Taking time out from the everyday stresses and strains of life to visit an exotic place is something that everyone looks forward to. Cuba, with its notoriety brought upon by its government and the clampdown of the American government on its export and tourism, is a country known more for its cigar and its leader, rather than as a vacation destination. Despite this, every year more and more tourists from Canada and Europe are flocking to Cuba, enthralled by its natural beauty and its passionate and welcoming people. Tourism in Cuba is currently at an all-time high.
Cuba is the largest of the Caribbean islands and is inhabited by people with a mixed-race Caribbean Indian, African and Spanish heritage. It has a contrasting landscape ranging from beautiful and mesmerizing beaches to sprawling and craggy mountain ranges. Limestone Mountains loom over the fields of tobacco, utilized for their famed cigars, providing a stunning scenic view. The natural beauty of Cuba and its history have shaped the country into what it is today. This is one Caribbean island that has been left unspoiled by technology and modern-day living.
Like many 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 and clear blue water. Tourists visiting Cuba have a multitude of choices for the location of their beach vacation. The major resorts of Varadero and Cayo Largo are the most renowned and here you’ll find many 5 stars all-inclusive resorts. Despite this, there are also plenty of smaller, quieter beach resorts where you can truly get away from it all.
Aside from stunning beaches, Cuba also offers plenty of rustic towns and cities full of rich culture and heritage. A vacation to Cuba isn’t complete without visiting at least one of the Cuban towns or cities and meeting the local Cuban people.
In the northwest 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 Spanish 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 and hundreds of crumbling buildings collapse each month.
Havana also has its fair share of museums, including the Museum of the Revolution, the Havana Club Museum of Rum, the Cigar Museum, the Ernest Hemingway Museum, and the National Museum of Fine Arts.
Santiago de Cuba is the second-largest city in Cuba and is located on the eastern end of the island. It has a beautiful setting at the foot of the Sierra Maestra Mountains and overlooks a magnificent bay. Unlike the other towns and cities in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba has a very 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 one of the original towns and was founded in 1514. The city is filled with cobbled streets and old buildings with tiled roofs and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. It’s a very pleasant city to spend a day or two, with many museums, churches, and Plazas.
An ideal way to spend your vacation is to take a few days to do some sightseeing in Havana or one of Cuba’s other cities and then follow that up with a relaxing week’s stay in one of the luxurious all-inclusive resorts by the beach.