Cuba - What to Expect

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Cuba remains a communist country with many of its own struggles. However, with an open mind, a sense of humour and an adventurous spirit, those that visit will be rewarded with a cultural experience unlike any other.

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Meet Cuba's friendly locals.

Meet Cuba's friendly locals.

Travelling in Cuba is without doubt an incredibly cultural experience.

It is definitely not a country that should be visited if you are looking for luxury or a trip where everything runs like clockwork.

It may be a Caribbean island with the climate, scenery and wonderful beaches to match but the fact remains it is a communist country struggling not only with a crumbling infrastructure and the governmental control over its people and businesses but also the continuing US embargo.

Government control

The Capitolio building, HavanaCuba's ability to maintain service levels and standards is far less reliable than that of other developing countries in the world. Capital investment is restricted and requires approval by the government. The Cuban government sets most prices and rations goods. Even simple items that we take for granted, such as bread, can be hard to come by. Moreover, any firm wishing to hire a Cuban must pay the Cuban government, which in turn will pay the company's employee in Cuban pesos.

The government's control over everything prevents private enterprise and with a strictly enforced regulated wage system gives many of the local people little incentive to be doing a good job. With Raul Castro now in power, change is occurring but progress is slow.

Why should you visit Cuba?

Local Habanero, CubaThe appeal of Cuba is that it has remained free of western influence and commercialisation. There are no advertising hoardings or fast food restaurants. The countryside is beautiful, the beaches are stunning (although many are dominated by large all inclusive resorts) and most of all the people are wonderful.

The colonial architecture, history and music all add further to its appeal culminating in a unique holiday which you will never forget. Anyone visiting with an open mind, a sense of humour and an adventurous spirit will be more than rewarded by what they find.

Video: Cuba for the first time visitor

Anna introduces Cuba for the first time visitor. She suggests the best places to visit and describes the food and people of this beautiful country.

Cuban highlights - Making the most of your trip


Havana’s streets are filled with countless vintage cars and there are no advertisements, apart from political exhortations, giving Cuba’s capital a wonderful air of nostalgia.

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Northern Cayes

Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Ensenachos and Cayo las Brujas are all small islets connected to the mainland by a causeway. They are covered in thick mangroves and are important bird nesting sites with idyllic beaches and sparkling seas. Further to the east lie Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, two well established built up cayes, with a good selection of all-inclusive resorts.

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Visiting the beautiful city of Trinidad is like entering a time warp. The city was founded in 1514 by the Spanish conquistador Diego Velasquez and became a major centre for trading sugar and slaves for almost 200 years.

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The landscape of Valle de Vinales is a designated UNESCO World Cultural landscape and is a peaceful rural region of western Cuba where impressive limestone 'mogotes' impassively guard rich tobacco plantations.

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Excursion ideas

Cigar Factory

Havana cigars are considered the world's finest and the processes involved in hand rolling them can be seen at a number of Havana's famous factories such as Romeo y Julieta and Partagas.

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Salsa Dance Lesson

Salsa is a part of the national identity in Cuba and is built into the psyche of its people. It is a national pastime with the locals dancing in atmospheric nightclubs, on the beach or in the streets.

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Havana City Tour

Modern Havana contrasts strikingly with the attractive colonial heart of the city. The tour is completely flexible and usually involves hire of transportation in a classic American car for 2 hours.

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Valle de Vinales

Drive through the picturesque country town of Vinales passing classic cars and horse drawn carts on your way to the Mural de Prehistorica where a history of evolution is painted in bright colours on the side of a Mogote.

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