Now that the travel restrictions have lifted and US citizens are much more easily allowed to legally visit Cuba, why not grab hold of this amazing opportunity to visit a country that has been out of bounds for such a long time? Cuba has a lot for the traveller to enjoy and there are many reasons why you should be planning a trip to this Caribbean nation.
Here are some of the reasons why you should visit Cuba as soon as possible:
To Check out Beautiful Colonial Cities
History buffs will love wandering around some of Cuba’s stunning colonial cities and admiring the elegant architecture. Cienfuegos is a charming waterfront city known as the “Pearl of the South” and has a wonderful blend of Caribbean spice and French charm.
Another hotspot for lovely colonial buildings is Trinidad de Cuba, the “Museum City.” This amazingly well preserved town offers a glimpse into different era with it’s rich Spanish colonial architecture and scenic cobblestone streets. After a day of soaking up the culture in Trinidad de Cuba you could check out the beautiful beach at Playa Ancon.
To Stay in A Casa Particular
There are few generic chain hotels in Cuba, of course none of them American. Instead you will have the unique experience of staying in a Casa Particular. This is a private accommodation within the home of a local person, similar to a bed and breakfast. They are usually small and don’t often have room for more than 5-6 guests. Staying at one of these local homes is a wonderful chance to enjoy Cuban hospitality and get to know a local family.
To Taste the Amazing Food
One of the best things about visiting a new country is sampling the local cuisine – and Cuba has a lot to discover when it comes to culinary delights. The cuisine here is influenced by Native American Taino dishes, as well as Spanish, African and Caribbean food. This means that there is an exciting blend of flavourful dishes to try.
For an indulgent snack try the frita, which is a ground beef hamburger served on a Cuban bun with a fried egg and crunchy shoestring fries. Another lip-smacking street food is corn on the cob grilled and sprinkled with cheese, lime juice and chili powder. Cuba also boasts it’s own version of the Spanish paella, with chicken, mussels, chorizo, lobster, scallops, ham and shrimp.
Avoid the state-run restaurants as they are known for being somewhat bland. Instead, look for the privately run restaurants in the homes of locals, known as “paladars”, where you will be served a fantastic home cooked meal.
To Meet the Friendly and Welcoming Locals
Speaking of local hospitality, another reason to visit Cuba is the people. They are a friendly, outgoing, fun loving and resilient bunch and they love to dance, drink and eat. If you come with a smile and a little bit of Spanish you will receive a warm welcome.
To Soak Up the Art and Culture
The art scene in Cuba is diverse and fascinating, reflecting influences from South American, European, North American and African styles. This island is one of the most culturally rich destinations in the Caribbean. For many years Cuban art was dominated by European styles and was focused on classicism. In recent years modern influences are beginning to flourish.
On your visit to Cuba you can check out some of the many independent art galleries and see the colourful, evocative and thought-provoking works by local artists.
Artwork has been one of the few things that American visitors can buy and bring home with them in Cuba, as a painting or a sculpture is considered “informational material” unlike a cigar.The Treasury Department allows Americans to return legally with no limit on any art objects purchased.
To Get a Glimpse Into the Traditional Way of Life – Before Everything Changes
At the moment Cuba is somewhat of a time capsule. It has been untouched by capitalism and the influence of American culture for a long time and it still retains many traditions. It has a very authentic atmosphere like no where else in the world.
This is your chance to see it before there is a McDonalds and a Starbucks in downtown Havana and the island starts to change and adapt to the pressures of increased tourism from the modern world.
When you visit now you will see Cuba as it is – unspoiled and undeveloped – before everything starts to change.