Cuba is a place with a colorful personality and a resilient character having endured many instances of turmoil: political, economic and societal. Today, Cuba remains as magical as you may have envisioned it, promising the traveler a whole other level of emotive experiences. Everywhere you look, something will catch your eye, something will draw your attention, something will stir emotion within you. Summing it all up, here I present the top three reasons why Cuba should be on your bucket list.
Cubans have a very interesting cultural background that is a blend of various influences, and often contradictory. Yet these are the things at the core of fascinating cultures! Cubans are an expressive people with a mixture between African, European and native American indigenous traits. They love art in any shape and form; a wonderful example of this is Fusterlandia, an outdoor museum of absolute creativity that brought great artistic value to an otherwise very impoverished area which is the artist’s hometown.
Dance and Music exist as if they are basic human needs. Cubans cannot do without even for a day. People dancing the streets, in the squares, in their yards, in their houses, after the music that sets the beat.
Dance and music are inextricably linked, each type of music also has its corresponding dance: son cubano, habanera, guaracha, rumba, salsa, mambo, cha cha cha… They all flourish effortlessly in Cuba.
Do you want to become part of it? You don’t necessarily need to buy a ticket to one of the dancing shows; forget about Tropicana Cabaret or Casa de la Musica, just visit Callejon de Hamel. Street art flourishes in this neighborhood while the sounds of street parties makes it a vibrant experience. All you need to do is listen, and follow the sound of happiness…
The climate of Cuba shares the subtropical characteristics with the Caribbean. Cuba enjoys a dry, summer season, commonly known as winter season, so the months going from January to April are usually the best ones to visit. These months imply higher temperatures and less rainfall than the more traditional summer months, that you may want to avoid. The alluring summer climate in the dead of the winter makes Cuba a great destination for exploring by sea, as you’ll be able to see as much as possible and cover large geographic while sailing from point A to B. Cuba has plenty of striking beaches with powdery, white sand, and waters full of coral and marine life while every cove will show a new possibility, a new picture perfect frame that will be engraved in your mind forever!
Colorful personality, resilient character, rum, cars and cigars… Here are three reasons why Cuba should be a bucket list destination.
Cuban Classics: Rum, Cars & Cigars
The political relations between the neighbouring USA and Cuba over the last 60 years have strongly affected the availability of local products exchanged between both countries. Top of the list are Cuban rum and cigars, two products that have since known global acknowledgment. Lovers of these will find the source of their personal paradise in Cuba.
Favorites of famous American writer Ernest Hemingway, rum and cigars were a daily part of his life while living there in the 1940’s. Hemingway made Havana his place of repose. Why not visit the museum in his name? It’s in his residence of Finca Viglia.
Cuban rum is considered one of the finest worldwide, due to the quality of the sugar cane that grows in the Caribbean. Caribbean sugar makes it lighter and crisper than most. The best known brand, ‘Havana Club’ has different varieties, differentiating the various kinds of rum by age and speciality. Havana Club is in fact the base for many tasty, summery cocktails.
Cigars are of course are the second classic Cuban product, counting years and years of tradition. Since it’s an export leader, we have to make a reference. Even when it remains one bad, stinky habit!
Cigars have made their own status quo, being associated with all kinds of gentlemen’s clubs. And one subtlety is that the typical way to properly enjoy a cigar is not to inhale but allow the smoke to coat your mouth and taste buds. If you are cigar fan, make sure you try one hecho en Cuba, an authentic Cuban.
That brings us to the last classic, the vintage American cars still kept (almost) tip-top condition. Roaming the streets of Havana you’ll meet 1950’s Dodges, Chryslers, Fords and Chevrolets. And it will be hard to stop staring at them! There is a whole profession associated with maintaining these cars. And it provides livelihood to mechanics who are seen as craftsmen to local kids who look up to them.
There is something extraordinary about the way Cubans are so detached from the modern-day western world. However, they are still able to retain some of its glamour, not as shiny or new, though. It is rather a genuine, authentic side to pure, rudimentary living, going back to the basics of life. A lifestyle free from mass consumerism and the excessive opulence of a capitalism that leaves homes full of stuff and hearts rather empty. We hope Cuba won’t change – but who knows?
Put it on your bucket list and visit before it’s too late.
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