Cuba Travel Guide

This online Cuba travel guide covers a land of contrasts: a tropical paradise for foreign holidaymakers where residents play the lottery to get an exit visa. In city centres, from Havana to
Santiago, ramshackle streets are lined with decaying colonial mansions
and art deco towers, while rectangular Soviet apartment blocks dominate the suburbs. 1950s Cadillacs chug alongside horse-drawn carriages, arthritic rickshaws and sleek diplomats' saloons, swiftly overtaken by bright yellow eggshells on motorbike chassis. Out in the countryside, from the tobacco fields to the Sierra Maestra, the high-ways are lined with billboards extolling the virtues of the Revolution.

Initially a cash cow for Spanish colonial masters, Cuba became a pleasure zone for US neocolonialists in the 20th century. A heady cocktail of gambling, rum and sex lured Americans during Prohibition, when movie stars and mobsters came to sample the wares of celebrity bartenders. Yet life is hard for the average Cuban. The welfare state is unsurpassed but material pleasures are few and far between. This Cuba travel guide covers a land where antique Russian fridges and American cars are held together with rubber bands and sticking plaster, and houses crumble into rubble-strewn alleyways. Residents still dust off their ornaments, polish their antiques and surgically scrub their floors and, when it comes to music and dance, their rhythm, skill and innovation make Cubans world leaders.

Download a free mini-guide to your first 24 hours in Havana.

Cuba Travel Guide Highlights
La Habana Vieja, Havana, Cuba, Photo by Jose Miguel Hernandez Leon
La Habana Vieja
A UNESCO World Heritage Site for its massive fortresses and elegant Spanish colonial mansions.
Statue of Che Guevara, Santa Clara, Cuba, photo by Richard Semik
Santa Clara
Che Guevara's last resting place with dramatic monument and mausoleum.
Remedios, Cuba, Photo by chilewilllyy
Colonial town famed for its pre-Christmas parrandas, or carnival.
Bay of Pigs Museum, Cuba, Photo by hoyasmeg
Bay of Pigs
Site of the botched CIA-backed landing of counter-revolutionaries in 1961.
Camagüey, Cuba, Photo by anymouse1
Magnificent 18th-century churches and plazas characterise this colonial city.
Mariá La Gorda, Cuba, Photo by Richard Semik
Mariá La Gorda
Pristine diving with virgin reefs, caves, wrecks and an abundance of sea life.
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, Photo by Vibragiel
Santiago de Cuba
The carnival queen and a vibrant musical city.
Viñales, Cuba, Photo by Regien Paassen
The valley is a UNESCO World Cultural Landscape for its steep-sided magotes.

Trinidad, Cuba, Photo by krechet
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, frozen in time with its cobbled streets and tiled roofs.
Las Terrazas, Cuba, photo by Tupungato
Las Terrazas
Part of a biosphere reserve, with excellent hiking and birdwatching.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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