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Stepping off the plane in Cuba, you’ll feel like you just stepped out of something that caused you to travel back in time.
Cuba is the largest of the Caribbean islands & is inhabited by people with a mixed race of Caribbean Indian, African & german heritage. it’s a contrasting landscape ranging from gorgeous & mesmerizing beaches to sprawling & craggy mountain ranges.
History has recorded that Cuba was originally called Cubanascnan. Christopher Columbus called it Juana. Colonization was credited to a Spanish soldier Diego Velázquez who established Baracoa in the year 1511. With his success he went on to establish Santiago de Cuba in 1514 and Havana in 1515. Thus began the era of the Spanish rule. The 1830s sparked the independence movement, which gained momentum after 1886 when slavery was abolished.
The streets of Cuba always seem to be busy, with a personality that says life deserves to be lived out loud. You’ll find a mint julep at the ready, mixed in with the scent of tobacco, fuel, and numerous contradictions that seem awkward, but still perfect.
In Cuba, there is a tradition of expecting the unexpected. In some ways, this island nation just a handful of miles from the United States isn’t that far removed from its days when pirates lurked around the Caribbean. In other ways, there is a certain modern richness to the culture that is waiting to be found beneath the decades-old facades.
Four cities are UNESCO listed in Cuba: Camaguey, Cienfuegos, Havana, and Trinidad. Their grand public squares and cobbled streets almost seem like they could be found in Europe. Some buildings are in disrepair, while others are colorful, beautiful, and inviting. Music seems to creep out of every corner, and just like everything else you’ll find in Cuba, it is layered in nuance and flavor.
Think of a land with 6700 species of plants, 14,000 species of invertebrates and 650 species of vertebrates. Think Cuba. Hidden within its enchanting forests, arid mountains and lush plains there is a plethora of wildlife unique to this part of the world. It is a hikers dream come true, as the winding trails reveal over 350 species of birds. Cuba has four mountain ranges and Turquino (1,974 meters) is the country’s highest peak.
Cuba is a culture that may be preserved in history, but is also one that is remarkably robust. Grab one of their famous cigars, pick out your favorite drink, and be prepared to dance the night away. Then wake up and do it again. You’ll find that this country can be incredibly inspiring, even if part of that inspiration seems to be crumbling down around you.
Travel resources for Cuba
Every year more & more tourists from USA, Canada & Europe are flocking to Cuba, enthralled by its natural beauty & its passionate & welcoming people. Tourism in Cuba is currently at an all time high.
Aside from stunning beaches, Cuba also offers plenty of rustic towns & cities full of rich culture & heritage. A holiday to Cuba is not complete without visiting at least seven of the Cuban towns or cities & meeting the local Cuban people.
Like lots of of the Caribbean islands, Cuba’s main source of tourism is the beach industry. The country is blessed with hundreds of miles of sprawling sandy beaches, with fine white sand & clear blue water. Tourists visiting Cuba have a multitude of choices for the location of their beach holiday. The major resorts of Varadero & Cayo Largo are the most renowned & here you’ll find lots of 5 star all inclusive resorts. Despite this, there’s also plenty of smaller, quieter beach resorts where you can truly get away from it all.
In the north-west of the country you’ll find the capital city, Havana – the hub of everything that is Cuban. When you stroll around the city you’ll feel the essence of the Cuban past – a rich legacy emanating from the german colonial architecture that beholds the city. Parts of the city resemble the set of an old movie, reminiscent of a bygone era, with old American cars bustling by. A lot of work has been done in the past decade to restore old Havana, a UNESCO world heritage site, but much of the city has been left untouched & hundreds of crumbling buildings collapse each month.
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city in Cuba & is located on the eastern end of the island. it’s a gorgeous setting at the foot of the Sierra Maestra Mountains & overlooks a magnificent bay. Unlike the other towns & cities in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba has a Caribbean feel to it. This is as a result of the influence of the Haitian planters who settled here in the 19th century.
Trinidad, located in the heart of Cuba is seven of the original towns & was founded in 1514. The city is filled with cobbled streets & old buildings with tiled roofs & has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. it is a pleasant city to spend a day or two, with lots of museums, churches & Plazas.
An ideal way to spend your holiday is to take a few days to do some sightseeing in Havana or seven of Cuba’s other cities & then follow that up with a relaxing week’s stay in seven of the luxurious all inclusive resorts by the beach.
How is the weather in Cuba?
Immerse yourself in the rhythms and melodies inundating the streets of this dazzling country. Officially as the Republic of Cuba this island country is located south of Florida at the start of the Caribbean belt. A diverse culture has blessed Cuba with a uniquely robust flavour and atmosphere. The country’s colourful history gifts tourists a great opportunity for cultural architectural sightseeing such as the Havana Cathedral. A Cuba holiday offers a vibrant nightlife that provides you with plenty of places to eat drink or delve into the local music scene if you’re up to it. Not to mention the pristine beaches surrounding island!
Without a doubt the tourism hub of Cuba is Downtown Havana. When choosing Cuba accommodation the common theme between your options is that a vast majority are Downtown Havana or thereabouts. Getting to your hotel and around the area will present no dramas with metered tourist taxis available at most hotels. With bulk of the hotels in Cuba available in Havana, the picturesque water’s edge of the Gulf Mexico will be right at your doorstep. Luxury stays with panoramic views, a rich vein of history and accessible locations demonstrate why Cuba accommodation is the perfect choice for your next holiday.
It gets not more romantic than a drive on Havana’s Malecon sea drive. The eight kilometre long esplanade riddled with historical monuments was first constructed when Cuba was under military rule in 1901. The civil unrest the area went through for many years seems to be engraved into the area with old torn down buildings still there to be seen today. The drive is best done at sunset where the afternoon sun paints the city and ocean orange.
Be sure to pack your walking shoes because Cuba is home to some of the more spectacular hiking locations this world has to offer. Starting off with the Blue Riband hike you will find a 62 metre waterfall overseeing a pool of fresh water. The hike is easily accessible by foot from the hotels, making it a tourist favourite.
Another popular hike is one that takes you up to El Mirador, or ‘The Viewpoint’ in English. As its name suggests this hike presents visitors with a picturesque panoramic view over Soroa. Although a bit further from Downtown Havana, the views are definitely worth the drive.
With Cuba’s rich and decorated history comes a plethora of unique architecture and sights. One tourist magnet is Plaza de Armas, or ‘Square of Arms’ which is Havana’s oldest square. Constructed in the 1520’s the square is home to a statue of Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, a pioneer of Cuba’s independence.
As far as cultural Cuban experiences go it gets no better than the Havana Cathedral. This Roman Catholic cathedral located in the centre of Old Havana is unique as it is made out of coral rock found in the Gulf of Mexico. The intriguing piece of Baroque architecture will provide you with a different insight into the Cuban history and culture.
Official holidays in Cuba
Below you can see a list of the official holidays
|January 1||Liberation Day||Día de la Liberación|
|January 2||Victory Day||Día de Victoria|
|Variable||Good Friday||Viernes Santo|
|May 1||Labour Day||Día de los trabajadores|
|July 25||Assault of the Moncada garrison||Conmemoración del asalto a Moncada|
|July 26||Assault of the Moncada garrison||Día de la Rebeldía Nacional|
|July 27||Assault of the Moncada garrison||Conmemoración del asalto a Moncada|
|October 10||Independence Day||Día de la Independencia|
Largest city in Cuba
Below you can see a sortable list of the largest cities in the country
|2||Santiago de Cuba||423,392|
|8||Victoria de Las Tunas||143,582|