Cuba has been somewhat of an enigma for over 50 years and despite there being less than 400km between Havana and Miami, it has always felt like a distant land. The country’s turbulent past has earnt it a place in history books the world over and it is with an innate sense of curiosity that travellers come to this Caribbean island.
A trip to Cuba is one that will ignite the senses. From the faded grandeur of Havana and the colourful colonial city of Trinidad, to the patchwork of tobacco fields in Vinales and the powder-white sands of the Caribbean coast, it is a country that seems to have it all. Couple this with a population whose love for music and for life itself is contagious, and you’ve got an island nation unlike anywhere else.
Words like revolution and embargo have come to dominate conversations about this Caribbean island, and there are constant reminders of the impact both these historic events have had. Walking through the streets of its cities and villages can feel like stepping back in time: there are no billboards advertising the latest fizzy drink, a lack of internet connection means smartphones are few and far between, buildings in the cities are in dire need of restoration, and in the countryside oxen plough the fields and horse drawn carts are still the favoured mode of transport.
Whilst all of this makes Cuba one of the world’s most fascinating destinations, it is also a country with its eyes looking firmly to the future. Recent developments in its relationship with America and the explosion of privately-run restaurants and casa particulares demonstrate a desire for change. However, there is a strong sense that Cuba must not lose its spirit that makes it so undeniably special.