Cuba – famous for Che, big cigars, cracking rum and package holidays. I’m a big fan of delving deep into the first 3 but package holidays really aren’t my thing. The resorts are strewn across the (very beautiful) Northern beaches but if you want to avoid the rich Americans and really feel the country you need to look elsewhere. If so, check out these 5 awesome destinations on your trip to Cooooooba:
Baracoa: As far as you can get away from Havana, Baracoa is a steamy, chilled out town on the South East Coast. To get here, you have to drive past Guantanamo (yes, the one with the bay) and keep going. Once you get here you’ll see the attraction. Think kicking back at a waterfall, tasty lunch in the town, wine in the late afternoon, rum and salsa lessons (an awesome thing to do here) in the evening, and repeat the next day. That’s Baracoa. Also, there’s tip-top trekking at Yumuri river gorge too if you feel the need to shake that alcohol out of your system the next day.
Santiago de Cuba: Old Fidel and Che started there movement from here, so this place is reeked in history. You can visit the barracks where Fidel Castro started his Cuban revolution, failed, got caught, fled to Mexico and met Che. The impressive citadel, Castillo del Morro, is one of the main attractions in the whole country, let alone the city. Endless cannons, drawbridges, dungeons, stairs and tunnels. This is what a real castle should look like!
Havana: The capital of Cuba and its spiritual heart. The home of Cuban cigars and Havana rum, if that’s not enough to get your sprinting here then the political culture available at every street corner should do the trick. The old town, a UNESCO world heritage site, is in great condition with European style buildings, pastel colours, jazz musicians, cafes and bars it’s a great place to spend a few days. The artisan market, and outdoor market should suitably fill your backpacks with any thing Cuban you can imagine.
Camaguey: The Argentinian Cuba, Camaguey is slap bang in the middle of the country and is the 3rd largest city. The true beauty here is the lack of tourists. It has a flourishing art scene, so check out some of the galleries. Walking through the city, this is what you expected Cuba to be, old couples sitting on steps, staring at you with a warm smile, kids running around chasing tyres with sticks and with icecream available for less than $1, you may never want to leave!
Trinidad: Like Camaguey, this is the Cuba you hoped for. Cobblestones, pastel, retro cadillacs and salsa until the early morning. Trinidad only has a population of 60,000 but there are countless dancing schools so indulge in some salsa when you have the opportunity. With a thriving bar scene, you’ll have no issue finding people to share your new dancing moves with. To top it all off, there’s a cracking beach 5 or 10 mins from town, so if all that salsa is getting you hot under the collar, here’s your chance to cool down.
Cuba is more open now than ever folks, so there’s never been a better time to visit. If you stay away from the touristy northern beaches when you holiday in Cuba, you can really feel the old Cuba, soak it up before it’s too late. Happy travels!