HAVANA, Feb. 13th Empty beaches. Humming salsa bars. Dulcet guitar. Drums. Cuba reconciles the adjectives “lively” and “chill” in the best way possible. But if I asked you to come up with a list of destinations a solo traveller was most likely to score a date, a communist state probably wouldn’t be the first place to come to mind.
However, as you’re about to discover, Cuba is right up there with Rome, New York and Paris.
Besides Havana (Cuba’s capital) sitting at number four on Refinery 29’s list of the world’s best cities for solo female travellers, Cuba is also known as a place women go to embrace their feminine sexuality. As podcast host and journalist Megan Tan posits: “In the U.S., their bodies would be judged, but here (in Cuba) they seemed to blend in — a freedom that’s so unfamiliar to me.”
“As I took a cab into Havana, everywhere I looked, there were women and girls flaunting their femininity… When they walk, there’s a strength in their strut, as if they’re saying, ‘I have nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of.’”
Cuba has also been endorsed by The Journal,G-Adventures and World Dating Guides as a great place to meet friendly locals, despite its restrictive government. And we’d imagine thwarting “police state” rules with a newfound romantic partner—should you find one—only makes the whole deal even more enticing.
From its romantic Airbnbs to its sumptuous cuisine – here’s why single men are increasingly choosing to visit Cuba along with five other reasons.
Cuba Is A Solo Female Traveller Hotspot
We touched on this earlier, but if those seductive insights didn’t convince you, take it from stalwart of travel guides: The Lonely Planet, “Cuba is the fastest growing spot for solo female travellers… report(ing) a 42% increase in solo bookings by travellers between 2015 and 2017, with women leading the way with a 45% increase compared with a 40% increase for men.”
“The rise in total solo bookings to Cuba alone increas (ed) by 371% from 2016 to 2017.”
“Solo travel,” The 2018 Lonely Planet article continues, “Was once seen as brave and risky for female travellers, but a shift in attitude has meant that it is now viewed an adventurous, exciting experience… (And) Cuba is the destination that seems most appealing.” Although the statistics for 2018-2019 are still in the making, a Hostelworld report found this trend is, “set to continue.”
Cuba Is Also A Male Traveller Hotspot
Whatever your sexual preference(s), Cuba is seeing an uptick of adventurous young travellers of both genders, with men experiencing a 40% increase between 2015 and 2017. So if you play your cards right you’ll be receiving Daiquiris and Mojitos from every direction.
Dancing The Night Away Is An Expectation, Not A Frivolity
As tourist guide ViaHero points out: “No partner? No problem! Dance is the language of Cuba, and there are plenty of locals who will take the lead.” And if the thought of stuttering through your already-awkward icebreakers in a foreign language is all too much, you can always hit up a local guide, who’ll give you top tips on where the cool cats are hanging out for a night (or three) of dancing. And don’t forget to dress up.
Popular nightclubs include:
There Are Adventurous Activities Galore
From showing off your biceps climbing Pico Turquino (the tallest peak on the island, standing at 6,476 ft tall) to surfing the east coast (only between August and mid November) there’s far more to a Cuba date than cycling tours and snorkelling.
“Solo travellers are heading to more adventurous spots off the beaten path,” (Lonely Planet).
There’s also insane scuba diving, luscious national parks and intrepid sailing experiences to explore if the pastel colours of the city get too much.
It Has Awesome Airbnb’s
It’s been four years since Airbnb expanded into Cuba. It now has more than 300 Airbnb offerings, some of which put a Santorini villa to shame. Given this, it’s almost harder to let your date down than it is to impress them.
As reported by Refinery 29, Cuba is Airbnb’s fastest growing vacation market ever, featuring two-story colonial houses from $176 a night, luxury beachfront villas from $105 a night, boutique B&B’s from $60 a night and mountain side villas from $40 a night.
It Is The Undisputed King Of Cuban Cigars
There’s a reason Cuba is known as “fine-smoke Eldorado”. To purchase cigars, take a tour, have a cheeky smoke or relax with a coffee (if you or the person you’re meeting up with isn’t a smoker), check out the following establishments.
- The Partagas Cigar Factory (our three recommendations are: the Hoyo de Monterrey Petit Robusto, Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill, and the Montecristo Petit Edmundo).
- The Hostal Conde de Villanueva (the recommended smoke here, according to the Habana experts, is La Gloria Cubana Medal D’or No. 2).
- La Quinta (arguably Cuba’s top cigar store, it would be hard to go wrong here—just ask the staff what you’re after).