Cuba, a Caribbean island nation, is made up of over 4,000 islands and cays, and the main island is the largest of all islands in the Caribbean and home to 11.1 million people. Cuba has over 200 bays and 250 sugar-white beaches to explore, making it arguably the best beach destination in the Caribbean. The island is also dotted with tobacco fields, which play a part in the production of the country’s legendary cigars.
Pastel colored houses line the streets of the capital, Havana, and in the 16th Century core, called “Old Havana”, you’ll find Spanish-colonial architecture, and the famous Tropicana with cabaret shows and dance clubs where locals and visitors dance the night away to the salsa music.
If you are a cigar aficionado, be sure to visit one of the cigar factories, where you can see the cigars being hand-rolled and where you can also purchase cigars to take home. Some of the global brands that are worth noting are: Bolívar, Cohiba, Cuaba, Fonseca, H. Upmann, Hoyo de Monterrey, José L. Piedra, Montecristo, Partagás, Punch, Quintero, Romeo y Julieta, San Cristóbal, Trinidad and Vegas Robaina
One important thing to note though, ensure you buy from an official cigar store. You might be offered cheaper cigars from beach vendors or individuals claiming to have a bother or friend that works in one of the famous factories, but this will never be the case and you’ll only end up with fakes which you’ll be reminded of when you try to smoke one. Additionally, you have to have an official certificate which you must show at the airport, otherwise they will likely be confiscated.
You can still see some 1950’s era cars lining the streets and on the roads. An import ban was in place until 2011, when it was gradually lifted to allow more modern vehicles onto the island, as they found it increasingly difficult to find parts for their aging cars. For visitors, seeing pre-1959 cars on the road added to the island nation’s charm, with everyone wanting a photo of this era gone by.