#CubaMoreThanEver: Five places to explore from #Havana
On top of Havana’s great choices in case you want to make a move somewhere else, this city provides you with convenience. Close by, you’ll be able to do excursions, admire and enjoy Cuba’s vast flora and fauna, its awesome beaches or bathe yourself in its people’s culture.
The Valley of Viñales along with its town is situated around 2 hours drive from Havana in the province of Pinar del Río, land of the best cigars in the world. The beauty of its scenery turn it into a nature lover’s paradise where you’ll have the option of practicing path finding, cave explorations, horse riding and other activities.
The town of Viñales is small, rural and loyal to its tradition of cigar sowing where you can visit the cigar crops and witness firsthand how farmers make it all happen.
At night the town takes on a life of its own with very cozy bars, restaurants and nightclubs where the old architecture, the yellow vintage public lights, the occasional horse carriage and the random farmer driving his antique bike with his machete hanging by his trouser remind you that you are in the countryside where you can perceive a beautiful sense of being away from rush hours, stress and daily hustle.
Situated in the province of Artemisa the “Las Terrazas” complex was declared Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1985 and it’s a beautiful example of how to integrate tourism with the community.
There are around 800 plant species a lot of which are endemic and local architecture has been carefully planned to preserve nature.
Options are boat sailing in a beautiful lake, museums, local art, and others. Interacting with the community is guaranteed as it is inexorably linked to its main source of income.
Here you’ll breathe the hospitality of Cuban countrymen and you’ll have the opportunity to experience local traditions such as coffee plantations, which were brought in by French settlers and taste of local cuisine.
Matanzas – Varadero
This is a city on the banks of a bay with intense commercial activity and a strong sugar industry, nevertheless it is more widely known due to the approximately 20 km of beaches in nearby worldwide popular Varadero. This classic sun, sand and beach destination caters for different preferences and it is composed mainly of all inclusive resorts with direct access to shallow crystal clear waters and white sands.
Nevertheless this province packs other options such as classic city tourism, different scuba diving spots, crocodile farms, fishing, bird watching locations, marinas, etc.
With more than 12 navigable kilometers flowing into the bay of Matanzas the river and the surrounding tourism facilities offer various options specially for practicing nature tourism.
Located only 30 km from Varadero, Canímar River is full of surprises! From Jet Ski to horse riding, snorkelling, swimming or simply relaxing and observing the rich fauna and flora, this natural park is a wonderful choice for getting away from the bustle of big cities and breathing pure oxygen. Bird watching is excellent since around 70 species can be seen of which 50 are endemic to Cuba.
The area through which the river flows has been declared Protected Zone and National Monument in Cuba.
Bejucal in Festivity (charangas)
If you’re in Cuba you have to go to the “Parrandas” (national festivity) on the 24 of December. Take delight in participating in one of the oldest traditional Cuban festivities, declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation were you must pick a side the“Espina de Oro”or the“Ceiba de Plata” in an animated rivalry to see which side dances, plays louder music, is more colourful or beats the drum higher doing the conga cheering after their favourite coach in an event were the town doesn’t sleep and parties all night long.
The carnival coaches with their dancers, monumental in size looking like cathedrals of light can reach up to 23 metres high.