19 Unforgettable Locations to Go to In Cuba in 2023
Cuba is really a singular vacation spot. The biggest of the Caribbean Islands, Cuba will appeal you with its charismatic vibe influenced by 4 centuries of African, Caribbean, and Spanish cultures. In all places you look there are reminders of its previous built-in with the current. That will help you immerse in Cuban tradition, we’re going to share the most effective locations to go to in Cuba to expertise an genuine and unforgettable trip.
Prime Locations To Go to In Cuba
Cuba transgresses the boundaries of time, spanning six many years concurrently. In Outdated Havana take within the mid-century ambiance of the UNESCO World Heritage Website mixed with its Spanish colonial structure. Hail a traditional American automotive, and whisk alongside the Malwcón with hair flowing within the wind. Outdoors the town, there’s a bounty of pure magnificence to discover with hundreds of miles of Caribbean shoreline shielding glimmering coral reefs in tranquil turquoise waters.
In the event you arrive with an open thoughts, you’ll really feel the brand new winds of Cuba whispering between the tones of salsa, reggaeton, and mesmerizing Santeria tambores calling on the saints to descend in celebration. Listed below are the 18 greatest locations to see when visiting Cuba that you simply’ll always remember.
1. Go to Mesmerizing Havana
Of all of the distinctive locations to go to in Cuba, the well-known capital Havana must be on prime of your checklist! Usually vacationers both immediately fall in love with Havana or don’t get it in any respect. However should you give it time and wander its cobbled streets soaking in Cuban life and the totally different architectural types from the previous city to the central enterprise district you’ll be captivated. We suggest a minimum of a day in Havana, but when you are able to do three days, you’ll actually have the ability to see all of it
There are such a lot of distinctive issues to do in Havana, which is a metropolis stuffed with music, artwork, tradition, and scrumptious meals in addition to Cuban historical past, museums, landmarks, noise, and rubble. Many must-see locations are additionally inside day journey distance from Havana.
The very first thing I like to recommend is that you simply take a traditional American automotive tour across the metropolis, and take within the contrasts. It is a tremendous approach of getting an outline of higher Havana and experiencing firsthand the totally different ambiances of the town districts.
The second is to do a guided strolling tour of the historic Outdated Havana (La Habana Vieja). Be taught concerning the wealthy historic particulars of colonial Havana, revolutionary Havana, and Che Guevera. Be sure to go to the Plaza de la Catedral, Bodeguita del Medio (the place Hemingway frolicked), and the Castillo de la Actual Fuerza.
My third suggestion is to e-book a desk for dinner at Paladar San Cristobal (the place Obama had dinner) or the rooftop terrace at implausible La Guarida, each in Central Havana. Ask for a chambre separé in San Cristobal if you’re a bunch, it will likely be a tremendous night. At La Guarida, stroll over to the opposite finish of the restaurant after dinner for a nightcap on the superb rooftop bar with beautiful night time views of Havana.
Vibrating within the distinction between the beautiful and decaying, the brand new, the classic, and the traditional, Havana’s distinctive ambiance is created by many years of solitude, a proud nationwide feeling, and a fading romantic thought concerning the revolution.
With its Spanish colonial structure and the fierce Malecon boardwalk, a go to to Havana is an unimaginable expertise should you maintain your eyes and coronary heart open. Discover the centuries-old streets, peek past the facade, let the town inform you its historical past, and take within the ambiance of Cuba’s capital.
The place to Keep in Havana
Planning on staying in Havana? The Iberostar Grand Packard is one among Havana’s most luxurious motels with the most effective sundown view within the metropolis. Have a cocktail on the Sixth-floor bar overlooking the infinity swimming pool and the Malecon.
2. Really feel Genuine Cuba In Guanabo City
In the event you prefer to expertise the authenticity and uniqueness of a vacation spot if you end up touring, then top-of-the-line locations to go to in Cuba is Guanabo.
Situated simply half an hour’s drive east of Havana alongside the shoreline, Guanabo is a typical Cuban small city. It isn’t freed from vacationers, however it’s a vacation spot a lot much less traveled than Havana or Varadero. There’s a myriad of bars and small eating places with random self-appointed DJs alongside the principle avenue of Guanabo.
