The Knopf Guide to Cuba, a close-by but long forbidden destination now open to Americans, takes the reader to a country with a turbulent and colorful history -- from its discovery by the Spanish in the 15th century to the revolution of 1953-67 to the politics ofthe 90s. The 2,000 color illustrations highlight the dramatically varied terrain from savanna to rainforest, the rich wildlife -- avian or underwater -- as well as such exotica as the popular cults that originated in Africa. The Latin music and dance and the spectacular architecture, whether religioous or colonial, are all aspects of the co-mingled European and Cuban culture that has so fascinated travelers. With the Knopf Guide, explore the local cuisine, customs such as carnival and Cuba's celebrated exports like rum and cigars.
Eight detailed itineraries take the reader all around Havana from old Havana and its two showpiece squares, Plaza de Armas and Plaze de la Catedral to the Partagas cigar and tobacco factory to Plaza Vieja where local wealthymerchants once lived. From there, explore the west of the island, the province of Pinar del Rio, the verdant tobacco heartland, with rounded limestone mountains and dramatic scenery; to the north where fashionable Varadera resembles Miami Beach and Cardenas is home to the celebrated Museo de oscae Maria de Rojas devoted to Cuban coins, weapons, shells, butterflies and pre-Columbian art; to the center of Cuba is the site of the Bay of Pigs; or the East to Santiago, Cuba's second largest and most exotic city at the foot of the Sierra Maestra mountains.
Portable, practical and lavishly illustrated, the guide also includes information on getting around Cuba, finding the best restaurants, nightlife and cultural spots. And as always, there is a section on the region as seen by artists and writers.