Cuba is the largest of all the Caribbean islands and in many ways totally unique. This is not surprising as the country was placed in a time capsule for half a century during the rule of Fidel Castro. Today, the firm control of the communist state is beginning to relax and private investment is slowly bringing the country into the 21st century.
The experience that awaits is one that is a heady mix of faded Spanish colonial cities, spluttering Fifties Cadillacs, wonderful live music, world-class cigars and an arcane political system. In turn, visitor’s expectations should be realistic as often things don’t work as they should or go to plan, and the service in hotels and the food, though improving, are not on a par with other Caribbean destinations.
The island has stunning landscapes, from the unique limestone plateau scenery west of Havana through tropical plantations to the rugged mountains and forests of the Sierra Maestra in the east. Cuba is liberally dotted with pristine sandy beaches and restored colonial towns. While the façades of the pre-revolutionary period remain, they sit alongside increasingly efficient new hotels, resorts, roads and other tourist facilities.
Prepare to be transported back in time as you step into the capital city of Havana. The wide boulevards are filled with sleek 1950’s American cars and breathtaking Spanish Colonial architecture. Although distinctly well worn and crumbling in places the music-driven buzz is unmistakeable in this culturally rich city, known as the gem of the Caribbean.
The bustling resort of Varadero is a 20km-long peninsula situated along Cuba’s northern coast. It’s known for being one of the largest holiday resorts in the Caribbean, and one of the most popular too. It’s not just the many hotels that make it a favourite amongst tourists, but also its outstanding natural surroundings including beautiful white sand beaches.