Cuba es Amor! If you don't fall in love with Cuba then I will stop writing

Photo of Cuba es Amor! If you don't fall in love with Cuba then I will stop writing by Varun Suchday

Lately, travelling has been all about superlatives. The most beautiful island, the highest pass, the biggest fort, the best resort and so and so forth. Amongst all this how do you put forth an island country which is just simple? There is nothing extravagant about this island nation. A transistor comes to life, few islanders start doing salsa on the street, a shoeless boy kicks a ragtag football, an old man sits with the fishing hook in the sea and a cigar in his mouth, colourful timeless cars swirl past and I sit here sipping a daiquiri where once Ernest Hemingway sipped his. Cuba is for the soul searchers, time travellers, alcoholic writers and hopeless romantics. Cuba is for you and me!

La Habana or Havana is a dangerous city. No, not that kind of dangerous. The crime rate is in fact near zero in La Habana. It is dangerous because it will seduce you to the point that you won’t be able to explore the rest of the island. Visit the magnificent Catedral de San Cristobal; people-watch in the grand plazas - Plaza Vieja and Plaza de Armas; feel the heart of Havana by walking through the cobblestone streets of Habana Vieja (Old Havana); learn about the history of Cuba at Museo de la Ciudad; capture the sun setting over Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro; walk down the Malecon to observe the simple pleasures of Cuban life; shop for souvenirs at the Mercado Artesanal, and sip a daiquiri at La Bodeguita del Medio ala Ernest Hemingway.

Fidel Castro loved scuba diving which is why Jardines de la Reina has to be the last underwater world in the Caribbean unharmed by human actions. Here you can swim with three kinds of sharks – silky, reef and nurse along with giant groupers, turtles and numerous other tropical fish. The coral gardens are healthy, colourful and diverse.

While Havana is the political capital of Cuba, Trinidad holds the title of being the cultural capital. Locals claim that nobody in the world can do salsa like them and they dance from dusk till dawn. But, there is plenty more to Trinidad than just Salsa. Its cobblestone streets take you to picturesque Plaza Mayor, magnificent Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad and historically-important Palacio Cantero. Amidst all these architectural gems don't miss out the colourful red-roof houses. Once you have had your fix of architecture head to the postcard-perfect beach, Playa Ancon.

“Estoy un Guajiro!”

"I am a Guajiro!"

Guajiros are cowboys of Cuba. They still live like the good ol’ days. To get a taste of Guajiro life, head to Vinales, the tobacco heartland of Cuba. Vinales is a verdant valley of sprawling tobacco fields surrounded by rocky pinnacles. Vinales is the Wild Wild West. Grab a horse and head to the unexplored Palmarito Valley; hike one of Vinales’ 250 hiking trails; relax those well-travelled bones at one of the cave pools; learn about tobacco farming and cigar making, and strike up a conversation with the Guajiros over freshly rolled cigars.

Western Cuba

Any place you visit in Cuba feels remote. Yet, Western Cuba will feel even remoter. Very few who make it here spend their time in Cayo Jutias and Cayo Levisa. But, for the true explorers, Western Cuba is a treasure trove. Explore the culture of the beach community of Playa La Mulata; visit Playa La Altura for unspoilt beaches; Playa Banes has plenty of trails for hikers and bikers alike; camp in the virgin forests of Mil Cumbres; and finally summit Western Cuba’s highest peak Pan de Guajaibon.

Cuba visa for Indians

Indians need a visa to travel to Cuba. For precise Cuba tourist visa-related information, please check Cuba Embassy in India page.

Best time to visit Cuba

The best time to visit Cuba is from December to May when the days are dry with an average temperature being 30 Celsius.

How to reach Cuba

Round-trip flights from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, India to Jose Marti Internationa Airport, Havana, Cuba cost ₹69,000.

Approximate daily travel cost in Cuba

Travelling in Cuba costs around ₹1,275 per person per day including accommodation, food, transportation and tourist attraction fees.

Where to stay in Cuba

Casa Sonia (₹2,500 double), Havana; Doña Pancha (₹1,100 double), Trinidad.

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