The Republic of Cuba is the largest of the Caribbean islands, and lies just 93 miles off the southern coast of the United States. Cuba offers visitors fantastic beaches, an ever-changing culture, fascinating history and ecological wonders for tourists to explore. Perhaps most famous for the Cuban Revolution and Che Guevara, it offers those visiting the country a vast array of activities.
Data obtained from Havana weather station
Originally a Spanish colony founded by Christopher Columbus, he thought he had reached the East Indies. Little did he know that what lay behind this small island was a whole continent that was unknown to his fellow Europeans. Once he had stepped on to Cuban soil, Columbus described it as the most beautiful land man had ever seen. He was not wrong, as Cuba offers some of the most beautiful beaches and scenery in the world.
If you want a lesson in Cuba's Spanish heritage, you can take tours around settlements dating back to the 16th century. The old towns offer a glimpse into what life was like for the first settlers, and it allows you to see how much the country has changed.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Cuba is the ecological variety the landscape offers. When exploring the countryside, visitors can wander through a number of different ecosystems, from tropical rain forests to mountain ranges, everglades and wetlands. These habitats are home to a plethora of species (over 15,000), including the world's smallest frog and bird.
For the truly adventurous, try a spot of caving or even swim with sharks. Cuba offers some of the best conditions in the world for those of a daredevil nature; a variety of world class dive sites allow you to discover overgrown wrecks and the thousands of marine animals that inhabit them. The unpolluted waters of the Cuban archipelago offer an impressive visibility of 30m-40m, meaning that you can clearly witness the stunning and vibrant beauty of the ocean.
Cuba boasts nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Old Havana and its Fortification System and the San Pedro de la Roca Castle. These sites offer both natural beauty and an insight into Cuba's rich history.
All in all, Cuba is a place that will defy all preconceptions you may have. It is a place where you are constantly learning about the people and the landscape, and one that is always ready to surprise you. When leaving, it will be with a new respect for a country that has so much to offer.
Last updated: 14 March 2014