Keeping culturally fit in Cuba
Salsa is synonymous with Cuba. In fact, music and dance in general are synonymous with Cuba. They are as important to the Cuban people as food and water.
Dancing is a great way to keep fit. It engages the body, occupies the mind and can uplift the spirit. It also helps foster coordination, flexibility and depending on the intensity level, agility as well. Try a salsa lesson while in Cuba and dance the night away in La Casa de la Música in Havana, on the ‘stairs’ in Trinidad or at any number of nightclubs in Santiago.
The local sport is baseball but it is unlikely you will find yourself in a game of pick-up. May I suggest a jog along city streets rather than trying to run around bases.
Weal World Travel – Specialty Walks
Walk n’ Choc
Baracoa is the chocolate capital of Cuba. You can buy it, eat it and watch it grow in this small town. Walk the length of the malécon until you hit the statue of Christopher Columbus.
Turn right and walk one block to the main artery back to town. Turn right onto this street and keep going until you end up in the town centre where you will find 2 chocolate shops to refuel you after your circuit route. If you are walking at a leisurely pace and stop occasionally for photographs this should take around one hour.
Stay tuned for a special post of my chocolate adventures in Baracoa…
Santa Clara, the town near the Che Guevera museum and Santiago de Cuba, the country’s second largest city, also offer easy city walks with chocolate shops along the way. Traversing the city centre of these places should take about 30 minutes if you stick to the main street.
Become an urban explorer by taking early morning walks. These random wanderings gives you a glimpse into the city/town going about its routine business. The advantages?
- The temperature is usually cooler (ideal for walking in a tropical climate).
- It is less crowded with tourists.
- There is better light for taking pictures.
- You get first pick of the recently baked buns from local bakeries and fresh food from street food stalls.
Peregrinations and Meditations
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
~John Muir, naturalist~
The small town of Baracoa in eastern Cuba certainly epitomizes the above quote. It is a welcome respite from the polluted streets of Santiago and Havana. Activities include jogging along the malécon, hiking el Yunque or surrounding waterfalls or a yoga practice to the sounds of rumba music.
malécon = Spanish word referring to a seawall with accompanying walkway.
Guayanara National Park near Trinidad in the southwestern region of the island offers more hiking and the numerous beaches throughout the island offer swimming opportunities.
WWT video of walk in Guayanara