Cuba’s captivating, colourful streets and carnaval feel make it appealing for travellers year-round. And, as relations with the US thaw, the country's popularity has skyrocketed, with visitor numbers showing little sign of abating.
Planning to join them? Start with our top tips for making the most out of backpacking Cuba.
Passing the day on a rocking chair, or drinking rum with your hosts, might be one of the most memorable experiences you have on your trip – and their tips and recommendations will be invaluable.
However, don’t expect a luxury journey. You’re likely to be squeezed in with other tourists, vintage cars rarely have seatbelts, and it’s not uncommon to switch cars once or twice before you reach your destination.
Whatever you do, be sure to arrange your price before the journey, as if you’re in a private car, it won’t have a meter.
And if you want some gorgeous, Instagram-worthy shots, consider taking a tour in a beautifully restored Classic Car in Havana. It'll cost you more than the communal taxis but the experience will be worth the investment.
To access the internet, you’ll need to buy a timed ETESCA card and find a hotspot. It’s often not worth the hassle, so ensure your travel plans don’t rely on using the web.
Whatever the setting, you won’t be able to help shaking your hips to its swinging sound. Try a dance class or ask a local for some tips and you’ll be ready to show off your moves at a Casa de la Música in no time.
Try a daiquiri in Havana, buy some rum to take back home, or relax on a palm-tree-lined beach sipping a mojito in the sun. If you're interested in how one of the world's most famous rum brands - Bacardi - came to life, check out the museum in Santiago de Cuba.
Look out for small bakeries, and if you spot a market, stock up on fresh fruit and veg. Markets are usually run in local currency, so they’re also a great place to exchange your convertible pesos for national pesos.
Take some tips from the easy going locals and you’ll soon relax and enjoy your stay.