Yummy Cuban Dishes You Must Try

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Cuba is extremely famous not only for its sparkling beaches, beautiful people and colorful nature, but also for its food. When you visit this country, the quality of food will surprise you a lot. The prices are affordable enough, around $7 in average. However, the prices can be much more expensive especially in such popular travel locations as Trinidad.

Cuban food was originally brought from Africa, Spain, Native American Taino population and Caribbean cuisines.

Medianoche sandwich

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Medianoche (Classic Cuban Midnight)

Literally meaning “midnight”, this sandwich is one of the most popular dish in the country. It is made from Swiss cheese, pork, ham, pickles, and sharp yellow mustard and, of course, bread. What is interesting, bread made for this sandwich is different from a crusty baguette-like bread used for average European or American sandwiches.

It is called pan medianoche or pan sauve, and it tastes sweeter and softer. Despites its name, today medianoche is usually eaten on breakfast. This is the first and one of the most important dishes to taste while travel through Cuba. This sandwich is named so as it is often served in the top Havana’s nightclubs after and through midnight.

Note: Try this sandwich served with fried plantain chips, to make it extremely Cuban.

Congri dish of Cuban national cuisine

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Congri

It is also often called “Morons”, and this is a dish which consists of black beans and rice. If you want to make this dish by yourself, don’t use canned bins. Never. The taste will be completely different, so you will not have a chance to enjoy the real taste of Cuban traditional dish. The black bean version is highly popular in Havana, one of the most visited tourist destinations on Cuba.

The ingredients of this plate are: bay leaf, bacon, olive oil, cloves garlic, fresh oregano, white wine and cilantro.

Note: the mix of rice, olives and beans is one of the most common Cuban dishes served in the families all around the country.

Vaca Frita

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Vaca Frita

Translated as a “Fried Beef Steak”, or simply “fried cow”, this dish is often served with rice and beans (we have told you that this combination is a must-have for many Cuban recipes). Note, that it could be cooked with a lot of garlic, so you can ask a waiter to dial it down on request. This Cuban crispy, shredded beaf will leave you speechless!

Vaca Frita is served in almost all Cuban restaurants and the ingredients are the following: flank steak, onion, pepper, garlic, lime and olive oil.

Note: It could be also served with fresh pineapple juice, which make this dish even more tasty.

 

Huevos Habaneros

Photo: cubakeuken.nl

Huevos Habaneros

Literally translated as “ranch eggs”, it is a well-knows Cuban egg dish that is cooked with onions, pepper and garlic. They are also called “Eggs Havana Style”. The eggs on this dish are prepared over sofrito (a tomato, garlic, pepper, and onion sauce).

Note: These delicious huevos locos will drive you crazy with their tremendous taste. They are served immediately from the baking dishes.

Tostones

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Tostones

They are also known as chatinos – crispy fried plantains. A plantain is a kind of banana, which is differ from the average one, as it is firmer and tastes differently. Tostones are extremely tasty when served piled with guacamole, salsa, and/or even shredded meat.

Note: Serve tostones as an appetizer for your main course.

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Exciting Cave Nightclub in Trinidad, Cuba

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You may have heard of the wonderful city of Trinidad in central Cuba. It is known for its colonial history and old cobblestone streets.

Ayala nightclub. Trinidad

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Among the city’s major attractions are the Museo Romántico, Palacio Brunet mansion, Museo de Arquitectura Colonial, and Palacio de Cantero. But there is one spot that differs from anything else you can experience in this tremendous location.

We are talking about Disco Ayala, a very special party scene. Have you ever listened to DJ sets in the underground?

Maybe so, but have you ever done that in a natural cave – especially one that was once home to an infamous serial killer?!

Even if you are an experienced traveler and have visited numerous eccentric clubs and bars, this place will surprise you. The proprietors say the cave was inhabited by criminals long before the idea of making it into an entertainment venue crossed their minds.

Ayala nightclub. Trinidad

Photo onetwotrip.com

The club was named for Carlos ‘Coco’ Ayala – a notorious villain in Cuban culture who kidnaped children, took them to the cave, and eventually murdered them.

People say that during the War of Independence he brought many minors to the den and subjected them to various acts of cruelty. According to legend, Ayala continued his atrocities until locals finally captured and decapitated him. For many years afterward, Cuban mothers would warn their children against talking to strangers by saying: “Be good or Carlos Ayala will come looking!”

Today the place is not as scary since it has been turned into a popular modern nightclub – a favorite among Trinidad residents and visitors alike.

Photo: deposotphotos.com

To enter the club you walk down a dusty street leading to the cave’s entrance. After descending two flights of stairs and passing through a tunnel, you emerge into an amazing disco center. A large dance floor is set up in the middle of the cavern, and the flashing lights circling the entire area create a spectacular ambiance.

With loud Latin music and professional performers, the Disco Ayala is a place you should definitely check out while touring Cuba.

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Published: 06/09/2017

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Why Cuba is One of the Top Caribbean Destinations

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Colorful kayaks and sailing boats on a tropical beach in Cuba

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Cuba remains one of the top Caribbean destinations in 2017 and continues to be a favorite holiday location. It is on the list of most popular tourist spots in the region – along with Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, and Guadeloupe. Every year Cuba attracts millions of visitors to its hospitable culture and wonderful natural sights.

