Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba is an island in the Caribbean which consists of the main island Isla de la Juventud , and several archipelagos. Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean , with over 11 million inhabitants albeit with a much lower population density than most countries in the region. Cuba is a multiethnic country. Its people, culture and customs are from different origins, including Taíno- and Ciboney – nations, it´s culture has also been influenced by the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves, close relationship with the Soviet Union during the Cold War and the proximity to the United States.
The climate is tropical but tempered by winds. Between November and April is the dry season “La Seca”, and from May to October rainy season “La Lluvia”. Cuba is hard hit by natural disasters. Between August and October there are frequent hurricanes on the East Coast, it is estimated that at least one harsh hurricane hits Cuba per year. Longer dry periods are also common.
Many of the tourists come from Canada, but over half of the visitors are now Europeans. After USA lifted the sanctions many Americans has also started to visit this extraordinary country.
Here are some of the reasons why you should pack your bags and go to Cuba.
Cuba’s colorful capital Havana, is known for its Spanish colonial architecture and American-made cars from 1950s which line the city’s streets. You will find people dancing and playing rumba and salsa wherever you go. Havana is an extremely vibrant and welcoming city. Historical sites include Plaza de la Revolution, El Capitolio and Catedral de San Cristiobal. You can visit numerous cigar factories where you can learn how cigars are produced and perhaps even roll your own. Playas del Este in Havana is almost the only beach where not only tourists are spending lazy days, you will find even locals there who enjoy the warm water and dance salsa in the sun.
Cuba is known for it´s amazing white sand beaches and there are plenty of them to choose from . One of the most famous beaches on Cuba’s Varadero beach, 87 miles eastwards from Havana. Varadero is a white sand beach which stretches 20 km and has plenty of luxury resorts. Caves and coral reefs can be explored just couple of meters from the shore. Cayos Coco and Guillermo are two beaches which still remain unspoiled and offer a great diving. Another beach, Playa Paraiso, is listed as the number one beach in Cuba according to Tripadvisor.
Cayo Largo del Sur is a small island for tourists only, there are no local Cuban residents anywhere in sight. This little island has world class beaches, turquoise water and thriving corals. It is well known for a great variety of wildlife where iguanas can be spotted frequently.
There are plenty of beautiful beaches in Cuba, both in North and south, some of them more exploited by tourism than others, however all of them are perfect for your vacation.
Alejandro de Humboldt National Park
Alejandro de Humboldt National Park is the only rainforest in the country, it is UNESCO listed and usually described as a mini-Amazon. You can hike through the bush with a guide, eat fresh mango, drink fresh coconut milk and learn about the area, wildlife and natural medicine. The park is an almost untouched ecosystem with beautiful birds, small animals and waterfalls for swimming. Hire a local guide from the village and you can go off the beaten track and see sites which are usually not seen by tourists.
Tropicana is a mix of a bar, club and theatre which brings you back to 50´s with it’s performance shows. At the entrance you get a bottle of rum, you can go on and enjoy your dinner until the entertainment starts. Great dancers, their costumes, music and scenery will make you feel like you are in a magic fairytale. The Tropicana Club is considered an iconic place in Cuba and a must-see.
Scuba Diving in Cuba
Cuba offers some of the best dive sites in the world. Cuba’s tropical waters is home to well preserved corals and rich marine life. Numerous caves are scattered around the entire Cuban archipelago. According to a new marine life conservation program, several turtle hatcheries have been established across the country which has increased the population of sea turtles. It is now possible to spot different types of turtles and sharks on almost every dive.
Various dive centres are located at almost every beach and many of them are PADI certified. Enjoy diving from the boat or get your PADI open water diving certificate, Cuba is one of the best diving destinations in the Caribbean and no wonder it is called “Scuba Cuba”.
Cuba is unique, and you will not get the same experience anywhere else. Warm and welcoming local residents, great climate and food, and an “easy go lucky” attitude will make your vacation unforgettable. Hurry up and visit Cuba while it is still authentic and not spoiled by tourism.