Cuba 10×10: 10 days. 10 Pics.

Just south of the Tropic of Cancer, rum pulses in the veins of the Caribbean’s largest island, Cuba. The cocktail menus are often more extensive than the food options, and for good reason. They have the rum part down pat and it seems to marry well with everything and everyone.

But, Cuba is so much more than a booze-tastic all-inclusive destination. Yes, the water is cerulean. Yes, the sand is like padding around in sugar. But, it’s also an island of constant surprise, contrast and intrigue. The arts scene is vibrant, salsa music pumps out of every open window, bar and resto—and even on the beach. You will be guaranteed a soulful serenade at some point during your stay.

Many of Cuba’s cities are designated as World Heritage Sites, and the aging facades of the colonial buildings and cobblestone roads are like stepping into a time capsule. The parade of vintage Fords and buffed up Bel Airs are a strange reminder of decades gone by.

In August I spent 10 days in Cuba courtesy of  a partnership between The Adventure Center and The Matador Network. In 2011-2012, The Adventure Center sent eight Matador U students and alumni on adrenalin-kicked trips. My cub reporter duties took me from Havana to Holguin to Trinidad, being chased by Tropical Storm Isaac. Trusty notepad and pork rinds in hand, Canon trained on the sensory assault, this was my Cuba, 10×10. A pleasurable balm to the -12 (“feels like -19”) temps in Toronto tonight.

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Okay, that was 12 pics, but…

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