Maria Victoria O'Hana

Maria Victoria O'Hana
Maria Victoria is a Contributor at Cuba Direct. Born in London, she is of Cuban origin and has traveled the island extensively. Visiting Cuba regularly, Maria Victoria is always on the look out for new spots and insider tips.

Recent Posts

Queer Cuba: The Ultimate Guide For LGBT+ Travellers

Posted by Maria Victoria O'Hana on 27-Jun-2018 11:22:41

If you're looking for an exhaustive guide on LGBTQ+ travel to Cuba, then you've come to the right place. We've got you covered on everything you need to know - from travel advice, bar recommendations, and hot playlists - to the low-down on Cuba's sexual politics and an insight into gay-friendly destinations outside Havana.  This is a long one, so bear with us - we promise its worth the read. 

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Tags: lgbt travel, bars, where to go

5 Hidden Gems in Cuba

Posted by Maria Victoria O'Hana on 02-May-2018 10:33:19

Whether you're a first time visitor to Cuba or a seasoned Cubaphile, we've got the ultimate list of lesser-known gems that you won't be wanting to miss on your Cuban getaway! Jade-green waterfalls, historic diving spots, charming colonial towns and picture-perfect beaches - here's Cuba's top 5 hidden gems:

 

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Tags: travel ideas, recommendations, top destinations, where to go, destinations

5 Ways To Travel Cuba Like a Local

Posted by Maria Victoria O'Hana on 02-May-2018 10:31:51

Being half-Cuban and bilingual, I've had the distinct opportunity to experience Cuba both as a tourist and a local. Returning each year to visit family and friends,  I've travelled the island extensively and gotten to know her many facets and personalities. Each time, I come to the same conclusion: Cuba is not the kind of country you can experience superficially. You have to get down to the nitty-gritty. You have to seek out her realities. You have to immerse yourself. Otherwise, you're not doing justice to yourself or to her people. 

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Tags: recommendations, cuban food, casa particular, private homestay, where to go, insider tips

Cuba's Best-Kept Secret: La Cienaga de Zapata

Posted by Maria Victoria O'Hana on 02-May-2018 10:16:11

How the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Cienaga de Zapata remains largely unknown to foreigners is a mystery to most Cubans. Just a 2-hour drive from Havana, this incredibly unique swamp area is home to a diverse range of landscapes and hidden gems - from a treasure lagoon and crocodile farm, to underwater shipwrecks and the infamous Bay of Pigs - landing site of the 1961 CIA-sponsored invasion of Cuba. But the Bay of Pigs invasion is not the Cienaga's only historical claim to fame - in the late 1950s, when the Native American Miccosukees were fighting to gain rights and recognition from the U.S. government, Fidel Castro offered the Cienaga de Zapata to the Miccosukees as their homeland. Embarrassed, the U.S. government granted the Miccosukee tribe recognition and federal benefits. Today, the region serves as one of the best offbeat spots for eco-tourism in all of Cuba.

Read on to find out more about this fascinating region and which sites to visit in Cuba's best-kept secret!

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Travelling to Cuba: Your Questions Answered

Posted by Maria Victoria O'Hana on 20-Apr-2018 11:17:12

First time travelling to Cuba? We've got all your questions answered with a guide on everything you need to know about visiting Cuba - from visas, insurance and currency, to WiFi, accommodation and packing tips! 

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Tags: cuba, faqs, insider tips, tips, advice, where to stay

48 Hours in Viñales

Posted by Maria Victoria O'Hana on 29-Mar-2018 14:11:58

Located in the heart of Pinar del Rio, Viñales is an area of outstanding natural beauty, where tobacco is grown for the Cuban cigar industry. The valley itself is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is peppered with strange and unique “mogotes” – a series of tall, rounded hills which seem to pop out of the ground. As well as walking, the area is great for photography, bird-watching, cycling and horse riding. There are plenty of unique activities on offer, including boat-rides through the Cave of the Indian, tours of tobacco plantations, and an immersive experience in the Palenque de los Cimarrones - a former hideout for runaway slaves. 

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Tags: travel ideas, music, tobacco, holidays, recommendations, destinations, vinales, cigars, tips

8 Things to do in Cienfuegos

Posted by Maria Victoria O'Hana on 27-Mar-2018 15:19:10

Popularly known as the “Pearl of the South”, the beautiful seaside town of Cienfuegos is a must-see for anyone looking to venture off the tourist trail. Founded in 1819 by Luis D’Clouet, a French immigrant, the city seduces with its unique blend of French style and Caribbean flair. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cienfuegos was also the hometown of the world-famous singer, Benny Moré, who immortalised the city in a catchy guaracha of the same name.  With its colourful streets, sumptuous architecture and surrounding national parks, there’s a myriad of unique attractions in and around the city - so without further ado, here's 8 things to do on your trip to Cienfuegos (and a playlist for you to listen to on the way)!

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Tags: travel ideas, nature, cienfuegos, top destinations, destinations

10 Reasons You Have to Visit Trinidad

Posted by Maria Victoria O'Hana on 26-Mar-2018 11:31:10

Though most of us tend to envision Havana when we think of Cuba, the island is home to other, lesser-known cities that encapsulate the essence of Cuba in an altogether different manner. One of them is Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the best-preserved colonial cities in the entire Caribbean. Located on the Southern coast of Cuba, Trinidad offers the perfect blend of city, beach and nature – all within a short distance. Not that you’ll need much convincing, but here’s 10 reasons you have to visit Trinidad...  

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Tags: travel ideas, nature, history, music, holidays, destinations, where to go, trinidad

Cuba & Costa Rica: The Perfect Combination of Culture and Nature

Posted by Maria Victoria O'Hana on 01-Mar-2018 12:34:04

If you’re thinking of finally taking the plunge and booking that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Cuba, then you may want to consider penciling Costa Rica into your plans. In recent years, twin-country holidays have been trending amongst globetrotters, as travelers seek to get the most out of the time and money they’ve invested in journeying halfway across the world. Those looking to be seduced by the rich colours and history of revolutionary Cuba will find that Costa Rica’s verdant jungles and volcanic hot springs can offer the perfect contrast, throwing the Caribbean’s largest island into new and exciting contexts. A bio-diverse Central American treasure and a communist Caribbean time-capsule, Costa Rica and Cuba complement each other through their cultural and geographical diversity. And they’re conveniently close too – lying just across the stretch of the glittering Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is only 2h20 mins away from Cuba’s vibrant capital!

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Tags: cuba and beyond, costa rica, tobacco, cigars, holidays, exotic, cuba libre, travel blog, destinations, nature, culture, travel ideas

Cuba with Kids: How to Make the Most of Your Trip

Posted by Maria Victoria O'Hana on 13-Feb-2018 11:23:35

Travelling with kids can feel daunting, particularly in places like Cuba where there are a lot of unknowns for first-time travellers. What most people don’t realise, is that Cuba is quite the family-friendly destination, especially since Cubans are so welcoming and kind to children. In fact, you’ll often find Cubans quoting their national hero and poet, Jose Marti, who famously said that “children are the hope of the world, because they truly know how to love”.

To help you get the most out of your family trip to Cuba, we’ve spoken to our Cuban travel specialists to get the ultimate advice and insider tips. 

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Tags: kids, travel hacks, tips, packing, casa particular, safety, family

No One Knows Cuba Like We Do.

Welcome to our blog! This is where we share our expert knowledge of Cuba with the world, informed by:

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  • Travel consultants who have all lived and travelled extensively in Cuba

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