Home » Five reasons you should be visiting Cuba right now

Five reasons you should be visiting Cuba right now

written by Tayla Gentle April 9, 2015

Floating halfway between the US to the north and Latin America to the south sits Cuba, an isle of intrigue, romance and politics quite unlike any other. There are rousing rhythms, dancing in cobblestone streets (for real), wafting cigar smoke, a bounty of beaches and a Buena Vista Social Club soundtrack to accompany every style of journey.

Without further ado, here are five reasons why you should consider dropping everything and heading to Cuba.

CUBA_CAR_ALEXANDERSCHIMMECK

Image c/o Alexander Schimmeck, Flickr

5. The time travel

When Castro pressed pause on economic progress in the 60s, he also inadvertently pressed pause on Cuba. So while we know it’s a cliche, visiting the crocodile isle really is like stepping back in time. There’s zero internet (well, scratch that, five percent of Cubans have internet), ancient Chevrolets rumble down cobblestone streets, ration shops sit beside colonial palaces, and salsa dancers twirl against a backdrop of crumbling pastel facades. It’s a time capsule glory town, if there ever was one.

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Image c/o Bas Boerman, Flickr

4. The rhythms

In Cuba, music is life. It seeps from every pore, every crack, every cobblestone and takes the saying “sing like no one is listening and dance like no one is watching” quite literally. You could be walking to the market when a gang of guitar-playing troubadours start serenading, you could be eating at a street side cafe when the waitstaff break out in an impromptu rumba, or perhaps you’ll be minding your own business, just reading a book, when you absentmindedly begin humming ojos verdes. That’s when you know the rhythms of Cuba have got you, too.

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Image c/o Alex Schwab, Flickr

 

3. The food

…and the rum, are straight out of Caribbean heaven. We recommend savouring a little Havana Club over ice, mixing things up with a minty mojito and then throwing down a Cuba Libre like the rum connoisseur you truly are. Then the next morning treat yourself to some of Cuba’s legendary coffee and let the quality caffeine do the work. And when you’re feeling up to it, there’s a whole world of delicious foodstuffs just waiting to delight your senses, like fritura de maiz (fried cornmeal and cheese fritters), pastelitos full of cream cheese or beef and Coppelia ice cream, where the sorbet is so good there’s a line around the corner.

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Image c/o Bruno, Flickr

2. The locals

The key to Cuba’s intoxicating enthral lies in the Cubans themselves. Enduringly positive, big dreamers and longtime survivors, the Cuban people are a welcoming and resilient people. Which is saying something, given their complex national history. Enter the country with a little Spanish under your belt, an open mind and your dancing shoes buckled and you’ll be making local friends all over the avenidas.

1. The history

The condensed history of Cuba goes a little something like this: Christopher Columbus, swashbuckling pirates, slave port for the Spanish, North American mafia gambling capital, communism and socialism (but not exactly in that order).  It’s dominant national narrative is also inextricably entwined with the names Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Embedded in the national psyche, these important figures played a pivotal role in the Cuban Revolution of 1959.

Castro, a politician and revolutionary, led the country between 1959 and 2008 as both Prime Minister and then President, while Guevara was an Argentinean doctor, author and military leader who took a lead in the revolutionary Cuban guerrilla campaign. Odes to these men are painted on walls, worn on tee-shirts and sung about even today. You just can’t escape the reverance.

Ready to get your salsa on? Explore Cuba with Intrepid Travel 

American? We have a licensed Cuba tour just for you! 

Feature image c/o Bud Ellison, Flickr

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12 comments

Eva Castillo May 24, 2021 - 4:34 am

I’m Cuban, away from home, seeing this article made me even wanna go to Cuba!! Everything is y true. I suggest getting away from the cliches and ideas that most visitors have of the island. Familiarize with the local life and the local food. I know this is what everyone says about every country travel, but in Cuba specifically, the experience for tourists or visitors is almost completely unknown for the Cuban people.
Last but not least, don’t miss out on the malecón life, catch a sunset or sunrise. And get away from Havana, visit the rural/country life. It’s relaxing and you would, literally, feel like you’re in a different world.
Thank you for this!

Reply
Robert wasykwski November 16, 2018 - 6:29 pm

Looking for a price drop in Manzanillo,after the new year feb/Mar

Reply
Go now! January 21, 2016 - 7:46 pm

Go before all the gringos get there

Reply
Victoria October 28, 2015 - 3:49 am

Hi guys,
Thanks for the great article.
I’m desperate to visit Cuba next year but my boyfriend is a teacher – which limits us to July or Aug really. Will this still be an ok time to visit? I heard that even though it’s rainy season the rain only lasts an hour a day?
Thanks,
V

Reply
James Shackell November 11, 2015 - 2:15 pm

Hi Victoria,

Yep, you’re right, there can be brief showers during this time. They can be pretty heavy, but they rarely last long. July and August are probably the hottest and most humid months of the year, so conditions should be fairly tropical. You’ll want to pack light and keep an eye on the clouds.

Cheers
James

Reply
Nancy April 20, 2015 - 3:29 am

Hola !

Any idea when the total travel ban for US citizens will be lifted?

Thanks

Reply
Intrepid Admin April 20, 2015 - 10:04 am

Hey Nancy,

You may have to drop President Obama a line and ask him! Sadly we have no idea.

Cheers,
Ollie

Reply
ana medina April 19, 2015 - 7:57 am

I will like to get more information on the trip to Cuba.

Reply
Intrepid Admin April 20, 2015 - 10:09 am

Hey Ana,

All the information you need can be found here: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/cuba/hola-cuba-people-people-us-citizens-92975/

And feel free to give us a call on 1 800 970 7299 if you’d like to chat more.

Thanks,
Ollie

Reply
james jacobs April 17, 2015 - 5:06 am

We would be interested in a tour through Cuba & also a list of licensed rental homes to stay at & possibly a car to rent if available. Info on places to visit & places to stay would be nice. We realize this is all just a new endeavor for the travel industry , but it should be reasonably inexpensive to travel about & stay & eat at local places. Hope we can work something out. Thanks. James & Ann Jacobs Kirkland AZ.

Reply
Intrepid Admin April 17, 2015 - 10:03 am

Hi James and Ann,

Thank you for your enquiry. The US Government still prohibits general tourism to Cuba, so we won’t be able to assist with your specific request under the current guidelines. Our trip meets the legal requirements for People to People travel. While the general tourism ban is still in effect, our Hola Cuba trip is the best way to visit this fascinating country legally.

Thanks!
Mandy

Reply
Carlos Arturo Varela Rojas April 17, 2015 - 3:23 am

Quiero conocer esta hermosa isla

Reply

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