Officially the Republic of Cuba, this island nation complete with scattered archipelagos is as unique as it is beautiful. Cuba continues to attract visitors from all over the world for its white beaches, warm seas, remarkable history, and time warp nature.
If you are paying a visit to the diverse, multiethnic country of Cuba, then these six travel tips will stand you in good stead for enjoying yourself, meeting some fascinating people, relaxing, and learning heaps.
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1. Give yourself enough time in Havana
As with many vacations, it can be challenging to know how much time to spend in a specific place. Cuba has many gorgeous tiny islands, colonial remnant towns, and stunning countryside, but the cultural hotspot that is Havana is undoubtedly the first port of call. You should give yourself as much time as possible in this city, Cuba’s capital, to give your senses the soaking that they require. Music washes over you on every street corner here, and the laid-back lifestyle will intoxicate you.
2. Relax in Varadero
As capital cities go, Havana is anything but ‘the hustle and bustle’. However, to even further remove yourself from the stresses of everyday life than spend a week in Varadero. Varadero is located on a peninsula, giving it some of the most powdered beaches and stunning views in the Caribbean. Many of the resorts in Varadero are all-inclusive so, if this doesn’t entirely appeal, think about booking day excursions so you can sample food and drink elsewhere.
3. Rum tasting
One of the fascinating excursions you could choose is rum tasting. Havana Club is, clearly, the most famous of the Cuban rums but there are many others you should be looking to sample while there. Cuban rum can be challenging to get hold of in other countries, so take your time, savor it, and ask as many local bar workers and experts as you can for recommendations.
4. Cigar rolling
Watching cigar factory workers is emotional and mesmerizing, and a memory you won’t forget any time soon. Havana has tours, as do the tobacco fields out in the mountains, where you can truly get a feel for the importance of the industry. For cigars at home and an introduction to best cigar cutter and how to know what to buy, research online.
5. The language
The official language of Cuba is Spanish, so dig out those high school notes to prepare yourself for food orders and asking for directions. Cubano or cubañol is used to refer to the specific strand of Cuban Spanish, which has its own distinct pronunciation and vocabulary. Around 90% of the population has Spanish as its first language, but also look out for Haitian Creole, Lucimi, Galician and even Corsican.
6. The food
Cuban food often contains rice and beans served alongside fried or roasted meat. Stews are also popular.
Food in Cuba is occasionally referred to as bland by visitors, but this is likely due to its lack of MSG, added salt and preservatives. Cuban food is hearty but healthy and usually pretty simple.