Latin America Travel & Tour Information
a unique destination
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, known the world over for its vibrant intermingling of cultures, colors, flavors, rhythms and above all, its amazing music. This wonderful island strategically lies at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, its shores washed by the warm Caribbean and the cool Atlantic, which have created over 300 legendary beaches of golden dunes and crystal-clear waters. With a Revolution-branded history and a present still hanging on an egalitarian ideology, Cuba offers way more to its visitors than anyone can imagine.
Cuba is blessed by a stable tropical climate the year round, whose average temperatures rarely drop under 26ºC. Cuba is the perfect ambiance to taste many different kinds of rum, to take in the deep aroma of its famous ?Habanos? and to travel back in time while admiring its old cars driving around the streets of Havana. Its memorable architecture, long history, as well as its cultural traditions, its people, dancing and unique rhythms make this magic island a place of numerous attractions to enjoy.
Cuban culture has been traditionally influenced by the mixture of immigrants and colonizers, chiefly from Spain and Africa. This clash of cultures reflects itself in a rich literary and musical creation. A tune from the 1920s called ?Son? forms the basis of its traditional music, which later gave way to a spectrum of rhythms, such as the Salsa, Rumba, Mambo and Cha-cha-chá. Cuban popular music has spread to several countries and is highly recognized nowadays in every corner of the globe.
Life on the island goes at a slow pace. The peaceful atmosphere lies everywhere, over the far-off islets or around the back alleys of Old Havana. The warm spirit of its inhabitants draws every visitor like a magnet, what makes the shortest visit to this country a real interaction with the local culture.
Havana (La Habana) is the island?s capital and therefore its largest city. Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey follow in size and importance. Other smaller cities but as attractive for visitors are: Baracoa, Trinidad and Bayamo. La Habana is a highly picturesque city whose charm stems from its rich architectonic legacy. Walking the streets of Old Havana is the best way to get to know every corner of this city, admiring the magnificent building and interacting with the locals, who always smile on visitors to show courtesy and hospitality, to make everybody feel at home.
Old Havana is one of the chief attractions on the island. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1982, its Old Town is considered one of Latin America?s best preserved colonial sections, full of imposing Spanish mansions, historical buildings and ancient churches. Everything embraced by music, color and enthusiasm that give the picture the final master touch that characterizes Old Havana.
It covers the 4 western-most provinces: Pinar del Rio, La Habana, The City of Havana (capital) and Matanzas. This region features wonderful diving spots, great beaches and beautiful natural reserves.
The region of Pinar del Río stands out as the Mecca of Tobacco, world-known for its high-quality cigars. The capital city of the same name also shows impressive colonial and neoclassical architecture.
Matanzas is another of the remarkable areas in this region, largely because of its magnificent bridges and colonial churches, plus the beauty of its valleys and world-known beaches like Varadero.
The Isle of Youth is a destination for those searching for a more peaceful environment. It is a place preferred by artists and ecologists for its unspoiled unique ecosystems and nature in full glamour.
It covers other 4 provinces: Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Sancti-Spiritus and Ciego de Avila.
Santa Clara, the capital of Villa Clara, despite being a non-touristic area, features some interesting places to visit and the country?s second most important university. Its history has been overwhelmed by the presence of Che Guevara, whose remains lie in a majestic mausoleum there since 1997.
Cienfuegos, the Pearl of the South, counts on a bay of striking beauty and perfectly preserved neoclassical buildings. The city?s main square has been included in UNESCO?s Cultural Heritage Sites list.
The province of Sancti-Spíritus comes to prominence for its great colonial cities, also under UNESCOs World Heritages, as it is the case of Trinidad, labelled the Museum City of the Caribbean. Its museums, churches and houses are full of history and legends.
The province of Ciego de Ávila, also in this region, is traditionally a very cultural area that hosts several music festivals.
This region comprises the provinces of Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba, Granma and Guantánamo.
The city of Santiago de Cuba is located in this area, being Cuba?s second most important settlement. Santiago is characterized for being the cradle of famous history, politics and music celebrities. In the course of its existence, it has welcome migratory waves from different parts of the world. As a result, it has become a highly multicultural city with a long spectrum of rhythms, colors and tunes. Moreover, Santiago de Cuba owns the country?s second best port and has earned the name of the Most Caribbean of Cuban Cities.
The province of Camaguey is known for its famous for its large productions of milk, beef and cheese. The ?Vaqueros? (cowboys) are common sights here, who ride their horses for long distances every day. North of this province, there is the beautiful Santa Lucía Beach with an active tourist industry; an ideal place for diving.
The province of Las Tunas is rather non-touristic, but it is more industrial, centered on sugar production. Visitors travelling from west to east usually go for the remote beaches here, since in the north there are some 35 unspoiled beaches, out of which Covarrubias Beach is the most visited.
Holguín is another remarkable spot in this area that counts on beautiful beaches along the 40-km coastline. They are some of the best Cuban beaches on the ocean side with transparent calm waters and huge coral reefs embraced by lush vegetation. Esmeralda and Guardalavaca beaches have been provided with excellent hotels and a good infrastructure for activities.
Cuba features a nice subtropical climate, stable for the most part of the year. Average temperatures remain around 25? C, what always makes swimming in the lovely beaches a good option. Temperature drops a bit in winter, barely 4 degrees and just in relation to the cold air waves that descend from the continent that never last long.
Food in Cuba is a bit limited in choices, but certainly different compared to the rest of the continent. Traditional food consists of meat, rice and beans, cheese, root vegetables and fried banana chips.
Cuban coffee is excellent and stronger than in many parts of the world. Beer is really good, just a bit softer but tasty. Of course, the drink par excellence here is rum, either straight, on the rocks or mixed in a delicious Mojito or Daiquiri.
La gastronomía cubana es variada, y es diferente dentro del continente, que en los lugares de la costa, en donde prevalecen los mariscos y pescados. Los platos tradicionales están compuestos ingredientes tales como carne, frijoles, queso, cerdo, todo esto combinado con deliciosas bananas fritas.
El café Cubano es excelente, y es mas fuerte que en otras partes del mundo. La cerveza es mas suave y deliciosa. Pero por supuesto la bebida mas característica aquí es el Ron, que se puede tomar puro, o se puede utilizar para preparar deliciosos mojitos y daiquiris.