5 July 2018

Things to Do in Cuba

Cuba has a rich history, interesting culture and beautiful scenery. I have been lucky enough to experience this amazing country first-hand and in this blog posts I’m going to breakdown the Top 10 Reasons to Love Cuba...

1. The People

The people of Cuba are probably the friendliest people you will ever come across, the staff working in various bars, hotels and restaurants, really go out of their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable. The effort and level of genuine interest they take in you is not to go unappreciated. A top tip: Bring any toiletries, sanitary products or general items and give them to the hotel staff as it’s hard to get your hands on basic items like this due to the embargo, they’ll really appreciate and you’ll make their day!

2. The Cultural Traditions

What I love about this country is their innovative and exciting ways to entertain one-another, with limits on things like WiFi and TV, they have to make their own fun. Cubans have a big interest in baseball, football and boxing, thanks to American sailors who visited in the 1860’s. They also have a strong relationship with chess and regularly compete with each-other in local parks.

Since the cost of alcohol is so pricey, Cubans have figured a way to make their own, with the help of aguardiente, an extremely strong liquor which is name from sugar. However, this drink is not for the faint hearted and tourists may not be able to handle it as it’s so strong! If I return, I’ll definitely try and get my hands on this one!

3. The Music

In case you didn’t know, the Cuban’s a famous for their salsa dancing and music, which helped revolutionise what it is today, especially in places such as New York, when Cuban musicians visited the Big Apple in the 1940’s and 50’s. Salsa music in Cuba is known as ‘timba’, a mix of African and Cuban influences and is a very fast tempo, during the days of Old Havana, people spent the majority of their time in the casinos, as that’s where most of the money was, the casinos had the cash to pay the big bands to come and play, so everyone would spend their night dancing there. When the revolution happened and casinos shut down, they brought ‘casino’ dancing into the community halls and the name eventually stuck, so if a Cuban asks if you wanna go to the ‘casino’, get ready to hit the salsa club!

4. The Rum

Cuba has a long-standing relationship for its ability to provide amazing-tasting rum, I’m not a fan of rum myself, but if you are, then Cuba is definitely a place to visit. Home to arguably the famous rum company in the world, Havana Club, the rum in Cuba is top notch. According to reports, Cuban rum is a lot more ‘lighter, crisper and smoother’ compared to any other rum in the world.

5. Cigars

The history of cigars in Cuba goes back 500 years and this is another thing that this country is extremely well known for, anyone who loves cigars, this is a must-see destination. My hotel Iberostar Varadero, had its own cigar bar and a huge selection of different cigars, so I actually tried my first cigar in Cuba!

6. Beaches

Cuba has some of the best beaches to offer and probably one of the nicest beaches I’ve ever seen, Cuba gives you ultimate island vibes with clear blue water and white sandy-beaches, the sea life is magnificent and has plenty of snorkelling opportunities too.

7. Weather

As Cuba is in the Caribbean, the weather is amazing! With high summers and tropical temperatures, Cuba boasts everything you look for in a summer holiday. There are two seasons in Cuba, like most Caribbean countries, dry and wet season. The dry season is the most popular as there is less rainfall and higher temperatures, however you are in a tropical climate so be aware you may encounter a storm or two, but not to worry, they’ll soon pass.

7. The Architecture

Situated in Havana is a vast array of beautifully old buildings and historic, Gothic architecture, reminiscent of an Old Town in Europe, Havana reminds me of a European city with Cuban spirit.

8. The Cars

Car lovers, listen up, this one's for you. Unfortunately, Cuba has been embargoed by the US Government which limits them to importation, which also includes cars. The cars seen in Cuba are legit, 1950’s vintage models, which strangely add to the overall charm of the beautiful country.

9. The Atmosphere

There is something about Cuba, whether it’s the buzz and Cuban soul of the backstreets of Havana to the laid-back life of Islanders, Cuba has grit. And you’ll instantly feel the Cuban spirit and flair as you venture around the country.

10. The Experience

Cuba isn’t a regular holiday destination, due to its difficulties with the US and communist background, the way of life in this Caribbean destination is unlike any other. If you’re expecting a tip-top luxury holiday with the best cuisine, then maybe sit this one out. However, if you’re looking to dive right into a whole new culture, then this might be for you.

Cuba is for people who genuinely want to experience how other people live, because it really does open your eyes. Whether you take a jeep safari tour into the cenotes, journey through the favelas and see how the locals really live or taste local sugarcane presented to you by a genuine Cuban farming family; this country has so much to offer and the only way to really experience it, is to embrace it.

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