Travel magazine Wanderlust invites to discover 7 Cuban gems

Posted: 03-Mar-16 10:52

A travel writer for the British publication's online portal draws attention to uncommon places and landscapes in Cuba that visitors won't find in other tourist guides or reviews about the charms and beauty of this Caribbean nation. Among the Cuban gems listed, the magazine highlights places where good literature can be found.

Travel magazine Wanderlust invites to discover 7 Cuban gems

Bookshops, cafes, hidden and remote beaches, juicy fruits and communitarian art centres are Cuba's secret jewels, according to one British travel writer who recently shared her "top 7 Cuban attractions" in a blog piece for Wanderlust magazine.

Author Leila Segal has been travelling to Cuba for years, and her deep understanding of the island's society and culture is reflected in her article for Wanderlust, published in the magazine's website this February.

First, the writer of the book “Breathe. Stories from Cuba”, encourages visitors to Cuba to stop at a wooden bookshop in Old Havana named Fayad Jamís after a renowned local poet and painter. The place is not a simple shop, but an inspiring cultural space that usually hosts book launches and poetry recitals. Segal explains:

“I love coming here to buy new work by contemporary Cuban writers – the latest literature is available for modest prices in beautifully designed editions.”

As a literature lover, she also points out that Cafe G Literario, located in one of the most popular corners of Havana (23th and G streets), is a place that travel writers must visit, as it has intense light and it has virtually constant musical beat. Open mic nights for poets and writers from Cuba and elsewhere are among the captivating activities that take place there.

Other facets of the country's vibrant culture can be explored if tourists leave the capital and head to the central part of the island. In the province of Villa Clara (276km East from Havana) the visitor will find "El Mejunje" (The Mixture), a community centre that hosts all kinds of animated activities all-week-long. In her article Segal comments:

“But you should go there for fantastic disco and drag nights.”

She further recommends travellers to take a road trip towards Pinar del Rio, in the Western part of Cuba, and to dive deep into Cuba's countryside. Following this route, tourist will admire the exuberant vegetation and the modest beauty of quiet villages and farmhouses.

“If you stop anywhere, people will be keen to chat and show you round – you may even be invited in for a drink or something to eat. Put down your camera and guidebook, and take time to talk to the curious and friendly Cubans you will meet off the tourist trail”.

Whether in the countryside or in the cities’ street stalls, Segal says holidaymakers will find delicious tropical fruits as another highlight of a trip to the island. Fleshy or juicy, most Cuban fruits are organic and full of flavour. Author's favourite ones are mangoes, custard apples and mameyes, and she strongly recommends readers to try them.

Final suggestions have to do with the vastness and beauty of the sea that surrounds the island. On one hand, Segal points out that Maria La Gorda beach, in the Guanahacabibes peninsula, has beautiful marine life and regular boat trips are organised from here. According to her, this paradisiac place is perfect for taking in the tropical sun and sinking your toes in the pristine white sands.

The other seascape that is recommended in Wanderlust's article is the Malecon - Havana's Seawall, which has been widely photographed by travel magazines. However, Segal makes a particular observation:

“Havana's Malecon is where I first understood the immensity, ruin and beauty of this overwhelming and mysterious city”.


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