How to get a taste of authentic Cuba

Posted: 29-Jun-16 15:18

With Cuba currently preparing for an influx of American tourists, many visitors are worried that the window of opportunity to experience the country in all its former glory is rapidly closing. Indeed, with the race now on to get to the island before it is commercialised by new development, journalist Roshina Jowaheer took to the Evening Standard to share her top 10 tips for seeing an unspoilt Cuba.

How to get a taste of authentic Cuba

For the first time in more than 50 years, it’s finally fair to say that America and Cuba are friends again. While that may come as great news for travel companies and commercial airlines, however, there is a growing fear that the island will soon be changed forever by commercialisation and development.

With the race to experience 2016’s most exciting holiday destination now underway, journalist Roshina Jowaheer recently shared her top 10 tips for experiencing an unspoilt Cuba with the Evening Standard – and now we bring you her advices.

List of recommendations for what visitors should see and do

1. Stay with the locals

First and foremost, if you want to do Cuba properly, don’t stay in a hotel. Homestay.com is the shop for finding accommodation in a casa particular suggested by Jowaheer. A casa particular will provide a more authentic taste of Cuba.

2. Get out on foot

While everyone wants to catch a ride in a classic American car, there’s no substitute for exploring Havana on foot. Why not take a walk to the old town and browse the book stalls of Plaza de Armas?

3. Dance until you drop

Nothing says “unspoilt Cuba” like a spot of traditional salsa dancing, and whether you’re staying in Havana or the suburbs of Vinales, you’ll find a wealth of bars where people will show you the ropes.

4. Unwind with a mojito

If you’re exhausted from all that dancing, the Hotel Nacional's garden is a great place to people-watch and unwind with a freshly made mojito while enjoying scenic views of Havana’s harbour and lighthouse.

5. Enjoy a taste of Cuba

In Havana, it’s no mean feat getting a table at a top restaurant. That shouldn’t stop you from enjoying authentic Cuban cuisine however, as most casa pariculars will supply dinner for a small fee.

6. Hang out in Havana

Cuba’s busiest city is also home to some of its hippest night spots, so be sure to stop into the Fabrica de Arte Cubana – an avant-garde meeting space for artists housed in a former peanut oil factory.

7. Visit stunning Vinales

Using a shared taxi, it’s cheap and easy to get out of Havana and enjoy the countryside. Try visiting nearby Vinales and enjoy picturesque mountains and fields on horseback for a unique experience.

8. Take a time machine to Trinidad

Not literally, of course, but Trinidad is one of the most flawlessly preserved towns in Cuba where visitors can enjoy a window into the past thanks to its colonial-style houses and cobblestone streets.

9. Hire a bike and hit the coast

Trinidad’s close proximity to the southern coast also affords visitors the opportunity to spend sunny days at the beach. Try hiring a bike and cycling the short 7km journey for a more natural experience.

10. See a UNESCO-protected valley

Around 12km outside of Trinidad lies the spectacular Valle de los Ingenios. Offering magnificent views and wildlife, this UNESCO-protected site remains as unspoilt today as it did in the 19th century.

As you can see, Roshina Jowaheer’s tips for seeing unspoilt Cuba offer plenty variety for all types of traveller, meaning whatever your reasons for visiting, you’ll get to enjoy the country as it was meant to be experienced. To find out more about Jowaheer’s favourite spots in Havana, Trinidad and beyond, you can follow her on Twitter @RoshinaJ for further suggestions.


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