Cuba that last unspoiled paradise on Earth.

Sunset at Maria la Gorda
A vendor, a bike and an old American truck thru Camaguey narrow streets


I know Cuba perfectly not only because I was born and raised there but also for the great education Cuba gave me plus my job as a tour guide for Cuban Adventures for 5 years. Such years allowed me to get to see those corners I had not yet discovered about my country. Those years as a tour guide allowed me to see the very core of Cuba's vibrant culture and its people.
Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, my birthplace, my homeland, my everything. I left Cuba two years ago and there's not a moment I don't want to go back. 
Havana, 2009 - By the end of this tour we were 9 friends
Selfie in Cayo Guillermo



Cuba is perhaps the last unspoiled place on Earth. Cuba is a rare combination of communism, capitalism, socialism, religion, music, art. I can see why so many tourists fall absolutely in love with Cuba when they come on tours. 







Back in the day, every time I was on tour my passengers used to ask me how it is possible that all Cubans always smile in spite of the scarcity and hardships of everyday's life. I told them history has taught Cubans to enjoy the very sap of life, that material things, although necessary, do not determine the happiness of the Cuban people. 

Throughout history Cuba was always dominated by foreign super powers, for 500 years we were a Spanish colonial possession, then we were trespassed into American hands for over 60 years, then when we thought we were finally independent... we became economically dependent on the Soviet Union & Co. Thus, Cuba has learnt to live a happy life with less. I believe we inherited this from our African great-grandparents. For them the essential part of life was their religion and music. Precisely for us, Cubans, the very sap of life is family, music, and for many religion. 

Santuario de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre


Chango / Santa Barbara

Being a Tour Leader

Tour leading has been so far the most exciting job I've done in my life. Our tours differed greatly from those sand-and-sun tours. Not only we included sand and sun in our tour packages but also included real contact with people. 

BBQ with locals in their Vinales tobacco farm
In fact, Cuban Adventures tour passengers stay in the already popular, famous Cuban homestay. Trust me when I say there's no better and closer way to get to know the locals and their ways of life than this. Throughout the tour you will feel as if you were at home, this is the way Cubans show their openness and hospitality.

Mingling with locals during a Sunday rodeo in La Guira, Sancti Spiritus

Jesus Pineda's new homestay, Trinidad, Cuba

My top tour destinations in Cuba

Cuba in general is captivating and gorgeous anywhere you go. However, when touring around Cuba my top 3 places were Viñales, Trinidad, and Baracoa.
Although they were different from each other, they also had several things in common.

Sunset at Playa Larga, Matanzas.
Natural pools at Bay of Pigs


Viñales:

This tiny town, just 2 hours east of Havana, is located in the heart of the best tobacco-growing region worldwide and perhaps the most mesmerizing landscape in the Caribbean: UNESCO Heritage Site Valle de Viñales.

Vinales Valley circa 2009

Cuban Adventure tours usually stay here between 2-3 days. This is a great opportunity to do horse-back riding, to visit tobacco farms, and to do rock-climbing and caving.

Tobacco farm in Vinales
Horseback riding in Vinales Valley

Since the boom of private enterprise on the island so many paladares (private restaurants) have opened in town which makes Viñales a tour destination that’s constantly thriving. Food here is delicious and good value. Yes, delicious, Cuban food has nothing to do with what you might have wrongly read out there. Cuban food has a lot of flavor and is organic!!

Paladar in Vinales

 
Ropa Vieja (shredded beef)
After a nice, yummy diner we’re ready to go dancing to the sound of the countless Cuban rhythms played live every evening by local bands. If you’re still thirsty for more fun after all the venues have closed, then you’re ready to go to the gas station!!! This is perhaps the best place to interact with locals and buy some Havana Club rum and mixers and enjoy with them. If you’re a beer drinker then I am sorry to inform you that the price will be truly outrageous…1 dollar!!!

Venue "Polo Montanez", Vinales

I think you see why this one-horse town was one of my FAV when I was a tour guide inCuba. Well to be honest, I don’t know about that one horse, because there are actually lots of them anywhere you go.

Baracoa:

Baracoa Bay
For so many years this town was the most isolated town in Cuba until a concrete road was built in the 1960s. Baracoa was the first Spanish settlement in Cuba (1511) and is located in the eastern-most province of Cuba: Guantanamo.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, trust me, it has nothing to do with the infamous Gitmo prison, thank God.
This town is famous for the cocoa plantations and chocolate production, for the coconut plantations, for the dramatic scenery and for the high level of endemism of flora and fauna species.

