Cuba

All Destinations

Cuba

Those seeking to immerse themselves in art, music and a way of life that has refused to conform to Western expectations will not be disappointed by a visit to Cuba. The country exemplifies a raw and heady fusion of Caribbean, Spanish and Latin culture that is utterly intoxicating.

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Many feared that when Cuba opened their gates to tourism, this rich culture would be watered down. However, so far, that has not been the case and the Cuban identity is as strong as ever. Our friends on the ground can open doors that few visitors ever have a chance to access and allow our guests to get under the skin of this enigmatic country through its art, food, music and dance.

While there are miles of Caribbean coastline where turquoise ocean meets soft white sand, the lack of suitable accommodation means we generally advise our guests to explore Cuba for its culture, rather than the coast. However, we work with some excellent private charter companies and we can tailor an experience that will allow you to navigate stunning islands and virgin beaches from the comfort of your own yacht.

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Quick Facts

Capital
Havana

Population
11.5 million

Area
110,860 sq km (42.803sq miles)

Major Languages
Spanish

Major religion
Christianity

Currency
Cuban Peso

When to go
Cuba is at its best in the dry season between late November and early May. During this time you can expect plenty of bright blue skies. Evenings can be cool, particularly in the higher regions and it can be humid during the day.

The hurricane season begins in earnest in August and runs until the end of October, when time on the coast is best avoided and many beach properties are shut.

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  • High Season
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  • Shoulder Season

Highlights

Trinidad

This 500 year old Colonial town is a picture-perfect example of Spanish architecture at the height of its affluence. Pastel buildings line cobbled streets and shady plazas. The Escambray Mountains provide a scenic backdrop and the ocean lies sparkling ahead. Not far from the centre of town, the Playa Ancon is a popular spot for swimming in warm Caribbean ocean or basking on the soft sand. The town has long been a breeding ground for some of the country’s most talented artists. Exceptional Travel can arrange some very special visits to the private studios and homes of influential artists.

The Escambray Mountains are scattered with stunning Colonial mansions that are distant reminders of what was once one of the most important centres at the height of the sugar and tobacco trade. The hills are draped in woodland, working tobacco plantations and waterfalls cascading into freshwater pools.

Havana

This sultry, seductive city is one of Latin America’s finest. Years of cultural revolution gagged by oppressive dictatorships has left this city bristling with a powerful underground energy. Behind faded and crumbling buildings are pop-up art galleries, restaurants and bohemian bars. The city is alive with a fresh and creative scene that is on the brink of bursting into to the open. Part of Havana’s charm and mystery is that it still hasn’t and we urge you to visit before it does.

The historic ‘Habana Vieja’ marks the original roots of the city, which took hold in 1519. Well preserved, leafy plazas are lined with once opulent palaces and residential streets. At the seafront, the 7km long ‘Malecon’ walkway is best visited at sunset with a dusty yellow light enhancing the faded colours of the buildings that face the Pacific. The boulevard is a traditional meeting point for many of the locals and at night you are never too far from the tantalising sound of a salsa beat beckoning from a rooftop bar or converted mansion house.

Viñales

West of Havana, a three hour drive takes you to the Viñales Valley. This beautiful valley was protected by UNESCO in 1999 and has maintained the same steady and traditional way of life for generations. The region is known for the tobacco plantations that produce some of Cuba’s most sought after cigars. The next generation of farmers still use methods taught to them by their fathers and their fathers’ fathers before them. In the harvest season farmers guide sturdy oxen tilling red soil with slow and careful precision. Limestone platforms (mogotes) mark one plantation from another and the valley is embraced by mountains and rocky outcrops that provide excellent potential for walking, riding and hiking.

The calm, quiet valley is a wonderful contrast to the busy, urgent streets of Havana. Viñales illustrates the soul of rural Cuba with genuine authenticity.

Trinidad

This 500 year old Colonial town is a picture-perfect example of Spanish architecture at the height of its affluence. Pastel buildings line cobbled streets and shady plazas. The Escambray Mountains provide a scenic backdrop and the ocean lies sparkling ahead. Not far from the centre of town, the Playa Ancon is a popular spot for swimming in warm Caribbean ocean or basking on the soft sand. The town has long been a breeding ground for some of the country’s most talented artists. Exceptional Travel can arrange some very special visits to the private studios and homes of influential artists.

The Escambray Mountains are scattered with stunning Colonial mansions that are distant reminders of what was once one of the most important centres at the height of the sugar and tobacco trade. The hills are draped in woodland, working tobacco plantations and waterfalls cascading into freshwater pools.

Havana

This sultry, seductive city is one of Latin America’s finest. Years of cultural revolution gagged by oppressive dictatorships has left this city bristling with a powerful underground energy. Behind faded and crumbling buildings are pop-up art galleries, restaurants and bohemian bars. The city is alive with a fresh and creative scene that is on the brink of bursting into to the open. Part of Havana’s charm and mystery is that it still hasn’t and we urge you to visit before it does.

The historic ‘Habana Vieja’ marks the original roots of the city, which took hold in 1519. Well preserved, leafy plazas are lined with once opulent palaces and residential streets. At the seafront, the 7km long ‘Malecon’ walkway is best visited at sunset with a dusty yellow light enhancing the faded colours of the buildings that face the Pacific. The boulevard is a traditional meeting point for many of the locals and at night you are never too far from the tantalising sound of a salsa beat beckoning from a rooftop bar or converted mansion house.

Viñales

West of Havana, a three hour drive takes you to the Viñales Valley. This beautiful valley was protected by UNESCO in 1999 and has maintained the same steady and traditional way of life for generations. The region is known for the tobacco plantations that produce some of Cuba’s most sought after cigars. The next generation of farmers still use methods taught to them by their fathers and their fathers’ fathers before them. In the harvest season farmers guide sturdy oxen tilling red soil with slow and careful precision. Limestone platforms (mogotes) mark one plantation from another and the valley is embraced by mountains and rocky outcrops that provide excellent potential for walking, riding and hiking.

The calm, quiet valley is a wonderful contrast to the busy, urgent streets of Havana. Viñales illustrates the soul of rural Cuba with genuine authenticity.

Where to stay

These are just a selection of the properties we can personally recommend. Please get in touch to hear more about our full portfolio.

Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana

Havana’s first pure luxury hotel with a superb location in the centre of Old Town Havana and exceptional views of the city from the rooftop bar and pool. Stay here to see and be seen!

take me to Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana

Get in touch to start planning your trip to Cuba

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