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Setting sail: Discover Latin American culture with a luxury Cuba yacht charter

Set sail for Cuba and immerse yourself in exotic culture and stunning scenery. Charter a superyacht with Y.CO for the experience of a lifetime. Luxury travel writer Justin Dean takes a look at why you should visit Cuba this year and explores what Y.CO offers the discerning traveller looking for the very best on the high seas.

On a superyacht charter in Cuba, experience a stunning country of sugar-white beaches, lush mountain valleys, and grand colonial cities, where locals play dominos and dance the rhumba in the streets. Journey through a Caribbean almost frozen in time.

Cuba is the largest country in the Caribbean and is an ideal cruising ground for a luxury yacht charter, with 3,000km of coastline and a staggering 4,000 outlying islands and rocky cays – each of which is surrounded by waters of a vivid aquamarine.

Diving and Fishing
These warm, crystalline seas offer some of the most spectacular cave and reef diving on the planet. Home to the world’s third largest barrier reef, the pinnacle of Cuba’s excellent diving is found at Jardines de la Reina – an explosion of marine life so abundant that the area is nicknamed ‘The Galapagos of the Caribbean’. Dive with whale sharks, alligators and turtles in fantastic coral gardens that have remained in a pristine state since the days of pirates and Spanish galleons. Cuba also offers some of the finest fishing to be found anywhere: from the snapper and grouper fish of the reefs to marlin, sailfish and barracuda out in deeper waters.

Cuba Diving
The pinnacle of Cuba’s excellent diving is found at Jardines de la Rein

Wildlife and Landscape
Back on the beaches you’ll find acres of soft sand, tall waving palms, and even a few iguanas basking in the tropical sunshine. On the outlying islands you’ll discover a quiet paradise of idyllic fishing villages and pink flamingos stalking slowly through the flats. During your Cuba superyacht charter kayak through the mangrove swamps, looking out for alligators and shy manatees in the shallows; take a walk through a jungle where monkeys chatter from the canopy and tropical flowers decorate the colourful setting; and admire up to 25 endemic species of exotic birds as they soar overhead.

Christopher Columbus said Cuba was the most beautiful land he had seen on his travels, and it is easy to see why: with glorious beaches giving way to rolling fields and lush mountain valleys, Cuba is a unique destination of unparalleled beauty. Take a horse trek through the green hilly terrain, past ox-drawn carts and friendly hill towns, hike up mountains that rise sheer from the valley floor, or fish for bass in one of the inland rivers.

City Life
When you’ve had your fill of nature on your Cuba yacht charter, it is time to turn your attention to the country’s extraordinary cities. UNESCO-listed Havana and Trinidad are like nowhere else on earth, with wonderfully preserved Spanish colonial and Art Deco architecture. In Havana, old American cars painted neon pinks and wild yellows cruise down narrow, cobbled streets of decaying buildings and revolution-inspired street art. Groups of men gather to play dominos at tables outside traditional rum bars, and thousands gather on the seafront at sunset to chat, play music and enjoy the cool of the night air. And then the dancing begins.

La Havana old town
The heart and soul of Havana is the old town Habana Vieja

Who Can Travel to Cuba?
Cuba is open to cruising and general tourism for all, with the exception of American citizens; that is, unless travellers gain access through one of 12 exempt categories. However, with the improvement of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, new US-Cuba flights are being planned; it’s considered only a matter of time before all Americans and American yachts are allowed to cruise Cuban waters freely for the first time since 1961.

Yachting in Cuba
The Cuban government is actively encouraging yachting tourism and marina development, with over 20 marinas built and another 23 in various stages of completion. While currently the marinas can only take yachts up to 150ft, Cuba offers excellent anchorages along vast stretches of its coastline and is an excellent cruising choice for those in search of an authentic destination. Also extremely promising is the recent move by the government to grant special cruising licenses to a couple of small cruise ships and American charter yachts.

The future looks very bright indeed for the luxury yachting industry in Cuba. Luxury yacht charters to Cuba are on the rapid increase; get in touch with Y.CO to book a spectacular yacht charter back through time, before the modern world intrudes and changes it forever.