Cuban Cool By Rosalind Milani Gallieni

Cuba – a Caribbean Island blessed with palm trees, sultry temperatures, hip-swiveling rhythms, pristine beaches, and an excess of rum! Not forgetting the world’s finest hand rolled cigars…and socially apt sharks.


Starting with a 5-hour boat trip from Jucaro to Jardines de la Reina, a speck in the deep blue seas, which can officially be called the middle of nowhere – floats an oil rig platform, beautifully transformed into Italian design and style by its Italian owner from Como. Fish was exquisitely fresh straight from the sea and the lobsters from the mangroves, scattered all around us. Served twice daily by chef Eduardo, every dish came with the all important drizzle of Olive Oil – again, a comfort the owner sends in as priority!

Diving the Caribbean with videos and cameras at hand, catching this exceptionally untouched sea-world on footage, which back at home still makes viewers gasp in horror, as images of huge 3 meter long silky-sharks pass across the screen!

Tortuga Floating Hotel, Jardines De La Reina

Tortuga Floating Hotel, Jardines De La Reina

Back in Havana, the lumbering American Chevrolet taxis dating back to the 1940s and 1950s, which are patched and propped up, and come in all the colours of the rainbow, work their way through crazy and unpredictable haphazard traffic; day and night they bustle past bikes and side cars, yellow Coco-taxis (a Piaggio Ape chassis with a yellow coconut shell on it which you sit in), yellow buses stuffed to the windows with local commuters, who at times hang off the wing mirrors as the doors close and the bus drives on! It all depicts the spirit of the nation.

This deep immersion into the Cuban lifestyle has left us all vibrantly energized and custodians of a lifetime experience, having lived a lifestyle the West has left behind, and that is close to the brink of change. Despite the scars of the revolution, headed up by Fidel and Che (which by the way means “Dude”), which struck both the buildings, the nation and their communities, Cuba’s people are happy, immensely proud of their country, radiant without resentment or crime.

Go there soon, see the WHOLE of Cuba, drive along the crazy long roads which cross the island, and witness the life outside the city, the lush plantations, the colour of the earth, the oxen working the land, the high mountains. See Havana ALIVE before the changes of UNESCO and long-term investors change the face of a romantic and beautifully real city, which drifts from day to day in the wonderfully addictive Cuban sun, while musicians play at every street corner; rhythms unchanged since the 1930s.

For prices and reservations at Tortuga Floating Hotel, go to