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Vacation in Cuba
Cuba: Vibrant, Exciting Vacation Destination
Cuba is a fascinating place to visit because it is almost frozen in time due to the difficult political situation over the last few decades. It is relatively easy to visit from most of the world, with the obvious exception of citizens of the USA for whom there have been major restrictions.
The famous sights of huge 1950s American cars and Spanish Colonial architecture of Havana are mixed with the obvious poverty, but it still retains a vibrant musical culture.
There are many tourist beach resorts in Cuba, popular with divers, but for a real cultural trip the smaller cities of Cienfuegos and Trinidad are an excellent place to visit.
This review of Cuba gives travel tips, advice and recommendations of places stay and things to see, atmospheric hotels etc.
Getting There (and entry requirements)
It is relatively easy to get to Havana and other tourist areas with regular flights from Europe, Canada and many major cities around the world, although entry from USA is more difficult due to a the political situation between the two countries.
A visa is required to enter Cuba unless you have a Russian Passport.
Map of Cuba - Where is Cuba?
Cuba is located in the Caribean Sea, very close to the United States and The Bahamas, west of Haiti, east of Mexico and north of the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. Havana is the largest city and the capital. Santiago de Cuba the second city. The main island, Cuba is 766 miles long and is surrounded by four groups of islands: Colorados, Sabana-Camaguey, Jardines de la Reina and Canarreos.
The climate is tropical, cooled by northeasterly trade winds. The drier season runs from November to April, and a rainier season from May to October. The average temperature is 70 Â°F (21 Â°C) in January and 81 Â°F (27 Â°C) in July. Cuba is prone to hurricanes, particularly in September and October.
Getting Around in Cuba
Getting around is easy. There are both modern and the iconic old fashioned taxis, tricycle and motorbike rickshaws. Hiring a car from Havana is easy, but expensive and can be arranged from the major hotels in Old Havana. Driving and navigating in Cuba is fairly difficult, with poor roads, maps and road-signs. Alternatively a big old car and driver can be hired for hours or even several days for a similar cost to the rental car. Renting a car has the added problem that if you leave it people will wash it for you or guard it, then demand money on your return.
Old colonial european architecture, vibrant atmospheric cafes and bars make Old Havana a wonderful place for tourists to chill out. The grand old hotels with roof terraces make a great place for an evening drink and perhaps a cigar.
Classic American Cars
There are many old American 1950s cars in Havana. Imports from the US stopped at about that time and the cars have been maintained. Many of the other, newer cars are from Russia.
Step back in time...
Music in Havana
There is a vibrant, yet relaxed atmosphere in Havana. Music is very important here, with many street performers and house bands playing in the roof-topbars of the old hotels in Old Havana. A wonderful way to relax in the evening after a busy day of sight-seeing. The most famous music from Cuba is perhaps the Buena Vista Social Club.
Buena Vista Social Club
Buena Vista Social Club Video
Exploring the surroundings of Havana
Hotels in Cienfuegos
Cuba's favourite Honymoon destination
Situated in a swamp/lagoon near Trinidad this wonderful honeymoon hotel looked idillic. We stayed for one night and were eaten by some very unpleasant swamp creatures. The bites took months to heal.
The Hemingway Trail
Hemingway seems to have been everywhere in the world that I have been to and there is usually a place referred to as Hemingway's favourite bar... except in Havana there appear to be about 20 of them including El Floridita, which is a particularly atmospheric drinking establishment.
Some more Classic Cars
They just love to show off for the tourists.