As a North American, I had always thought of Cuba as being a resort destination. This is where those on their holidays would spend a week at an all-inclusive beach resort, while laying on pristine sand and sipping endless mojitos. However, after returning from a 3.5 week backpacking trip to the largest island in the Caribbean, we now know what it has to offer independent travellers: Everything.
(For more on why you should leave the resort, check out our article: 5 Places in Cuba That Will Make You Want to Leave Your Resort, For Good)
Cuba is a mix of African, Latin and Caribbean cultures, all of which are fascinating and all of which offer lively music, spicy dancing and beautiful people. The landscapes range from mountains to jungle to beaches, while the architecture in the cities feels lost in time. The streets of the colonial towns are bustling, while the rural countryside seems to stand still. The history of this nation is fascinating, while the struggles that the people face are very real. Although the sights may be incredible, meeting the locals and hearing their stories will be a highlight of any trip to Cuba.
Our camera was overworked during our trip – we actually needed to clear off our memory cards a couple of times! Check out these 31 unique photos which show an interesting side to this photogenic country.
A graffiti-ridden wall in Central Havana. Payphones are commonplace in Cuba, as the cost of using a cell phone is extremely expensive.
A rust-coloured road leading to a bright blue home in the countryside of Viñales.
A friendly street game of Dominoes in Cienfuegos – no cheating!
Camagüey is known as being Cuba’s Catholic Soul. Numerous cathedrals and churches can be found around the city. This is the gothic style Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral.
The stunning Playas del Este beach is just a 20 minute bus ride outside of Havana.
A cycle taxi rests against the curb in Trinidad. This is one of the more popular modes of transport.
Pastel coloured buildings line the streets of Camagüey.
Men hanging out on the streets of Central Havana.
The sun setting behind the mogotes in Viñales. Find your own private to watch this colouful display.
Cannonballs resting in perfect formation at the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña in Havana.
An at-home business. This man was deaf and sold popcorn on the street, just outside of his front door.
Wood brick street in Old Havana, the only remaining street of its kind in the country.
An empty street lit up at night in Camagüey .
Tobacco leaves drying from the ceiling of a barn in Viñales.
A night of Flamenco dancing, poetry reading and Spanish cuisine in Cienfuegos.
A cycle delivery owner takes a break in Camagüey .
Colourful paintings in Trinidad.
A game of football on the streets of Central Havana.
Dried-up mangroves on the shores of Cayo Jutias.
Live music on the streets of Old Havana.
A gift for Mother’s Day in Camagüey.
A friendly man in the countryside surrounding Viñales town.
Theatre Street in Camagüey.
A typical fruit & vegetable market in Central Havana.
A peso shop in Central Havana selling guarapo juice (sugar cane) for 1 peso ($0.04) a glass. Cold, cheap and refreshing.
Reflections on the water in Cienfuegos.
Fishing along the Malecon in Havana.
An outdoor symphony in Parque Ignacio Agramonte Plaza in Camagüey.
In a cloud of cigar smoke at a tobacco farm in Viñales.
Early morning coffee in Trinidad at a peso shop.
Playing for tips along the Malecon in Havana.
Ready To Go?!
With travel restrictions for American citizens easing, many people are now talking about this island nation, which sits just 530 kilometers off shore from Miami. If all of the buzz about Cuba, and these 31 photos doesn’t make you want to visit, nothing will! I hope you enjoyed seeing another side of Cuba, one which doesn’t include the typical photos of classic 1950’s cars (although, we did photograph them as well!) Tell us which one is your favourite shot in the comments below 🙂