Cuba is unique, like no other country i’ve been to before. That’s no surprise given it’s dramatic history and an economic embargo that has kept the country in a time warp for over 50 years. And with signs of relations with the US thawing, this could change. So, there’s really never been a better time to visit Cuba. A 2017 resolution successfully checked off my list, I feel a true sense of accomplishment!
I loved Cuba mainly for its creativity and for the positive, upbeat attitude of the people. All I can say is come with an open mind and you’ll have a great and unexpected experience. My trip was just under two weeks and was organised with G Adventures, a travel company that I have used previously (review here). As I was travelling solo and speak limited Spanish(!), travelling with G Adventures made sense. The itinerary was varied and covered the main places that I wanted to visit. The starting point for the tour was Havana and first stop on the itinerary was Las Terrazas, an hour away from Havana.
Las Terrazas is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It has a picturesque lake and there were opportunities to hire boats as well as to zip-line. For me, it was pleasant and the views were beautiful but it wasn’t a must-see if you have a limited amount of time – if however you have some spare time whilst in Havana, it’s not a bad way to spend a few hours!Vinales
From Las Terrazas, we headed to Vinales, with its stunning scenery including soaring pine trees, dramatic limestone cliffs (mogotes) and vast tobacco farms. Despite being a popular tourist destination, Vinales has managed to maintain a relaxed vibe, surrounded by agricultural lands and small, colourful houses with their uniform rocking chairs on literally every front porch! Vinales is all about exploring nature so bring your hiking shoes and an adventurous attitude! Among things to do are horse-riding or visiting some of the caves in the area including the ‘Cueva del Indio‘. You can also take a day trip to one of the stunning white sandy beaches in the area, including Cayo Jutias. For live music, salsa dancing and mingling with the locals, check out Centro Culturo Polo Montanez, which was a cool spot and right next to the church in the main square.Cayo Jutias
About an hour and half’s drive away from Vinales, you’ll find Cayo Jutias, a 3km long white sandy beach, popular for snorkelling as well as for its beautiful mangrove-covered beaches. There was not much else around the beach so it’s really just about relaxing and taking in the sun. If you’re lucky, you’ll also find classic cars parked on the beach with their owners hanging out (or trying to offer you a taxi ride!). Food in the restaurant on the beach is not great so be prepared!Stay tuned for the next part of my Cuba adventures, including a more practical post on what to do before even booking a flight!