Whilst we cannot physically transport you to our destinations themselves at present, we would like to offer you a little virtual escapism. We do hope that they will be a welcome distraction as we sit out these extraordinary times, and act as an inspiration for your next adventure.
In our seventh Isolation Escape we invite you to take a journey through Cuba, soaking up its intoxicating raw and heady fusion of Caribbean, Spanish and Latin culture. From Havana’s salsa beat, its iconic cars and washed-out colonial mansions, splendid, lush countryside and the beautifully preserved traditional town of Trinidad to the icing sugar beaches of the Caribbean, immerse yourself in art, music and a way of life that has refused to conform to Western expectations.
We begin our tour in the charismatic city of Havana. Casually admired for its faded grandeur, spirited nightlife and vintage cars, this capital is eager to get under one’s skin. Its shabby chic colonial architecture lines the streets, cobbled alleyways and leafy plazas with many a grand mansion now converted into museums and art galleries. Visit the classic haunts of the gangsters of the 1930s, the Partagás Cigar Factory and Catedral de San Cristobal and don’t forget to take a sunset stroll along the seafront’s the 7km long Malecon promenade.
Heading west through Cuba we arrive in the serene valley of Viñales, resting in the undulating tropical countryside of Pinar del Rio. The slow paced region is home to old-fashioned farms, rural communities and tobacco plantations, all set within a sensational unspoilt landscape. Dominating the The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Viñales Valley, the mogotes –steep sided limestone hills measuring upto 300 metres in height – protrude from the otherwise flat valley floor while the town of Viñales bursts with colour, the old school charm of horse drawn carts and traditionally made cigars.
Our next stop in Cuba takes us to the south coast and the colonial town and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trinidad. Cobbled streets lead to pretty plaza’s dappled with sunlight, charming churches and pastel-hued homes nestled alongside traditional markets. Historical tours lead to local sugar plantations, manor houses and slaves’ quarters in the Escambray Mountains, while the private studios and homes of some of the country’s most talented artists are open to those in the know.
The final stop on our passage through Cuba brings us along a mangrove-lined causeway connecting the mainland to Cayo Santa María, a small island off the country’s northern coast and part of the Jardines del Rey archipelago. Celebrated for its coral white-sand beaches circling a lush interior countryside, surrounded by crystal clear waters, this pretty islet is an education in Cuba’s three Rs – Relaxation, Rhythm and Rum. Recline in hammocks swaying gently in the breeze, discover vibrant coral reefs, salsa through the night and sample traditional Cuban cocktails, your journey’s end is the beginning of a new love affair.
If you’d like to start planning a holiday to Cuba while waiting for this storm to pass, please drop us a line and we’ll be delighted to send you further information on this colourful and energetic island.
‘Cuba may be the only place in the world where you can be yourself and more than yourself at the same time. ‘
Pedro Juan Gutierrez