There are few holiday destinations that get the pulse racing quite like Cuba. Arriving in Havana is like walking into a postcard, a snapshot of another era where wide-eyed tourists wander amongst crumbling colonial mansions, gap-toothed old men puff on huge cigars and gleaming 1950s Chevrolets cruise along the sea-sprayed Malecón. Florida may only be 100 miles away but Cuba is another world, and this is still a country where billboards trumpet the heroes of 1959 rather than the latest iPhone.
Head into the countryside and you’ll find rolling tobacco fields and striking limestone scenery in the sleepy valley of Viñales, while the many islands and cays are a magnet for snorkellers and scuba divers. The old sugar barons of Trinidad built one of Cuba’s most picturesque towns on the sultry south coast, and to the east is the fabled Oriente and its Afro-Cuban epicentre, Santiago de Cuba. This is an island that moves to the rhythms of salsa and rumba, with a diverse culture that draws on influences from Africa, Latin America and even the USA, that age-old adversary across the water.