Cuba

Classic cars & Cigars

At only 90km from the base of Florida, and sat between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, Cuba offers her visitors a pleasant year-round warm climate, the tropical sea breeze adding to her charm. With the reverberating beats of rum-fuelled dancing filling the back streets of Havana, the smell of the city’s autonomous cigars filling the air, the architecturally magnificent old-quarters of Havana are a must-stop on any luxury yacht charter to Cuba. Upon its discovery in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, he proclaimed it “the most beautiful land one has ever seen.” Not much has changed.

Cuba’s jumbled history has given this island nation a fascinating blend of cultures, lending to a patchwork of architectural styles, cuisines, and distinct regional areas. Her proud heritage is worn as a badge of honour, and resides on the streets in the classic American muscle cars that have added a near-mythical allure to this vibrant and effervescent island. It is not difficult to see why Cuba is fast becoming a charter destination of choice; enjoy the untamed enthusiasm, and revel in the hedonistic lifestyle that only a charter to the largest of the Caribbean islands can proffer.

No trip to Cuba would be complete without a visit to La Havana, a city that teases every one of your senses. Smell the sweet scent of the local hand-rolled cigars and experience their mesmerizing production with a visit to the Romeo Y Julieta Cigar Factory.

Taste the spirit of Cuba at La Bodequita Del Medio, home of the Mojito and immortalized by Hemmingway. Discover the origins of this cocktail at the Havana Rum Factory (tastings optional, but highly recommended!). It is also possible to visit where Hemmingway finished his seminal novels “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea” at his villa, Finca la Vigia, 10km east of Havana.

Feel the infectious rhythms of the open-air cabaret at world-famous Club Tropicana, an extravaganza that has been entertaining locals and visitors alike for nearly 80 years, showcasing the best of traditional Cuban dance, music, and folklore.

Famous for its secluded and isolated beaches, when visiting Maria La Gorda it is also worth making a trip to Guanahacabibes National Park, one of the country’s largest nature reserves. The Guanahacabibes Peninsula is one of the last refuges of the original inhabitants of the area, known as Guanahatabeyes, who fled the Spanish conquistadors. There are some 140 archeological sites to explore here.

Enter the Bay of Singuanea and moor in front of the Colony Hotel, then board the bus for a short drive to Nueva Gerona, the island’s capital city. Among the main attractions to see: the Universidad de la Isla de la Juventud, the museum Jesus Montane Oropesa or the Presidio Modelo, the island’s famous abandoned panopticon prison, where thousands were incarcerated, but none more famous than Fidel and Raul Castro themselves!

Known locally as the “Perla del Sur” (the Pearl of the Sea), Cienfuegos is located around 250km to the south of Havana. As one of Cuba’s largest cities, it is a good starting point for an introduction to the island. The colonial French-style centre is every architecture enthusiasts’ dream, and was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005. It is little wonder that the city has been described as the “Paris of Cuba”.

Jutting out into the sea, and only 12km from the bustling city of Trinidad (another UNESCO site), the warm, emerald waters of Ancón Beachare ideal for a day’s swimming and watersports. Head slightly inland to the seaside village of La Boca where you will find the charmingly rustic Casa Particulares serving fresh seafood and local delicacies.

At 120km long, this mangrove forest and coral-island system is like stepping into another world. Uninhabited, and with no buildings in the area, the only options for an overnight stay are either on the local houseboats, or to stay on board your luxury yacht. The Jardines are a haven for wildlife, with whales, hammerhead sharks, ospreys, pelicans, and iguanas all sharing in this paradise of palm trees, pines, and mangroves. With water clearer than crystal, and with the coral systems untouched by man, you’ll be hard pressed to find better diving anywhere else in the world.

TOP TEN CUBA ATTRACTIONS

  1. Discover local hand-rolled cigars and experience the production with a visit to the Romeo Y Julieta Cigar Factory.
  2. Taste the spirit of Cuba at La Bodequita Del Medio, home of the Mojito.
  3. Feel the rhythms of the open-air cabaret at world-famous Club Tropicana.
  4. See where Ernest Hemingway finished his seminal novels “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea” at his villa, Finca la Vigia.
  5. Hear the soothing beats of the Salsa, Rumba, Mambo and Latin clubs in the backstreets of Havana, where it is possible to dance 24 hours of the day.
  6. Discover the origins of the Mojito at the Havana Rum Factory.
  7. Explore Cienfuegos, the colonial French-style town is every architecture enthusiasts’ dream, made UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005.
  8. Enjoy Playa Sirena being one of the most photogenic beaches in the Caribbean.
  9. Explore the local mangroves, go deep-sea fishing, or dive the coral seabeds of nearby Cayo Campos or Cayo Cantiles.
  10. Head slightly inland to the seaside village of La Boca where you will find the charmingly Casa Particulares serving fresh seafood and local delicacies.

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