In November 2016 I took advantage of the easing of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba and spent a week exploring the Caribbean island. I visited Santa Clara, Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad, encountering beautiful culture and scenery, plus a wildly different standard of development and daily life than I’m used to.

Here are some scenes from that trip that capture what makes traveling to Cuba such an adventure. 

cuba old car
Cuba is known for its classic cars, many of which are now taxis.

 

Cuba daquiris
You can’t visit Cuba without trying a Daiquiri — the drink was invented on the island.

 

Hemingway House interior in Havana Cuba
Speaking of Daiquiris, Ernest Hemingway was a big fan of the drink. You can visit the writer’s home about 30 minutes from Havana.

 

Cienfuegos City Hall dome
Overlooking Cienfuegos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Cuba’s south coast.

 

Cuban cigars
Visit a cigar shop or a factory to learn more about Cuba’s famous product. (And pick up some souvenirs!)

 

Havana Murals
Old Havana’s colorful streets are full of murals.

 

Che Guevara mural
Che Guevara is a frequent subject of said murals.

 

Che Guevara Mausoleum
To learn more about El Che, head to the Che Guevara Mausoleum in the city of Santa Clara.

 

Malecon at sunset, Havana Cuba
Havana’s seawall, the Malecon, is a popular gathering spot at sunset.

 

sunset couple on the Malecon
Most romantic spot in Havana? A couple on the Malecon.

 

Gran Teatro havana at night
Havana’s Gran Teatro all lit up at night.

 

Havana streets night
Bring your phone flashlight: Many streets in Cuba — including in Old Havana — don’t have street lights.

 

Old Havana, Cuba
The colorful streets of Old Havana by day.

 

Cuba live musicians
You can’t go far in Old Havana without running into some live music — you’ll find it on streets, at restaurants and in bars.

 

Cuba bocadito
This simple sandwich, or bocadito (small bite) is a common lunch dish.

 

santa clara library
The catalog system of the main library in university city Santa Clara.

 

Playa Ancon, Cuba
Playa Ancon is a nice beach about 15 minutes from the town of Trinidad.

 

Palm tree sunset in Cienfuegos
Sunset in Cienfuegos, on Cuba’s south coast.

 

Fidel building havana
Fidel Castro’s presence is evident across Cuba; my visit coincided with his death, so I’d imagine the tributes are even more prevalent now.

 

sunset trinidad cuba
Sunset on the cobbled streets of Trinidad, a colorful town rich in music and culture.

 

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