Enjoying the landscape behind me:  Bahia de Miel (Bay of Honey), Baracoa

How could I best describe Baracoa to you? Well I’d start saying that the first time I went to Baracoa was by the end of 2007. I was actually running my first tour of Cuba with Cuban Adventures. I was as impressed with the beauty of the landscape as were the members of the tour. It felt as if I was traveling back to the time when Christopher Columbus arrived to these lands back in 1492. Some mountains of vivid green, lush vegetation mingling with crystal clear rivers emptying their waters into the turquoise bays along the coastline. It’s breathtaking to see nature at its fullest with almost no man-made structures. The coconut trees seem to kiss the surface of the Atlantic Ocean with their green, yellowish leaves.

Mouth of Duaba River with el Yunque ( 560mts) dominating the background, Baracoa



View from the porch of one of the local fishermen, Baracoa

Duaba beach and its coconut tree line flanking the Atlantic, Baracoa

BBQ by Duaba River, Baracoa

The last time I went to Baracoa I was precisely running my last Cuba tour before I left the country…trust me… the landscape was exactly the same as it was 5 years ago. That’s why I dare to say this is exactly what Columbus saw 5 centuries ago.

If I were to name the highlight of Baracoa I’d have to say everything. However, I’d say its natural wealth and its people. During those years running tours in Cuba I witnessed perhaps the poorest people but also the happiest along the nation. The less they have the more they are willing to give and share with you. It’s humbling to see how happily they live without any of the material things we almost totally depend on in the modern world. I simply cannot wait to go back one day.

Interacting with locals in Boca del Yumuri. Maisi, Guantanamo

Trinidad:

Panoramic view of Trinidad from Pineda's homestay

Restaurant Museo 1514, here I fell in love with my wife. 
Founded in 1514, Trinidad was the third Spanish settlement in Cuba. If someone goes to Cuba and doesn't go to Trinidad…well simply they haven’t seen the jewel of Cuba. Founded on the slope of a hill which lies barely 12 kilometers from the blue Caribbean Sea, Trinidad combines everything you might be looking for in Cuba. Cuban Adventure tours usually stay here for 3 days. The accommodations are superb, by far better than many hotels in Havana.                                   

Cobblestone streets at night time, Trinidad

During this time our tour members have the chance to go to the beach, to do snorkeling or scuba-diving; to go trekking in the heart of the second-largest mountain range in Cuba; to learn salsa with professional dancers for the cheapest prices you would ever pay; to learn how to play traditional musical instruments, to go shopping for art and handicrafts. In a few words, Trinidad offers you everything: history, culture, architecture, scenery, sea, sun, nature, music…

The Steps, the mingling point where locals and tourists enjoy traditional Cuban music and drinks
During this time our tour members have the chance to go to the beach, to do snorkeling or scuba-diving; to go trekking in the heart of the second-largest mountain range in Cuba; to learn salsa with professional dancers for the cheapest prices you would ever pay; to learn how to play traditional musical instruments, to go shopping for art and handicrafts. In a few words, Trinidad offers you everything: history, culture, architecture, scenery, sea, sun, nature, music…


I visited Trinidad during my university years and it became a first-sight love story. If you ever dreamt about time machines and time traveling, then you will have found the right place for that in this Cuban town. Walking down the streets of the old core of Trinidad is a unique voyage in the midst of times. Trinidad is a town that didn’t evolve beyond the early 1800s due to its confinement on the Cuban southern coast and the fact it’s surrounded by mountains.
Cobblestone, Spanish colonial architecture and cool breeze in one of the many plazas in Trinidad

Roger one of Cuban Adventures' best tour leaders, Trinidad 2014

La Cueva Nightclub with Roger and Alejandro
Private Art Gallery

I’m confident every single tourist who visits this town will fall in love, as I did, with the cobblestone streets, the frozen-in-time, colonial architecture, the Afro-Cuban rhythms that invade the town 24 hours a day, especially at night. Trinidad is a unique place in the whole nation where you see locals and tourists blending in markets, in venues, in nightclubs, in bars, in restaurants … everywhere. 


What are you waiting for?

Given to many external factors whether historical, geopolitical or geographical, Cuba has become, perhaps, the most unspoiled corner of the world

In Cuba its nature is unique, its coral reefs (regarded by many scholars as the second-largest after the Great Barrier Reef) are almost intact, its traditions, culture, and idiosyncrasy remain unaltered, its architecture is grippingly gorgeous and its people is its highlight. 

Book your tour of Cuba now and wait no more, Cuba awaits you. 




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