What to do in Cuba?

What to do in Cuba?

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10 Amazing places to visit in Cuba

Colonial towns, beaches, natural wonders, and more

On this page, you will learn all you need to know about what to do in Cuba. I am presenting you below 10 best sites you should visit during your trip in Cuba.

For each number you have seen on my video of Cuba, you will find here:

  • ^ Description of the site,
  • ^ Photos,
  • ^ Tips and advice,
  • ^ Useful website links and excursions,
  • ^ Personal evaluation:
Evaluation 1 stars - What to do in Cuba

Interesting

Evaluation 2 stars - What to do in Cuba

Definitely worth the time

Evaluation 3 stars - What to do in Cuba

Not to be missed

More of that, you will see where are exactly located all these places on my interactive map of Cuba.

As a result, these information will guide you to prepare your visits and decide easily what to do in Cuba during your trip.

Numéro 1   Maria La Gorda

 2 stars evaluation - What to do in Cuba

Description & advice

Maria La Gorda is a famous diving destination in Cuba located in the Guanahacabibes National Park. If you like end of the world landscapes and intimate beaches, you will surely appreciate this region. In addition to scuba diving, you can also snorkel in its clear waters, renowned for the richness of its seabed. On this west coast of Cuba, you will find different types of beaches. Some rocky and other ones more sandy, the well equipped one of Maria la Gorda or others much wilder. Depending on the year, between March and May, be careful to the migration period of red crabs. Their journey from the forests towards the sea can make the road impassable to reach Maria La Gorda.

Photos

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Useful links

For information or to book the hotel which is directly on Maria La Gorda beach: https://www.gaviotahotels.com/en/maria-la-gorda

Numéro 2  Viñales Valley

3 stars evaluation - What to do in Cuba

Description & advice

Vinales is a small town located in the Pinal del Rio region, a 3 – 4 hour drive west of Havana. It’s a pretty town to visit with its brightly painted houses, its main street full of restaurants and shops, as well as its old square. However, it is the natural beauty of the Viñales Valley that is really to be discovered. I advise you to stay there at least two days to contemplate its superb nature and especially one of its main attractions: its typical limestone mountains called mogotes.

4 km from the city, you can also see the prehistoric mural fresco. It’s a huge painting done on a Mogote. It was designed in 1961 by Leovigildo González Morillo and was completed in 4 years. 120 meters high and 160 meters wide, these paintings of giant animals represent the theory of evolution. Not far from Viñales, I also advise you to visit the “Cueva del Indio”, a 4 km long cave that can be visited by boat. Finally, be aware that you can very easily be lodged with locals in a “casa particular” because the offer is very large in this area.

Photos

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Useful links

If you want to visit this very beautiful region, you will find some suggestions below:

Numéro 3   Havana

3 stars evaluation - What to do in Cuba

Description & advice

Havana is the capital and largest city of Cuba, with just over 2 million inhabitants. Founded in the 16th century by the Spaniards, the colonial aspect of the city is well preserved. This is particularly the case in Habana Vieja, which is the historic district that must be visited. This old town is indeed listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There you can also discover the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the Maritime Fortress Museum, the Baroque Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception, or the Plaza Vieja, whose buildings bear witness to the city’s architectural variety.

In the heart of the capital, the Centro Habana district also has some very interesting sites. You will find the imposing El Capitolio, which was the former seat of the Cuban Congress, as well as the Museums of the Revolution and of Fine Arts. In the north of Havana, do not forget to stroll along the famous promenade of the Malecón by the sea. This 8 km long avenue is lined with historic hotels like the Nacional, which is worth a visit. It is also in this district of Vedado that you will find the famous Plaza de la Revolucion, with the huge Memorial dedicated to José Marti. Exploring the city in an old 1950s American car is a cool activity that I recommend, but know that the price is relatively expensive now.

Finally, the city is also known for its festive atmosphere with its rumba groups playing in the alleys or its salsa tunes escaping from bars and nightclubs.

Photos

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Useful links

Here are a few more ideas for discovering Havana in a different way:

Numéro 4  Varadero

2 stars evaluation - What to do in Cuba

Description & advice

Among the largest resorts in the Caribbean, Varadero is Cuba’s most popular tourist destination. It is located along the Hicacos peninsula and has a 20 km beach and around 50 “All inclusive” resorts. There are many water sports available such as diving, snorkeling, sailing and swimming in the crystal clear waters of Varadero. Near its airport, you can visit the beautiful Saturno Cave (Cueva Saturno) with a perfect swimming hole for snorkeling. Another point of interest is the Mansión Xanadu, a sumptuous villa built in 1929, which is today a luxury hotel and golf club.

Photos

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Useful links

From Varadero, it is possible to do cool excursions such as:

Numéro 5 Cienfuegos

2 stars evaluation - What to do in Cuba

Description & advice

Cienfuegos, the “Pearl of the South” is a colonial city located in the bay of Cienfuegos, on the south coast of Cuba. Founded by the French at the beginning of the 19th century, its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It concentrates many remarkable buildings, especially around the cobbled José Martí square and such as Fort Jagua. In José Martí Park, you can discover the Palacio Ferrer, the Cathedral of the Purísima Concepción, the Government Palace and the Tomás Terry Theater, among others.

