Cuba is the closest island to the United States, and with cruise ships and airlines announcing new services to the country, now is the perfect time to visit this unique island.
Being the largest country in the Caribbean, Cuba remains a bit of a mystery. It's known for its socialism and historic embargo with the United States, but there is so much more to Cuba.
Here are five reasons why you should visit Cuba now.
It is Bursting With Culture
Cuba has to be one of the most cultural countries that I have ever been to, and the town of Trinidad is my favorite place on the island. With colorful buildings and cobbled streets, it’s just like taking a step back in time.
This place oozes Cuban charisma with horses and carts and is the real Cuba with men wearing cowboy hats and playing card games in the street.
It has Cuban Salsa
It seems that Cubans have salsa within their DNA, and nearly everyone you meet will either be a salsa teacher or a musician.
You don’t have to go far to hear the sounds of salsa in the streets wherever you are in Cuba. You’ll find live music at all hours of the day, including in restaurants where you can be whisked of your feet by a waiter as you dine.
Even if dancing isn't your style, watching the locals as they show off their fancy footwork is worth an evening out.
It Has Old American Cars
Where else can you see classic vintage cars driving around a Caribbean island?
American cars from the 1940s and 1950s are in abundance and have remained the same since they arrived on the island due to the embargo because Cubans had no access to newer model vehicles.
Cruising around Havana in a pink Cadillac has to be on your bucket list here. Take a ride in one before auto collectors take them away.
The Capital Has a Chic Charm
Part of this country’s attraction is Old Havana, with its derelict buildings and peeling paint.
You can get lost meandering the colorful streets amongst its fascinating architecture, but the best way to see Old Havana is on a roof with a mojito in hand.
The hop-on, hop-off bus is another way to see the buildings along the promenade, or, of course, renting a classic American car. Visit before Old Havana gets a lick of paint.
It’s Cheap for the Caribbean
A trip to Cuba can easily be made on a budget – perfect for the frugal backpacker. If you choose to stay in a Casa Particular with local families, you pay the same price of $25 (CUC 25) throughout the island (as of August 2015).
Even all-inclusive are cheap here if you book directly with the hotels. And although this isn't usual backpacker style, it makes economic sense to have your room, food, and drinks included for just $45 (CUC 45) a night every once in a while.
Plus, if you want to be near one of Cuba’s gorgeous beaches such as Holguin, this is the primary type of accommodation that you’ll find.
A trip to Cuba isn’t your standard Caribbean holiday. With so much culture, dancing, and of course, Havana Club rum, you should pay a visit before it may change forever.
Lisa Eldridge is a travel journalist specialising in solo travel. Her background in the travel industry fuelled her passion to see the world and for the last seventeen years, she has travelled extensively as a solo traveller, living and working in numerous countries. She has now been to 100 countries and 60 of these solo.