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Explore Vedado: Havana’s “forbidden” neighborhood

Havana is Cuba’s capital city and home to more than two million inhabitants. It sits at the mouth of Havana Bay on the Northwest edge of the Caribbean island. Most who have traveled to Havana, or have looked into it, are already well aware of the wonders of the city’s Old Havana district. Sweet Cuban melodies and the fragrant aroma of coffee drift out from living rooms and cafés into cobblestone alleyways.



Insight Paladares: Five Corners Trattoria

Five Corners Trattoria (5 Esquinas Trattoria) serves up Italian pastas, pizzas, and Cuban drinks in an up and coming part of Old Havana. Ethnic food has always been a stretch in Cuba, limited supplies and almost zero immigration to the island have left a “rice and beans” stigma for serving the famous arroz con frijoles at every meal. However the rapidly growing tourist market in Havana means new restaurants are trying to offer a more worldly fare. Five Corners Trattoria is an example of this culinary diversity.



Explore Cienfuegos

Founded in 1819 by French settlers from Bordeaux and Louisiana on the coast of South-central Cuba, Cienfuegos (literal translation “one hundred fires”) is the only Cuban city with an entirely distinct character and urban layout.



Experience the MaraCuba

My father has always been a marathon and triathlon enthusiast. As he continues to race, he has developed bucket-list places to visit. In August of 2014, he signed us up for Cuba’s annual Marabana marathon. This would be my first race.

It’s not yet legal for Americans to visit Cuba for tourism purposes, but we were able to participate in Marabana legally, under the sports category of permitted travel, through insightCuba. One of the cultural activities we enjoyed along with the entire country was MaraCuba.



Explore La Isla de la Juventud: Colorful Wildlife, Colorful History

This cookie-shaped island-off-an-island, 60 miles from Cuba’s mainland, is the country’s largest in land mass (934 square miles; 31 in diameter), but smallest in population (fewer than 100,000). Its slow pace belies its tumultuous past.  

This special municipality knows little tourism, but serves as a popular summertime getaway for mainland Cubans and underwater explorers. Lush coral reefs, exotic fish species, and advanced SCUBA facilities reward adventurous divers.



My Cuba Diaries: Restaurante Museo 1514

In the small Trinidad, located in central Cuba, pretty museums are the norm. Known as Cuba’s Museum City, colonial architecture looms on every cobblestone street. Lucky me, I realized, as I first set my eyes on the antiques of Trinidad. A well-preserved living testament of the sugar trade opulence of two centuries ago, Trinidad is laden with heirlooms like no other city.


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