Cease for a mojito in one of many roadside bars, and purchase a typical Cuban lunch within the park subsequent to La Esquina de Los Caballitos (convey money) together with the remainder of the locals. Then head for Guanabo Seaside, the place on the weekend every cluster of sunbeds homes a household with their subwoofer enjoying both reggaeton or salsa whereas sharing a bottle of rum with everybody!
Take a day journey to Guanabo, or go for staying right here for an evening or two if you’d like a extra genuine Cuban expertise than partly polished Outdated Havana. You can see casa particulares for hire in Guanabo throughout the spectrum from easy normal to luxurious, whereas experiencing a more true vibe of what Cuba 2023 is like, together with the nightlife!
3. Basque In Turquoise Waters At Playas del Este
Playas del Este is a series of small seashores mendacity like beads on a series unfold out to the east of Havana metropolis. Plenty of Cubans come to Playas del Este to benefit from the sand and sea, particularly through the weekends. The closest seashore to Havana is the small bay of Playa Bacuranao, whereas essentially the most stunning one in keeping with a number of vacationers, is Playa Santa Maria del Mar.
On the latter, you’ll be able to count on a number of life and hustle and bustle, particularly on the weekends, from kiosks promoting every thing from conventional rooster with rice, rum, and ice cream whereas enjoying music on the nightclub stage.
Guanabo city is inside strolling distance of the japanese seashore of Playa Boca Ciega, in addition to Playa Guanabo. Playas del Este are the most effective seashores to go to on a day journey from Havana. You’ll be able to take the bus from Parque Central, hail a non-public taxi to are inclined to you all day, and even e-book a seashore journey as an organized tour on-line.
4. All-Inclusive Heaven In Varadero
In 2019, Varadero Seaside was voted ahead because the second most stunning seashore on this planet on TripAdvisor. For anybody eager for a real Caribbean vacation with crispy white sand and blue oceans, resorts, and swimming pools, this is likely one of the prime locations to go to in Cuba.
The sandy string of seashores follows alongside the complete shoreline of the slim Hicacos Peninsula stretching into the ocean off Cubas’s northern coast.
The peninsula is especially the house of quite a few giant pampering all-inclusive resorts stuffed with swimming swimming pools, eating places, and spas alongside the shoreline, solely steps from the white sands and the ocean. There’s a small city heart the place you discover eating places, an artisan market, quite a lot of outlets which you can take pleasure in, and even a mall constructed within the 90s, weirdly named Plaza America.
Varadero is ideal for a Caribbean getaway with swimming, snorkeling, boat journeys, scuba diving, or just absorbing some sunshine, and there’s a golf course with spectacular proximity to the Caribbean surf.
You may as well go exploring close by caves, go to the Botanical Backyard, a pure reserve, or enterprise out deep sea fishing!
Simply know that should you keep in a Varadero resort in your complete trip, you haven’t actually visited Cuba, as the actual Cuba may be very totally different. So it’s actually nice that Varadero is inside tour distance to different locations in Cuba, like Vinales, Havana, Trinidad, and Cienfuegos. Test it out.
5. Lush Inexperienced Valle de Viñales & Cuban Cigars
Primarily well-known for being residence to the coveted Cuban cigars, Vinales is a small agricultural city in a lush inexperienced fertile valley situated within the western a part of Cuba, in Pinar del Rio province.
You’ll be able to take a day journey to Valle de Viñales from Havana, and even from Varadero (though that could be a actually lengthy day) and expertise the highlights of the valley. See the Mural de la Prehistoria, the beautiful Cueva del Indio cave, go to a Cuban cigar farm, and have a standard Cuban lunch – all in in the future!
In case you have time to journey slower, you may also keep an evening or two in a casa specific within the small however charming Vinales city heart.
There are a number of distinctive eating places and bars so that you can discover providing conventional meals with native components and scrumptious Cuban meals like ropa vieja or pollo con arroz morro. There’s one particular factor about Vinales that has put the valley on the UNESCO World Heritage website checklist, and that’s the mogotes. Scattered across the valley small abrupt hills are mendacity like inexperienced sugar tops throughout the valley ground; the mogotes.
Mogotes are remoted, steep-sided, and rugged hills composed of limestone, marble, or dolomite, with rounded shapes that tower above the flat plains round them.
