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All Eyes on Cuba

Cuba beach


“If Cuba were a book, it would be James Joyce's Ulysses; layered, hard to grasp, serially misunderstood, but – above all – a classic.”
Is how Lonely Planet describes Cuba…and how true they are!

Cuba has endured years of economic embargo, after fifty years little changed. In 2010 in an attempt to energise the slowing economy, the Cuban government decided to allow people to start up small business (including running home stays) and the following year Cubans received the right to private property transformed the nation's domestic way of life. Things started to change in Cuba with an improvement in the famously frosty and dangerous relationship with the US.

With this is mind, a lot of our Cuba tours feature homestay accommodation for two good reasons – to support local communities in earning a living and also it’s a fantastic way to experience Cuban hospitality and gain a real insight into the local life of Cuban families.

Imaginative Traveller Sales consultant Suzanne gives us the low-down on her recent experience at a Cuban homestay:

“Cuba was like nowhere I'd ever been before. From dancing salsa, watching the locals play guitar on the street and walking through the tobacco fields to swimming in waterfalls and exploring Havana's fascinating museums...I love the diversity that Cuba offers! One of the experiences which really captured my heart was our stay in a Casa Particular in Trinidad. 

My husband and I arrived to the warm and inviting smiles of a local family, who looked after us from beginning to end. They played cards with us, chatted to us about Cuban life and cooked us delicious food (including lobster!). When my husband lost his ring, they spent hours helping us search for it; something which we were completely overwhelmed by! When we left after a few nights, we received a heartfelt goodbye from a couple who genuinely loved having people stay in their home. Despite the language barrier, the family went out of their way to communicate with us and ensure that we felt completely at home.

For me, there's no better way of reaching the heart of Cuban life than living amongst the locals. I would compare the experience to staying in a family run Bed and Breakfast, though with hospitality and warmth that you just wouldn't find anywhere else.” 

Cuban musician

If you’d prefer a bit more luxury then why not have a look at our La Isla Grande EAUB trip stays at beautiful historic hotels or our Cuba Sailing Adventure IQSSC trip where you’ll spend 9 days exploring tropical paradises, white sandy beaches and coral reefs on a catamaran.

Check out our selection of some of the best of Cuba..

Cycling Cuba EMAH

Cuba: La Isla Grande EAUB

Cuban Highlights Ride EMAC

Beautiful Cuba IQUKA

Best of Cuba IQUSH

Explore Cuba IQUSV

If you’re looking for some reading inspiration then here’s a brilliant list of 20 books from travel guides to novels

To see all Cuba trips on 1 page, click here.


 

Ceviche Food Recipe

Ceviche

 

Ceviche is a refreshing popular seafood dish from the coastal regions of South America. It is made from fresh raw fish cured in lemon or lime juice, and then seasoned with chilli peppers to taste. We’ve chosen a Cuban inspired recipe to share with you which is made with allspice and red chillies - adding a bit of a kick - this dish is refreshing and great for summer!


 

World Music in Focus - Colombia

Bogota Carnival percussion

 

This month marks the start of a series of articles exploring traditional and contemporary music across many different areas of the world. We start off with the music of one of our most exciting and beautiful destinations in South America – Colombia.


 

Cuba - The Perennial Favourite

 cuba-street-car-post

 

Cuba keeps hitting the news lately, and as relations between the US and the island continue to improve, we all wonder how long its timeless charm will last.


 

Tamarind Lamb Stew

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This week’s recipe, Denning-vleis, or Tamarind Lamb Stew is one of the oldest dishes in South Africa and is a Cape Malay favourite.


 

Wild West USA

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The vast North American continent has so much for the traveller to discover, from the majestic mountains, glaciers and lakes of Alaska and the Canadian Rockies, to the sun-drenched deserts of California and Arizona, to the rolling prairies of the American Mid-West, to the cosmopolitan cities and picturesque landscapes of New England.


 

Taste of Kashmir

Pasneer-Masala

Stepped in ancient traditions and flavours from Afghanistan, Persia and Central Asia, I think heavenly Kashmiri cuisine is one of the most underrated in the world!

