Basking in the Caribbean sun, the island of Cuba lies between sun and socialism, rumba and revolution. Havana is the capital. In 1553, the Spanish conquerors designated Havana’s harbour as a collection point for ships loaded with gold and silver from the new Spanish colonies and named the settlement, San Cristobal De La Habana.La Bodeguita Del Medio was once Hemmingway`s local and nowhere else is the ‘Mojito’ mixed better: three year old white rum, lime juice, soda, sugar, ice and mint. Whether it be the Teatro Marti, the Old Tobacco Factory, the famous Bacardi house, or the Floridita Bar, everywhere there is a feeling of nostalgia. When the Daiquiri is served, one almost expects Fidel Castro to be sitting at the next table. Pinar Del Rio is a small but busy town in which the Red Star and portraits of Che Guevara are displayed for all to see. In the old town, colourful houses with beautiful pillared corridors demonstrate the former wealth of the country’s independent tobacco growers. Time means little here. While observing life on the streets, one begins to think in the same relaxed tempo of the leisurely-smoked cigars. A visit to a tobacco factory is a must. Cuba’s cigars are world famous. Together with sugar, tobacco is the country’s most important export. The oldest geological formation in Cuba are the Mogotes, well-weathered limestone peaks which, supported by pillars, once covered a large complex of caves. Over many decades, subterranean rivers flooded the earth below and thus created these gigantic grottos. On seven manmade islands in the centre of the Cienaga De Zapata National Park, is the Indian village of Guama. This swampy nature reserve with its dense mangrove forest vegetation offers an ideal sanctuary for many rare water birds. No Cuban town has changed as little in two hundred years than that of Trinidad. In the 18th century, the city experienced great wealth and recognition due to the cultivation of sugar cane and the luxurious palaces and villas of the sugar barons still leave their mark on the city. Rich green tropical forests, tobacco country at the foot of mysterious mountain caves, humid tropical swamps, history, cigars and rum.
Image gallery Cuba: