Cuba Travel Guide

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Cuba is one of those countries in which old-school socialism is still alive. Despite being something close to the ideal place in terms of climate, landscape and touristic opportunities, Cuba is one of the poorest countries in the world. With a population of 11 million as per the 2015 census and a land surface of 110,860 square kilometers, despite its economical struggle, Cuba makes for a very interesting travelling destination.

One of the main advantages of visiting Cuba is the fact that you’ll be travelling back in time. From the pearl of the Caribbean, the new Las Vegas of the fifties, after the communist revolution in 1959, everything got frozen on this little island. Basically, 2016’s Cuba is just the same like it was 60 years ago. Even the cars are the same.

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However, everything is dirt cheap, I mean the prices will shock you if you’re from the EU or the US. The natural beauties of the island, like the wildlife rich rain-forests, its immaculate sandy beaches, its majestic mountains with tumbling waterfalls, everything is alluring for the intrepid tourist.

One may  even say that Cuba makes for one of the most unique traveling destinations on Earth…. In the fifties, Cuba was one of the richest, largest and most populous places in the Caribbean, with a booming economy and vibrant cities. After the socialist-communist coup, US imposed a trade embargo over the Castro regime, which confiscated billions of dollars in property from American companies and individuals. Subsequently, Cuba got frozen back in time, as today its cities  are still  boasting vintage American cars from the 50s and 60s, while in the countryside you’ll be shocked to discover that horses and carts are the main transportation method.

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As I already told you, visiting Cuba is like travelling back in time. The country’s capital is Havana, a city made of contrasts, making for a mind blowing melange of debauchery and dilapidation, a place where impeccably restored buildings dating back to the colonial era stand side by side with dirty slums which are the tenements of the plebes, i.e. the regular Cubans.

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However, Cuban people, the folks who didn’t make it to the US I mean, are very optimistic by nature and Havana makes for a vivid city despite the ubiquitous poverty, dancing on salsa rhythms around the clock, where people are very uninhibited and incredibly friendly, offering an enthralling and original urban experience like no other place on God’s green Earth.

Besides Havana, there are other interesting cities to visit, provided you get a visa. For example, let’s talk a little bit about Santiago de Cuba, which is the definition of a melting pot in terms of African Caribbean cultures, where multicolored buildings stand in the shadows of grand cathedrals. And then again, there’s always Trinidad, an old place which makes for a real life snapshot of the colonial era, with its cobbled streets and faded colonial architecture, a symbol of a bygone era if it ever was one.

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Cuba’s cities are very interesting provided misery and poverty are not a major turnoff, but for most of the country’s visitors, its splendid beaches are the main attraction. Christopher Columbus is quoted as saying about the coast of Guardalavaca as being the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. And boy, Columbus did saw a few places in his lifetime.

And yes indeed, he was right, considering the incredibly white sands and turquoise waters of Cuba’s coastline, which make for some of the most exquisite places on the planet. And also, some of the loneliest, i.e. if you’re into secluded beautiful places, Cuba will not let you down. If you have the means to go visit inland Cuba, you’ll be in for a real treat admiring the green limestone peaks of the Vinales, which is the blessed land upon which Cuba’s world famous tobacco is cultivated.

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Today, Cuba is slowly opening up to the Western civilization, with Castro dead and all that, and as a consequence, modern tourist resorts are starting to pop up all over the place. However, if you want to take a sip from the real Cuba, the most rewarding experience will be offered by staying in casa particulares, i.e. private home-stays which are as genuine as a regular Cuban’s life gets making for a unique experience you’ll never be able to get staying in a hotel. Keep in mind that you’ll require a passport and a Visa to enter and stay in Cuba for up to 30 days.

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