Visiting Cuba onboard a luxury yacht can provide a unique experience. Below is a list of must-dos when visiting the bustling, vintage island.
Jump into the Cuban locality with a show at the famous open-air nightclub Tropicana. Here an explosion of rhythm, dance, colorful costumes, and song presents 1950s Cuba. Surrounded by lush vegetation, enjoy a glittering spectacle featuring over 200 singers, dancers, and musicians.
Set off early for the south coast to the Bay of Pigs on the Zapata Peninsula for some fly fishing at Salinas de Brito, the natural system of inland lakes in the Zapata National Park about 90 miles from Havana.
Sight Seeing for Car Enthusiasts
As has been told, many areas in Cuba look as if time has stood still. American cars from the 1950s are everywhere, held together with whatever is at hand; many repowered with Russian diesel engines. Chevys, Fords, and Cadillac convertibles grace the streets, some looking remarkable for their age and location, others looking a bit worn but still proud. On the outskirts of Havana, horse-drawn carts begin to outnumber old cars, but the road to the Playa Larga Hotel is good and well marked.
Meet fishing guides and head down the 25km of dirt road to the Horizontes Don Pedro Fishing Camp, stop along the way to look out at the flocks of pink flamingos, herons, egrets, and countless other birds that inhabit the park. This area constitutes the main wetlands in th
e insular Caribbean that have been declared a biosphere reserve and Ramsar site by UNESCO. As the small flats boats have no outboards, the fishing guides power them with poles. Take a pole and enjoy the fine weather in this under-fished environment.
Scuba / Snorkel
Not far from the Playa Larga Hotel and set back from the road is one of the unique scuba/snorkeling sites of the speleo lacustrine system of flooded caves and sinkholes. The water is fresh on the surface and transitions abruptly to salt several feet down—the transition layer creating a visual blur until you dive below it where the temperature increases noticeably. Head across the road to the beach for an ocean snorkel session, where the untouched reefs appear very healthy, teaming with coral and tropical fish.
Visit Ernest Hemingway’s Estate
The next day return to Havana for a visit to Finca La Vigía, the former estate of Ernest Hemingway where he finished the famous novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls . A bell with a long line hanging near the door waits for all so inclined to haul down on it. The house is in surprisingly good condition, loaded with his personal furnishings and art. The famous 1959 Yousuf Karsh portrait of Hemingway hangs on the wall, while his books and typewriter remain in his office, looking every bit as though it were still occupied. Every window gives up another point of view into this fascinating life and residence—all from the outside looking in.