The Spirit of Cuba
By Jay Cline
Cuba, beauty in simplicity, a haven, a paradise, an experience. One of the largest Caribbean islands, Cuba is all you can dream of and a little more. Endless sandy beaches, captivating culture, old-age architecture, friendly locals, delicious cuisine, it is a place you would not want to leave. Cuba consists of the main island, the Isle of Youth and about 4,195 keys commonly known as cayos. It is 140 kilometers from the Bahamas and 180 kilometers from Florida. Cuba's 11,200,000 inhabitants predominantly speak Spanish. Journey with us as we take you down the alleys, past the favorite haunts and experience with us the true magic of this virgin holiday destination. Join us as we rediscover Cuba's past, revel in its present and predict what lies ahead.
History has recorded that Cuba was originally called Cubanascnan. Christopher Columbus called it Juana. Colonization was credited to a Spanish soldier Diego Velázquez who established Baracoa in the year 1511. With his success he went on to establish Santiago de Cuba in 1514 and Havana in 1515. Thus began the era of the Spanish rule. The 1830s sparked the independence movement, which gained momentum after 1886 when slavery was abolished. Cuba's history has seen several phases. Some of great success and some of great loss. It has traveled many roads but has never lost focus on its final destination. This desire to triumph past persecution and revolt has succeeded in Cuba being a free country today.
The spirit of Cuba is well reflected in its anthem. The phrase "do not fear a glorious death, because to die for the country is to life" portrays the fierce loyalty the people have for its island. The Cuban national flower is the butterfly jasmine, Trogon is its national bird, and the royal palm is its national tree.
Think of a land with 6700 species of plants, 14,000 species of invertebrates and 650 species of vertebrates. Think Cuba. Hidden within its enchanting forests, arid mountains and lush plains there is a plethora of wildlife unique to this part of the world. It is a hikers dream come true, as the winding trails reveal over 350 species of birds. Cuba has four mountain ranges and Turquino (1,974 meters) is the country's highest peak.
Comfortable cotton is recommended for Cuba's warm climate. Although the average temperature hovers around 25.5ºc, the average relative humidity is 78%. Depending upon the season, a raincoat and an umbrella may come in handy too! Cuba is full of must-see places. From the plantations of Cuba's Pinar del Rio province to the Varadero beach, from the Great Natural Park of Montemar to Cienfuegos- The Southern pearl, the country is brimming in tourist attractions.
Travel with us through these pages, as we give you a glimpse of a country that has so much to offer that Christopher Columbus called it the Pearl of the Caribbean. Meet the people at the bustling market places, enjoy the aroma of authentic Cuban cuisine and take in the sheer splendor of this scenic paradise. Come with us and we will understand if you want to linger a while longer...
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.