Winter Sun in Havana, Cuba’s Cool Capital.

Winter Sun, Discover Cuba ….

First hand, from one CB team member in search of winter sun.

It’s often said that Cuba is a country trapped in a time-warp, like a prince in a poor man’s coat. But behind the shabby facades and mildewed magnificence lies a Latin paradise.

Winter sun havana cuba
Havana Old Town

I had been keen to discover this hidden world of cigar-chomping, rum-swilling, salsa-dancing revolutionaries, for many years. So, I pressed pause on the day job (part of Team Coco Bay mainly dealing with marketing) and the family and I jetted off for some half term winter sun adventures.

After a less than comfortable 10 hour flight we arrived in Havana late at night. Nothing quite prepared us for what this wildly exuberant city had to offer!

Firstly the heat was stiffling, the humidity high, and there’s an overpowering smell of diesel in the air. The pace of life is fast and loud, live Latin music poured out from the doorways of the flaking buildings, dancing seemed to be regulatory and rum a necessary evil.

The following day we woke to find crumbling grandeur and elegance. Spanish colonial buildings, broad boulevards, narrow cobbled street and spectacular 16th Century Plazas in Habana Vieja (Old Town).

Holidaying with my 2 young sons, I have to mention the cars – oh the cars!  Huge gas guzzling, ancient Chevrolets, Buicks and Plymouths really do throb through the streets.

cuba 5 Malecon
El Malecon, Havana’s dramatic sea front

Taking a short walk away from the city centre we found some calm in the form of Malecon. Havana’s 8KM stretch of shabby sea front running the breadth of the city. With giant waves crashing against the ancient sea wall, we discovered where the real Habaneros enjoy their winter sun – just chilling.

In Cuba you’re never far away from an idyllic beach, so as befitting tourists on a winter sun get away, we opted for Playas del Este, Havana’s pine fringed Riviera east of the city.

With my A/W 14 Seafolly beach wardrobe – a Dahlia Kaftan from the Kimono Rose range, Goddess Seychelles Bikini worn with a  Coyote Sun Hat  and Black and Silver Slim Havaianas  I was ready for whatever occasion the day may offer – beach, bar, stay late and party a little!  Leaving my much loved Seafolly Havana Sun Hat for city sight seeing we jumped into a bright green 1959 Buick taxi in search of the first beach of our winter sun holiday.

 Dahlia Kaftan from Seafolly's Kimono Rose Collection
Dahlia Kaftan from Seafolly’s Kimono Rose Collection

Playa del Este is picture postcard perfect, soft white sand, palm trees and clear aquamarine waters. That said it doesn’t have the luxuries (or even facilities) of other Caribbean resorts. Instead we found slightly tatty time worn restaurants and communist style hotels with limited offerings.

WInter sun beach destination Playa Del Este Havana
Playa Del Este, Havana

But this is Cuba, a country of contradictions. We found it both frustrating and inspiring, but most of all were amazed by its beauty, history and warmth of the Cuban people.

I’d definitely recommend Cuba as a destination for a winter  sun holiday, just keep an open mind!

 

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