AMERICAS

Reasons to visit and love Cuba

What is the hype with Cuba anyway? You might wonder. Diplomatic relations were established (more or less) once again with Cuba in 2015 under the government of President Obama, which makes Cuba an immediate discovery opportunity for passionate travelers and adventure seekers.
All the passionate people around the world about the Caribbean pearl now have an easy chance to discover…
All people around the world who are passionate about the Caribbean pearl now have an easy chance to discover…

- How is daily life in a communist country?
- Is spending a few good moments there worth your time, money, and effort?
- Are a few Cuban cigars, old-fashioned automobiles, and salsa worth updating your vacation destination list for this year?

Let's get honest and straight to the point….

The best motive for traveling to Cuba today: Is because the country is still virgin and unspoiled. Besides that, it is also polemic, peaceful, cheap (if you come from Europe or North America, not so much from South American countries), and most of all enigmatic, unique, and for sure unforgettable.

Here is what we will cover :
- The big thing about Cuba that nobody seems to have noticed yet
- Why its architecture has been selected as World Heritage by the UNESCO
- Why you will feel like having a digital detox when staying in Cuba
- The reason why Cuba is a good place to drink and relax
- The mystery about Cuban cigars.

Zorhan Mokoele | TDO local expert from South Africa

WORDS BY

By Alejandro‌ ‌Morales‌

Alejandro‌ ‌‌is‌ a Cuban guy who loves two things: Marketing and travelling. He has already visited many countries, and now lives in Brazil with his wife, Amanda Estevez. Alejandro is ‌the‌ ‌Co-founder‌ ‌of‌ ‌Athene’s‌ ‌Bookshelf,‌ ‌where‌ ‌he‌’s‌ ‌responsible‌ ‌for‌ ‌creating‌ ‌content‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌agency’s‌ ‌blog‌ ‌and‌ ‌for‌ ‌customer‌ ‌acquisition‌ ‌strategies.‌

a Sao Paulo based traveler

The big thing about Cuba that nobody seems to have noticed yet
Decades of isolation and unsolved political issues have allowed Cuba to remain, until today, undiscovered, and yet, magic.
It's one of the few places in the world where you will never see a McDonald's stand, a Starbucks, or any big corporation, as well as brand advertising or propaganda.
I know it may seem kind of fluffy. But this, along with the mix of the colorful baroque architecture, and the flavor of music chasing you on every street, even inside the taxis, is something memorable.

Bonus Safety Tip: If you’re unfamiliar with Cuba’s currency system, better prepared for surprises! Here, two currencies: the Cuban Peso and the Cuban Convertible Peso. The second one will cover most of your purchases as a tourist in Cuba. The hotels, resorts, restaurants, and tourist attractions usually accept the Cuban Convertible Peso, which is the equivalent of 90 cents of a dollar. You can exchange your currency for the Cuban Convertible Peso at state currency exchange offices (called CADECA), airports, banks, hotels, and resorts.

Why its architecture has been selected as world heritage by the UNESCO
Ages of cultural influences that go from French Neoclassical to Spanish and Moorish art deco and colonial baroque are all mixed in a big omelet that never fails to delight and make visitors go WOW!
That's why UNESCO has declared Havana and Trinidad as part of the world heritage. There are a lot of emblematic and remarkable constructions like the Capitol, which now is a museum and the amazing Cathedral of St. Christopher, that are going to leave you breathless.

I personally prefer the Art museum situated just a few blocks away from the Capitol, surrounded by traditional bars and daily Cuban life.

Why you will feel like having a digital detox when staying in Cuba
Although right now the internet access is not as critical as some years ago, traveling to Cuba might still feel like you are having a full digital detox. Without distractions from social media or emails from work, you will be able to enjoy your trip more. It's an amazing opportunity to have a real-world reset that's going to help you have a good time and dive into the experience with all your senses.

The reality is that, wherever we are, the digital world is there with us. Thanks to our smartphones, laptops, tablets, and wireless internet, we stay plugged in all the time. The good news is there's no better place to do it than Cuba, especially for children and teens. Since their brains are still developing, they are more susceptible to the negative effects of technology on the body and nervous system. A week in Cuba can fix that.

Safety Bonus Tip: Don’t drink tap water in Cuba if you can avoid it. Cuba’s water supply holds its own unique bacteria and microorganisms, meaning that even when Cubans drink it without problems, you shouldn't do the same. Nausea, cramps, sensitive stomach, and other gastrointestinal issues that could potentially wreck your trip are more than usual. Buy water bottles with built-in filters!

The reason why Cuba is a good place to drink and relax
While Cuba is full of costly hotels, resorts and bars, beer and cocktails here and there are pretty much cheap. Drinking is also not forbidden on the street, so you can go everywhere with your supply and provision.

Also, the cocktails in Cuba are full of history, and the bartending profession lives more than ever on the new classic bartender generation. Bartending is, undoubtedly, one of the oldest and most respected crafts in Cuba, even before the communist revolution. Cuba was the first country to have a bartender guild, setting strict craft standards in 1924, before most developed countries. The importance and passion are due to the hard wave of American tourists that used to go to Havana in the old times of dry law in the states. They’re so passionate when it comes to perfecting their skills that Cuban bartenders may work for two or three years for free before getting a job at a renowned bar.

Safety Bonus Tip: Eat at the recommended restaurants if you can. You will find “paladares”, many private restaurants.

The mystery about Cuban cigars
What’s So Special About Cuban Cigars anyway, ah...? And most of all...
Why are they so damn expensive? Is there a real reason for that?

Cuban cigars are world-famous, as you probably know. They are known to be the very best cigars in the marketplace since I can probably remember. Cuba has been growing tobacco for hundreds of years since it was a Spanish colony. Manufacturers have been producing cigars in the country since the time of King Phillip II of Spain (1527-1598). Today, Cuba's cigar industry is under direct government regulation, kinda.
The governmental supervision's main goal is to serve as a product quality control, most of all. They want to ensure that every cigar leaving the factory is well-made, properly rolled, and does not contain flaws or imperfections because from there, they get their renowned name and fame.

These cigars stand out because they are made from high-quality tobacco leaves from Pinar Del Rio, the most prosper land for the culture of the tobacco plant. A lot of care and attention goes into the making of every single unit inside the manufacturing that, until today, keeps the old-time feeling and traditions. Factory analysis showed that it takes over one hundred steps to produce a single Cuban cigar properly.


Cuba is a beautiful country that enriches the senses. From the moment the visitor arrives, he is greeted with strains of rhythms, such as salsa and rumba, emanating from literally every corner, and a blue, turquoise, aquamarine sea overlaps the white, palm-fringed beaches all around the island just like in the postcards.

Make sure you include this country in your next vacation plans.