The largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba is situated just west of Central America. It may be famed in US-centric culture for the Cold War and its twin exports of rum and cigars, but even a short trip proves that there is so much to offer beyond these points. Try to plan a visit between November – April to get the best of the weather, so hop in your refurbished vintage car for a look around.
Jump right into the thick of things by visiting Plaza Vieja. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, and the site of many processions and festivals as well as executions, one can easily fill a day or two with its present-day attractions. Enjoy some sweet Cuban coffee in one of the cafes and admire the beautiful baroque and art deco architecture; visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes; or pop to the Museo del Chocolate for a sweet snack. When it’s time for dinner, visit one of the nearby Paladars run by locals – it’s a great chance to sample some home cooking and find get some recommendations for transport and amenities for while you’re in the area.
Gear yourself up for some culture and head to the centre of Old Havana. Museums of interest include the Museo de la Ciudad for its rich collection of art and sculpture, maritime history HQ Castillo de la Real Fuerza, and the beautiful baroque Catedrals. There is plenty to do in Havana in the evenings, with many bars open for you to sample some white or dark rum, which usually sells for 2-8 CUC depending on its age and quality. Keep an ear open as you walk past bars for some superb live jazz music, or head over to 1830 to get involved and pick up some salsa dancing skills.
Venture a little further downtown on your last day to San Francisco de Paula, accessible by bus. Bookworms will enjoy a trip to Finca Vigía, erstwhile home of the writer Ernest Hemingway, after which you can enjoy a hike through the idyllic fishing village of Cojimar. Head back to town on the way back to your hotel or the airport, and grab something for a picnic to enjoy at the National Park. For lunch, look no further than local residents’ driveways and gardens for some fresh Cuban street food including Tamale or some delicious fresh shellfish washed down with a Cereza lager beer to round off your holiday.