Cuba

18th May 2007 at 01:00
Silvio Romero has taught English for 26 years at the Trece de Marzo School in Cotorro, just outside Havana. Here he introduces you to his home country

Favourite place when you have time off?

I love open places mostly. Walking and swimming with my wife and daughter, who is 17. We go to the parks, the beach, the Caribbean. We love Guanabo, a big beach north-east of Havana. You can buy pizza and soft drinks, but we take our own food. If we have longer, we go camping somewhere such as La India, one of the camping resorts north-east of Havana.

We love going to museums in the old part of town, which dates from Spanish colonial times. One museum we particularly like is the Hemingway (www.cnpc.cult.cu) at Finca Vig!a, which is near Cotorro. It is surrounded by vegetation and we like to walk there.

When is a good time to come?

Between February and May, around Easter especially, the weather is good. I would say July and August are a little too hot.

Lunchtime treats?

La Bodeguita del Medio (www.labodeguita.com), in the centre of Havana next to the cathedral, serves typical Cuban food such as white rice and pork or chicken. Sometimes they serve fried bananas. Once I took some friends from Finland there and they loved it.

Evening delights?

In Vedado there is a big ice cream parlour called Coppelia, next to the Habana Libre hotel. My favourite flavour is chocolate.

Do not miss It is wonderful to walk along the Malec"n - the promenade that stretches along Havana's seafront. There are recreational parks and amusement parks, although my daughter is too old for those now. Also try the National Zoo and Expocuba, which is a big open area of displays and exhibitions where you can walk and sit under the trees. The botanic garden across from Expocuba is a wonderful place and very green.

Remember to bring or buy You will need to buy a sombrero because the sun is extremely hot. T-shirts make good souvenirs, as do handicrafts, particularly those made of ceramics. You can buy handicrafts, paintings and clothes at the Feria del Malec"n Silvio Romero was talking to Renata Rubnikowicz

Find out more

Cuba Tourist Board (0207 240 6655, www.cubatravel.cu)

How to get there

Tailor-made specialist Captivating Cuba (0870 887 0123, www.captivatingcuba.com) will arrange anything from a Havana break to a two or three-centre beachcountrysidetouring holiday. As an example, six nights' bed and breakfast in Havana at the two-star Park View Hotel, including return flights from Gatwick with Cubana Airlines, taxes and transfers, is pound;599 per adult and pound;399 for the first child. The Tourist Card (visa) is Pounds 15 per person.

Price to the planet

Offset the climate cost of a return flight from Gatwick to Havana for Pounds 15.90 per passenger www.climatecare.org

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