Frequent traveller Gabriel Hung has been around the world several times over. His love of travel has taken him to far-flung destinations like Patagonia, Easter Island and North Korea. A Cathay Pacific Diamond frequent flyer, Gabriel also has a talent for snapping fabulous photos. On a trip to Cuba, he spent nine days visiting Havana, Cienfuegos, Trindad, Santa Clara and Vinales. So grab a coffee, sit back, read what he has to say about his vacation and feast your eyes on these amazing shots.
Why did you choose to travel to Cuba?
Cuba has always been near the top of my bucket list. There’s a very high possibility of dramatic change in the next decade.
So there was an urgent need to visit before the country changed too drastically. It really feels like you’re stepping into a 1920’s film set, with vintage cars and colonial Spanish architecture.
Classic American cars are being replaced with modern cars.
Classic American cars can be found on the streets of Havana but take note of the late-model Audi parked behind it.
Is Cuba safe?
Havana is safe and easy to get around on your own but if you feel more comfortable with a guide, it’s not difficult to find a local who can show you the ropes.
What things to do in Cuba do you recommend?
1- Drink at Ernest Hemingway’s bars
Ernest Hemingway’s favourite bars and the writer’s home are a delight to explore. Hemingway’s two favourite watering holes in Havana were La Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio.
There’s a plaque hanging in La Floridita with a quote signed by Hemingway that says: “My mojito in the Bodeguita del Medio and my daiquiri in the Floridita.”
2- Visit Trinidad
Trinidad is a very beautiful city and a UNESCO World Heritage site and should not be missed.
The streets of Trinidad are paved with cobblestones and have a unique colonial charm.
3- Admire the Grand Capitolio
Cuba has many UNESCO World Heritage buildings, including the grand Capitolio building, which was modelled after the Capital building in Washington DC.
4- Wander the streets of Havana
The streets are filled with movement and colour. Here is a fortune teller on the streets of Old Havana.
5- Go on a tour of the murals
A mural of Marxist revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, on the streets of Old Havana. He was a major figure in the Cuban Revolution.
A three CUP banknote with the image of Che Guevara and his signature. Che was a former President of the Central Bank of Cuba.
6- Try a Cuban cigar
Coffee-drinking, cigar-smoking and rum-tasting sessions are a must-do while visiting Havana. Here’s a popular local brand of cigar.
7- Visit the Museo de la Revolucion in Havana
A tank on display outside the Museo de la Revolucion in Havana. Fighter jets and tanks used in the revolution displayed at the Museo de la Revolucion in Havana.
8- Explore the beaches of Cuba
If you have time to stay longer, there are plenty of beautiful beaches in Cuba.
9- See the Catedral de San Cristobal
Located in Plaza de la Catedral, Havana, the cathedral is an architectural delight and a historic gem.
Where to stay in Cuba
There are some lovely historic hotels in Cuba. Here’s the beautiful pool at the Hotel La Union in Cienfuegos. The building was built in 1869.
There are direct flights to Cuba from Vancouver, London and Madrid.
After the trip to Cuba, add on a side trip to Cancun in Mexico to visit the ancient city Chichen Itza, which was the centre of the Maya empire in Central America.
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