We've teamed up with the crew from Majestic Disorder to bring you the ultimate guide to Cuba, a culturally vibrant country just waiting to quench your thirst for adventure (and mojitos). You might just start planning a trip of your own.
Written by Kelley Mullarkey
Photographs by Eric Morales
Sultry turquoise beaches, revolutionary rhetoric and classic cars that’ll make your head spin twice are just a few elements that play into Cuba’s dazzling allure.
Dig deeper below the surface and you’ll discover an island bursting with infectious electricity. From Art Deco architecture to Havana’s contemporary music and arts scene, arguably set to rival London and New York, artists and creatives remain on the cusp of a forthcoming cultural, political and economical shift.
Our journey began in Centro Habana; one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. With youth culture packed to the brim and adorned alleyways decorated in bright splashes of yellows and oranges inspired by Santeria, here you’ll find a plethora of Afro-Cuban rumbas, dancers and enthusiasts ready to show off their collective talents and heritage.
Old Havana lures you in like an old friend with its quaint cobbled squares, sea breezes and lively ambiance. Once home to Ernest Hemingway, this part of town has a tendency to get under your skin and make you long for mojito and salsa infused late nights. Blame it on the history or steamy weather when you find yourself awake past 4am.
We headed west to Viñales to shake off Havana’s hot and heavy city slick. Here in this delicate small place people sleep with doors open and you never turn down rum when it’s offered. We spent our afternoons learning the art of cigar rolling, horseback riding, day tripping to far out beaches and swimming in a hidden lake set against panoramic views of soaring mountains.
Before too much of the good life got to us we skipped town to Trinidad, Cuba’s picture perfect colonial town. Rainbow colored buildings, artisan crafts and Spanish colonial architecture easily steal the show. Fresh seafood and musical ensembles are a close rival.
From Havana to Trinidad we met local artists, designers, nomads and world travelers who shared the same ethos as us and Dharma community, connectivity and creativity.
WHERE TO STAY
Local. Avoid the flash of touristy hotels. Experience the raw and authentic culture by staying with Cuban families in traditional guesthouses known as casa particulares. This also helps contribute to the local economy.
WHAT TO DRINK
A Saoco, a Cuban cocktail made with coconut milk, sugar cane and rum.
WHAT TO DO
Make friends. Cubans are some of the friendliest people in the world.