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Client Blog: Cuba - A first-timer's adventure

The pool at Paradisus Princesa del Mar, Varadero

Linda and Dickie are becoming frequent flyers when it comes to blogging, contributing their second report, this time from a country undergoing imminent transformation: Cuba.

They wanted to see it before the changes really take effect, and to tick another destination off their bucket list, as Linda told us…

We arrived in Cuba and headed to the Iberostar Parque Central Hotel in Havana. On the way, the signs of poverty are noticeable alongside the charm of its breathtaking architecture. If only we could go back to the 1950s and see how amazing this place would have been.

One of the many classic cars of Cuba

We hired an American Cadillac from that era to drive us around and it was so much fun - just pulling up at a set of traffic lights and looking around us there was a sea of old cars (like the one pictured above). I felt like Audrey Hepburn! Then our driver took us to the Buena Vista Social Club. What can I say but another unmissable venue with live music and dancing by the very talented locals and an amazing atmosphere. We also visited Hotel Nacional which has the Hall of Fame Bar showing celebrity patrons of the past. Easy to imagine Frank Sinatra standing right there with a cocktail in hand. We then travelled around for a week, visiting lots of places of interest. So much to see and do including natural beauty, a canyon ceremony, train and boat trips, rum, dance lessons and a sugar museum.

The steam train at Museo de Agroindustria Azucarera

The Museum of the Sugar Cane in Villa Clara has this gorgeous engine, once used to transport sugar. Looking around the place it was like a steam train graveyard, with at least 20 old engines parked all over the grounds. Our other destinations included Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad before ending at the resort town of Varadero. A travellers' tip: if you like a bath, bring your own plug with you from home! Each area you visit has its singular charm. As for the people, where Cubans are very poor they are so rich in spirit and many of them seem genuinely happy. This resulted in us having a holiday that we will truly remember forever. Linda and Dickie

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