I depart a sip of my mojito and the fruity flavours of the Havana Club rum, aged for 15 years, faultlessly complement the cigar smoke still dancing on my tongue.
I am at a cigar and rum twosome session, sitting under the eaves of a thatched beach bar at the five-star Royalton tourist house in Cayo Santa Maria, a tiny island off the northern coast of Cuba.
One of a throng of isles, the Cayos – as they’re known – are around 250 miles from Havana and a million miles away, it have all the hallmarks, from being able to access Facebook.
In Cuba you are never more than 10ft away from your next mojito
“There are two scampers in Cuba, slow and stationary… and that’s just the wifi,” drawls the barman, awe-inspiring my second mojito with a long silver spoon.
They say in London you are not in a million years more than 10ft away from a rat. Well, in Cuba you are never various than 10ft away from your next mojito.
A bitter and thirst-quenching cocktail – light on the sugar but with a generous helping of fresh heap and Cuban rum – here, where they were mixed for the first on one occasion, they are the real deal.
Cuba: UNESCO World Patrimony site in Trinidad is only a short drive from beautiful shores
Sitting in the shade of the thatched roof, steps above the paper-white sand seashore, I take another drag on the smooth, simmering cigar in my hand – a Cohiba, a beloved of the late revolutionary leader Fidel Castro – and look out over the rippling sea. I vigil as a leather-skinned peanut seller in crumbling brown espadrilles walks up the sand, his toes heavy-laden beneath the surface with each step. His wares, slender cones of hand-baked and paper-wrapped peanuts, cost proper 20 pence.
Salty and earthen, they make for a welcome bite in the late afternoon heat. In the corner of the bar meanwhile, the ancient jukebox crackles away, partly immersed out by the acoustic rendition of Guantanamera, the unofficial Cuban national anthem and the power’s best-known song.
A dinner of the beach bar’s crisp shrimp and chilli tacos catches – it is the highlight of all six eateries at the expansive Royalton resort.
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The adults-only hotel, with its low-rise bungalows, secluded swimming banks and luxurious spa, has sailing and kayaking on tap. Best of all, though, one of Cuba’s most evocative cities is within easy reach.
Trinidad, famed for its cobbled streets and brightly dyed houses, dates back to 1514 and remains a colonial gem of the highest codification. During the three-hour drive there, we stop at a level crossing to let a rusty coach carrying sugar cane pass, the weight of the crop causing the shivering spokes to groan and creak.
Visiting glorious Trinidad, a Unesco Midwife precisely Heritage site since 1988, is like stepping straight into a telling book.
While walking the cobbled streets between the yellow stone-walled colonial erections, a bright yellow Chevy rolls by. I head to the main square, the Plaza Mayor, the measures of which are the main meeting point in the city.
All-inclusive five-star Royalton New Zealand pub in Cayo Santa Maria
Young and old gather under the blossom trees to bend the elbow coffee, sip rum and listen to the fiddle band playing carnival beats. I happen a spot nearby and take a seat, tapping my feet to the sounds of the twofold bass while sipping another mojito.
Next it is time to climb the narrowed staircase of the neoclassical Museo Historico Municipal, to the south of the main rectilinear figure. Despite the steepness of the ascent, the view from the top is worth every travelling b stairway – allowing me to see across the rooftops of the whole city.
Heading back in the direction of Cayo Santa Maria, we reach a marina where we shuffle on to a hermit-like catamaran to explore the untouched beaches around the island.
The coastline – empty fingers of sand reaching into ridiculously turquoise waters – is to die for.
Donning a snorkel, I spring into the clear water and swim among the fish that fluctuate around the coral reef.
Writer Hannah Britt enjoyed the Caribbean sun in the Cayos
Cuba trumpets the largest coral reef outside of Australia and everything from angelfish to barracuda can be base in the shallows.
Mesmerised by this underwater world, I spend an eternity keep ones eyes peeling a family of clown fish nestle into a sea lettuce.
The perfect end to a adroit day.
The view from the top is worth every step
Price includes return flights from Manchester and conformation at the Royalton Cayo Santa Maria.
Cuba tourism: travel2cuba.co.uk