The use of cardamom, cloves, mustard oil, saffron, mawal flowers, mint, yogurt and give the dishes a rich, aromatic and unique edge. Here’s a delicious Kashmiri paneer recipe to try at home!


 

Surprising Burma

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Despite being one of the few countries left that still see a limited number of outside visitors, it's popularity continues to grow. It has now hit the top of the list on the most popular trips among Imaginative Traveller customers. It's not surprising considering the depth and variety of new experiences to be found.


 

New trips, new destinations, new brochure!

Here at Imaginative Traveller HQ we are busy working on our new brochure for 2015-2016. The 2014 brochure will be a hard act to follow but we are aiming for a bumper edition this year to really whet your adventure travel appetites...


 

Working in adventure travel

Draks

 

The excitement of returning travellers, the anticipation of those heading out on the road, the joy of talking about such exotic places as Buenos Aires, Havana, Kathmandu and Marrakech....Content Manager Helene Cooper realised that working at Imaginative Traveller could be a little like living in Istanbul....


 

Fancy solo travel?

Janice

 

Solo travel can be the most exciting, life-affirming, eye-opening experience for any traveller. However, it can also fill people with trepidation and worry and even put some off travelling altogether. After becoming a widower and an empty-nester in the sameyear, Janice Waugh decided to launch herself on the world - and created her very own blogsite in the process.


 

Travel news and buzz from Aol Travel blogsite

Aol Travel is written by a variety of travel writers and bloggers from around the world. Covering a plethora of fun, interesting and informative guides, advice and features, it’s the perfect website for helping you put together your own travel bucket list. So how has this community created such a powerful and successful website?


 

Where to go on an adventure holiday in September

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Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar? Check out our suggestions for exciting September destinations and tour ideas.


 

Where to go on an adventure holiday in August

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Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar? Check out our suggestions for exciting August destinations and tour ideas...


 

Belize - stunning natural beauty with no-one around

B1

 

On the northeastern coast of Central America, Belize stands out as a top destination for bird and nature lovers, a compact country with an abundance of stunning wildness, where English is the language and the people are laid-back. Max Hartshorne of travel website Gonomad, recently spent some time there....


 

Exploring the Ecuadorian rainforest with 'Nelson of the Amazon'

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"The rivers are infested with piranhas but they're generally very pleasant places to swim" - this was our introduction to a four day expedition into the Ecuadorian Amazon.....


 

Where to go on an adventure holiday in July

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Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar? Check out our suggestions for exciting July destinations and tour ideas...


 

Where to go on an adventure holiday in June

Venice

 

Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar? Check out our suggestions for exciting June destinations and tour ideas...


 

Get active with us - try a walking or cycling holiday!

Day-4-Inca-Trail-trek

 

A walking or cycling holiday is the most rewarding type of activity holiday out there - after all, some of the world's best scenery, wildlife and culture can only be accessed on two feet - or two wheels! An active holiday with Imaginative Traveller offers a totally new perspective on a destination and allows you to truly experience the heart of a country. It's a fantastic way to remind you that this is a beautiful world we live in.


 

Rio Carnival 2014!

So what did you do last weekend?  Our 'gang' in Brazil had an absolute blast at the Rio Carnival. Find out just what you can get up to during a long weekend at the biggest fiesta in the world!


 

Diving underground in Mexico

Fancy jumping into a hole in the ground in the middle of the Mexican jungle?  One of our travellers decided to delve new depths whilst in Central America and really push the limits of imaginative travel...


 

My Bollywood Experience

Ever had some spare time on an evening in India? Helene Cooper from our Marketing Department enjoyed a 'night at the flicks' Bollywood-style....


 

Where to go on an Adventure Holiday in May

Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar?  Check out our suggestions for exciting May destinations and tour ideas....


 

Where to go on an Adventure Holiday in April

Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar?  Check out our suggestions for exciting April destinations and tour ideas....


 

Where to go on an Adventure Holiday in March

Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar?  Check out our suggestions for exciting March destinations and tour ideas....


 

Where to go on an Adventure Holiday in February

Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar?  Check out our suggestions for exciting February destinations and tour ideas....


