EXPERIENCE the best of Cuba with our handy guide. From tropical beaches and remote jungle to world-class music and all-night clubs, its rebellious spirit will intoxicate you.
Air France flies from Singapore to Havana via Paris. Air France also flies from Kuala Lumpur to Havana but with two stopovers, in Paris and Amsterdam.
All visitors require a tourist card, which is usually issued with our plane ticket or can be bought at airports. Business travelers and journalists need visas. Apply through a consulate at least three weeks in advance.
A hire car at the airport will cost from US$344 for a week
Lonely Planet’s Cuba is a complete guide to the island
For turquoise sea, white sand and green palms, take a bus or taxi 11 miles out of Havana to the PALAYAS DEL ESTE – it’s where the locals go on their days off (bus US$0.32; taxi US$24; beaches free).
Head off on a guided jungle trek at PARQUE NACIONAL ALEJANDRO DE HUMBOLDT, Guantanamo (from US$4.80).
Jazz club LA ZORRA Y EL CUERVO may look down-at-heel, but its regular world-class performers include Grammy-winner chucho Valdes and Buena Vista Social Club’s Roberto Fonseca (US$13; Calles 23&0, Vedado, Havana)).
Licensed Cubans can rent out rooms in their houses for tourists. Not only are these CASA PARTICULARES more characterful than hotels, they’re also often better situated, cleaner and cheaper (from US$16).
Located 12 miles up the coast from sleepy Baracoa, VILLA MAGUANA is a secluded gem on one of the region’s best beaches. Comprising just 16 rooms in four cottages, it has a private cove for swimming (from US$58).
Habana Vieja has many great hotels, but the HOTEL RAQUEL stands out for its art nouveau interior (from US$88).
ue round the block for COPPELIA ice cream. If you can blag or bribe your way to into the locals’ section, a sundae will set you back just a few pence. If you pay tourist prices, you’re looking at closer to US$4.80 (Calle 23 & L, Vedado, Havana; branches nationwide).
Try the daiquiri at the famous FLORIDITA-writer Ernest Hemingway was a big fan (US$8).
Known as Cuba’s best unofficial restaurant, the PALADAR LA GUARIDA books up fast. Great food and eclectic décor make it a famous hangout (mains from US$16).
GRAN PARQUE NACIONAL SIERRA MAESTRA, near yara spend up to three days living, eating and camping like a rebel as you trek through the Sierra Maestra to Las Cuevas on the Caribbean coast. You will travel via Cuba’s highest mountain, Pico Turquino (1,972m), where fidel Castro and Che Guevara hid for more than two years before the Revulution. Having a guide is mandatory. Find one at the park entrance or book through the Villa Islazul Santo Domingo hotel (day treks from US$16).