Destination Overview CUBA…
Cuba is the biggest island of the Caribbean with a full-length of 1.250 km and between 50 and 250 km wide. It has 11 million inhabitants, mostly living in cities like Havana. As a communist country since 1959 Cuba is defying the nearby United States. The US has an embargo against Cuba and you will see very few tourists from there. Most visitors come from Canada and Europe, around 4 million per year. You will not find major brands and retail like in other western countries. Without McDonalds eateries and Gucci stores you will find this country surprisingly different and unique.
Who says Cuba, says sand-white beaches dotted with palm trees. Varadero is very well-known and there are also many keys in front of the coast, easily accessible by bridge roads from the main land. Cuba has also lots of green with many nature parks all over its extensive territory, most of them in mountainous areas. You’ll find here tropical jungle, easily accessible by well-maintained trails and always with the option of a local nature guides’ assistance. The trails usually end at a fresh waterfall where you can swim in. Cuba has many endemic birds, great for birdwatchers.
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Cuban people are hospitable and very social. They feel no barriers in between each other and total strangers talking to one another in the street as they were life-long friends is very normal. Although is a rather poor country people think collectively when carrying this burden. Cubans have a positive attitude towards life and are very careful with their appearance. They enjoy life with a passion for music, dance, rum, humour and romance. And they strongly believe you will visit the island to share these feelings with them.
Cuba has sunshine almost every day of the year. Winter (Nov-April) has day temperatures of 20-25 degrees Celsius and summer (May-October) of 25-30 degrees. The difference is the humidity. In the summer the air is a bit heavy and an occasional tropical shower in the late afternoon is possible and refreshing. In the winter air is mostly dry and it rains a lot less. For this reason, most come in this period. As part of the Caribbean in Cuba July till end November is hurricane season.
The best tobacco in the world grows in the west of Cuba. In the months of December till April you can visit the farmers while they are working their fields. A cigar factory visit must be on your bucket list. It is also the birth place of many cocktails like mojito, daiquiri, rum coke, … All are based on mixing rum with something more. Everywhere you find bars and terraces to try out the cocktails that of course nowhere else better then in Cuba.
Cuba is one of the major music producing countries of Latin-America. You find the traditional Cuban music known as Buenavista Social Club style music. This is a list of evergreens from the first half of the 20th century combining genres like son, salsa, guaracha, mambo, chachacha, and gauguanco. There is also Cuban Latin Jazz with mainly instrumental and improvised music. But the Cuban music scene today is very much alive with mixing genres and producing hip hop, jazz, and also pop music.
Viñales – The area of Viñales and surrounding Vuelta Abajo is the best place on earth to grow tobacco. But it is also an area for eco-tourism. The valley of Viñales with the mogotes is incredibly beautiful and one can discover it on foot, horse back or by jeep safari. And everywhere you will meet the humble and hospitable Cuban farmers who show their daily lives in the fields.