The so-called Pearl of the Antilles and the largest island in the entire Caribbean Sea, Cuba can seem a world apart from the refined paradisaical holidaying spots that surround it.
The streets of Old Havana
The architecture is striking, with rows of peeling baroque townhouses and Andalusian-style arcades fringing the roadways.
Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca
Today, the complex of turrets and palisades, cannon batteries and artillery platforms is not only a World Heritage Site, but is also considered one of the finest remnants of the great power struggles that engulfed Cuba and the Americas throughout the colonial age.
There’s perhaps nowhere better than the narrow spit of sand, dunes and uber-luxurious hotel resorts that is Varadero.
Founded way back in 1514, it’s retained an authentic Spanish charm like few other towns in the Caribbean. The lethargic little town of Trinidad is one of the veritable jewels of Cuba’s south coast.
Okay, so it doesn’t have to be a morning swim, but when the beating sun rises and casts its pearly light across the turquoise bays and lagoons here, the sight is simply to die for! Yes, Caya Coco is touristic to the T, but there’s a reason for that.
It’s gained historical status and oozes with Baroque and Art Deco styles, is painted in hues of Cuban pink and yellow, and throbs with Spanish chatter and energy.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Another of the great and unmissable institutions to make its home in the midst of the historic streets of La Habana Vieja, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is loaded to the brim with masterworks that chronicle the various artistic periods of the island and its people.
Che Guevara Mausoleum
The site of one of the most pivotal battles in the Cuban Revolution incidentally. The final resting place of Che Guevara and 29 of his fellow revolutionaries is marked with a great bronze statue of the man.
Fiesta de la Cubania in Bayamo
Visitors can expect Cuban dancers and Caribbean tunes played on wobbly honkytonks, taste fiery island dishes and chat to the mountain folk of the south.
Enjoy cabaret at the Tropicana Club
A mainstay of the capital’s nightlife, the joint might not be cheap (entry is around $60!) but it’s known right across the planet for its bombastic dance shows and music nights, complete with showgirls clad in plumes of peacock feathers and shiny sequins.