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.

capital_1

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!

peninsula_varadero

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!

havana-carnival cuba

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.

 

Visit to Braga Cathedral, Portugal
Baroque Double Staircase of Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga, Portugal

41 Responses to “7 Reasons to Travel to Cuba

  • Great reasons..

  • Informative post with awesome pics !

  • Me too… Have been reading up on it myself, 🙂

  • That’s whole lot on offer. The shot with buildings is great.

  • Yogi Saraswat
    2 years ago

    Cuba , bowl of sugar . This is only introduction of this nation in my mind . But when we search about it on the internet , we have a lot of beautiful places to visit . The Cigar Festival is one of new events in Havana. One can learn about history of cigars, visit cigar plantations and factories. Great place to buy finest Habanos! Good narration from Supriya. and thnx to you to share it here .

  • for me, the best reason is food, food and food. Would love to visit there 🙂
    Thanks for sharing.

  • A nice Post.. Truly creates interest to visit the place.. Thanks for sharing, Indrani!

  • The 60s scenario still existing in Cuba is an added appeal to us, apart from the finger licking food and the lovely beaches :). Thanks for the share Indrani, it’s a very informative post.

  • These are great reasons to compel me to visit Cuba!

  • It has always fascinated me, the pictures I see!

  • You missed main one— Obama is now in friendship with Cuba!

  • I remember playing a game called the driver 2, in the initial days of using computer which was set in the old streets of Havana and driving the old cars and being chased by police has been great fun. From that time I hold interest on the country and its really wonderful learning things about Cuba. Sounds cool and colorful

  • I think now is the time to see Cuba before it succumbs to outside influence…..

  • Lovely post Indrani 🙂

  • I’ve always been fascinated by this particular country after reading a piece on Castro. Add to it the recent Obama link…the place looks so inviting!

  • Wonderful photos of Cuba.

  • Chinmay Sahu
    2 years ago

    you should share some more pics, the street life

  • Wonderful colored photos

  • Frozen in the 60ies like Burma,good that they are opening up to the world.

  • Beautiful pics, Nice informative post.

  • Great country, love it.

  • Cuba really is beautiful!

  • Jyothi D'mello
    2 years ago

    That first pic itself amazed me. I am glad that modernization hasn’t found its way to Cuba (atleast not yet). Its old charm makes it a beautiful place. If I could I would book a ticket Right Now! 🙂

  • Hello, I hope you get to visit Cuba. Wonderful post and info. I would love the beaches. Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!

  • the buildings are very beautiful, thanks for sharing

  • Fantastic reasons 🙂 this is so tempting Indrani 🙂

  • Great! And surprisingly this is quite in contrast to what Hollywood movies will have us believe.

  • vatsala mallya
    2 years ago

    I had great interest in these carrebean countries since long. Because I recollect cricketeers visiting these countries to play , had great admiration of its geographical location, vast beautiful beaches , people there and the delicious food !
    A must visit place !

  • Loved the pictures. I just added Cuba to my travel list

  • We find Cuba very fascinating and intriguing for the same reasons as this post. Those white sandy beaches are enticing and riding those antique cars is a dream

  • Now that Castro has died, I’m learning a lot more about Cuba and the context of the beaches and antique cars. Fascinating place – I’d love to visit

  • I also haven’t been to Cuba yet, but like you, am dying to go! It’s a much bigger island nation than I realized with a lot to explore. I’m hoping to make it there soon, before things change too much with all the visitors now going.

  • Pretty cool and with US and Cuba on better terms now I believe more cruise ships are also going there. Should be interesting to see how Cuba develops as a tourist destination and its beauty has long been admired especially by those, like me, who crave everything vintage.

  • I’m seeing so many posts about Cuba but appreciate you mentioning the local festivals. Planning to visit around those would be incredible.

  • I would love to go and I hope to get there to see it still stuck in time before it b begins to change. Seems like more and more people are going. I hope to be one of those people.

  • Cuba is truly a country of indescribable magic. It feels like I travel back in time whenever I see post or photos of Cuba. Cuba was Timeworn but magnificent. Their historical sites have been Meticulously preserved. Truly, Cuba is the place to go when you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of today’s modernization.

  • These are all great reasons. Honestly, I’m not sure if I will go any time soon. Growing up in Miami and hearing from all of my Cuban friends about all of the tragedies that have happened there, I think it will take more time before I can see it in a positive light.

  • I went to Cuba in my second year of University. Unfortunately I went to one of those all-inclusive resorts and I never really experienced the real side of Cuba I’m very disappointed about that and I hope I can go back because I absolutely love the charm of Cuba. I wonder how it is going to be now that Fidel Castro has passed away. I hope it doesn’t change too much and that the charm is still there at once I go. Great article!

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