In the event you keep some time, you should have time to go on hikes to discover the mogotes up shut, a few of them have caves the place you’ll be able to go swimming or mountain climbing inside.
Or strive mountain climbing on the skin, stroll the numerous trails across the valley, go horseback using, and go to the close by limestone caves. Possibly go to the pristine seashores on Cayo Jutias up north on a day journey?
6. Ruggedly Untouched Island Cayo Jutias
Cayo Jutias is a gorgeous island you’ll be able to attain by driving north throughout a causeway on the verge of Pinar del Rio province, off the northwest coast of Cuba.
Right here you discover nothing however a quiet seashore with a slim strip of crispy sand separating the mangroves from the tender sea.
You’ll be able to take a taxi as much as this tranquil island for the day (there aren’t any motels right here), a few hours from Vinales. It’s excellent for anybody searching for a calming getaway, with beautiful seashores, clear blue waters, and easily chill.
Most vacationers instantly fall in love with the pristine rugged great thing about Cayo Jutias. In contrast to different locations in Cuba, the untouched Caribbean seashores right here haven’t been developed like Varadero or a few of the different Cuban keys.
There’s a restaurant and a few bars on the seashore the place the costs are respectable for cocktails and sandwiches. Spend the day snorkeling, swimming or just doing nothing on the seashore earlier than you come to mainland Cuba within the afternoon.
7. Sustainable Las Terrazas in Pinar del Rio
Las Terrazas is a picturesque, serene group that focuses on sustainable improvement in Pinar del Rio, and permits its guests to change into one with nature.
Situated 46 miles west of Havana, this tranquil oasis is located within the Sierra del Rosario which was appointed a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1985. Within the late Nineteen Sixties, Las Terrazas was created to revive an space that had been severely broken by intensive espresso manufacturing within the nineteenth century.
Thousands and thousands of timber had been planted, terraces for agriculture excavated, and a small city was constructed to maintain nature as its focus. Now the land is protected moderately than exploited; its cycles are revered and appreciated in excellent concord with nature.
Las Terrazas is likely one of the locations in Cuba that has attracted a vibrant group of gifted artists. It additionally supplies an unimaginable out of doors setting for nature fanatics from open public workshops and studios to limitless alternatives for out of doors actions. Spend the day within the stunning river oasis, with layered cascades working from one stage to a different of crystal clear swimming pools the place you’ll be able to take heavenly dips within the waterfalls.
From the luxurious vegetation of the Sierra del Rosario mountain vary, additionally, you will discover beautiful viewpoints, and tropical mountain surroundings round Las Terrazas, the place you’ll be able to gaze on the hazy shoreline!
8. Colonial Dwelling Museum Of Trinidad
Trinidad is sometimes called “the museum of Cuba”, a singular colonial metropolis situated on Cuba’s southern shores round 4 hour’s drive from Havana.
The rationale Trinidad is protected by the UNESCO World Heritage Website checklist is that its historic heart seems to be nearly equivalent in the present day because it did on the top of Cuba’s sugar period when Trinidad was the sugar capital of the island. When Cuba was priced out of the sugar commerce by different nations, the town turned a forgotten backwater, a spot that was not developed like different Cuban cities within the nineteenth and twentieth Centuries.
Trinidad in the present day is likely one of the most well-known locations to go to in Cuba for its well-preserved colourful colonial buildings and cobblestone streets. Right here historic telltales from the colonial period within the Caribbean and Cuba are discovered within the particulars.
Go to one of many numerous museums(don’t miss the Museum of Colonial Structure aka Museo de Arquitectura Colonial) and artist’s studios in Trinidad’s historic heart, stroll round Plaza Mayor at dusk, and luxuriate in a meal on the balcony of Los Conspiradores reverse Casa de la Musica.
Journey the brief distance to the Valle de Los Ingenios, or Valley of Sugar Mills, as soon as residence to huge sugar plantations. From Trinidad, you may also discover the Topes de Collantes nationwide park, or just head out to paradisiacal Playa Ancon seashore simply quarter-hour from Trinidad city heart.
9. Cienfuegos Metropolis With The French Heritage
The particular factor about Cienfuegos is that it’s the solely metropolis in Cuba that was based by the French, not the Spanish (though beneath the Spanish crown).
