Travel writer Tommy Walker, aka the Wandering Walker, has spent the last six years travelling the world. In his latest article, he visits Cancun and Cuba, and argues you should experience both in one trip

IT’S no secret that travel has got bigger in recent years, with the access to far-flung destinations across the world, countries are now accessible and wanting your business. With the boom of social media and the eyes that are glued to those rectangular smartphone screens, it’s impossible not get a sense of wanderlust, every day.

With so many different trips available nowadays, catering from the adventurer to the partygoer, it does make me ponder what people who travel really want when they hit the road. Don’t get me wrong we love going on our holidays, but we’ve been taking beach holidays for years in the vicinities of Spain and co. Is there somewhere else we can visit that gets us both a sunny and cultural holiday experience?

My pick would be Cancun in Mexico and its neighbour, Cuba. I took a flight a couple of years back from Manchester to Cancun. The flight was about ten hours. What I didn’t know at the time was how close Cancun is to Havana, the capital of Cuba – it’s only 45 minutes between Cancun and Havana by flight.

Cancun, Mexico

ON the Cancun side, I could head to outstanding beaches, eat as many tacos as I could and have a few drinks down the heart of Cancun’s hotel zone. Cancun is a holiday place and ideal for visitors. It certainly beats the frost of the North-East!

For a beach island getaway: Only 20 minutes by boat, Isla Mujeres (Woman Island) is everything you want. Not only are the waters crystal clear blue, the sand is white and the weather is consistent. There’s plenty to do on the island too, from quad biking, to scuba diving to eating Mexican food.

For a show: The biggest show in Cancun and arguably the whole of Latin America, is Cocobongo’s, famed for its extravagant live shows, including celebrity re-enactments in dramatic fashion or the re-telling of a movie in a few minutes. Throw in flashing lights, thousands of people and a great vibe, Cocobongo’s is definitely the must visit in Cancun.

For a day trip: Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is a must see if you’re in and around Cancun. This incredible Mayan structure dates back to 600AD and is the flagship archaeological attraction in Mexico today.

For the water: Mexico is famous for its Cenotes – swimming holes dotted around the city. Jump in for a dip and a swim to the dark green waters. The weather in Cancun will definitely permit you to cool down at some point.


YET, why not mix it up and visit the stuck-in-time country of Cuba? We love the look of the old fashioned Chevrolet cars, we love the refreshing taste of a Mojito and even though it isn’t good for you, the cigars look pretty damn cool to me. Heading over to Havana isn’t difficult and within an hour you’ll be ready to land. The currency and custom is different in many aspects, but that’s just it, you’ll be getting best of both worlds.

Walking around Havana as you can imagine, is a bit of a time warp. Communism has been the way of life here and that, among other political restraints has put Cuba on the back burner. Still, it’s fascinating and that’s what Cuba’s main sell is, it’s old school, it’s vintage – a far cry from Cocobongo’s in Cancun.

BOTH destinations are under the same lantern of Latin culture and will be experiences you will never forget. With Cuba, especially Havana, you can explore a new culture to you and see what life is like in a time-forgotten country yet with the most passionate of locals and colourful of cities.

Cancun is the opposite, with modern development, clean resorts and a major tourist hotspot for visitors all over the world. There’s nothing wrong with experiencing both, whether you like one more than the other. I’ve said this many a time, experiencing both on and off the beaten track destinations is important – you have every right to enjoy both. So with summer here, get online and book a holiday to Cancun and Cuba. Switch between the two; trust me, it probably sounds more hassle than it really is.