There are reasons why many Canadians choose Cuba over other Caribbean destinations: Cuba has seen huge advancements in the tourism sector in recent years, especially in its accommodations infrastructure, with many new hotels and resort complexes built and high quality services instituted. Moreover, a number of new agreements were concluded with various air companies to develop new routes – making Cuban destinations more accessible to many travelers.

Cuba

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Cuba is a favorite Caribbean destination where people return over and over again.  Among the factors which contribute to this tendency are undoubtedly Cuba’s nature and crystal clear turquoise waters – as well as its very special atmosphere.

The beautiful nature is specifically and exotically Caribbean and has been declared a Biological Reserve by UNESCO. Not all Cuba’s territory is considered a Biological Reserve, but there are many protected areas around the country which have unique biodiversity and fragile ecosystems.

HAVANA, CUBA

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In the seas of the western coast, for example, Guanahacabibes Peninsula has one of the best preserved coral reefs in the world. Furthermore, you can see here special kinds of animals and plants, 22 distinctive beaches, and, the most exciting thing – along the shore are the remains of some pirate ships from the colonial period.

In addition to coastal regions being protected Cuban territory, marine areas – which reach depths of 200 meters – are protected zones as well. In total, reserves cover one fifth of all Cuban territory; the most famous are Sierra del Rosario, Guanahacabibes National Park, Cuchillas del Toa, and Buenavista.

Although the tourist sector in Cuba is developing quickly and attracting a lot of investment into the country, ecological issues are studied thoroughly – assuring visitors a holiday in a safe and ecologically balanced environment.

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Published: 01/06/2017

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How To Visit Cuba The Right Way

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There’s a reason everybody wants to go to Cuba now. Here’s how to do it right.

It pays to rely on a travel advisor who knows how to expertly navigate the legal and logistical minefield, helping travelers in their trips. For example, travelers to Cuba can fly direct from the Toronto using charter flights that must be booked through a licensed “travel service provider.” However, in order to meet all requirements, their should know a lot of additional information, which is easier to receive from your travel advisor .

“Leave the beach towel at home. You can’t simply sign up and head off to Cuba’s stunning white sands,” adds YYZ Travel Advisor. Travelers visiting Cuba should focus on experiencing its rich, vibrant culture. “Cubans are outgoing, fun-loving people. They feel a great admiration for America and are strongly influenced by American culture,” she says.

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People-to-People trips are required to maintain a full schedule of activities designed to “result in meaningful interaction” with Cubans. Expect little free time. Depending on the P2P program, you’ll meet with artists, city planners, journalists, and/or historians, plus experience, usually, a medley of musical encounters that steep you in Cuba’s cultural potpourri. Tours by National Geographic Expeditions (one of the first companies to offer Cuba P2P tours back in 2011) feature a performance by a children’s theater group, as well as the Cantores de Cienfuegos choir – uplifting experiences that have been known to inspire tears among guests. Abercrombie & Kent even includes a cooking class at a paladar – one of Cuba’s new private restaurants that are setting the country’s culinary scene abuzz.

And the nightlife? Hot enough to cook a spicy ropa vieja (stewed lamb). Not that visitors will be singing its praises over Skype. Digitally speaking, Cuba isn’t exactly what you’d call surfable. Although most hotels have Internet connections, only a few have Wi-Fi, which barely exists outside the hotels – downloads can be so slow that you’ll dream of your old dial-up network back home. Don’t expect the obligatory scratch card that grants access to the government-run system to be available when you need one. 

HAVANA AND THE HEARTLAND
Plan a Cuban exploration – and stay connected too
Use all YYZ Travel tour options.

Colorful sunset in Havana

Wireless Traveler’s options for staying connected in Cuba include a SIM card that inserts into an unlocked cell phone and rental phones that work from within the country.
Travelers on Backroads’ eight-day walking tour hike in the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve and Santa Catalina cave system. Along with gaining insights into Cuba’s organic farming at an organopónico (cooperative urban garden), participants explore vibrant Old Havana and take salsa dance lessons.

 

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Adapted from: virtuoso.com

A Cuba expert accompanies National Geographic Expeditions’ nine-day program for Afro-Cuban music and dance programs in Havana. Also on the itinerary: the colonial city of Trinidad, a choir performance and visit to an art school in the port city of Cienfuegos, and a visit to the Bay of Pigs.
Abercrombie & Kent’s 13-day trip ranges from the revolutionary heartland of Santiago de Cuba to Havana and beyond. Highlights include Fidel Castro’s birthplace at Birán and ages-old Remedios, and elders who teach travelers traditional danzón music and dance in Santa Clara.
Explore Cuba’s wild side on Zegrahm Expeditions’ 11-day trip, with overnights in Topes de Collantes National Park, birding in the Zapata wetlands, and boating through limestone caves in the Viñales Valley. Cultural elements include a Buena Vista Social Club show and a visit to Hemingway’s home in San Francisco de Paula.
With Havana as a base for Absolute Travel’s eight-day immersion, travelers take in performances, art galleries, and studios, and meet Cubans ranging from music professors to a flamenco-troupe leader. Another highlight: meeting with students at Proyecto Grabadown, a program for disabled youths.

To Book Your Trip to Cuba
Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768