Have you ever read Graham Greene’s “Our Man in Havana“? If not, it is now time to do it and live every moment of the black comedy together with the main character, James Wormwold. The novel presents the absurdities of the Cold War in a very funny manner, the setting making it even more easy to follow. Why? Well, because Havana is a beautiful city and Cuba a beautiful country for that matter.
If Graham Greene won’t convince you to visit Cuba (now that it is open to everyone out there), I will try to do it in the next few lines.
I had never before thought about going to that part of the world (or dream of), even more to Cuba, which was so far far away in my mind, but one day, inspiration (and a travel agent) made us consider this destination. One thing that made it stand out from all the other Caribbean destinations, was the fact that it has a lot of other things to offer apart from beautiful beaches and the oh so blue Caribbean Sea. Cuba offers history, a whole lot of history, of which the Cubans are very proud. It offers culture, food, perfect mojitos, pina coladas and daiquiris…and don’t forget about Ernest Hemingway’s favorite places.
Enough said to have me flying 11 hours.
My first feeling when getting to Cuba was “Oh My God it is hot and wet in here!”. And it sure was. In Cuba, you always have warm weather, but from June to October they have the rainy season. Don’t imagine the monsoon, you won’t get only rain, but you sure will feel the heat more.
Ok, and what to do once you get there? Enjoy! Enjoy the beautiful streets, colorful houses, Malecon, people singing on the streets, the old cars which are now taxis, the rum, Cuban cigars, pina colada straight from a pineapple (the best I’ve ever had and maybe ever will).
Enjoy a country that has not been spoiled by all the things that we live with now: social media, the internet whenever and wherever, supermarkets, international brands, consumerism. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but I’m happy I got the chance to see it before it changed. To see people walking on the streets with smiles on their faces, singing, looking around, and not into a small screen.
On the other hand, coming from a country that used to be under a communist regime, it was interesting to see how people get food based on an allowance, to have a different currency for locals and for foreigners (I am too young to remember how it was also for us here).
Changing location, we’ve opted for the less crowded Cayo Santa Maria, where we got the chance to simply enjoy life and the sea! No internet, no phone connection. Just the two of us, books and the sea. And what a sea! You will fall in love with the colors the Caribbean Sea has to offer: from pure blue to turquoise to deep green.
Here are my top 10 things to do when in Cuba:
- Get lost on the streets of Havana, especially in Havana Vecchia, but pay attention to the things happening around you. From shiny happy people singing on the streets to people trying to sell you (fake) Cuban cigars. Try not to fall into this trap.
- Go and have dinner at Cafe Taberna and enjoy (interesting) Cuban food and a lovely show by Buena Vista Social Club.
- Visit a cigar factory and buy some of the finest cigars there are (if you are into that of course)
- Visit the Museo del Ron Havana Club (the rum museum) – where you can get to taste all different types of rum and afterward go and enjoy a fabulous Pina Colada
- Visit La Bodeguita del Medio and drink a Mojito straight from the place where it has been created
- Go and have a fish meal and a famous daiquiri where Ernest Hemingway used to enjoy one, that is, at El Floridita
- Take a walk on the beautiful Malecón
- Have some peace and rest near the Caribbean Sea – whether you prefer the more touristic Varadero or the more relaxed Cayo Santa Maria or any other retreat, the sea is still wonderful.
- Go snorkeling in the coral reef
- Enjoy a dolphin show together with a 1 to 1 with one of the dolphins followed by a lobster lunch.
Now doesn’t that sound lovely for a holiday?