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Cuba, a large Caribbean island nation under communist rule, is known for its white-sand beaches, rolling mountains, cigars and rum. Its colorful capital, Havana, features well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture within its 16th-century core, Old Havana, loomed over by the pre-revolutionary Capitolio. Salsa emanates from the city's dance clubs and cabaret shows are performed at the famed Tropicana.
With such a fascinating history you'll have to check out the 265 museums, 120 art galleries and 70 theatres just to scratch the surface of Cuba. When that's done, you can grab a Mojito and embark on the top 10 coolest things to do in Cuba...
Dance in the Street
Might seem crazy to us, but dancing down at the Callejon de Hemel is just a normal day in the life of a Cuban. Spontaneous live music is the norm and the pounding Afro-Cuban rumba is a hypnotic draw for passing tourists. Get sucked in to the raw Cuban culture and crack out those night club moves - you'll soon get knocked down and shown how to do it properly by a friendly Cuban. Callejon de Hemel also offers great photo opportunities with bold African murals adorning the walls and artists' studios popping up. The peak time to be here is Sundays at noon. Make sure you warm your hips up beforehand.
Look at Havana through a Convex Lens
Check out Da Vinci's Camera Obscura perched above the city. It's a super cool convex lens that warps your view of the Havana streets, yet lets you view it all in one go too. He was recorded to have said: 'Here the figures, here the colours, here all the images of every part of the universe are contracted to a point, what a point is so marvelous'. For only CUC2 you can while away an hour seeing the city change on the corner of Plaza Vieja, Havana. It's a strange experience that's difficult to explain, but don't look it up, just do it!
Pop Round to Hemingway's for a Drink
Given that he died in 1961 you might have to get your own drink, but you can still go round and see his house as he left it. Hemingway's white colonial Havana home has been preserved as Ernest last saw it for all tourists to see. Sadly, thanks to a number of thieving tourists the doors have been locked, but you can still have a nose through the windows of the Musea Hemingway finca vigia and imagine the great man sat at his typewriter penning The Old Man and the Sea, or For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Party in Santiago de Cuba
As the second city to Havana, Santiago de Cuba can get overlooked, but the relaxed party atmosphere here is one all gapers will fall in love with. Cespedes Park is the centre of action and is flanked by the beautiful Cathedral Church. The nearby Revolution Square is filled with history and also makes for some great photos. For day and evening parties check out the Tropicana Santiago and the Casa de la Trova. The morning after the night before is a great time to visit Turquino National Park and climb Cuba's highest peak up into the Sierra Mastra Mountains. There are a few options for getting from Havana to Santiago de Cuba like plane, bus, train or taxi.
Watersports in Trinidad de Cuba
Some would say Trinidad was frozen in time. Whether that's a plus or a minus, it definitely makes for an interesting visit. The preserved old palaces and colonial architecture create a fascinating atmosphere. Even more fascinating, for some, are the Caribbean beaches. The best ones are found in Casilda Bay, where the clear waters offer excellent snorkelling and diving. And if you need to relax after all your crazy adventures in Cuba the pristine, powdered sand beaches are perfect for lazing around, and supping on Mojitos of course.
Explore the city in a Classic 50's Car
Cruising around Havana in an open top 50's relic would have to be the highlight of any trip to Cuba. It's the way to take in the sights and think of yourself as just one of the locals. Coast along the atmospheric Malecon and take in the dilapidated yet beautiful colonial buildings. You can hire a car and do it yourself, or hire a driver to do the hard work for you.
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