Just 90 miles off the tip of the Florida Keys, Cuba’s 42,426 square miles of land is home to more than 11 million people and an array of wildlife including tropical birds, frogs, and crocodiles. The largest of the Caribbean islands, this lively country boasts vibrant colors, whimsical buildings overflowing with character, and congenial locals. Since Columbus’s Spanish claim in 1492, Cuba has weathered centuries of history written into crumbling walls, generations of family recipes whispered from parent to child, and age-old cultural traditions still practiced to this day.
A single snapshot of Cuba could never encapsulate the diversity of activity and landscape the picturesque island offers. Old American automobiles in the brightest shades of every color zip up and down El Malecón through Havana, splashing water from the salty ocean waves that spill onto the roadway. In Viñales, farmers mount their horses to survey their tranquil tobacco fields. A couple of youngsters in matching uniforms amble home from school over Trinidad's cobblestone streets. A group of senior citizens gathers around a table at their community center for a spirited round of their favorite game, dominoes. [Reserve your spot on a National Geographic expedition to Cuba.]
While perhaps best known for its lively music, superior cigars, and beloved dances like the mambo and rumba, Cuba also showcases its vivacity in the most unexpected places. From hiking through agriculturally cultivated mountainsides and rural tobacco fields, to snorkeling through predatory habitats of crocodiles and sharks, the National Geographic Your Shot community has ventured into every corner of Cuba to capture a remarkable range of unique Caribbean sights.
Kylee Zempel is an editor/producer for National Geographic Travel.