I can’t help but fall in love with Cuba


I can’t help falling in love with Cuba.

You can’t help but fall in love with Cuba, maybe it’s that nothing appears to work…yet somehow it does. Maybe it’s the sense that one day the country will grasp its full potential and rise like a phoenix.  Who knows, but it’s a fun place and having recently returned I feel strongly that it should be high on our list of must see place.

For some reason there’s a belief that Cuba is either difficult to get to or you just go for an all-inclusive beach experience with the odd drive around Havana in an old American classic.  In reality, travelling to Cuba is very straightforward with daily flights via Madrid. However, the perception that it’s just about the all-inclusive beach experience and Havana couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, these are reasons to visit, but not the reasons why Archipelago Choice traveller should go.

With 22% of the country designated as protected, the is much to see and much to explore. Cuba creates a sense of curiosity, especially if you’re over a certain age.  My thoughts before travelling there were centred around many of my preconceived perceptions, Fidel Castro, revolution, cigars, Bay of Pigs, old American cars, and trade embargoes.  All these things are, of course, part of the daily life in Cuba and run deep in the psyche of the nation, helping to define its people and their unique Cuba Libre view of the world.

Experience should teach us that we need to look beyond these preconceptions and delve into a more ‘realistic side’ of Cuba.  I was amazed at the quality and hospitality found when staying at the local ‘Casa Particulars’ (small, privately run guesthouses), all were charming, incredibly hospitable and of a surprisingly high quality.  As we travelled the length and breadth of the country, we were always greeted is if we were old friends, little was too much trouble and although most people don’t have very much there was never a sense of envy and wanting to take advantage.

We often think of Caribbean islands as being small, but not Cuba.  It’s 750miles east to west, yet only 60miles at its widest.  It takes time to see all of Cuba and although the roads are in a reasonable state of pair, you just can’t get anywhere quickly.  Which, on reflection, is not such a bad thing as exploring Cuba should not be rushed and as the old adage says, ‘its quality of time, not quantity’.

If you rush Cuba, you’ll miss its subtleties and the unexpected that make travelling there so special.  If you have time, watch the Oscar nominated film Strawberry and Chocolate as it will help you understand this conflicted country a little better.

Yes, Cuba is an archipelago of over 4000 small islands and cays!

To find out more check out: www.archipelagochoice.com/cuba/