Wordtravels

Wordtravels

 

 

 

Introducing Cuba

#
Che Guevara © hoyasmeg

Cuba Travel Guide

There are very few countries in the world as richly and immediately evocative as Cuba. Just the mention of its name seems to conjure images of faded Spanish-Colonial buildings, 1950s-era American cars parked on sun-soaked street corners, and salsa dancing to the libidinous beat of Afro-Cuban rhythms.

Broadly speaking, Cuba attracts two kinds of tourists. First are those attracted by the fascinating recent history of the country, which despite having withstood over 60 years of communist rule, US embargoes, and the sudden withdrawal of Soviet Union-sponsored subsidies in 1991, has not lost any of its national character. Others choose to holiday in Cuba for its magnificent white-sand beaches, staked with lush palm trees and framed by some of the best diving and snorkelling sites in the world.

There is much to see and do in Cuba, encompassing historical attractions (such as the Museum of the Revolution and the Bay of Pigs Museum), wonderfully charming small towns, beautiful natural surrounds (the Vinales Valley), world-class beaches (the Playas del Este), and - of course - more hedonistic pursuits, such as cigar factory tours, salsa dancing, and more bars and nightclubs than even Hemingway could've been thrown out of at closing time.

While it must be mentioned that Cuba suffers from a lack of infrastructure - and might not provide the most 'comfortable' travel experience - those willing to just 'go with the flow' will be richly rewarded.

Best time to visit Cuba

The best time to visit Cuba is between December and May, when days are warm, dry and sunny. Between June and November, Cuba can be very hot, humid and wet - although on the plus side, as this is low tourist season, accommodation will be cheaper and tourist attractions will be less crowded. Read more on Cuba's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Cuba

-The Museo de la Revolucion in Havana provides a fascinating introduction to Cuba's colourful recent history.

-Sancti Spiritus is a beautiful colonial city, largely untouched by mass tourism.

-Even non-smokers should take a tour of one of Cuba's famous cigar factories (Partagas is always a favourite).

-Afro-Cuban dance and musical performances are an integral part of Havana nightlife. Read more about Cuba Attractions.

What to do in Cuba

-Join the sunset crowds for a walk along El Malecon, a 5-mile (8km) in Havana.

-Spend the day between relaxing on the soft white sand and cooling off in the azure waters in Cayo Largo Del Sur.

-Take some iconic photographs of 'Yank Tanks' (50's-era American cars) parked in front of faded pastel-coloured buildings in Old Havana (Habana Vieja).

-Visit the extensive subterranean world of Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás.

Getting to Cuba

There are cheap flights to Cuba available from the UK and the USA. Direct flights to Jose Marti International Airport (located 11 miles or 18km from Havana) are only available from the UK; passengers entering from the USA must take an indirect route. Get more information on Cuba Airports.

Read

Havana Fever by Leonardo Padura, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, Explosion in a Cathedral by Alejo Carpentier, and Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas.

Listen

Buena Vista Social Club OST, Chucho Valdes, Equis Alfonso, Celia Cruz and Interactivo.

Watch

Buena Vista Social Club (1999), Che (2008), Suite Habana (2003), and Death of a Bureaucrat (1966).

Drink

Rum cocktails - including the Cuba Libre (rum and cola) and Mojito (rum, lime, sugar, mint leaves, club soda and ice).

Eat

Cajita, a plate full of rice, beans, vegetables, pork or chicken and plantains.

What to buy

Che Guevara t-shirts, rum and cigars are obvious and popular souvenirs.

What to pack

Take lightweight clothing, a raincoat, a swimsuit, comfortable shoes as well as sandals, plenty of sunscreen and good insect repellent.

What's on in Cuba

The Havana Carnival (July and August) is a street-party like no other, with costumes, fireworks, dancing and musical performances carrying on long into the night. The Havana Jazz Festival (December) is attended by thousands of jazz fans from all over the world. The International Festival of New Latin American Cinema (December) screens the best new independent cinema from Caribbean and Latin American film-makers. More information on Events in Cuba.

Did you know?

-Cubans have a higher life expectancy than Americans.

-Cuba has the highest doctor-to-citizen ratio of any country in the world.

-When Christopher Columbus reached Cuba in 1492, he thought he was disembarking on Chinese shores.

-Cuba is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

A final word on Cuba

Leave your preconceptions at home and head to Cuba for a sun- and fun-filled holiday the likes of which you'll never forget.

Become our Cuba Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Cuba travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Cuba or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.

