WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT CUBA: PART ONE

As women who like to travel, Cuba has been one of our dream destinations and recently became a reality for us. Any preconception you may have about this island will most likely be a distant memory once you’ve experienced Cuba.

The country has an infectious vibrancy that is incredibly magnetic no matter which part of the island you visit. We both agree that Cuba is an amazing place that will certainly blow you away. There is so much to see and do in a country seeped in culture.

We both want to give you an insight into some of the best places to visit while staying in Cuba.

Havana

One of the first places we visited was Cuba’s capital…Havana. From the crumbling buildings, to the cobbled streets this city is filled with life. Our best advice would be to take a guided walking tour through Havana. You’ll get to hear the amazing history and discover new things while exploring the old town.

Top recommendations

Take a ride in a classic car – It would not be a trip without taking a classic car ride around Havana. Cuba is home to American cars from the 1930s to the 1950s. They have a wide range of vintage cars to choose from, so definitely take the opportunity to flag one down and take a joyride through the city. You’ll get to have your own personalised tour and get to know the history of this amazing country. We would recommend you negotiate a price and length of time with your driver before taking the trip.

Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón – Far from being eerie Havana’s main cemetery (which is a national monument) is known for it’s striking religious and marble statues. You’ll get to stroll through 57 hectares of elaborate religious designs showing the graves of politicians, artists, writers and revolutionaries.

Tropicana Club – Prepare to be blown away with the bright colours, sultry salsa moves and the Latin sounds at Tropicana. A fabulous Cabaret show located in a lush tropical garden. The show is literally out of this world which features an array of performers. Their costumes are flamboyant adding a level of sauce to their eye-popping dance routines. It is the same venue where famous faces like Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack would hang out when staying in Cuba. You are provided with a bottle of rum at your table as well as mixers. So you can sit back and enjoy a Cuban cigar, enjoy a strong beverage and watch the delights of the show.

Castillo De Los Tres Reyes Del Morro (El Morro)- A fortress which was constructed between 1589 and 1630 to guard the entrance to Havana Bay is the quintessential Cuban landmark. The two castles feature a variety of experiences including a Maritime museum and another museum dedicated to Che Guevera. We would recommend visiting during the evening to attend the famous cañonazo ceremony. This nightly ceremony reenacts an 18th century ritual of sounding a canon to signal the closing of the city walls.  You can sit on the massive walls and watch the sunset, listen to the sea crashing against the fort and get some breathtaking snaps of Old Havana’s skyline.

Look out for our Part II: Why you should visit Cuba.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

Madeira Travel Guide

We did not know what to expect from Madeira, Portugal, but all we can say is WOW!

Madeira is one of the most beautiful islands that we have visited, with stunning gardens, amazing landscapes and picturesque views.

The scenery is absolutely amazing and we wanted to share with you our own guide of where to go and what to see when you visit Madeira!

We stayed in a boutique style hotel, The Savoy Sensimar Gardens in the capital city of Funchal. This was about thirty minutes away from Funchal airport (also known as Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport). It was a lovely hotel and we had an amazing sea view as well as a mountain view from our room.

The hotel even boasts a heated Jacuzzi on the rooftop with sun loungers and beds as well as a pool on the ground floor.

When staying in a hotel like this it is tempting to stay and get pampered all day but this is an island you have to explore. So get your walking shoes on!

One of our favourite days in Madeira was our trip spent to the west of the island. We went to one of the highest sea cliffs in the world, Cabo Girao which is 580 metres above sea level. We were a bit nervous (considering we are both scared of heights). As you step onto a transparent glass platform which allows you to look straight down you see the most breath-taking views of the mountain and sea. It is almost as if you can physically touch the sky!

Further west, we arrived at Sao Vicente which is a beautiful village with quaint local shops and the prettiest houses on cobbled streets.

We headed on to Encumeada, which is in the mountains and you can see fascinating views of the north and south of the island. As we drove up through the mountains, what was so fascinating were the clouds sloping around the trees. The temperature dropped so you did feel a chill. However, once we reached the top of the mountain, the sun was shining and it was back to summer temperatures. It was a truly spectacular experience.

There are an array of places to go and see when you travel to this amazing island, it would be a challenge to mention everything in one post!

Definitely visit the underground caves, the volcanic pools and we would certainly recommend taking a cable car up to the gardens. Also try the toboggan runs, very nerve-racking but a lot of fun!

We would certainly suggest that you go an experience this beautiful island for yourselves.

You can follow Shelley on Instagram here

You can follow Michelle on Twitter  here

Shelley & Michelle xx