Instantly recognisable with its psychedelic Che Guevara murals, handmade cigars, fading façades and colourful cars from the 1950s, Cuba is a nation that defies all logic.
The month of May will see the communist nation celebrate is 110th year of Independence but its the past 50 years that have seen Cuba develop into a one of travel's great curiosities.
Fidel Castro, with the help Che Guevara, seized control of the country during the late 1950s in a move that angered the US government.
The CIA conspired with the Chicago mafia in 1960 and 1961 to assassinate Fidel Castro. Both attempts were unsuccessful and fuelled Castro's hatred for America while Castros' appalling Humans Rights record further antagonised the West.
The ensuing embargoes on all trade with the Western World for over half a century has left Cuba in a time warp that now woes travellers from far and wide.
Ironically this time warp has forced Cuba to find its own path of development and it now has a literacy rate of 99.8% - one of the world's highest, an infant death rate lower than some developed countries and an average life expectancy of 77.64.
In 2006, Cuba was the only nation in the world which met the WWF's definition of sustainable development.
A visit to this perplexing, exciting and unusual country is essential with Intrepid Travel's eight-day Classic Cuba tour, priced from $930.