  URI STRING  
/Travelguide/Countries/Cuba/Overview
  CLASS/METHOD  
countries/index
  MEMORY USAGE  
1,609,840 bytes
  BENCHMARKS  
Loading Time Base Classes  0.0016
Controller Execution Time ( Countries / Index )  0.0874
Total Execution Time  0.0895
  GET DATA  
No GET data exists
  POST DATA  
No POST data exists
  DATABASE:  globe_media   QUERIES: 36   
0.0004   INSERT INTO `ci_sessions(`session_id`, `ip_address`, `user_agent`, `last_activity`) VALUES ('fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce''54.243.23.191''CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/)'1406961610) 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = 'a:1:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";}' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = 'a:2:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:4:\"Cuba\";}' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1406961610, `user_data` = 'a:3:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:4:\"Cuba\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:8:\"overview\";}' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0004   SELECT *
FROM (`config_categories`)
WHERE `type` = 'left'
AND `parent_category_idIN (SELECT id FROM config_categories WHERE link "/countries")
AND `
display_order` != '0'
ORDER BY `display_order
0.0007   SELECT `province_code`, `province_name`, `c`.`country_name`
FROM (`provincesp)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `p`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Cuba'
ORDER BY `p`.`province_name
0.0038   SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name  FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN countries c ON c.country_code rc.country_code LEFT JOIN provinces p ON rc.province_code p.province_code WHERE c.country_name "Cuba"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != 1 UNION SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN provinces p ON p.province_code rc.province_code INNER JOIN countries c ON p.country_code c.country_code WHERE c.country_name "Cuba"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != ORDER BY region_name  
0.0033   SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name  FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN countries c ON c.country_code rc.country_code LEFT JOIN provinces p ON rc.province_code p.province_code WHERE c.country_name "Cuba"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != 1 UNION SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN provinces p ON p.province_code rc.province_code INNER JOIN countries c ON p.country_code c.country_code WHERE c.country_name "Cuba"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != ORDER BY region_name  
0.0015   SELECT `r`.`id` as resort_id, `r`.`name`, `r`.`major_resort`, `r`.`attr_ski_chk`, `r`.`attr_beach_chk`, `c`.`country_name`, (SELECT region_name FROM regions_cities WHERE country_code c.country_code AND id r.region_city_code) as region_name
FROM 
(`resortsr)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `r`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Cuba'
AND `attr_ski_chk` != "Yes"
ORDER BY `r`.`major_resortDESC, `r`.`name
0.0014   SELECT `r`.`id` as resort_id, `r`.`name`, `r`.`major_resort`, `r`.`attr_ski_chk`, `r`.`attr_beach_chk`, `c`.`country_name`, (SELECT region_name FROM regions_cities WHERE country_code c.country_code AND id r.region_city_code) as region_name
FROM 
(`resortsr)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `r`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Cuba'
AND `attr_ski_chk` = 'Yes'
ORDER BY `r`.`major_resortDESC, `r`.`name
0.0013   SELECT `iata_code`, `name`, `url_name`, `c`.`country_name`
FROM (`port_of_callpc)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `pc`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Cuba'
ORDER BY `pc`.`name
0.0003   SELECT *
FROM (`config_nodescn)
JOIN `config_nodes_categoriescnc ON `cnc`.`node_id` = `cn`.`id`
WHERE `cnc`.`category_idIN (select id from config_categories where link "/overview")
ORDER BY `cn`.`position`, `cnc`.`display_order
0.0036   SELECT `id`, `headline`, `via_title`, `via_link`, `body`, `event_date`, `end_date`, `anchor_link`
FROM (`news`)
WHERE `for_pro` = 1
AND `end_date` >  '2014-08-02'
AND `country_code` = (SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Cuba") 
0.0008   SELECT *
FROM (`tour_operators`)
WHERE `country_code` = (SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Cuba")
AND `
show_in_column` = 1
ORDER BY 
`show_in_columnDESC, `name
0.0005   SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Cuba" 
0.0010   SELECT from tourop_list WHERE destinations LIKE '%CU%' ORDER BY id DESC 
0.0004   SELECT `country_code`
FROM (`countries`)
WHERE `country_name` = 'Cuba' 
0.0138   SELECT d.id AS destination_idd.overview AS destination_overviewd.extended_overview AS destination_extended_overviewd.photo as destination_photod.*, c.*, 'Cuba' AS country_nameLENGTH(CONCAT_WS(d.timed.electricityd.languaged.healthd.tippingd.safetyd.businessd.communicationsd.duty_free)) AS basicsLENGTH(CONCAT_WS(d.embassy_consulate_usd.embassy_consulate_ukd.embassy_consulate_cad.embassy_consulate_aud.embassy_consulate_ird.embassy_consulate_nz)) AS contacts(SELECT money FROM destinations WHERE country_code "CU" ) AS money(SELECT LENGTH(CONCAT_WS(passport_visaentry_req_usentry_req_ukentry_req_caentry_req_auentry_req_irentry_req_nz))
 
