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Cuba is the largest island of the Caribbean with an extension of 110 922 km2, around 11 and a half million of inhabitants, a warm climate with an annual average temperature of 26 Celsius degrees and more than 300 beautiful beaches with an average water temperature of 26-30 Celsius degrees.
But Cuba is much more than the nice smell of Cuban Coffee and Cuban Cigars, or the smooth Havana Club rum. In this small country, you can meet Europeans originating from different areas of Spain and France, black people from Africa, native aborigines and even immigrants from China.
As a result of this curious mixture of different races and cultures from different continents a peculiar culture was born which is characterized by its contagious musical rhythms, of which the so called Salsa is best known; and also because of the presence of an interesting religion: a unique mixture between Catholicism and African rituals called Santería.
Not only the climate is warm in Cuba, also its residents are, so much that they were able to capture several personalities that decided to settle down in the island. One of these personalities was the famous North American Nobel Prize novelist Ernest Hemingway who wrote in this island some of his most important novels like "For Whom the Bells Toll", and "The Old Men and the Sea"; or the no less known Argentinean freedom fighter, Ernesto Che Guevara, who decided to become a member of the revolutionary movement headed by Fidel Castro.
Cuba is also considered as the last socialist country of the world, and a lot of people wonder how the Cuban people resists the profound economic crisis caused by the disappearance of the Socialist Camp and the Soviet Union, and by 40 years of economic and commercial embargo imposed by the United States of America.
Would you like to know how Cuban people live? Would you like to know how they manage to survive the economic crisis?
In that case the best option is to live in the private home of a Cuban family, in direct contact with the Cuban way of life.
What are private homes?
Hundreds of families are renting out entire apartments or rooms to travelers. Since a couple of years the government legally permits this and it has become extremely popular for tourists traveling independently. Private homes are known as 'casas partículares', they represent the best option for travelers who want to be in close touch with the Cuban culture or simply enjoy the privacy outside the state controlled and regulated hotels.
CHICO was established to allow the private room and apartment owners to advertise their offer on the Internet and allows you to make on-line reservations with private homes. What to do during your stay in Havana?
Havana is full of famous places recognized worldwide, such as the famous bars "El Floridita" and "La Bodeguita del Medio", frequented by Ernest Hemingway who used to visit them during his stay in the capital of Cuba. Actually, Havana is much more than that, in this city you will find other attractive options like the Historical Center of the City with an interesting colonial architecture with typical elements of the baroque, neo - classic and moresque styles in fortresses and houses from XVI - XVIII centuries, in 1981 Old Havana was granted the title of "World Heritage" by UNESCO. In this area you can walk among some of the most ancient fortresses built by the Spaniards in America, as well as the Havana Cathedral, the last place of rest of the remains of the Admiral Christopher Columbus before departing with destination to Spain.
For centuries, Havana was attacked by pirates and corsairs that attempted to ransack it, that's why the governors of the city decided to built a wall around it in order to protect it. The opening and closing of this wall was announced with a cannon-shot; nowadays in spite of the fact that the wall no longer exists the cannon-shot tradition still perseveres. Every evening at nine p.m. a shot is fired as part of the grand finale of a traditional ceremony held in a XVIII century fortress. Taking part in this ceremony you can experience the typical environment of the colonial period.
In the modern part of the city you'll find famous places like the "Plaza de la Revolución" (Revolution Square), the platform of the most famous speeches of Fidel Castro and of the last mass celebrated in the country by the Pope during his recent visit to Havana. The Plaza is surrounded by numerous official buildings and by the silhouette of the face of Ché, which is found in the facade of one of the buildings.
Also in Havana you can enjoy the contagious Cuban musical rhythms and dances in the world famous cabaret Tropicana and the not less interesting show of the cabaret Parisien.
From the capital you can visit the famous Varadero beach with 20 kilometers of fine sands. And, and, and, .....