Before going to Cuba I had no idea what to expect. But on arrival into Havana on a dark night in December I was by met with a warm welcome and music coming from every doorway so it was hard not to fall in love with the place straightaway!
The first couple of nights were spent exploring the shabby yet atmospheric and captivating streets of the capital sipping Daiquiris in one of Hemmingway’s many watering holes in the city…..it was hard to drag myself away!
Next stop was the Viñales famed for its fields of tobacco and of course the Cuban Cigar. Known as the Garden of Cuba days were spent cycling around the Mogotes, ancient limestone formations jutting out of the ground all over the region and wandering through sugar plantations. Evenings were spent on the Terrace of the idyllic hotel Los Jasmines listening to the local salsa band play and taking in a real slice of Cuba.
Moving on there was an overnight at the Moka Ecolodge in the pioneering Eco Village of Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and activity center including Cuba’s only canopy tour, also the site of the earliest surviving coffee plantations in Cuba and without doubt well worth a visit if only for the views from the tub!
The final stop and my favourite I think if only for the sheer isolation was Cayo Las Brujas with its beach-bungalow-style hotel, restaurant and fully equipped diving center.
On arrival you are met by 2km of white sand and azure waters, this hotel is in a privileged location surrounded by several kilometers of coral reefs making it a real haven for scuba divers and windsurfers.
Then it was back to Havana for the final night and a meal La Guarida probably one of the most famous Paladar in Havana (Privately owned small restaurants, which were illegal until 1990’s, serving traditional Cuban food)
Having visited Cuba several times over the years it never fails to draw you in and the key really lies with its people. It is culturally rich but economically poor and more than anything prepare to be amazed by what this island has to offer!