A small city situated on the southern coast of Cuba simply west of Trinidad, the heritage of Cienfuegos is detectable in structure and even metropolis planning. You discover a miniature model of the Arc de Triomphe in the principle metropolis sq.; Parque Jose Marti.
Alongside Boulevard avenue in Cienfuegos is quite a lot of outlets and small eating places, and when the Boulevard closes, the Paseo del Prado wakes up. That is the place the Cienfuegos nightlife is discovered, because the solar units, the doorways and home windows open alongside the Prado and the music begins.
You may as well go to sights just like the superb botanical backyard, or go kayaking or horseback using exterior the town. After which head out to Camila’s restaurant out on Punta Gorda, throughout the Malecon, for a tremendous sundown and dinner.
10. Notorious Bay of Pigs & Playa Giron
The Bahia de Cochinos, extra generally generally known as the Bay of Pigs, and the small village at Playa Giron seashore are the locations in Cuba that had been the middle of dramatic world occasions in 1961.
The failed US invasion of Cuba occurred right here, the place greater than a thousand troopers landed on the seashores, the place they had been defeated by Cuban forces, and ended up being prisoners of warfare for over a 12 months in Cuba.
As we speak Playa Giron is a sleepy little village on the sting of the deep Bay of Pigs. It’s value a go to due to the Bay of Pigs Museum, which tells the story of Cuba earlier than the revolution, in addition to the failed US invasion from a Cuban standpoint.
There are additionally quite a lot of eating places and bars within the space, so you’ll be able to take pleasure in native Cuban delicacies for lunch or should you keep the night time. After visiting the museum and the small market, there may be not much more to find right here.
In the event you head additional north to Playa Larga you’ll be able to try a few of the greatest diving on the island. With 17 several types of coral and nice visibility, you’ll want to go to this place if you wish to discover the underwater world.
11. Coronary heart Of The Revolution Santa Clara Metropolis
Santa Clara is a small metropolis situated within the central a part of Cuba about two hours north of Trinidad. It’s residence to a college, and probably the scene of a very powerful incident main as much as the Cuban revolution in 1959.
That is the place Che Guevara and his males defeated Batista troopers in December 1959 in a dramatic battle, earlier than conquering the town, which led to president Batista fleeing the nation on New 12 months’s Eve. As we speak this is likely one of the locations to go to in Cuba with essentially the most memorabilia, monuments, murals, and indicators concerning the revolution throughout, together with in the principle plaza Parque Leoncio Vidal.
Santa Clara can also be residence to the final resting place of Che Guevara; he has been honored with an enormous mausoleum on the verge of the Plaza de la Revolución. Santa Clara in the present day additionally has a good nightlife, a number of casa particulares, and quite a lot of eating places and bars. After mountaineering to the highest of La Loma hill to look at the sundown you’ll be able to take pleasure in tasty Cuban dishes for dinner on this residing and respiratory museum of the revolution in Cuba.
From Santa Clara, there may be a couple of one-hour drive north to Cayo Santa Maria, one of many paradisiacal Cuban keys that exist just for all-inclusive resort life.
12. Secluded Paradise Island Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Santa Maria is the identify of a shocking island triplet, and a part of essentially the most well-known locations to go to in Cuba, the Cuban keys. Situated off the north coast of Cuba, it lingers simply the place the Jardines del Rey coral reef system begins; the King’s Backyard.
To get right here, that you must cross over a causeway on the northern coast of round 28 miles earlier than you arrive on the island mangroves, hiding a secluded paradise consisting solely of fantastic all-inclusive resorts and luxurious.
In Cayo Santa Maria, there is no such thing as a metropolis heart or native inhabitants, the entire island triplet is a resort heaven. A vacation right here actually is the place you go for the Caribbean paradise getaway, and solely that.
What there may be an abundance of in Cayo Santa Maria, is seashores, swimming pools and pool bars, meals, mojitos, and many water actions. It’s a excellent place to go snorkeling, take a day journey on a catamaran, scuba diving, and even deep sea fishing from Marina Gaviota.
You’ll be able to go to different elements of Cuba from Cayo Santa Maria like Santa Clara and Trinidad, however be ready to cowl some distances for different adventures.
