Bucket List 2019: Cuba
There is much more to Cuba than its dreamy, ivory-white sandy beaches, forest-covered mountains, and sun-kissed Caribbean shores. This is the land of salsa, vintage 1950’s Chevrolets, pastel-coloured architecture and a history of a complicated affair with the USA.
Untouched by travellers for decades, Cuba’s tourism has boomed in the past couple of years as word of this incredible destination has spread. The country embraces tourists; you can now dive deep into the local culture and the vibrant pulse of the people with authentic, locally-run experiences such as dining with a Cuban family in their living room, learning the rumba or salsa in home-based studios and driving around Old Havana in a vintage Chevrolet with its owner.
Old Havana is where you’ll find cigar-smoking locals asking for a street-side dance in narrow alleyways, Che Guevara posters plastered on weathered walls and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Head to a paladares for a local meal of ropa vieja and cerviche or meander the colourful streets that resemble a backdrop of a Cuban film.
Trinidad is a colonial treasure on the edge of sparkling seas. It is Cuba's best-preserved city with extravagant palaces and home to cobblestone streets and horse-and-carriage transport. Nearby you'll find the picture-perfect beach Playa Ancon. Cycle or taxi there for a refreshing rum cocktail. Further north, Cienfuegos is a colonial-era town with gold leaf mosaics and ceiling frescoes and beyond the cities, the road signs become less frequent and the sense of adventure sets in. Visit the emerald hills of Valle de los Ingenios, tobacco plantations, the idyllic Bay of Pigs with a dark history and the culturally-rich village of Viñales.
In partnership with Cuban Adventures Cuba Tours, an Australian travel company who specialises in small-group, eco-friendly tours of Cuba.