Cuba cannot offer all of the mentioned, but so much more. The Carribbean island is a place of contrasts, where dream beaches stand against „concrete-bunker“-style-hotels, colonial buildings against ruins, friendly people against impecunious people.
Furthermore, more than anything Cuba is a time travel to a country, that often appears so much more authentic and more original than neighbouring Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and left alone Bahamas.
Well, tourism is growing at an incredible speed, the country has seen direct flights coming in from the USA for a while again, crowds of American groups are guided to the touristic hotspots on the island. Canadians and Europeans, too, are trying to discover the country with the flair of long past times as long as it is the way it is. Cuba is not an insider tip any more, and yet there is much to suggest that now would be the time to visit Cuba, because signs of further modernisation and westernisation can barely be ignored.
All over the island you can find testimonies of the rich colonial heritage. The historical centre of Havana, Habana Vieja, has partly been carefully restored. Towns like Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus or Santiago de Cuba offer carribbean colonial architecture at ist best.
Cuban beaches can stand comparison with the best in the world. You will find beaches all over the more than 3700km-coastline, e.g. on the southern coast near Trinidad and Cienfuegos, on the keys in the North and in Varadero. White sands and turquoise sea make a carribbean dream!
Part of the back country is a tropical paradise, the limestone hills of Vinales, the lush and green mountains of Topes de Collantes and Sierra Maestra, water falls and a rich flora and fauna are waiting to be discovered.
Buena Vista Social Club and their musicians have recently made an international breaktrough, but they are only the spearhead of a myriad of highly qualified Cuban musicians. Whether in the bars of Havana or in the casa de la musica in Trinidad – every evening you will find countless chances to listen to cuban sound of the highest musical quality and perhaps try a bit of dancing, too.
The world's best cigars come from Cuba and are being smoked by many important personalities! Monetcristo, Cohiba or Romeo y Julieta...who has not heard these names of famous cigars?
Ernest Hemingway, who spent much of his life in Cuba, once said: „My Moijto in La Bodeguita and my Daiquiri in El Floritita“, hereby referring to 2 of the most famous bars in Havana. Today you can still try one oft he numerous cuban rum-varieties in these locations.
Coming to Cuba with the prejudices of a Western tourist, you may be surprised, but people are very friendly and satisfied. It may well be, that they long for the luxury and consumer goods available in Western industrialized countries, but Cuba is all important to them – they love their country.
All in all the atmosphere and the flair of the island (yet) make it a unique destination. When visiting Cuba your main motive should be getting to know the culture, landscape and the people of the country. Motorcycling is definitely a great way to do so.
Cuba is not flawless, but Cuba might be your perfect motorcycle travel destination in 2017 when looking for a special adventure!
Text: Albert Knapp, Edelweiss Product Management
Photos: Alexander Seger, Alan Magnoni, Manuel Marabese