Being in social isolation doesn't stop us dreaming of all the places we'd like to visit; in fact now we've got even more time to daydream. Escape on a virtual vacation to bring a little piece of Cuba to your living room.

Whether it's the fluid movements of salsa dancers, the blare of a trumpet or the waft of cigar smoke in the air, Cuba is a country that lingers in the mind. From the rural valleys in Viñales to the winding streets of Camagüey, the Caribbean nation is so much more than classic cars and pretty beaches. 

Actor Javier Bardem stands in front of a promotional poster of himself  from the film "Before Night Falls" in Madrid, Spain.
'Before Night Falls' focuses on the work of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas © Carlos Alvarez / Newsmakers/ Getty Images

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Best Movies

Romance:
Before Night Falls (2000): The life and struggles of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas.
Fresa y Chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate, 1993): Directors Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio film marries the improbable themes of homosexuality and communism in 1979 Havana.
The Waiting List (2000): A group of people waiting for a bus that never arrives, decide to transform an old decrepit Cuban transit station. 

Drama:
Che: Part 1, The Argentine
 (2008): The Steven Soderbergh classic biopic that focuses on Che Guevara's Cuban years.
Mambo Kings (1992): A tale of two Cuban brothers who bring a different type of music to 1950s USA. 
El Ojo del Canario (2010): Atmospheric biopic of José Martí, Cuba's national hero.

Documentary:
Sons of Cuba (2009): A deep dive into the Havana Boxing Academy and the journey of a collection of 9-year-old boys training to become the best boxers in the world.
Havana Suite (2003): A unique documentary that uses sound and images to follow 13 Cubans in their daily lives. 
Celia: The Queen (2008):  A look at the life and accession to fame of the "Queen of Salsa" – Celia Cruz.

Listen 

Classic Cuban music

Cuban Hip-Hop

Best Novels

Cuban Classics:

Our Man in Havana (1958): Graham Greene lampoons both the British Secret Service and Batista's corrupt regime in this classic novel.
The Old Man and the Sea (1952): Ernest Hemingway's last major fiction about an aging Cuban fisherman who fights with a giant marlin. 
Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life (1997): Jon Lee Anderson's meticulous research helped unearth Che's remains in Bolivia.

Fiction: 

Havana Blue (1991): Leonardo Padura's whodunit novel centers on a Cuban police lieutenant who must figure out if the gorgeous wife of a missing high-level official is actually behind it all. 
Dirty Havana Trilogy (2002): Dirty, in-depth study of life and sex in Havana during the Special Period.
Three Trapped Tigers (Tres tristes tigres 1965): Guillermo Cabrera Infante's tale (praised as a Cuban Ulysses) of a man in search of his home in pre-Castro Havana. 

Best Podcasts 

History of the Cuban Revolution: An exhaustively detailed podcast about Cuba's history.

CubaCast: A podcast that deals with all things Cuban from news and politics to travel and history. 

Learn the Local Language 

  • ¡Hola! - Hello 
  • ¡Acere, qué bolá! – What's up with you?
  • ¡Chao pescao! – Goodbye fish! 
  •  Está volao That's amazing
  • Gracias – Thank you

Spanish language resources
Duolingo: bite-size, fun lessons via app, desktop or mobile device 
Lonely Planet Spanish phrasebook and Dictionary: book filled with key words and phrases  

Food

Cuba's culinary scene has certainly grown over the years and though it's still not on level of other Caribbean countries, there are a host of dishes to enjoy. Most of the dishes are made up of rice, beans, meat (primarily pro, chicken and beef) and plantains. Here's a recipe for ropa vieja

Best Videos

 Drinks

No trip to Cuba is complete without a classic mojito. Make this sugary and herbaceous cocktail at home with our Destination Drinks recipe.

Cultural Highlights

Tropicana Cabaret Cuba

Epic Landscapes 

Valley of Vinales

Old Havana

Shop Online

Clasdetina - Known as "Cuba's first independent sustainable fashion brand" the boutique offers tote bags, hats and t-shirts.

Alma - A small boutique that specializes in goods produced by Cuban artisans from around the country. 

You might also like: 

Cuba beyond the capital: best things to do outside of Havana
Cuba's classic cars: your ticket to ride 
Havana nights: enjoying Cuba's capital after hours 
 

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