7 days exploring colourful Cuba by superyacht

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Marina Hemingway, Havana

Captain Shaun Snyders, of 56 metre The Wellesley, reveals how best to enjoy this most colourful of Caribbean destinations

With fabulous 1950s American cars, mind-blowing mojitos and the sense of stepping back in time, Cuba is a Caribbean destination with a difference. Despite now being more accessible to superyachts, Cuba is still undeveloped and requires an explorative mindset. This itinerary combines the charms of old-school Havana with the raw wilderness, exceptional diving and sugar-white beaches of Cuba’s idyllic southern coastline. The Wellesley is available for charter with Thompson, Westwood & White Yachts.

Day One

Meet The Wellesley at Marina Hemingway, just 20 minutes from downtown Havana, then walk the city’s streets, taking in the curious contradiction of its crumbling colonial architecture and vibrant culture. In the evening arrive at the legendary Tropicana in a classic American car and enjoy the Latin music, bright colours and plenty of Cuban rum.

Picture courtesy of 4Cornersimages.com / Susanne Kremer

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Exploring Havana

Spend another day in this fascinating city and visit Ernest Hemingway’s favourite drinking haunts of El Floridita and Bodeguita del Medio. A short drive out of town and you can visit a cigar factory where the manager reads the latest newspapers to his workers as they roll their cigars – an old factory tradition.

Picture courtesy of Alamy.com / Bruce McGowan

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Viñales Valley

Head west from Havana to discover the tobacco plantations of the Viñales valley and the pine forest- shrouded mountains of the Sierra de los Órganos. It’s a beautiful, slow-paced corner of rural Cuba.

Picture courtesy of 4Cornersimages.com / Frank Lukasseck

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Maria la Gorda

The Wellesley will cruise to the beautiful Maria la Gorda and anchor in the crystal clear waters where the coral heads are just off the bow. Enjoy fantastic snorkelling or visit Lost Paradise – a vibrant wall dive with a variety of swim-throughs and caves.

Picture courtesy of Robertharding.com / Lawson Wood

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Cayo Largo

Continuing east, guests can enjoy the tranquillity of the small island of Cayo Largo, which is thought to have once been used as a pirate base. With clear waters and pristine beaches, it is the perfect place to make the most of The Wellesley’s extensive toy box.

Picture courtesy of Alamy.com / Evgeny Dergachev

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Jardines de la Reina

Jardines de la Reina is a 150 mile mangrove and coral island chain forming the third largest barrier reef in the world – one for the diving bucket list. Guests can snorkel or dive in the marine park, which is bursting with corals and exotic fish.

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Santiago de Cuba

Return to the bustle of the city of Santiago de Cuba, which is known for its Afro-Cuban cultural influence and colonial architecture. A fleet of classic cars will be awaiting guests for a memorable drive back to the airport.

Picture courtesy of Alamy.com / Arco Images GmbH

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