Immaculate beaches, lush green hills, dramatic rainforests and waterfalls; imposing mountain ranges, vibrant cities steeped in history and a defiant Revolutionary chic; the island of Cuba can rightfully claim to be one of the most unique getaways on earth.
The largest and most populous island in the Caribbean, Cuba has been somewhat time warped by its socialist revolution of 1959, and that, combined with the decadence and corruption of previous regimes has made it a sunshine isle of stark contrasts. Vintage American cars roar through the streets of Havana. Horses and carts carrying water and food stumble through the countryside. Graphic revolutionary insignia adorn walls just yards from a decadent colonial palace.
Much of the island’s allure lies in its spectacular beaches and thrilling scenery. Christopher Columbus wasn’t joking when he declared in 1492 the coast of Guardalavaca to be “the most beautiful land I have ever seen.” The beaches there are like something out of a dream, so it should come as no surprise that thousands of holidaymakers head there each year to soak up the sun on the improbably white sands, dip into the warm, turquoise waters and indulge in the five star luxury that many of the hotels and resorts there provide.
While the world famous cocktails may surpass the hearty but occasionally limited food and the travelling around might be slightly more difficult than elsewhere in the Caribbean, Cuba more than makes up for this with its stunning climate, captivating history, generous charm and swinging salsa rhythms.