On Paseo del Prado avenue you can admire many colonial houses in different colors. At the end of this beautiful avenue, you will come to a pleasant seafront: the “Malecón de Cienfuegos”. Cienfuegos is therefore a must stop for those traveling west to east Cuba, with its beautiful colonial architecture, old American cars, communist bars and the influences of Che Guevara’s Cuban guerrilla warfare.

Photos

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Useful links

From Cienfuegos or to get there, here are some interesting proposals:

Numéro 6  El Nicho

2 stars evaluation - What to do in Cuba

Description & advice

El Nicho is a series of waterfalls and natural pools in which it is possible to bathe. This peaceful place is located in the large Topes de Collantes Natural Park, a beautiful wooded area that stretches through the Sierra Escambray mountains in central Cuba. Entrance to the park is chargeable (around ten CUC) and the visit takes place along a path that crosses a forest with dense vegetation. This trail leads to the waterfalls and ends with a picturesque view that overlooks the valley. It is possible to book half-day excursions from Cienfuegos or Trinidad.

Photos

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Numéro 7  Trinidad

3 stars evaluation - What to do in Cuba

Description & advice

Trinidad is possibly the best-preserved colonial city in Cuba. Its old part is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was one of the first Cuban cities founded by the Spaniards at the beginning of the 16th century. Besides the many charming and colorful streets in the historic center to stroll through, you will find the main sites to visit near the Plaza Mayor. In particular, you will be able to discover the former convent of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, of which only the tall yellow tower remains, and which is now a museum on the Cuban Revolution. Other museums can be visited: the Museo Histórico Municipal, the Museo de Arquitectura and the Museo Romantico (Palacio Brunet).

Moreover, if you are looking for a festive atmosphere, to dance or to party, you should also find what you are looking for in Trinidad. Finally, you can taste very good langoustines at affordable prices in the restaurants of Trinidad.

Photos

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Numéro 8 Cayo Guillermo

2.5 stars evaluation - What to do in Cuba

Description & advice

Located on the north coast of Cuba, in the Jardines del Rey archipelago, Cayo Guillermo offers long white sandy beaches and shallow crystal clear waters. After crossing a 27 km long road between Cayo Coco and the main island of Cuba, then the “Puente Hemingway” bridge, you will arrive at Cayo Guillermo. These cayos are uninhabited, so the only accommodations available on these islands are “All inclusive” hotels. Advance reservations are recommended through a local travel agent. The beaches in the area are also famous for kitesurfing due to the strong winds that blow over these islands. Finally, do not miss in particular the magnificent immaculate beach of Playa Pilar which is considered among the most beautiful in Cuba.

Photos

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Numéro 9 Camaguey

1.5 stars evaluation - What to do in Cuba

Description & advice

Camaguey is another colonial city whose old town is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most frequented place by locals is Parque Ignacio Agramonte. It is a shaded square with benches where you can enjoy musical performances at the end of the day. From there you can admire the Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Cathedral. Climb to the top of the bell tower for a lovely view of the city. In the heart of the historic city, Plaza San Juan de Dios is the best-preserved colonial square.

The Plaza del Carmen is the place where you can see the tinajones, which are those large clay jars typical of Camaguey, as well as other sculptures. Another beautiful place you shouldn’t miss is the Plaza de la Soledad. In particular, you will find the yellow 18th century church, the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, which has become the symbol of Camaguey.

Photos

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Numéro 10 Santiago de Cuba

2.5 stars evaluation - What to do in Cuba

Description & advice

Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city in Cuba. Founded by the Spaniards at the beginning of the 16th century, the city is known for its colonial architecture and its revolutionary past. The heart of the city is at Plaza Céspedes Park where locals like to meet and relax. Around this large square there are several notable buildings, such as the Casa Diego Velazquez, the beautiful Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion from 1922 and the Ayuntamiento. It was here that Fidel Castro appeared on the balcony on January 2, 1959 to proclaim the new era of Cuba.

José A Saco is a pedestrianized street with many shops, restaurants and brightly colored buildings. The Cementerio de Santa Ifigenia is also worth a visit. It includes many great historical figures among its 8,000 tombs, including the mausoleum of José Martí and the last resting place of Fidel Castro. Santiago de Cuba also has many museums where you can learn more about the Cuban Revolution, such as the Museo de Ambiente Historico Cubano. Do not miss the Moncada barracks where the Castro revolution began on July 26, 1953. You will see its facade still riddled with bullet holes. The barracks have been converted into a school and a museum: the Museo Histórico 26 de Julio.

Just 10 km from the city center is the Castillo del Morro. It is a beautiful 17th century Spanish fortress that is well preserved and listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Finally, if you are passing through July, do not miss the Santiago de Cuba Carnival. You will enjoy its festive atmosphere with Afro-Cuban cultural influences, with superb parades and colorful costumes.

Photos

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