Are you planning an upcoming trip to Cuba? If so, you’re in for a unique and unforgettable experience! But if you really want to get the most out of your Cuban travels, then reading up on the culture before you go is key. To help prepare yourself for an immersive cultural journey, we’ve created a list full of novels, non-fiction books and memoirs that will give you insight into the fascinating history and culture of this special Caribbean island. From political insights to street photography – our curated reading list has something for everyone in search of a deep dive into what makes Cuba such an incredible nation. So grab your Kindle or treat yourself to actual hardcovers; let’s explore literature about Cuba – one book at a time!

Cuba Cooks – Recipes and Secrets from Cuban Paladares and Their Chefs

Guillermo Pernot, Lourdes Castro, Jose Andres

Experience the authentic flavors of Cuba with award-winning chef Guillermo Pernot and acclaimed author Lourdes Castro as they take you on a culinary journey. Discover the bold and vibrant cuisine of the country’s finest paladares, blending traditional foundations with modern influences.

From the bustling streets of Old Habana to the picturesque towns of Santiago de Cuba, Pernot and Castro explore the island, collecting dishes and stories that showcase the vibrant contemporary cuisine. These recipes have been adapted from the best private restaurants and their own celebrated establishment, Cuba Libre.

Cuba Cooks is a treasure trove of mouthwatering recipes, divided into chapters for seafood, meat, vegetables, desserts, and essential basics. Indulge in culinary delights like Arroz con Bacalao, Charred Snapper in Coconut Sauce, and Oyster Ceviche. Experience the soul-warming flavors of Ajiaco and Cuban Fried Chicken. Delight in unique creations like Black Bean Gnocchi with Culantro Butter and Green Plantain Soup garnished with Popcorn.

Finish off your feast with the sweet flavors of Guava Ice Cream, Chocolate Tart with Caramelized Bananas, and traditional Bonatillos. Each recipe is a celebration of Cuba’s rich culinary heritage, brought to life with a modern twist.

Let Cuba Cooks transport you to the vibrant streets of Havana and beyond, where every dish tells a story. Embrace the flavors, techniques, and inspirations that make Cuban cuisine truly unforgettable. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure like no other.

Queen of Cuba – An FBI Agent’s Insider Account of the Spy Who Evaded Detection for 17 Years

Peter J. Lapp, Kelly Kennedy

Experience the gripping true story of Ana Montes, the Queen of Cuba, who deceived the US government for seventeen years as a spy. Raised in a family dedicated to their country, Ana’s betrayal shocked everyone. Discover her secret life of espionage, where she memorized top secret documents during her breaks and sent them to the Cuban government. With no payment or regard for her own safety, Ana risked it all.

Behind closed doors, Ana yearned for a normal life. She longed for love, dreaming of a future with a defense analyst who had no idea about her double life. Unbeknownst to him, she received encrypted messages from Cuba three times a week. Little did she know, the FBI was already on her trail.


In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Cuba sought to exploit the chaos and continue Ana’s treacherous work. But they didn’t anticipate the relentless pursuit of the FBI. Find out how retired agent Peter J. Lapp and his team uncovered the shocking truth and brought down one of the most dangerous spies in American history.

Prepare to be captivated by this astonishing tale of deception, loyalty, and the tireless dedication of those who fight to protect their country.

Cuba The Truth, the Lies, and the Coverups – Rites of Passage of a Master Spy

Julio Antonio del Marmol

In an audacious feat, newly-minted spy Julio Antonio del Marmol steals the prized briefcase of Ernesto “Che” Guevara from the provincial military headquarters in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Within this treasure trove of information lies a remarkable discovery – Guevara’s intentions to expand the communist influence gained through the revolution’s success in Cuba. Impressed by Julio Antonio’s intelligence, maturity, and way with words, Che makes an unprecedented decision – he wants to take Julio Antonio under his wing as a personal protégé. However, caution must be exercised, for Che is a dangerous and paranoid man. He even executes his closest confidante, with only a suspicion of involvement in an assassination plot that Julio Antonio heroically foiled, saving Che in the process. Guided by Che, Julio Antonio finds himself unraveling a web of deceit that unveils a chilling plot to assassinate a U.S. President.

Out of Havana – Memoirs of Ordinary Life in Cuba

Araceli Alonso

Unveiling the Untold Story of Cuba: A Journey of Hope and Struggle

Step into the extraordinary life of an ordinary Cuban woman as she navigates the turbulent history of Cuba in the past fifty years. In “Out of Havana,” we gain an intimate understanding of the passion, determination, and hope that defined the Cuban people during the revolutionary era of the 1950s and beyond.

Unlike dry academic studies or sterile historical accounts, this powerful memoir allows us to feel the pulse of Cuba’s triumphs and challenges. From the exhilaration of the 1959 Revolution to the glory days of the Castro regime, we witness the promises of a better future that kept the nation electrified.

However, as we journey into the later decades of the last century, the grim reality starts to seep through. With haunting elegance, our protagonist narrates the growing contrast between the grandiose ideals of the official narrative and the brutal conditions they, like many other Cubans, are forced to endure. From the Mariel Boatlift in the 1980s to the infamous “special period” and the Balseros Crisis of 1994, the stark truth emerges.

“Out of Havana” is a rare and invaluable testament, shedding light on the daily struggles and hardships that most Americans only catch glimpses of. Join us on this eye-opening adventure, as we explore the hidden corners of Cuban reality and discover a narrative that will resonate with your soul.

