Lifestyle & Travel
Aug 1, 2015
The pearl of the Antilles
The sun and the sea, the wild and natural, the old and the new. All of these things converge in such a pretty dance of swirling warmth, while the history brings us the nostalgic views of past times. Cuba, is a treasure, always waiting to be discovered, and every time someone discovers it, a smile is born and time slows down.
Cuba is a place of history, and a place of culture, but not only that. With natural secrets, untainted landscapes, mountains and valleys of incomparable beauty, this island of the Caribbean, the biggest of them, holds a whole lot of different thing to do and find, all the time enjoying every and any surrounding details.
Cuba is a country with an old history, and all the travelers from every corner of the world that came here, and stayed over the centuries mixed with each other, to originate a new and distinctive culture. From Amerindian Taino, Spanish, African, to Asian and English ways of life established here in Cuba, and its essence keeps evolving and changing, although never losing its uniqueness.
Because it is located right in the middle of the trade routes of the Caribbean, through here thousands of influences have come and gone, but never left.
The country has 256 museums focusing on history, the "revolución", natural science, weapons, colonial and ornamental art, music, cars, religion, tobacco, rum and sugar, more than 100 art galleries, about 70 theaters, 120 publishing houses, 354 public libraries,
315 community centers, 46 schools of art and an international film school.
Havana is probably the one that comes firstly to mind. The quincentennial city is known for its romantic atmosphere, and contagious energy. With a very controversial history, from pirates to the North American mafia, Havana left victorious, and rose to become the musical, cultural and leisure landmark it is today. It is unexpected and rich, and, as Graham Greene put it, 'anything was possible.'
With a repertoire of colonial buildings, nightclubs, street musicians, the city is ever inviting you to join the party, and enjoy the life.
Santiago de Cuba
On the other end of the island rests the city of Santiago de Cuba. And like its geographic location, the culture is very different - although always Cuban.
It is the birth place of several details embedded in Cuban culture, from the first factory of Bacardi rum, to the beginnings of various styles of music.
The city lays between the Sierra Maestra and the Caribbean, surrounding the Bahia de Santiago d Cuba, and it is the second biggest city of the country. Let us not forget the carnival, annually held in the latter two weeks of July - the biggest carnival event in Cuba. The Residents of Santiago de Cuba are very proud of their city, as it is known as the 'Cradle of the Revolution' - this is where the revolution began and also the place of Fidel Castro's first announced of the success of the revolution.
The city museum of Cuba. It is so very well preserved, you can almost see the nobleman passing by, and the horses trotting. From huge palaces and colonial squares, to slaver shelters and sugar refinery ruins, the city emanates history and culture in every corner. World UNESCO Site since 1988, the Plaza Mayor centers several historical buildings and museums.
Presenting us with mesmerizing landscapes, sitting between mountain and sea, the city is also fulfilled with beauty in its surroundings.
If join together the music of the local tribes, the music brought African slaves traded into the island for some 300 years, and the Spanish influence of the colonies, you get several styles of music. All of them Cuban. The intricate melodies gather a multitude of people for a panoply of dances, originated from the same influences. Nothing is still, here, and anyone that catches a vague and faraway sound of music coming from a hot nightclub cannot stand still. No one can not dance.
Nature is a mandatory destination in the country. There are 80 protected areas in the Cuban islands, sites of unbelievable grandeur and aweing views. Enormous mountains, rivers, and river mouths that end in deserted beaches, beaches of sand of every color, with a flora to be admired. Not to mention the coral reefs, and the birdwatching in Cuba is said to be one of the best in the Caribbean.
And, to be even more perfect, there is no need to travel far away to see these natural beauties. If you go early enough, there are controlled sites where you can make a picnic and enjoy the peacefulness of the environment. There areas are controlled to avoid overcrowding, and lessen the pressure on Nature.