Treat your senses in Cuba

Cuba has a very interesting history, and this can be seen all over the island but particular in the capital, Havana. The whole island is filled with influences from the Caribbean, South Africa and America all melded together to create the unique flavours, sounds and sights that can be seen in the streets and bars of Havana, and on the surrounding beaches.

These are a few ideas of ways to indulge your senses on a visit to Cuba

Have a mojito

This is a famous cocktail, and along with the iconic cubalibre, a definite must try on any visit to Havana. Of course both these cocktails are rum based, the mojito is mixed with mint and has a fresh flavor and the cubalibre has sugar and cola making it sweet and potent. The mojito in particular was a favoured tipple if Ernest Hemingway who spent a lot of his life in Havana; you can visit his favourite bar but be prepared to pay more for your drinks here as it is a popular tourist hotspot these days.

Tickle your taste buds

Traditional Cuban food is a mix of carribean and American flavours; try a dish of ropavieja which literally means old clothes in English. This dish is shredded beef smothered in tomoato sauce and traditionally served with yellow rice, black beans, plantain and beer fried yucca. There are plenty of restaurants that serve this dish in Havana, as well as all kinds of interesting taste combinations.

See the sights

The Plaza de la Revolucion has some great murals and is home to the Jose Marti Memorial. Stroll along the streets towards the area of Vedado and keep an eye out for all the classic American cars, lovingly restored and cherished by their owners if only for the money they making charging for photos with them. Take a drink in one of the many rooftop bars and gaze down at the colorful cars on the street below, it’s like taking a step back to 1950s America.

Samba to the sounds

Cuba is well known for its dancing, and with good reason. Many of the bars have live music, often just a group of friends jamming in the corner but the sounds are amazing; mellow beats of the salsa, samba or mambo that have your feet itching to dance. One of the best places for rumba music is the Callejon de Hamel that has live music each Sunday afternoon, in a narrow alleyway coloured with murals.

Smell the roses – or whatever you choose

Habana 1791 is a fragrance store found inside an old mansion in the Old town in Havana. There are some gorgeous fragrances available, and you can also create your own, right down to the packaging. What better gift for a loved one?

After touring all the sights of Havana, take a trip out to the coast and chill out in a beach resort; the sand is white, the sea is blue, if a little rough at times, and the sunshine is pretty constant. The perfect end to a unique holiday.