Travel planning

Cuba movie and reading list

Literature on Cuba

  • Tastes Like Home, by Eduardo Machado and Michael Domitrovich. “In his eccentric and often affecting memoir “Tastes Like Cuba,” Machado, a noted Cuban-American playwright, tells the story of his rootless, self-invented life, using food as his connecting thread.” (Read the full NY Times review)
  • Dreaming in Cuban, by Cristina García. A story about three generations of women and how the decision to stay or flee the country affected their lives.
  • Waiting for Snow in Havana, by Carlos Eire. The exiled author’s memoir about growing up in Cuba.
  • A Cuban Affair, by Nelson DeMille. The novel features an U.S. Army combat veteran Daniel “Mac” MacCormick, now a charter boat captain, who is about to set sail on his most dangerous cruise. The book’s depiction of Cuba’s infrastructure and culture is extremely accurate.
  • The other Side of Paradise, by Julia Cooke.  Change looms in Havana, Cuba’s capital, a city electric with uncertainty yet cloaked in cliché, 90 miles from U.S. shores and off-limits to most Americans. Journalist Julia Cooke, who lived there at intervals over a period of five years, discovered a dynamic scene: baby-faced anarchists with Mohawks gelled with laundry soap, whiskey-drinking children of the elite, Santería trainees, pregnant prostitutes, university graduates planning to leave for the first country that will give them a visa.
  • Cuban Revelations by Mark Frank. This book will give you a head start in understanding Cuba. Married to a Cuban, Marc is an American journalist who has lived in Cuba the past 20+ years. The book covers the changes in Cuba since Raul Castro took over as president in 2008 including the growth of the private economy. 
  • Moon Handbook Cuba by Christopher Baker. Provides historic and and cultural insights. Learn why there are so many 1940’s and 50’s American cars still on the road and why all the cars from the 60’s through 90’s are from Russia.
  • An American History of Cuba by Ada Ferrer (2021) provides an epic, sweeping history of Cuba and its complex ties to the United States—from before the arrival of Columbus to the present day—written by one of the world’s leading historians of Cuba.

Movies about or set in Cuba

  • Buena Vista Social Club. A documentary film about an ensemble of legendary Cuban musicians, painting a picture of music, friendship, live, and culture in Cuba. Also don’t miss listening to the studio album of the same name.
  • The Cuba Libre Story. A fascinating and informative documentary on Cuba’s history from the domination of Spain up to Fidel’s death, a multi-country co-production of France, Germany and Russia.