Ever since the U.S. lifted the restrictions on travel to Cuba last December which was marked by the POTUS’ visit earlier this year, Caribbean’s largest island has seen an influx of tourists keen to see the melting pot of cultures with heavy Spanish and African influence…
The busy atmospheric streets are filled with aromatic scents of tropical papaya and tobacco leaf, petrol and dusky carpets. And as you walk through Cuba’s colonial cities, you’ll see how it hasn’t really changed since musket-toting pirates stalked the Caribbean Islands… Cobbled streets lined with ruined and tattered buildings, you’ll feel like you’re trapped in a time warp and that reeling feeling from the economic embargo the country’s seen. Stay tuned for some commentaries on eclectic Cuba!
For five miles of sandy beaches for as far as the eyes can see, travelers to Cuba should definitely make it a point to stroll The Malecon. It is the place to be from sunrise to sunset, a local favorite meeting spot for assorted lovers, philosophers, poets, fisherfolk and wishful thinkers who wish to sit back, relax, and be awe-struck by the ethereal quality the ocean-side boulevard exudes… It has expanded rapidly eastward, mixing sturdy neoclassicism with whimsical art noveau that evokes a sense of freedom. Expect cold fronts blowing in with massive waves crashing over the sea wall, drenching distracted passer-bys!
Some people may ask, where has art gone to after incredible art visionaires like Gaudi and Picasso? It may have headed west, to central Havana to Jaimanitas, where a Cuban artist by the name Jose Fuster turned their very own neighborhood in which he lived in into a masterpiece of tiles and turrents, making Barcelona known for its extraordinary beauty... The nexus to all of his life’s work is the Taller-Estudio Jose Fuster, where you can view his paintings and ceramics, and perhaps even be lucky enough to see him at work in the flesh!
The centerpiece is Fuster’s own studio, decorated from its ceilings to its foundations by art, sculptures and every color and description of mosaic tiles one can think of. Walk through its spiraling walkways, rippling pools and sunburst fountains that may even compete with Gaudi’s Park Guell!
The sea is turquoise blue, and warm as a bath made ready. The sand looks like fine white talcum powder, a place so soft you can’t wait to dig your feet into. Come in the early mornings for a virtually deserted beach experience at Playa Pilar. Located on Cayo Guillermo, this beach is easily the star of the show. With vibes of perfect bliss, the beautiful bay equipped with its own authentic rustic charm by deck chairs and gaudy cocktails, it’s easy to find oneself spending hours floating in the shimmery shallow shores… Perhaps the best beach in Cuba, this windswept paradise is bound to be unforgettable.
Now the Cuban cigars is probably one of the things Cuba is most well-known for, perhaps as a symbol of exclusivity, power and strength. A premium item that has been (at times) used in exchange for currency or gold, the tightly-rolled bundle of tobacco leaves are kept in semi-airtight storage tubes usually kept with guillotine-style cutters to keep its freshness after every smoke. One of the country’s leading exports, the Cohiba Behike and Gurkha’s ‘His Majesty’s Reserve’ are perhaps the best cigars sought after. All cigars offer a different smoothness, an enticing aroma, a distinct flavor, a varying scent...
Built with strikingly designed and locally-crafted ceilings, windows and doors, the 19th century boutique hotel of Casa Pedro-Maria is nestled in a UNESCO World Heritage site of the Old Havana district. With one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, it is also within close proximity of many good restaurants; a paradise for fish lovers! For an authentic experience of a blast from the past with a bit of a modern touch, stay at this quaint colonial home where guests will gain full use of the indoor open-air patio and fabulous roof terrace, and take in all the unique Cuban culture...
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