The one-minute Cuba
Cuba, the largest and the least commercialised Caribbean island with 5,747 kilometres of mainly undeveloped coast. Possibly the last major unspoiled destination, now relatively easy and cheap to get to with non-stop scheduled flights from Paris, Madrid, Toronto, Montreal, Jamaica, Nassau and Mexico, plus regular charters. Packages are readily available or you can travel independently or make your own tailored bookings fairly easily.
Cuba offers white beaches fringed with straggling, surfy archipelagos, stunning, rocky coastline where mountains meet the sea and mangrove swamps. All great for diving see Dive Cuba, eco-tourism see Eco-Cuba, or just dossing on the beach see Beach Cuba. Cuba is also a reasonable, but not prime surfing destination and of course there is yachting, snorkelling, windsurfing and fishing too see Cuba's must-sees and Activities Cuba.
But Cuba is more than just a beach and water sports destination. Once one of the richest places on the planet as a result of sugar and tobacco, Cuba has beautiful, if fading, colonial towns and cities of which Havana is only the largest see The Real Havana and Cuba's must-sees. The relatively unspoilt countryside ranges from mountains to lush tropical farmland where in this horse-mad country you can ride or trek see Cuba's must-sees and Activities Cuba.
Cuba also has a fascinating history ranging from the Spanish colonial period to the romance of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara's revolution in 1959 see A Brief History of Cuba. Then there is Afro-Cuban culture and Salsa music see Salsa the music of Cuba.
Cuba can be difficult to get around, however. Taxis will take you anywhere, including long-distance, but this is not a cheap way to travel. Trains are unreliable and buses crowded. Cuban air-travel is not everyone's idea of relaxed transport and car rental is expensive. But the roads are clear, if not always in great shape, and hitching or using low-cost local transport are real options in Cuba see Getting around Cuba for tips.
Cuban food can also be a problem, though fresh tropical fruit is a good fall-back. The beer, at least, is excellent and so is the rum see Eating and drinking in Cuba.
Cuba now offers luxury and reasonable-quality tourist hotels in many destinations 5-star prices are less expensive than in the West. Cheaper hotels can be of patchy quality, though Cuba does offer some fair, low cost basic hotels in superb spots. Best value in Cuba are the down-at-heel grand hotels. There is also the low-cost option of renting flats and houses some of which are very comfortable see Hotels and private accommodation. Hotel prices quoted are a range from low season single to high season double per night and are only intended as guides as room rates do change.
Don't go to Cuba for ultimate comfort, fine food or a low-cost beach holiday.
Do go to Cuba for great, largely un-crowded beaches, moderate prices, fine diving, phenomenal cities and countryside, relatively safe travel, Salsa music and, above all, a destination with a real difference. Above all, See Cuba before the yanquis imperialistas come back and turn the place into a giant Latino theme-park!