QI’ve been thinking of going to Cuba for some time. The recent improvement in diplomatic relations with the US makes me think a visit may be better sooner rather than later. When and where do you recommend?
Campbell Price, marketing manager, World Expeditions: Although the recent announcement by US President Barack Obama on the re-establishment of the diplomatic relations with Cuba will not signify any immediate changes for travellers,
it does open the door to major developments in the country’s tourism industry and infrastructure. So now is definitely a great time to go to Cuba.
Havana and Trinidad are both great places to start a trip, but I personally prefer exploring the sleepy towns and rural areas (tobacco farms and sugar cane plantations), especially in the Viñales Valley region. Travel in the dry season (November-April), when it’s busier — in the beach resorts at least — but the weather is better for exploring. Cycling is a great way to get around, as public transport is limited, motorised traffic is light and the terrain is favourable. World Expeditions’ 12-day Cuba by Bike trip, from £1,650, will help you get the most out of your time there.
Cuba guidebook author Claire Boobbyer: The time to go to Cuba is always ‘now’. The allure, the complexity, the tropical light, the rhythms, the politics, the magnificent architecture, and the warm, witty, entrepreneurial people. Plan independent travel and stay
in B&Bs. Book with cubacasa.co.uk
or plan hassle-free island-wide B&Bs with elandarin.com
. Transport is now easier, with new online bus bookings at viazul.com
. Your wishlist should feature the capital Havana, isolated Baracoa, rural tobacco land Viñales Valley, handsome Trinidad, musical Santiago, diving with sharks in the Gardens of the Queen, eco-tourism at Las Terrazas, historic Remedios and the north coast’s postcard-perfect beaches.
Parul Jadav, product manager, The Holiday Place: The thawing of relationships between the US and Cuba has created a sense of urgency to visit the island. The predicted influx of US tourists and the reinstatement of trade with the US could quickly bring anend to Cuba’s unique retro charm. The vintage cars and the fading Spanish colonial buildings that have provided the experience of ‘stepping back in time’ will inevitably disappear. I would suggest a multi-centre trip to include three nights in Havana, two nights in Trinidad — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — followed by three nights in Varadero, Cuba’s premier beach resort. From £999 per person, including flights. holidayplace.co.uk
Get in touch: If you’re in need of travel advice, email our team –
Published in the May 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)