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Five Undiscovered Gems in Cuba

Journey beyond bustling Havana on a custom-designed Cuban odyssey to discover these hidden gems of culture, cuisine, and architecture.

Experienced travelers understand that you can’t hope to get under the skin of a nation until you leave its capital behind and explore what lies beyond.  This is particularly true of Cuba.  As this fascinating island nation takes its rightful place as a premier travel destination, itineraries that go beyond Havana are offering discerning travelers the opportunity to experience a Cuba still largely unspoiled by mass tourism.  Here are five destinations that get our vote for must-sees on any serious journey to Cuba:

Santa Clara
Best known as the center of the “Cult of Che,” Santa Clara boasts an enormous statue of the revolutionary hero as well as his mausoleum.  But the city is also a great place to experience some of the new creative rhythms of Cuba in this most central, and possibly most liberal of Cuba’s cities.  Of particular note are the Melaito Murals, an ever-changing series of outdoor murals by a local artists’ collective, and the legendary Fábrica de Tabacos Constantino Pérez Carrodegua, one of Cuba’s best cigar making factories, producing the island nation’s signature Montecristos, Partagás, and Romeo y Julieta.

Cuba’s oldest town exudes a charm all its own.  Located on the wetter, more isolated eastern side of the island, Baracoa is surrounded by dense, lush tropical forests.  The inhabitants are mainly farmers and fisherman, which makes Baracoa a draw for culinary enthusiasts, particularly chocolate fans, who revel in the heady smell of cocoa and the enticing smells that waft from the Casa del Cacao, Baracoa’s delicious monument to all things chocolate. 

Founded in 1819 by Spanish settlers, Cienfuegos - the city of 100 fires - is Cuba’s best repository of Spanish enlightenment architecture.  This former center of the mango, coffee, sugar, and tobacco enjoyed boom years in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, resulting in the construction of beautiful buildings such as the Bishopric and the Customs Customs House.  The pastel colored houses and shop fronts make Cienfuegos a charming place to wander and enjoy.

Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Santa Maria is what we dream about when we think “Caribbean Getaway.”  The eight-mile key is home to exquisite white sandy beaches alongside the requisite turquoise waters.  This idyllic landscape is what is making Cayo Santa Maria Cuba’s most successful resort enclave.  Beyond the fantasy, however, lies a fascinating UNESCO biosphere of mangroves and Salt marshes, which will delight nature lovers.

Channel your inner Pirate of the Caribbean, as you get lost in Camagüey’s network of narrow, labyrinthine streets, which were deliberately designed to foil hostile raiders and pirates who marauded the Cuban coasts!  Experience the charming pastel buildings and picturesque churches of the historic centers - designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015 - interspersed with lively galleries and hospitable restaurants and bars. 

Get off the beaten track with a carefully planned tailor-made itinerary to Cuba by Alexander + Roberts.

Posted: 5/4/2017 12:37:45 PM by Alexander + Roberts