Tourism in Cuba is a pleasure for the five senses: Havana, the beaches, Cuban restaurants… But tourism means visiting popular cities, monuments or landscapes where it is difficult to know the real way of life of the country and its people. Escape from the clichés and typical touristic attractions to discover the places where Cubans live. Rent a villa in Cuba during some weeks; it could be a great way not to become a typical tourist. Along the next posts, we will tell you some tips for not becoming just one more tourist in Cuba so that you can get to truly know the island beyond the stereotypes.
Matanzas, the Cuban music cradle
The province of Matanzas is a good place to visit the other Cuba, the real Cuba, far from Varadero and the streets of Havana, which is wonderful, but full of tourists. You will have to set aside the perfect Instagram pictures and discover for yourself this place where there are a few tourists. In Colón and Jovellanos you will be surprised by the strong roots of santería; In Matanzas you will discover the origins of the rumba and the danzón as well as many neoclassical buildings.
You should stop in Matanzas, which was once known as the Athens of Cuba. Today it is far from that brightness, but you can enjoy music as in a few places in the country. Hear danzón and rumba, two of the essential Cuban musical syles, which were born combining the ancient splendor of Matanzas and the various African religions, including Arará, Regla de Ocha (santería) and the secret Abakuá brotherhood.
Follow the Santa Clara’s trends
Where are the new Cuban trends? You will find them in Santa Clara, a city in the north of the country where innovative Cubans constantly explore the latest trends. Santa Clara is related with Che Guevara since he freed the city from Batista’s troops in 1958.
It is a city of new trends and insatiable creativity, where a young culture has been defying the limits of censorship for nearly a decade. Santa Clara highlights for being the only official drag show in Cuba, at El Mejunje, and the best rock festival in the country, Metal City, in October. The personality of the city has been affirmed over time by the presence of the country’s most prestigious university outside of Havana. The center of the city’s progressive life is in the City House, where art exhibitions, young local creators, danzón nights, improvised musical performances and a film museum are concentred.
Take a bath in Baños de Elguea
The unknown Baños de Elguea, located 136 kilometers northwest of Santa Clara, forms an entrenched spa that boasts one of the most rejuvenating elements of Latin America. Here you can live with Cubans while you try to take some years away.
The tradition of going to baths to get rid of the evil dates back to 1860. According to a local legend, the owner of a sugar mill, Don Francisco Elguea, banished a slave who had contracted a serious skin disease to Baños de Elguea in order to not infect others. Later, the man returned fully healed. He said that he had relieved his illness by bathing in the natural waters of the region. Today, medical professionals use sulfurous water and mud to treat skin irritations, arthritis and rheumatism. The waters reach a temperature of 50 degrees and are rich in bromine, chlorine, radon, sodium and sulfur.
Rent a villa in Cuba and make these plans and others which we will tell you soon. Cuba has a lot to offer.