7 Reasons to Travel to Cuba
Recently I had been to a story telling session by women travelers. One of the 3 speakers I listened to was Supriya Suriyanarayanan, Founder, SquareFt Decor. She spoke of her experiences about her recent visit to Cuba that has left a huge craving in me to travel to the country. With travel relaxations to the country and from what she said I deciphered that it is the perfect time to visit Cuba NOW! I soon found myself reading up about the place.
Here are my top 7 reasons to visit Cuba now
Time Has Stood Still Here
The first and the foremost reason is that Cuba tourism hasn’t picked up yet and it is still wrapped in a time capsule of 60s and 70s. Today when we are so used to this high speed lifestyle, Cuba still retains the old charm mainly because of its isolation from US culture and commerce. Streets are dotted with colorful houses in old style architecture with tiled roofs. Havana, the capital is well known for its colorful appearance. Even the other destinations in Cuba have retained the old Spanish charm. The colonial architecture of 16th century hadn’t been brought down till the 1950s and 60s. Add to them the 19th century the neoclassic look introduced there by other visitors. There is lots for eyes to devour.
Ride In One Of The Old American Cars
What horse carts are to heritage places in Europe, the old American cars are to the streets of Cuba. A ride in one of the old American cars, may be a Cadillac is a possibility even today not anywhere else but in Cuba. The auto collectors haven’t stepped in here yet to grab these vintage beauties and lock them up in museums. Ever since 1950s when the embargo (check Cuba history) had been clamped on this tiny country there have been no American imports. There have been no new models of vehicles on the roads of Cuba. Cubans worked their way around the models that existed then, turning every junk into a workable piece.
White Sand Cuba Beaches
If you are a beach lover, take a swim with locals in the beaches there or simply roll on its white-sand beaches! Chances are you will loose count of the beaches… there are more than 300 of them. Cuba is blessed with a long coastline along the Northern Atlantic Ocean and Southern Caribbean Sea. Lonely Planet mentions: Cayo Largo, perhaps, Cuba’s finest beach, is broad westward-facing Playa Sirena, where 2km of powdery white sand is wide enough to accommodate several football pitches. There are scuba diving spots and opportunities for exploring under water world rich in corals and star fish. Then there are miles of private beaches too for those seeking tranquility!
Easy to Mingle Cuban People
Visitors returning from this tiny island nation have stories to tell about the friendliness of the Cuban people. Their hospitality just wins you over. For those who believe in interacting with locals and love to know the culture of people, Cuba seems perfect. You get to know something unadulterated from the 1970s. The fact that they have retained their friendly nature and are not hesitant to opening up to guests in spite of long years of hardships is indeed praiseworthy. Internet facilities are not accessible to all and virtual socializing is almost negligible; this assures genuine interaction on a real basis. Spend a week there and you are bound to make a lot of friends.
Festivals of Cuba
The festivals of Cuba are yet another reason which can make your visit memorable. Almost throughout the year there are festivals lined up bringing in celebrations, parties and togetherness. The Fiesta del Fuego festival that takes place in Santiago de Cuba every July is a fantastic event. It is marked with parades, fireworks and loads of dancing. The Easter Procession in Trinidad is yet another fun filled festival. With a little bit of planning you are sure to find yourself in the midst of some celebration of the locals. The Cigar Festival is one of new events in Havana. One can learn about history of cigars, visit cigar plantations and factories. They showcase the best new releases to international audience. Great place to buy finest Habanos!
Food, Food and Food
In terms of food, Cuba is not just Cuban cigars and rum. The cuisine there is a delightful mix of Spanish, African and Caribbean cooking traditions. With its huge coastline you can certainly expect delicious seafood with lobsters being served in many of the eateries there. Vegetarians can try out their typical meal that consists of rice and beans, cooked together or apart. When cooked together the recipe is called either “Congri” or “Moros y Cristianos” (black beans and rice). If cooked separately it is called “Arroz con/y Frijoles” (rice with/and beans). Cuban sandwich is another popular item in the menu. The sandwich is built on a base of lightly buttered Cuban bread and contains sliced roast pork, thinly sliced Serrano ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, and yellow mustard.
9 UNESCO Heritage Sites
Being an ardent lover of world heritage sites I would definitely recommend this country for its 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites. The list includes 2 national parks and 7 heritage monuments and sites. 3 more properties are in the tentative list to make to heritage level. The complex geology and varied topography of the parks have given rise to a diversity of ecosystems. The underlying rocks in these regions are toxic to plants. Species here have adapted to survive in these hostile conditions which make them unique. Havanna is famous for its mighty and impressive fortifications. The city does look like a metropolis teeming with people, it is the old part that has retained its charm with an interesting mix of Baroque and neoclassical monuments, and a homogeneous ensemble of private houses with arcades, balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards.
Have you been to Cuba yet? Did you find it fascinating? Do let me know through the comments.