Cuba is currently being talked about as the ‘hottest’ destination being showcased at this years Antigua Charter Yacht Show and is bringing much anticipated excitement to the charter world. West Nautical’s Charter team are currently hosting ‘Cuban’ style events onboard the magnificent M/Y St. David and receiving fantastic feedback.
Featured recently in Boat International magazine, the Cuban way of life seems to positively encourage a visceral, hedonistic approach to life. Although unbelievably poor, and deprived of even the most basic commodities and amenities, the Cubans appear to live life to the full. There is a joyous, untamed enthusiasm about the people that is totally unique, and which is passed on to the visitor.
And if the people are both beautiful and hospitable, the place is absolutely stunning. The countryside is lush and fertile, and the towns and villages are an astounding mixture of Spanish baroque, neo-colonial and Soviet brutalist architecture, and nearly all of it is in the final stages of decay and collapse.
Cuba’s unique history has ensured that architecturally the place is unlike anywhere else on earth. The Spanish influence is strong (500 years of occupation are bound to leave a trace), but the neglect of the last 50 years has meant that many of the buildings are in an advanced state of dilapidation, but still beautiful for all that.
Havana: There are few harbour entrances in the world that are quite as spectacular as that of Havana. The narrow 200m-wide channel is bordered to the south by the Castillo San Salvador de la Punta and the ancient buildings of the Tacón boulevard. To the north the huge stone fortress and lighthouse of the Castillo de los Tres Reyes Santos Magos del Morro as well as the equally stern walls of San Carlos de la Cabaña fortress. This is a stunning harbour – but on shore you must face the juxtaposition of beautifully restored colonial Spanish architecture in the tourist centre alongside abject poverty and crumbling decay of the rest of the town.
Archipelago del Rey: a 200-mile long string of sand-fringed cays of all sizes which reach up to 30 miles from the Cuban mainland. Another of Hemingway’s old stamping grounds; as well as resorts there are numerous uninhabited islands and deserted exquisite beaches to explore.
Cuba may seem like a long way to go for a yachting holiday, but it’s worth the trip – if you’re chartering in the Caribbean then it’s on your doorstep. Either way, Cuba is very much the must-visit holiday destination for those in search of something a little different.