Print this trip dossier

Journey Latin America asks you to accept cookies for performance and social media purposes. We use cookies on our website to personalise content, evaluate website traffic and enhance performance. You can delete or restrict cookies via your web browser. To get more information about these cookies and the processing of your personal data see our Cookie Policy. Do you accept these cookies and the processing of personal data involved? Find out more


September 30th, 2014

Revelling in the sultry rhythm of Cuba by Katie Hickman

Author Katie Hickman, who wrote for the Mail Online, and her daughter Madeleine took to the roads of Cuba on a recent holiday.

 

It is midnight on a sultry August evening, and Yuli and Toni are getting ready to dance. At the Casa de la Trova, a tiny, cigarette-smoke-and-rum-hazed dive in downtown Santiago, they are the undisputed king and queen of the night.

Music was everywhere on our six-day family road trip across Cuba, but nowhere more so than in the beautiful old colonial town of Santiago de Cuba where we began our journey.
A melting pot of Haitian, African and Spanish influences, Santiago is the birthplace of the country’s most renowned musicians. Exquisite tunes poured from every bar and shop.

We stayed in the elegant Hotel Casa Granda overlooking the main square, Parque Cespedes. The plaza, with its baroque cathedral, is the heart of the city. Musicians congregate here every day to serenade passers-by, and the hotel’s shady veranda proved the best place in town to listen to them.

We retreated here to escape the stifling midday heat (40C and rising) and to cool ourselves with fresh lemonade, or a mojito or two (rum in Cuba, I swear, being cheaper than water).

From Santiago we headed off on the first leg of our journey to Holguin, Cuba’s fourth-largest city. At least we hoped that was where we were heading. Rental cars are modern, bit the only maps are so sketchy, and road signs so few, it was hard to know where we were going (a wrong turning would have taken us to Guantanamo Bay, 30 miles away – not a great holiday destination).

Eventually we were heading north, across the spectacular Sierra Maestra, its tropical vegetation such a vibrant electric green it almost hurt to look at. It was in these hills that Fidel Castro his out in 1953 while planning the Batista regime.

In Holguin it was carnival time, but you wouldn’t know it as the place was deserted (we found out later everyone had decamped for a knees-up at the baseball stadium). So, after one night at the Hotel El Bosque, a former country club preserved in 1950s aspic, we moved on.

 

To read the full article, published on Sunday 28 September 2014, take a look on Mail Online.

Post a comment

Other holidays you may be interested in

Rafting in Peru

Family Peru: Machu Picchu and Amazon adventures

Private journey

19 days from £3,563pp

road in baja

Self-drive Mexico: Discover Baja California and the Sea of Cortez

Private journey

12 days from £1,892pp

river pastaZA

Self-drive Ecuador: The back roads of the Andes

Private journey

10 days from £2,665pp

Atacama

Signature Northern Chile and Argentina: Atacama Desert to Iguazu Falls

Private journey

15 days from £3,973pp

Other articles you may like

Browse our inspiration area of the site. It's packed with insider travel tips, Top5s, competitions, events, recipes and holiday ideas for Central and South America sure to whet your travel appetite.

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our twice monthly newsletter and be the first to know about our latest news, offer and competitions.

Sign up with...

Your email

Or...

Using a social account is fast and means you don't need to remember a password.

We never share your data either - see our terms & conditions

Facebook Connect

Remember, you can unsubscribe at any time.

To see how we take care of your data please review our Privacy Policy

Thanks for subscribing – we’ll be in touch!

You are not subscribed. Some error happened.

Share this Page

Social share page will open in new window

Send a friend

reCaptcha_try_again

Page Full Path: /sitecore/content/JLA/Home/travel-inspiration/travel/Revelling-in-the-sultry-rhythm-of-Cuba

Page ID: {1C0568AB-57B8-474F-B74D-5BC23AF45951}

Page Name: Revelling-in-the-sultry-rhythm-of-Cuba

Page Display Name: Revelling in the sultry rhythm of Cuba by Katie Hickman

Page Template Name: T031-PapagaioBlogPost

Page Template ID: {ECC6A232-9784-4CC7-BA26-18421546B8F5}

Parent ID: {DC65CFB2-D81C-4A04-A7F8-0A1B3D88E7EB}

Parent Name: travel

Parent Display Name: Travel

Parent Template Name: T029-PapagaioCategoryListing

Parent Template ID: {4D163066-ED7E-48E6-AF31-34B6C47536CD}