are also able to participate in activities such as diving and hiking.

Trinidad is famous for its beaches, history and intimate small-town atmosphere that allows you to get a glimpse of the authentic Cuban lifestyle. Some of the most popular places to visit are the Museo Nacional de la Lucha contra Bandidos, the Museo Romantico and Museo Historico, the Museum of Colonial Architecture, and the Parroquial Mayor church.

Practical Information

The island's main language is Spanish; however, many locals are fluent English speakers so if you are not familiar with their first language there is no need to worry because many Cubans are bi-lingual. If you don’t know any Spanish, Cuba is a good place to learn! The locals are very friendly and would be happy to teach you a word or two in Spanish.

 Most establishments accept foreign currency but in order to get the best value for your money, it is advised to change your cash into local currency.  Currently 1 USD is equivalent to 1 CUC.

About the author Kadene Buchanan

Kadene is a small town girl from Trelawny, Jamaica, hometown of Usain Bolt. Her love of travelling stemmed from her first trip to another Caribbean island and fell in love with the culture and beautiful landscape of Grand Cayman. From then on, her family would take her on frequent trips to several destinations all over the world. She has always been an avid reader and loves writing about her trips to these exotic destinations. Travel writing is Kadene’s greatest passion along with preparing exotic dishes and collecting authentic souvenirs. She hopes to explore the Eastern side of the world in her future travels and will always keep writing about those experiences!

View all posts by Kadene Buchanan

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