13. Paradisiacal Seashores And Historical past In Cayo Coco
Cayo Coco is one other beautiful Cuban key situated off the north coast of Cuba, essentially the most well-known one of many Jardines del Rey coral reef system, from the place you may also attain tiny Cayos Guillermo, Paredon, and Cruz. It is advisable to cross one other lengthy causeway throughout the Bahía de Perros (Bay of Canines) to achieve Cayo Coco and Guillermo, because the keys are linked to the principle island of Cuba by a 17-mile pedraplen.
These stunning islands are recognized for beautiful seashores and crystal clear waters, the 5 most well-known seashores on Cayo Coco being Playa Los Flamencos, Playa Prohibida, Playa Larga, Playa Colorades, and Playa la Laula.
There are in fact loads of water sports activities to do on Cayo Coco, together with superb diving within the Jardines del Rey, and kite browsing. On dry land, you may also go mountain climbing on the Rocarena Climbing Middle, or take a jeep tour. Cayo Coco can also be an all-inclusive resort territory, the one exception is Sitio La Guira the place you’ll be able to hire rooms in a really particular historic atmosphere.
Sitio La Guira is an enthralling ecological and historic space the place you’ll be able to discover the area’s myriad biodiversity whereas touring again in time. Be taught concerning the tradition, customs, and way of life of its early colonists right here through the 1900s.
14. Capital Of The Carnival Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba in the present day is the second largest metropolis in Cuba, located on the japanese facet of the island. The space from Santiago de Cuba over to Haiti is shorter than to the capital Havana.
For a couple of many years centuries in the past, Santiago was the formal capital of Cuba, and in the present day it nonetheless holds the title capital of the carnival in Cuba. Though most locations in Cuba have a carnival, they aren’t just like the one in Santiago.
Town is known for its extremely energetic and plentiful carnivals yearly in July, and Santiago additionally has a bit extra Caribbean affect from the islands additional east due to its location.
Some distinctive sights in Santiago are the majestic El Morro fortress guarding the slim entrance to Santiago bay, San Pedro de la Roca Fortress a UNESCO World Heritage Website, and the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, which is the final resting place of Cuban nationwide hero Jose Marti, in addition to Fidel Castro.
Santiago can also be the birthplace of the twenty sixth of July Motion, the identify of Castro’s resistance group, which was based after a failed assault on the Moneda Barracks in Santiago in 1953.
After this assault, Castro was sentenced to jail and spent a number of years incarcerated in a jail on Isla de la Juventud which is now the museum you’ll be able to go to on Isla de la Juventud. Santiago de Cuba additionally has some well-known eating places just like the Bodeguita del Medio on the principle avenue, the place they serve killer Camarones (shrimp).
15. Biodiverse Isla de la Juventud
Isla de la Juventud, or the Isle of Youth, is the second largest island within the Cuban archipelago (there are round 4000), located within the Caribbean Sea south of western Cuba. It is likely one of the locations in Cuba which might be the trickiest to go to.
The capital metropolis is Nueva Gerona, which is extra like a village with a couple of casa particulares, bars and eating places, and a few museums. There is just one resort on the island,
Significantly well-known for distinctive scuba diving websites, it is usually near the southern coral reef exterior Cuba, the Jardines de la Reina. Make the journey from the principle island port of Batabanó in about three hours, and you may expertise superb scuba diving off the southwestern tip of Punta Francés.
Isla de la Juventud can also be a paradise of biodiversity defending endangered species corresponding to crocodiles, parrots, sharks, and turtles. One spectacular sight on Isla de la Juventud is the Presidio Modelo, the long-lasting prison-turned-museum the place Fidel Castro was imprisoned after the failed assault in Santiago de Cuba in 1953, an eerie-looking place in the present day.
Isla de la Juventud just isn’t for metropolis lovers, it is a vacation spot for vacationers who take pleasure in venturing off the crushed tracks, discover bizarre stuff fascinating, and like to discover nature reserves and wildlife.
16. Huge Mountain Vary Sierra Nevada
The Sierra Nevada is an enormous mountain vary east of Santiago de Cuba, beginning by the ocean and stretching inland. The realm has a number of nationwide parks like Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra and Parque Nacional Pico Turquino.
