Carnivals, a popular festivity in Cuba, one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the Caribbean region over the past few years, are held throughout the country in summer.
A traditional sun and beach destination, Cuba complements the beauty of its seashores and exuberant nature with a rich cultural heritage and traditions, which are essential components of the island's tourist product.
Races and customs have mixed for several centuries, giving way to a unique culture that bears traits of African, aboriginal, Chinese, French and, of course, Spanish cultures.
For those who enjoy the carnivals for the first time, the fusion of such elements as high temperature, traditional dances and Creole musical rhythms – in many cases accompanied by drums and a Chinese horn – creates a sense of belonging that makes them repeat the experience.
Every year, spectators become active participants as soon as they listen to the music played by Cuba's most popular bands, regardless of whether they are nationals or foreigners.
The characteristics of the carnivals vary from town to town, being those held in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, the "parrandas" in Remedios and the Havana carnivals the most popular ones.
Experts say that Santiago de Cuba's carnivals are among the three most popular festivities in the country.
That kind of celebration has a strong African and Caribbean component, which is reflected in the rhythms and dances accompanying the merrymaking activities on the streets.
It is precisely in Santiago de Cuba where the Carnival Museum is located. Its halls are dedicated to the history of popular festivities that differ from those held in other regions of the country and influenced by Spanish, African and French-Haitian cultures.
This combination of cultures has led to greater dance and rhythmic diversity, the use of masks and other distinctive elements that turn those festivities into very attractive shows.
Cities characterized by their well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture, hotels where the plastic arts are promoted, patrimonial sites and a broad program of celebrations and festivities are offered by Cuba's tourist industry.
The island's cultural timetable includes meetings, workshops, festivals, congresses and courses that have been designed for all.