The Spy Who Loved Castro – How I was recruited by the CIA to kill Fidel Castro

Marita Lorenz

Experience the incredible life of Marita Lorenz as she witnesses some of the most momentous events of the twentieth century unfold before her eyes. From surviving a Nazi concentration camp as a child to falling in love with Fidel Castro in Cuba, Marita’s journey is filled with twists and turns. Recruited by the CIA to assassinate Castro, her loyalty and love for him prevents her from carrying out the mission. But that’s just the beginning.

Discover how Marita finds herself entangled in the world of Cold War intrigue, espionage, and conspiracy. From having a child with the ex-dictator of Venezuela to testifying about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, her story is like no other. She even becomes a party girl with connections to the New York mafia before becoming a police informant.

Get ready to be captivated by Marita’s incredible autobiography, where she shares her life as a spy for the CIA. And with eight pages of captivating black and white photographs, you won’t want to miss a single moment of her extraordinary journey.

My Life

Fidel Castro

Experience the captivating life story of Fidel Castro, the monumental political leader who shaped both Cuba and the world for over 50 years. In this groundbreaking autobiography, Castro shares his journey, taking us from his humble beginnings with his parents to his time behind bars, guerrilla warfare, and the iconic Cuban revolution. Unveiling intimate details of his encounters with key figures like John F. Kennedy and Ernest Hemingway, Castro’s incredible narrative leaves no stone unturned. No matter where you stand on Castro, this is a must-read account of an extraordinary life in an even more extraordinary era.

Guerilla Prince – Real Story of the Rise and Fall of Fidel Castro

Georgie Anne Geyer

In this captivating and thought-provoking book, esteemed foreign correspondent and syndicated columnist Geyer exposes the astonishing journey of Fidel Castro – from revered national hero to a desperate and oppressive dictator of a struggling nation. Through meticulous investigation, Geyer uncovers the hidden aspects of Castro’s life that he so meticulously concealed. From his privileged upbringing as the son of a wealthy landowner to his controversial education, where he immersed himself in the teachings of notorious leaders, Geyer leaves no stone unturned. But the real revelation lies in how Castro manipulated the Communist Party to attain ultimate power, challenging the conventional understanding of his political trajectory.

With unparalleled energy and an uncanny ability to tap into the hopes and desires of the Cuban people, Castro rose to the pinnacle of authority. However, this achievement came at a great cost – as his brutality, massive ego, and fierce animosity towards the US transformed him into a Latin American caudillo caricature. Meanwhile, his country descended into poverty, becoming one of the most destitute in the hemisphere. Geyer’s scrupulousness, expertise, and balanced perspective create an unparalleled portrait of Castro that will captivate readers. This book is an extraordinary achievement that should not be missed.


The Double Life of Fidel Castro – My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Lider Maximo

Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, Axel Gylden, Catherine Spencer

Prepare to be captivated as Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, a devoted soldier who served under Fidel Castro for an astounding 17 years, finally breaks his silence. In his gripping memoir, Sanchez reveals the truth behind years of loyalty, imprisonment, and torment at the hands of the infamous dictator. But it doesn’t end there – he also takes us on a thrilling journey of his dramatic escape from Cuba.

As one of Castro’s most trusted protectors, Sanchez was privy to his leader’s well-guarded secrets. From covert guerrilla training grounds across continents to an astonishing personal fortune that encompassed vast property holdings, a hidden paradise island, and embezzlement of public funds. Not to mention Castro’s complex relationships with family and nine children from different partners.

Prepare to have your perceptions shattered as Sanchez lays bare an array of state secrets, exposing the multifaceted nature of the Cuban monarch. From his strategic brilliance as a war leader in Nicaragua and Angola, to his despotic tendencies within his own borders. And let’s not forget his masterful espionage skills, his Machiavellian diplomacy, and his involvement with drug traffickers.

Prepare to have everything you thought you knew about Fidel Castro Ruz and the Cuban story challenged. This extraordinary and eye-opening testimony will make you completely reevaluate your understanding of this enigmatic figure and the history that surrounds him.

Cuba – A Brief History

Oscar Loyola Vega, Sergio Guerra Vilaboy

Discover the captivating and tumultuous history of Cuba in a concise and compelling overview written by those who know it best: the Cubans themselves. Cuba: A Brief History takes you on a journey through time, from the pre-Hispanic era to the present day.

Delve into Cuba’s ongoing struggle for independence and its determination to maintain the revolution, even in the face of challenges like the collapse of the Soviet Union. Explore the aftermath of Fidel Castro’s departure from power and the subsequent changes under new leadership. Witness the historic opening to Cuba by the Obama Administration, followed by the rollercoaster of events that unfolded during the Trump era.

This gripping account not only provides an overview of Cuba’s history and politics but also sheds light on the pivotal role of U.S. intervention on the island. Dive deeper into the subject with valuable footnotes and a bibliography for further exploration.

Whether you’re a student, a traveler, or simply someone intrigued by this enigmatic Caribbean nation, Cuba: A Brief History offers an essential introduction that will leave you informed and inspired. Prepare to be captivated by the island that has long held the world’s attention.

So many fabulous books out there about Cuba. You can learn much about the place from afar, but the real magic happens on the ground in Cuba, that’s where you can collect your own stories from the people and really learn about the place. So come and join us on an immersive experience around Cuba.