Everybodys picture of Cuba is different. To some, its a tropical paradise idealised scenes of palm trees swaying along endless dazzling white beaches & turquoise seas. Others remember his past decadence: Storeys of Hemingway & Greene, cheap rum, gambling, wild dances & cigars are rolled on the thighs of dusky maidens. Only gambling is no longer available.
Then there are the revolutionaries: JosMart, Castro & Che Guevara. This is perhaps the most powerful image of them all: Cuba to free themselves from their colonial past & then daring to stand up against the most powerful country in the world.
`Because of Cuba's isolation, the old city remains remarkably unspoiled & intact. Havana is a World Heritage Site & major efforts are being made to restore the colonial centre to its former glory. Around the island, Trinidad is the most valuable colonial city, where nothing has changed at least 100 years.
Cuba is blessed with a pristine reef around most of the island with walls & wrecks host a kaleidoscope of marine life. The coral is in excellent condition, & there are turtles, dolphins, grouper, whale sharks, moray eels, rays, barracuda & other large creatures to your heart skip. Fishing has long been popular, with tournaments, made famous by Ernest Hemingway.
Top of the waters, Varadero is a sand spit that stretches for miles along the north coast, & has attracted tourists since the beginning of the 20th century. For something a little livelier, head of the local 's favourite places: Guanabo, near Havana, or the beaches east of Santiago de Cuba.
Wherever you go in Cuba you'll be accompanied by music. Each city has a casa de la Trova, where you can hear the different styles of Cuban music for the price of a room or 2. The salsa & son, Mamba & space are all now internationally famous & Cuban jazz influenced music worldwide.
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