When you think of Cuba, cigars and rum are probably two of the first things that spring to mind. But this Caribbean island boasts a diverse history and vibrant culture with so much more to offer than just these famous exports. If you fancy learning a little more about Cuba, here are five of the best things about travel to Cuba and what really makes Cuba famous.
Coffee production in Cuba is huge, and some of the country’s oldest coffee plantations are UNESCO World Heritage sites. For Cubans, coffee drinking is as embedded in their culture as tea is for the British.
Coffee is a social drink in Cuba, where people gather around to chat over steaming cups of espresso. Cubans like their coffees dark and strong – you won’t find caramel lattes and mochas in abundance here.
Cubans love to dance, and salsa dancing existed here even before it arrived in the United States. Dancing in Cuba is all about energy, enthusiasm, and losing yourself in the music. To experience this dance culture at its best, visit Havana at the weekend for the ‘Saturday Rumba.’ Dancing takes place on Calzada Street, in the Vedado area, and everyone is highly encouraged to join in! Locals and visitors alike love this tradition, and flock back week after week.
After being introduced by American sailors in the 1860s, baseball rapidly became one of Cuba’s most popular sports. Nowadays, the country can boast some incredibly talented baseball players, and there is a national baseball program for kids to learn and make their way to the top. Numerous MLB plaers started for the Cuban national team before coming to the US.
Surrounded by clear Caribbean waters and fringed with golden sands, it will come as no surprise that Cuba contains gorgeous beaches. If you want to have your own Cuban beach experience, Varadero is the ideal destination. This resort on the Hicacos Peninsula is home to a 20km stretch of sand, and it is arguably one of the best beaches not just in Cuba, but maybe the entire Caribbean.
Cuba’s capital city is known by name around the world, but many travelers don’t quite know what to expect before they get there. The truth is, you should expect the unexpected.
On Havana’s streets, a colorful blend of architectural styles will let you glimpse different parts of the city’s rich history around every corner. Havana is full of life, the locals are friendly, and it won’t take long for you to fall in love.
Anything else? What other places and things do you think of as distinctly Cuban? Share your thoughts.
Photo Credits: All marked by photographer and given permission, the beach and coffee images were used under Creative Commons license CC by 2.0