The country of Rum & Rumba | Cuba

The title says it all; Cuba is a country with Caribbean vibes, a charming character and a lot of sights to see.

Cuba is a country in the Caribbean, situated between Haïti and Mexico and consists of 2 bigger islands; Cuba and Isla de la Juventud. The capital is the well-known Havana and is one of the bigger cities of Cuba, along with Varadero, Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba. 

Let’s start with the capital, Havana.

Havana

Havana is the lively capital of Cuba. The city is home to many old buildings and monuments and is divided into three districts: Habana Vieja, Centro Habana and Vedado. Habana Vieja is the oldest neighbourhood, full of historical sites and it feels like the time has stood still. Centro Habana is a neighbourhood with buildings from different times.  Vedado means preserve,  this part of Havana got its name because it was not allowed to build on this site in the 16th century. It is the main district with big avenues and large buildings. Most of the political buildings, shops and cinemas and are situated here.

Among one of the things to visit in Havana, is the Plaza de la Revolución. The square is surrounded with a lot of state buildings with signs of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and Raul Castro. The square might not be the prettiest or biggest of them all, but it sure is impressive.

Another impressive building is the San Cristóbal Cathedral. The cathedral is one of the biggest in Havana and is covered with impressive ornaments. Approximately 40% of the Cuban inhabitants identify themselves with the Catholic religion, making this an important church for the Cubans.

 

Rum and Rumba 

When you’re traveling to Cuba, there are a lot of things you can’t miss out on. Two of those things are Rum and Rumba. You have probably heard of the famous rum brand called Havana Club. In Havana there is a museum dedicated to this brand, where you can get a guided tour, taste some rum and enjoy some Cuban music.

 

Another thing you can’t miss out on, is going to a cigar store. Or even better; Partagas Cigar Factory. Here you can get a guided tour and discover how cigars are made, what kind of cigars there are and maybe try making one yourself at one of the workshops.

 

Islands 

When you've had your fill of the busy cities and need some rest, travel Northeast. This part of Cuba offers you white beaches, blue-green seas and colonial towns. The beaches in the Northeast of Cuba are for many a dream come true. Dolphins jumping out of the water, flamingos in the waters, special fish and countless small islands along the beautiful coast. It is good to know that only a few islands are actually open to tourism. These islands are: Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Ensenachos, Cayo Las Brujas and Cayo Coco.

 

The special thing about these islands is that you can reach them by car. Special dams have been built that make it possible to visit these islands. Before you can enter these islands there is a passport control and you will have to pay the toll. Not only the final destination is fun, during the ride you will pass old villages and towns where several monuments in honour of Che Guevara are located.

It is possible to spend the night on these islands. In this blog I will mention the possible overnight stays for the island of Cayo coco, because I have experience with this myself. When you prefer a little more luxury, you can choose to stay overnight at the Melia Cayo Coco All-in resort. The resort is located by the sea and offers several luxurious amenities.

If you prefer a hotel that is more in the colonial Cuban style, you can opt for the Colonial Cayo Coco Hotel.

 

Some nice places to visit 

Do you feel like doing nothing for a day? then Varadero beach is the perfect place. The combination of white sand, blue sea, countless restaurants and a beautiful environment makes it the ideal place to enjoy the warm weather for a day.

 

Another place that is worth the visit, is the bay of pigs. It may not sound like a fun place, but it is worth a visit. This place has an important history in the relationship between Cuba and the US and offers you the opportunity to see this history with your own eyes. Besides the monuments and the beautiful nature, it is also a very suitable place for snorkeling.

 

Plaza Mayor is located in the middle of Trinidad and offers you the chance to admire the cultural antiquities of Cuba. Experience Cuba on a terrace, listen to the music from the streets and stroll and wander the small streets lined with cobblestones.

After all these cultural sights, beaches and shops, visiting a nature park is a good addition to your to do list. Alejandro de Humboldt National Park is such a park. It is located in Guantánamo and offers beautiful waterfalls, flora and fauna, beaches and remnants of ancient architecture.

 

Another beautiful place worth visiting is the El Nido waterfalls. This nature reserve is accessible by a walk through the jungle and along a river that flows down through some beautiful waterfalls and over rocks. The waterfall is consists of crystal clear water, and  a number of pools in which you can swim in. From the top of the waterfall there is a beautiful view over the valley.

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