 

Travels with my penknife - or pride before a fall

Flying the short hop in Ethiopia recently between Lalibela and the capital Addis Ababa, Helene Cooper found herself in a rather embarrassing situation for an experienced travel industry professional.....


 

The Great (and mad) Ethiopian Run

Fancy joining 38,000 other runners in the biggest road race in Africa? Helene Cooper from the Imaginative Traveller office decided to make her trip to Ethiopia just that little bit different by tackling the race through the streets of Addis Ababa. 10km run or mass street party?  Read on…..


 

Family Adventure Tours

Imaginative Traveller has added over 20 new trips to their 2013 family portfolio making the company one of the UK's leading family adventure travel specialists.

Now offering over 30 adventurous trips of between 8 and 19 days across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America, the 22 year old company say it's seen a marked rise in demand for more off-the-beaten-track family adventures, hence significantly bolstering its trip range this year.


 

Travel disasters and triumphs

Mo Farah was recently quoted as explaining his strategy to quit at the halfway stage of the London Marathon was because he ‘hates losing’.  Well sometimes it is the ‘taking part’ which is actually the most fun element rather than the end goal.


 

Cambodia - Past, Present and Future

Director Charlie Hopkinson finishes his tour to Vietnam and Cambodia with a visit to the Killing Fields.


 

Cambodia culinary delights

Director Charlie Hopkinson enjoys a somewhat unusual culinary experience in Cambodia.


 

Cambodian Cocktails & Culinary Delights

Imaginative Traveller Director Charlie Hopkinson suggests the perfect gastronomic feast based on his recent trip to Cambodia.


 

Cambodia here I come! A Director's travels (or travails)

Charlie Hopkinson recently took our Best of Cambodia & Vietnam tour.  Here, he describes his journey between the two countries.


 

The Director's Cut - Charlie Hopkinson on tour in Vietnam

Chuc Mung Nam Moi, Happy New Year!


 

Communism or capitalism - ponderings from Vietnam

Communism or capitalism or does it really matter? Step out into the street in front of the Rex Hotel in Saigon and you cannot believe that you are in a communist country.


 

Take the family overland!

Looking for a really unique family holiday this summer?  Several of our African overland tours are GUARANTEED so why not take the children on a trip that will really live in their memories?


 

It's Murder on the Reunification Express - further adventures in Vietnam

Continuing our Director, Charlie Hopkinson's, journey through Vietnam.


 

Love en route

So is it possible to actually meet the love of your life whilst travelling?

Of course it is! We are talking holiday romance with a difference rather than your sun and sand type holiday.  A real adventure holiday where you are trekking through jungles, touring ancient sites or taking overnight train journeys with the locals.


 

50/50 - anniversary destinations

Two destinations are celebrating 50 years of independence from the United Kingdom in 2013 - Singapore and Zanzibar.


 

Sherpa documentary during Everest's 60th anniversary

Looking forward to watching BBC4's documentary of the Sherpas who have climbed Mt Everest this Thursday at 9pm.  Often the unsung heroes of any ascent, it is fitting that this study of four of these incredible humans is being shown in the year of the 60th anniversary of Mount Everest. "Climbing Everest with a Mountain on my Back: The Sherpas' story".


 

Where to go in 2013, month by month

Imaginative Traveller, the small group adventure operator with over 20 years experience, has launched its trip-a-month calendar cherry-picking the best global destinations to travel to throughout the year.


 

Young Upstarts

It seems everyone is out there writing at the moment.  A member of the Dragoman crew, our sister company, has set up a blog site detailing his overland training and current journey through Africa.  Dragoman is also linking up with writer Becky Wicks who is joining them for the inaugural Rio to Cusco Trans Amazon trip next month and will be blogging throughout her trip.


 

Variety is the spice of life!

It occurred to me whilst watching Jools Holland bring in New Year at his annual Hootenanny, that I never in a million years expected to see on the same stage Petula Clark, Bobby Womack and Adam Ant.  Eclectic it might have been - entertaining it certainly was.


 

Adventures by train

From the Orient Express to the Trans-Siberian, famous train journeys have appealed throughout the ages to any intrepid traveller.  Joining the locals to get from A to B on a train is often the best part of any adventure holiday.


 
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