A heady cocktail of faded colonial splendour, salsa, communism, white sand beaches and a generous helping of Havana Club, Cuba as a vacation destination is something quite unique.
The thriving capital, Havana, is where Art Deco architecture mingles with decaying colonial buildings and the sounds of live salsa music is almost never out of earshot. For art, history and nightlife, Havana is an absolute must-see. Then there’s the collection of beaches on Cuba’s Northern Cayes, where powder-white sands are lapped by the turquoise Caribbean Sea and some of the country’s most luxurious hotels are found.
Beyond the beach, Cuba has plenty of surprises up its sleeve. To the west of Havana, the valley of Viñales is ripe with tobacco and coffee plantations, and also caters to active and curious travellers with its plethora of hiking, horseback riding and climbing opportunities. Meanwhile the colonial towns scattered across the centre of Cuba offer a dose of history, such as Trinidad with its preserved Old Town and Santa Clara with its monuments to the ubiquitous national hero, Comandante Che Guevara.
Finally, those with an interest in Cuba’s revolutionary past should not miss Santiago de Cuba over in the east, and if it’s a combination of incredible wildlife, pretty beaches and delicious cuisine you’re after: Baracoa is the perfect solution.