Cuba can be found in the turquoise waters amongst the rest of the Caribbean islands. It is approximately 225 miles off the coast of Florida, heading south. It is the largest island in the Caribbean, and its beautiful capital city is called Havana. Culturally, it is considered to be part of Latin America, rich in culture, history, and vibrancy.
Things to See in Cuba
Its beautiful beaches and waters draw millions, as well as the architecture, swaying palm trees, and bright colors integrated into its buildings. Plan your visit to experience one of the most gorgeous and vibrant of all the Caribbean islands, and try out any of these must-see places.
The beautiful Varadero beach is the most popular beach for tourists, and for a good reason. The soft, white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters of Varadero look unreal as if something from a postcard or magazine. Over 50 hotels line the beach, making it the perfect vacation spot. Deep sea fishing, swimming, snorkeling, and day trips are all available. Make sure to see the two caves called Cueva de Ambrosio and Cueva de Musulmanes.
The city of Trinidad is often packed with tourists, as it is one of the most favorite cities to see in Cuba. The architecture of the buildings and area dates back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries when the city’s life stemmed from slave and sugar trades. The Plaza Mayor is the central square of the town, and the monastery and Church of the Holy Trinity should not be missed either. The bright greens of the lush tropical vegetation paired with bright yellow and other colors is a festival for the eyes.
Old Havana presents a blast from the past, showing neoclassical buildings, many of which have gone under extensive renovations to make the area simply beautiful. See what it was like to live in Old Havana 200 years ago, based on the renovations and physical appearance of the city. The Casa del Conde Jaruco is one of the most popular buildings amongst tourists, as it is lovely, and the stained glass windows on the first floor are intricate and beautiful. Most people need at least a day to explore the Old Town area, so make sure to put Old Havana on your schedule. You will not be disappointed.
Castillo del Morro
The Spanish fortress known as the Castillo del Morro sits peacefully, still intact, at the entrance to the Bay of Santiago. Nestled high on top of a cliff, the structure tells tales of life from the 17th century. It was original to serve as protection against pirate attacks but later was used as a prison before being turned into a fortress. You can explore the different areas and levels of the fort, visit the small museum, learn about pirates, and take pictures from the cliff which has the best view of the bay, the mountains, and the beautiful coastline.
Caya Coco is another of the beautiful beaches Cuba has to offer. Here, the waters have a light blue to light green appearance, and they are still sparkling and gorgeous. White sand beaches await you and your guests. It is easy to see why this location was a star in some of Hemmingway’s novels, such as Islands in the Stream, and The Old Man and the Sea. Most people arrive here by air, although it is connected to the mainland by a bridge. The Playa Los Flamencos offers 5 kilometers of one of the loveliest stretches of beach you will ever see. It is much quieter and more secluded here if you are looking for a calmer or more romantic atmosphere.
Parque Nacional Vinales
A gorgeous green landscape located in a stunning valley makes up the Parque Nacional Vinales. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the valley floor was used for agricultural purposes for tobacco, vegetables, and fruit. The town of Vinales is located nearby and is a great place to explore. The park has opportunities to hike or to take a horseback ride in the hills, or simply bring your camera to capture the area along with the proud limestone hills peppering the valleys landscape. This is a truly beautiful place you don’t need to miss.
Peninsula de Zapata
As one of the largest wetlands of Cuba, the Peninsula de Zapata is home to birds, crocodiles, and wildlife galore. Part of the area has been turned into a nature reserve, called the Gran Parque Natural de Montemar. Here, visitors can witness wildlife in their natural habitats. Also on the peninsula is the Bay of Pigs, the famous location where the 1961 invasion took place. Learn about the historical events that happened that day in the museum called Museo Giron. Stop in the Criadero de Cocodrilos, a famous crocodile farm where many tourists flock to see the giant reptiles and take photos. There are many other things to do and experience on the Peninsula de Zapata, so enjoy your time there.