FROM destinations WHERE country_code "CU" ) AS visa(SELECT group_concat(id) FROM public_holiday p WHERE p.country_code "CU" order by p.weight desc) AS public_holiday(SELECT count(*) FROM tour_operators t where t.country_code d.country_code) AS num_tour_ops(SELECT count(id) AS total_rows FROM tourop_list tl WHERE tl.destinations LIKE ("%CU%")) AS num_tour_operators(SELECT group_concat(name) FROM port_of_call pc WHERE pc.country_code d.country_code) AS ports_of_call(SELECT group_concat(region_name) FROM regions_cities WHERE major_city AND nfuwt != AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_city DESCregion_name ASC) AS cities(SELECT group_concat(region_name) FROM regions_cities WHERE major_city AND nfuwt != AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_city DESCregion_name ASC) AS regions(SELECT group_concat(name) FROM resorts WHERE major_resort AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_resort DESCname ASC) AS resorts(SELECT count(*) FROM dmcs WHERE country_code d.country_code) AS num_dmcs(SELECT concat(caption" © "copyright) FROM images WHERE filename d.photo) AS photo_copyright(SELECT count(*) FROM airports ai where ai.nfuwt != AND ai.country_code d.country_code) AS num_airports(SELECT count(*) FROM events e where e.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country 1) AS num_events(SELECT count(*) FROM activities where region_city_code "0" AND country_code d.country_code) AS num_activities(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country AND excursion "No") AS num_attractions(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country AND show_on_kids AND excursion "No") AS num_kids_attractions(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND excursion "Yes") AS num_excursions(SELECT phrases FROM phrase_book pb where pb.country_code c.country_code AND phrases != "") AS num_phrases(SELECT count(*) FROM image_bridge ib LEFT OUTER JOIN images i ON ib.image_id=i.id WHERE ib.destination_code c.country_code) AS num_photos(SELECT count(*) FROM hospitals h where h.country_code c.country_code) AS num_hospitals
FROM 
(destinations d)
LEFT JOIN countries c ON c.country_code d.country_code
LEFT JOIN provinces pr ON pr
.province_code d.province_code
WHERE 
`c`.`country_name` = 'Cuba' 
0.0006   UPDATE ci_sessions SET last_activity 1406961610user_data 'a:3:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:4:\"Cuba\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:8:\"overview\";}' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0004   UPDATE ci_sessions SET last_activity 1406961610user_data 'a:4:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:4:\"Cuba\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:8:\"overview\";s:6:\"region\";s:0:\"\";}' WHERE `session_id` = 'fc86872b66e50a90f1cb353ca24fa1ce' 
0.0007   SELECT i.*, e.fullnamee.bioe.pic FROM interviews i INNER JOIN experts e ON i.expert_id e.id
INNER JOIN countries c ON i
.spatial_id c.country_code WHERE i.interview_type 'country' AND c.country_name 'Cuba' 
0.0005   SELECT TagID FROM FORUM_DiscussionTags WHERE  Tag 'Cuba'  
0.0005   SELECT DiscussionID FROM FORUM_DiscussionHasTags WHERE TagID IN (248)
                
GROUP BY DiscussionID HAVING COUNT(DiscussionID) = 
0.0016   SELECT od.`Name`, od.`DiscussionIDFROM FORUM_Discussion od
                    WHERE od
.`DiscussionIDIN ( 164,169,173,180,220,221,342,672,911,985,1026,1050,1085,1124,1243,1535,1561,1721,1759,1809,2009,2077,2221,2384,2549,2943,3059,3330,3594,3890,3990,4347,4407,4476,4535,4540,4542,5113,5114,5299,5309,5513,5556,5625,5626,5627,5839,5988,6223,6577,7135,7206,7218,7537,7588,7693,7788,8044,8055,8128,8480,8495,8528,8824,8929,8930,9309,10089,10106,10533,10971,11126 ) ORDER BY od.`DateLastActiveDESC LIMIT 0 15