Cuba and its people.
The unique Cuban culture is born out of the different cultures coming into Cuba throughout the years – from different religions and languages, to various customs and traditions.
The presence of Spanish colonialists for centuries has no doubt left its marks too. But you will also find old Indian traditions, amongst the colonial buildings – with a touch of African musicality and joy.
You will see vintage American cars, including the tourists’ favourite almendrones – vintage cars turned into convertibles by locals to act as taxis, and bikes everywhere in Cuba. It seems as if time has stood still in this country.
Most Cubans take care of their appearance, even though resources are scarce. And daily life is mostly well organised. For example, healthcare and education are free in Cuba. This means that Cubans, in general, are well educated, and also have a broad interest. They are also very sociable and naturally expressive. You will definitely notice this during your trip in Cuba. Strike up a conversation and you will find that Cubans are genuinely interested in sharing experiences and opinions.
For example, have a chat about the ration books. Cubans can only get certain products by taking a ration book to their local shop. This is a remnant of 50 years of socialism/communism. Therefore, it isn’t strange that Cubans cannot imagine how we earn all of our money in our capitalist society. They find it hard to believe that we actually have to work for it too.
They will tell you proudly about their famous cigars – los Habanos. How and where they are made. Which is the best one to smoke with your favourite drink, coffee or cocktail.
And did you know that there are nine UNESCO world heritage sites in Cuba? For example, old Havana – la Habana Vieja. Or the stunning Viñales Valley, best known for its production of tobacco – Cuba’s most important export product.
Anyway, plenty to talk about, and to discover.
Cuba’s music, art and dance.
Its cultural life.
During your trip in Cuba, there will be plenty of wonderful evenings filled with Cuban music, or visits to art galleries with amazing Cuban art. And let’s not forget about Cuban dance! In Cuba you can dance day and night. Go and have a look at Carlos Acosta’s dance company – Acosta Danza. You can watch them rehearse during the day through the giant glass walls.
Do not miss the open-air concerts in La Piragua, or in the Salón Rosado de la Tropical. Or the Cuban salsa and timba orchestras. You’ll see them anywhere you go. Or the amazing local festivals, like Las Parrandas de Remedios or Las Charangas de Bejucal. During these festivals people will sing and dance all day and night.
Or you can sit yourself down on the Malécon in Havana, and watch the beautiful Cuban culture go by. With a delicious cup of Cuban coffee. Or with something a little stronger, like a glass of Cuban rum.
And don’t forget all the wonderful museums.