It may have been the big brown eyes
of the band leader who asked, or it may have been that no one in Canada ever begs me to sing anything (at least, not once they’d heard my voice!) Whatever the incentive, I soon found myself belting out the song, while the resort band played behind me, madly memorizing the words.
It was my moment as a rock star.
Strangely wonderful things like that just seem to happen in Granma province, a secluded resort area on the eastern side of Cuba at the foot of the Sierra Maestra Mountains.
Available on package holidays exclusively with Sunwing, the beaches of Granma are impeccable and the people eager to show their talents, their hospitality and their beautiful country.
Local resorts like the cozy Club Amigo have developed a collection of repeat visitors from Canada who are passionate in their loyalty. Staff report that one woman from Dundas, Ontario has visited 86 times!
And what brings these devotees
» It might be the reasonably priced lagoon boat tours.
» Or the three-times-weekly trips to a private beach offered by the hotel.
» Or it might just be the jeep excursions.
Many Caribbean destinations offer jeep tours - but the ones here are truly special.
Here, you get a glimpse into what it’s like to be Cuban. Guests of the Club Amigo are taken to the farm of Nico and Katarina Guevara, where the family waits with home-brewed coffee.
You’re far less a tourist than an honored guest.
Stops include impromptu lessons about which berries you can and can’t eat, as well as the 354 species of birds to be found in Cuba, but lunch is the best part of the tour.
A climb down a steep set of hillside
stairs leads to the Flora Y Fauna lodge, an open-air dining room beside a spectacular waterfall. While you take a refreshing dip under the natural shower, the band plays every Cuban, Spanish and Mexican song you’ve ever heard,
with a couple of Beatles tunes thrown in for good measure. We enjoyed an open air barbecue and al fresco meal, while a white-coated chef sliced fresh avocadoes onto a platter.
And since there’s nothing like dancing to revive you after a great meal, we found ourselves salsa dancing, laughing in the sunshine and feeling thoroughly Cuban.
There’s a warmth in Granma, Cuba, that comes not from just from the sun but from the people. The welcome they offer is one of the most genuine you’ll ever experience – their hearts shine
in their eyes, and your own heart may break just a little when it comes time to leave.