Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet. It is south of the U.S.
Cuba is the most populated country in the Caribbean. Its culture reflects a strong influence from the Spanish, who controlled it for 400 years, but also from the Native Americans that lived there before their arrival and the Africans who were imported there as slaves.
Since the revolution, which took place in 1959, Cuba has remained a Communist leadership. An elaborate infrastructure of education and welfare has been developed in Cuba, but citizen rights have been limited significantly.
The US has declared a complete embargo on Cuba in the 60’s, which resulted in major economical difficulties, and a strong dependancy on it’s biggest ally – the Soviet Union. In 1991, Cuba lost it’s main lifeline and sank deeper into depression. In recent years, especially since 2015, following Obama’s visit to Cuba, the US has started lifting the embargo, bit by bit, opening the gates between the US and Cuba and allowing business and money to flow in.
Cuba is a magical country, different from most places you’ve visited, thanks to the unique situation it was held in over the past half-century. When walking around the capital city – Havana, one can’t help but feel as if they’ve travelled back in time, to the 1950’s, before modern cars, computers and technology has been introduced to the people. The locals roam the streets, leading an intricate “offline” social life, something that is hard to find these days in larger cities across the globe. Music and dancing is abundant in every street corner, children play ball around the 1950’s Chevy’s and Buick’s passing by and there’s a certain sense of excitement in the air. As if you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the way things used to be, before it all changes forever.
Havana’s cityscape consists of old colonial buildings, forts and museums, all remnants of the city’s rich, vibrant history. Large impressive Plazas are scattered across Havana Vieja (Old Havana), similar to those found in major European cities. It’s hard to ignore the fascinating history and culture emanating from every street corner, whispering old stories and hiding little secrets.
When touring the city, don’t miss the opportunity to try the famous Cuban Cigars and local Rum at the colorful bars and restaurants across town.
Diving in the Gardens Of The Queen, Cuba
“Gardens of the Queen” or “Jardines de la Reina” Marine Park is one of the biggest treasures of the Caribbean, in a bigger scale can also be considered as one of the world’s best-preserved marine areas. The importance of its protection goes beyond the Cuban waters jurisdiction, as the connectivity between marine ecosystems has international importance.
The “Gardens of the Queen”, is a complex network of untouched marine ecosystems (Mangroves and Coral Reefs) that have been regarded by many knowledgeable scientists and organizations as a reference of what was the original status of the Caribbean coral reefs that Christopher Columbus found when discovering Hispaniola!
Hundreds of species of fish, corals and 6 species of sharks can be found in the crystal clear waters of Gardens of the Queen. A few of the highlights are the huge Groupers, which grow to immense sizes thanks to the local fishing laws, the Silky sharks hanging around at the surface, making your safety stop a whole lot more interesting, the Caribbean Reef Sharks which are bound to come visit on almost every dive, keeping you company while exploring the reef and the giant Spotted Eagle Rays, which fly by if you’re lucky enough. Don’t forget the Crocodiles, which lurk around the Mangroves, providing some interesting encounters for the brave and some incredible photo ops to show your envious friends and family back home!