Cuba – rum, cigars, salsa, Cuban music, history… that is what comes to mind, when you hear the word Cuba.
Located in the Caribbean, the island of Cuba is a tropical touristic destination with a whole lot of history. It is one of only the few remaining socialist states and has been governed by the Communist Party of Cuba. Cuba’s political history has been strongly marked by two names: Fulgencio Batista and Fidel Castro. The history of Cuba was also greatly marked by the Cuban revolution, which was a cruical turning point in the U.S. – Cuban relations.
Culturally, Cuba is a multiethnic country. The cultures and customs came together from a lot of different origins: aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney people, Spanish colonialism and even African slaves.
Havana, the capital of Cuba, a city with some of the most diverse architecture in the world. Tropical climate, latin music, colorful and picturesque buildings and old cars create the perfect vibrant environment, where the culture and history burst out. The Malecón, a five-mile sea drive in Havana, was laid out as an ocean side boulevard in the early 1900s and has been a favorite spot for lovers, poets and philosophers. One of them was the legendary author Ernest Hemingway, who lived near Havana for a few years.
Cuban music – the most commonly known part of Cuban culture. The central form of Cuban music is son cubano and it has been the basis for many other styles like danzón, mambo, cha cha cha, habanera, guaracha, rumba, bolero and salsa. In the 90s, Havana was the heart of the rap scene. Also during that time, reggaetón became more and more popular. Some of the biggest names in Cuban music, that are well known worldwide, are Buena Vista Social Club, Gloria Estefan and Celia Cruz.
Cuban cigars and rum are two of the most signature products of Cuba. The center of the Cuban cigar industry is in the region around Pinar del Río. The cigars in Cuba are rolled from the domestic tobacco leaves and mostly by hand. Cigar business is still one of Cuba’s leading export businesses. Torcedores are highly respected in Cuba and they travel around the world displaying the art of hand rolling of cigars.
Cuban rum is distilled from molasses, a thick syrupy by-product of sugar cane. The Havana Club rum has been sold under that name since 1934, with Arechabala family founding a distillery in Cardenas in 1878. Havana Club has also its own museum in Old Town Havana.
Where there is great domestic rum, there are also domestic cocktails. Cuba’s most famous one is the one and only, Mojito. But there are also the famous Cuba Libre and Daiquiri, which was one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drinks. While in Cuba, go for a rum cocktail and a cigar and enjoy in the vibrant historic vacation.