Cuba is one of only a handful of truly Communist countries left in the world open to tourists. After decades of a US-led trade embargo on the nation, making it cut off from most of the outside world, its culture inevitably blossomed into something incredibly unique. Expect to experience warm, friendly locals, an extremely low crime rate with numerous adventures compacted into a relatively small island.
Examples of just some of the things to do in Cuba and the Cuban adventures to be experienced are off-the- beaten trail – yet world class – scuba diving sites on islands off the mainland. Or for city-lovers nothing quite beats the charm of the capital – Havana – with its beautiful Spanish colonial architecture, cosmopolitan nightlife, and pre-1950’s US-made cars such as Chevrolets and even Cadillacs, lovingly refurbished cruising on spotlessly clean streets past a plethora of classy bars, where Cubans love to dance the night away.
For cigar lovers and those who prefer nature and the quiet rural life, the Pinar Del Rio region with its rolling hills is the centre of the infamous Cuban cigar industry, and here you can visit cigar farms and meet the local farmers. While small towns such as Trinidad (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Santiago de Cuba have buckets full of colonial charm and warm, friendly locals to match the delightful ambience.
And finally, for the history-loving crowd, you can now visit the place where Che Guevara and Fidel Castro planned and executed their Communist revolution from the south-eastern jungles of the island.
If this all sounds a bit overwhelming, or you still have reservations about your safety or the attitude of this last true Communist nation, then consider this: remember Cuba is an extremely safe country (one of the safest in the world), even for young female travellers, who will experience no hassle whatsoever from locals. Indeed quite the opposite is true, and Cuba’s warm, friendly culture couldn’t be better reflected in one of its laws stating that it is actually illegal for Cubans NOT to pick up hitch-hikers! And indeed plenty of people, young, old, female, male, travel this way across Cuba.
For the less adventurous, you can always opt for one of the many wonderful beach resorts located mainly on the northern shores of the island. But whatever your love or disdain for adventure-travelling is, visit Cuba now, as the US are lifting their decades long trade embargoes, and Cuba will undoubtedly change in the coming years forever.
Photo courtesy of Rebeca Anchondo