Caribbean isle of Cuba
Cuba is lush, tropical, and a heavenly island to visit. It looks like scenes from movies where the pirates cast their ships upon the white sand and turquoise water of a remote island. The people, landscape, and culture are vibrant and rich in history. Cuba is a beautiful place to lie on the soft sand or learn about island lifestyles in the 17th-century era. Dip your toes in the crystal clear waters of the tropical island of Cuba.
Top things to do in Cuba
There are so many things to do in Cuba even moving there for a few years wouldn’t be enough to experience this fascinating place fully. That’s why here’s a list of several things you simply must do during your trip, even if it’s just a short one. You might not be able to travel all across the country, visit every single museum and drink mojitos in hundreds of pubs, but you can try to do as much as you can, keeping in mind these little notes.
Drive around Havana in an old-style car
The cars that were imported to Cuba in 1950s, before the revolution, are still there. Because of the US sanctions and internal controls, it was hard to buy new parts or vehicles, so Cubans took a excellent care of what they had. That’s why Yank Tanks, old cars made the United States, became Cuba’s most known peculiarity. You can either rent one and drive by yourself or take an organized tour with a driver and discover the bustling city of Havana exactly the way it should be done: with the wind in your hair, listening to Buena Vista Social Club, watching the picturesque streets with beautiful colonial buildings and locals strolling around.
Cuba is a birthplace to various dance forms, from which many came to existence as a result of the romance between Cuban and African culture. Go to a party, join the crowd and just follow the steps of Cha-cha, Mambo, Rumba or Salsa. If you want to feel more confident, you can always take some lessons first, but you’ll most likely manage without it too, there are always locals and rhythms to guide you. Besides, since street music performances are typical, you might simply dance during one of them. There’re lots of magical things to do in Cuba, but dancing on the street is one you really shouldn’t miss.
Listen to live music
Go for a night out and choose a place with live Cuban music. You can wander around clubs and bars that often organize live shows. Even restaurants and hotels in Cuba usually hire a band playing some oldies. The sounds of salsa, son and Afro-Cuban jazz spread around the streets too, so if you’re lucky enough, you might just randomly come across a live performance.
Try scuba diving
Diving is one of the best things to do in Cuba, especially if you enjoy outdoor activities and water sports. Whether you’re an experienced diver or you’ve never tried it before, Cuba is a good place for underwater expeditions. The marine life is abundant and consists of numerous fish species, colorful and diversified. There are some unusual, strange ocean creatures too, so be ready to feel as if you just entered another dimension. You can use the help of diving centers to organize your trip. Some of the greatest diving destinations are The Isle of Youth and Jardines de la Reina archipelago. The best time is between December and April.
Learn about the history
The Museum of the Revolution in Havana is a must-see for those who want to get to know and understand the Cuban history and (since history is the key to understanding the presence) its current situation as well. The Museum of the Revolution offers exhibitions dedicated to the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban War of Independence. If you’re interested in the history of arts, visit the National Fine Arts Museum, also located in Havana. You’ll find there some real gems dating back to the 19th and 20th century. Melomaniacs will be thrilled to know Havana also has the National Museum of Music with a beautiful collection of traditional Cuban instruments.
Explore the countryside and small Cuban towns
That’s where you’ll find the most stunning views, the juiciest fruit, and the freshest air. The whole country is full of charming, little towns and villages in which you can experience the real Cuban culture. You don’t even need a guide to do it, just take a car and drive to some places outside of the major cities and tourist resorts. Especially in the surroundings of nature reserves and national parks you can find some tiny, enchanting spots.
Enjoy the nature
Go to the Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata, see the vast swamps, the variety of birds living there and sunbathe on the gorgeous white-sand beaches. Explore the caves and climb the mountains in the Viñales, an incredible lush valley. Make a trip to the wild area of the Parque Nacional La Güira, explore the caves, the mountains, and the jungle. There are numerous pristine beaches, lovely parks, hills and majestic peaks to be discovered. Nature-lovers have plenty of things to do in Cuba.
As you see, there is plenty things to do or see in Cuba. What is your favorite spot in Cuba? Please share with us your experiences of Cuba and don’t forget to share this post with your friends.