Pico Turquino can also be the best level of the Sierra Maestra and the best level in the entire of Cuba with its 1974 meters above sea stage. An ideal vacation spot in Cuba for avid hikers, and nature lovers who can be rewarded with superb views of the mountains and the ocean after a trek up right here.
Guests also can discover its many trails, breathtaking waterfalls, and panoramic mountain views. Sierra Maestra is residence to quite a lot of distinctive wildlife, and greater than 80 hen species, so be certain that to maintain a watch out for native birds and different animals! The Sierra Maestra can also be well-known for being Fidel Castro’s secret guerilla hideout within the Fifties.
17. Fidel Castro’s Secret Headquarters Comandancia de la Plata
Comandancia de la Plata probably is essentially the most intriguing of all locations in Cuba you’ll be able to go to. This was Fidel Castro’s hidden jungle headquarters in Sierra Maestra within the Fifties, and it nonetheless seems to be the identical in the present day.
Right here Fidel Castro and his comrades ran their resistance marketing campaign and guerilla warfare in opposition to Batista within the final years of the Fifties, earlier than the Cuban revolution. Right here he hid for lengthy durations, made plans, and ready for assaults.
As we speak there’s a small museum right here telling a few of the tales of individuals and incidents that occurred through the 50s. Additionally, you will have the ability to see the key home of Fidel Castro, the place he ate and slept – and even his exterior rest room.
An enchanting vacation spot you’ll be able to attain on a day journey from Santiago de Cuba, a couple of hour’s drive and a brief however scorching and steep hike from the place the street ends within the mountains.
18. The Secluded First Metropolis Baracoa
Located on the japanese tip of Cuba, Baracoa is the place the primary Spanish colony was based in Cuba and is called the “Ciudad Primada”, or “First Metropolis”, the primary place in Cuba to be visited by Christopher Columbus. The city lies alongside the Bay of Honey, and has a lush tropical rainforest local weather, whereas surrounded by a mountain vary shielding it from inland Cuba.
Earlier than the Cuban Revolution, you may solely journey to Baracoa by boat, however within the Nineteen Sixties a 120-kilometer-long street generally known as La Farola was constructed to attach Baracoa with the inside of Cuba.
Having been shielded from crowds of vacationers by the distant location, Baracoa has a tranquil vibe untainted by over-tourism. Distinctive issues to do in Baracoa in the present day are the hike to the El Yunque mountain, and go to the town cathedral and the Parque Independencia.
Additionally try the Cueva del Paraiso which is an archeological museum with artifacts from the indigenous Taino tradition, Casa de la Trova (home of troubadours), or hire a motorcycle to discover by yourself.
You’ll be able to take the four-hour-long bus experience right here from Santiago de Cuba to achieve this traditionally necessary vacation spot in Cuba with superb nature experiences as properly.
19. Cayo Largo del Sur
Cayo Largo del Sur is a comparatively unknown journey vacation spot that’s typically overshadowed by extra widespread vacationer spots like Havana and Varadero. Nevertheless, Cayo Largo del Sur is a hidden gem that provides a singular and unforgettable journey expertise.
The seashores listed below are unimaginable. There’s greater than 20 kilometers of white sand seashores and crystal-clear waters which might be excellent for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. The seashores are comparatively uncrowded, so you’ll be able to benefit from the tranquility and great thing about the island with out feeling overwhelmed by giant crowds.
Cayo Largo del Sur additionally has an interesting historical past that’s value exploring. The island was as soon as a haven for pirates and smugglers, and it performed a big function within the Cuban Missile Disaster in 1962. As we speak, guests can be taught concerning the island’s historical past by visiting museums and historic websites, such because the El Torreon lighthouse and the Mural de la Prehistoria.
General, Cayo Largo del Sur is a singular and unspoiled place to go to in Cuba that provides a mixture of pure magnificence, historical past, and tradition.
Wrap-Up 19 Superb Locations In Cuba
With slightly luck, you now really feel tremendous motivated to go go to Cuba, and hopefully, your solely downside for the time being is selecting locations in Cuba to go to, and what to do!
I really feel you, after being primarily based in Havana for over two years there are nonetheless issues I’ve not been capable of discover but. However discovery is step one on the way in which, a step you may have simply taken. Get pleasure from your Cuba journey planning, and the reply to any of your Cuba questions is simply an e-mail away.