Cuba is the largest and most beautiful island in the Caribbean. This portal to a lost world boasts a truly captivating charm, and many liken stepping into its streets to stepping back in time. With buildings and city squares largely unchanged since the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, its colonial past is in evidence everywhere, eternally lovely and still exquisitely grand hundreds of years after its former colonists left its shores.
This makes it the perfect destination for those with a love of history and culture, and its brightly coloured alleys and thoroughfares offer an unparalleled insight into the lost world it epitomises. If you’re planning to see them for yourself, then here are just four of the places that you can’t afford to miss…
#1: Palacio Cantero, Trinidad
The enchanting town of Trinidad is located in central Cuba, and the Plaza Mayor stands at its top, surrounded by swaying palm trees and sprawling town houses, the elaborate former residences of those who owned the nearby sugar plantations. Exquisitely lovely and beautifully constructed, the Palacio Cantero is the most captivating of them all, and today it acts as the municipal history museum. Featuring a maze of grand rooms with Italian marble floors, soaring ceilings, and delicate murals, it is a breath-taking ode to the skill and craftsmanship of its long-ago colonial residents, and offers an unparalleled view across the flatlands for those daring enough to climb its statuesque bell tower.
#2: Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, Old Havana
Old Havana is often considered to be the jewel in Cuba’s crown, and for history enthusiasts, its greatest treasure is undoubtedly the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, or the Palace of the General Captains. Offering panoramic views of the famed Plaza de Armas, this 18th century marvel once housed the governors of Havana, powerful men who ruled over the streets and squares below. Its colonial interiors remain largely untouched, and with the city’s main museum now housed inside its walls, it offers a fascinating insight into Cuba’s storied past.
#3: Casa de Africa, Old Havana
Once you’re in Old Havana, choose to linger a little longer, and pay a visit to the tragic yet fascinating collection at the Casa de Africa, or House of Africa. Sited in a former colonial palace, this exhibition explores the lives and stories of the many African slaves forced to work the island’s sugar plantations by its colonial masters. Heart-breaking and enthralling in equal measure, it is a must-visit destination for those looking to understanding the true history of Cuba.
#4: San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba was an early colonial city plagued by the pirates and marauders lured by its treasures. In an attempt to thwart such efforts, its residents constructed imposing fortifications, and San Pedro de la Roca Castle still stands as a prime example of Spanish-American military architecture. Perfectly preserved, it offers not only a lesson into Cuba’s colonial, naval, and military past, but also exquisite views across the stunning coastline below, making it a worthy addition to your holiday itinerary.
Why not contact a company like Cuba Holidays today to start planning your own cultural experience?