Cuba: Caribbean Beaches, Cars, Coral Reefs and Classic Culture
17th December 2014
When considering a cruise around the Caribbean Cuba is often overlooked. This comes as surprising considering it is the largest of the Caribbean islands and is packed full of passion, culture, history and beautiful beaches.
Star Clippers provide regular cruises around the south of Cuba and venturing into the Cayman Islands, so if you’re looking for a blend of Latin passion with white beaches and clear waters then this may be a perfect experience for you. Cuba is a real gem and with so much to see, do and experience on board the Star Flyer you’re in for a real treat.
Although occassionally the crew on board the Star Clipper ships are required to divert to a new course as sailing dictate, below is an interactive map which provides an idea of what you can look forward to on a cruise around the south of Cuba.
The route involves one full day at sea and the friendly and sociable Star Flyer crew will ensure your cruise is special and may even allow the opportunity for passengers to get involved with the sailing.
With golden sands and clear blue waters surrounding Cuba, you are sure to be able to find a spot to relax by the sea. On your travels you will visit Cayo Blanco, which boasts crystal blue seas and plenty of places to relax under coconut palms, before venturing on towards the Cayman Islands.
After visiting the Cayman Islands and the beauty and tranquillity they have to offer, you will head back towards Cuba - stopping first at Cayo Largo. Christopher Columbus and Sir Francis Drake are both thought to have stopped here on their travels and the island features some of the most untouched beaches in the world. If you're lucky, you may be able to catch a rare glimpse of the turtle egg laying season on the beaches of Cayo Largo, or spot a free roaming iguana.
There are many wildlife sanctuaries based on the islands of Cuba and this is one of the only places in the world where you will see turtles being raised from birth to adult, before being released into the sea. After that it's on to the Canarreos Archipelago which specialises in commercial fishing, including lobster and oysters, so you are guaranteed a culinary delight.
One of the first things you may notice on arrival in Cuba is the vast range of colourful classic American cars which glisten in the beaming sun. These 1950's cars are a testament to both US engineering and Cuban ingenuity and have become enshrined in Cuban culture. Another more recognisable aspect of Cuban culture is salsa dancing - with "salsa beatboxing" a regular occurrence - and it is likely that crew members on board will encourage you to dance.
The Star Clippers Caribbean cruise starts in Cienfuegos, which was discovered by the French, who have dubbed the area "The Southern Pearl". Cienfuegos has many places worth visiting including La Reina Cemetery, Jagua Castle and even the world's highest stalagmite. One area definitely worth visiting is the Palacio Del Valle, located within Punta Gorda, which features stunning architecture.
On your journey you will also visit Trinidad, which an old style town mixed with modern culture and has a lot of history and culture to explore. Trinidad, a 500 year old town, was instrumental in the trade of cane sugar from the island, which was also Cuba's first ever export and the Valley of Sugar Mills is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Only in Trinidad will you find a bar based within an 18th century church and a nightclub based within a cave which was once a hospital. Other sites worth a visit include; the Yayabo Bridge and Milagroso Cristo de Vera Cruz, as well as the tobacco plantations.
Coral Reef Diving
A journey around Cuba and the Cayman Islands would not be complete without partaking in some of the water based activities on offer on a Star Clippers Cruise. One of the activities likely to be available is coral reef diving and is an experience not to be missed - especially considering that the coral reef areas are located just off the coast of Cayman Brac.
As seen above on the interactive map above, the coastal area of Cayman Brac (or Grand Cayman) is highlighted in red. This really is a superb opportunity to dive into the seas, where you will be able to catch a glimpse of moray eels, turtles, groupers, stingrays and flying gunards.
Step away from the casinos, night clubs, elevators and other modern facilities of the giant cruise liners and take time to experience your surroundings and appreciate wind sailing. If you've been on a Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise and fancy trying something a bit different then a cruise around Cuba and the Cayman Islands, on board the Star Flyer is perfect for you. Cuba mixes both Spanish and Caribbean cultures into a fine and unique blend which is sure to be highly enjoyable and memorable.