Go to a baseball game
“Trust me when I say you’ll want the cheap seats at a Cuban baseball game, where home team fans sit shoulder-to-shoulder with musicians who randomly burst into song. There’s a definite thrill to chasing this national game. Taxi drivers will spin you by the local stadium, but everyone shrugs when asked, ‘When’s the game?’ Once, I was so psyched to be in Bayamo (a city just south of Holguin) on game day, that I gladly paid extra for VIP tickets. The view from home plate was superb, but the roomy bleachers and the protective netting made it seem like we weren’t part of the action. Things started in the seventh inning, where they had left off the night before after a storm, so I saw less than half of a single game.
Tickets are cheap, beer is forbidden, butter-less popcorn is delicious and vendors hawk grilled meat outside stadiums. I had roast pork on a white bun, sprinkled with salt and topped with crackling. Next time I eat that sandwich, it will be while watching a full nine innings from the cheap seats.” —Jennifer Bain, @thesaucylady
“I’m not sure where Ernest Hemingway’s literary reputation lies these days, but I’m a fan of his work so I was excited to visit Finca Vigía, his villa on the outskirts of Havana where he wrote part of For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. From the open windows—you aren’t allowed inside—I marvelled at the hunting trophies on the walls and the period decor, but what I really wanted was to go through his library to see what books he read.” —Mark Stachiew, @stachiew
Check out vintage cars
“The vintage cars glinted and glowed like jewel-coloured sweets in a candy shop. Cuba has been called the Galápagos Island of cars; since Cuba’s government banned auto imports in 1959, and the U.S. imposed trade restrictions in 1960, islanders have carefully preserved them. Stroll Havana’s streets and you’ll see countless classic beauties roll by. They’re a symbol of a spirit of survival that runs deep here.” —Bonnie Munday, @bonnie_munday
[This story appears in the December 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine]
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The small town of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, isn’t Cuba’s most famous city, but it is certainly one of the most charming. Hang out in historic Plaza Mayor, sip an authentic canchánchara cocktail, dance at Casa de la Música, visit Palacio Cantero and check out the view from the Manaca Iznaga tower.