Museo de la Revolución is Cuba’s most comprehensive museum. A one-stop immersion in all things revolutionary, the museum resides in the former Presidential Palace and descends chronologically from the top floor, focusing primarily on the events leading up to, during and immediately after the Cuban revolution.
Chances are when you think of Cuba, an image of Old Havana comes to mind. Founded in 1519 by the Spanish, its colourful architecture is both vibrant and beautiful with neoclassical and Baroque styles lining its charming streets. Of course, Havana is also renowned for vintage cars that pepper every thoroughfare. Vintage cars are part of daily life in Cuba, with most being used as taxis. But for fans of classic cars, Cuba is the place to go.
A visit to Havana’s Museo de la Farmacia Habanera la Reunión is an enthralling experience, thanks to its intruding artefacts from renowned Cuban pharmacies of the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These include surgical instruments, flasks, documents and labels. For many, the biggest draw of this museum is the staggeringly ornate building in which it is housed, with its carved wooden counters and intricate stained glass windows.
Cuban culture is a complex mix of factors. Music plays a huge role, as does history, religion, cuisine and sport. Many Cuban customs are based on European, African and Amerindian influences.
One of Cuba’s most famous sons – adopted, at least – is author Ernest Hemingway, who made the nation his home for 20 years. This much-loved writer is duly celebrated across the island. You can take a guided tour at his former home Finca Vigia, around 20 minutes outside Havana , or raise a glass to him at the city bars he loved to frequent – El Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio.
Music is a huge part of life in Cuba, with a vast array of venues across Havana giving you the chance to listen to some outstanding performers. Head to La Zorra El Cuervo on La Rampa to listen to some exquisite jazz, with Latin and Afro-Cuban musicians just waiting to blow you away with the breadth of their talent.
The most important archaeological site in Cuba, Museo Chorro de Maita protects the remains of an excavated Indian village and cemetery. The village dates from the early 16th century and is one of nearly 100 archaeological sites in the area.
Fine white sand between your toes, glistening turquoise waters stretching out towards the horizon, a cool cocktail in hand… an idyllic vision and one that will certainly become a reality during your time in Cuba. Try out Caya Coco, which offers 22km of stunning beach plus a huge variety of activities.
Hemingway’s favourite, Playa Pilar is a much sought after strip of sand regularly touted as Cuba’s (and the Caribbean’s) best beach. With its pure white sand and the largest sand dunes in the Caribbean, Playa Pilar has many snorkelling possibilities due to its warm and shallow sea.
On the western tip of Cuba, Playa Las Tumbas in the Guanahacabibes biosphere reserve is practically virgin territory. The Caribbean’s most isolated beach, Las Tumbas is 60km from the nearest population. Playa Los Flamencos is also one of the area’s quieter beaches, featuring excellent snorkelling opportunities.