Cuba is one of the most gorgeous islands in the Caribbean, with many areas designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. Wherever you go, you can expect a rich and diverse culture, pretty beaches, tropical climate and wonderful food. As a vacation spot, it’s no wonder Cuba is so popular. So what areas should you visit during your Cuba vacations? Below is a list of places you won’t want to miss and we believe Cuba really has something for everyone!
This is the place where you can see old cars driving around the cobbled streets and see historic architecture, including the Cuban Baroque Cathedral de San Cristobal and the Castillo de la Real Fuerza. Stop by the town square, which is the historical heart of the capital city of Cuba and then explore art galleries, museums, churches, shops, and local restaurants. Here is the best place to try traditional Cuban cigars. Colorful buildings and a lively atmosphere make Old Havana a spot you might like to see when you arrive and again on your way home.
Like charming Havana, Trinidad has well-preserved architecture and historic sites and the entire city is also a UNESCO site. The old town is the gem of Trinidad and being vehicle-free, it really feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Don’t forget your camera because this is one of the most photogenic spots in Cuba and is often described as a living museum. It’s not all old buildings. Just out of the city zone, you can find Ancon Beach and Maria Aguilar Beach, which both have white sand and turquoise waters. With Trinidad, you can have it all!
Playa Paraíso, which translates to Paradise Beach, lives up to its name. This stunning beach on the island Cayo Largo del Sur has a sandy white coastline and crystal-blue waters. Those dreamy beach scenes you see in the travel magazines are just like this. It’s quiet and the perfect place to catch some sun away from Cuba’s more busy beach areas.
If you are craving beach life, head to Varadero on the Hicacos Peninsula, which is a busy beach resort town with lots to see and do. Varadero all-inclusive resorts are popular with travelers who want to relax in style without a care in the world. The beaches there are gorgeous and when you are not at the beach, you might be in the spa or on the golf course. Foodies will love their stay in Varadero because many bars and restaurants serve up traditional and international drinks and dishes.
Caya Coco has been famous since mentioned in Hemingway’s novels, Islands in the Stream and The Old Man and the Sea. It is also well-known for the iconic flamingoes roaming around. A bridge connects Cayo Coco to mainland Cuba, or you can catch a plane to get there. More beautiful beaches and blue waters await. At Parque Natural el Bagá you can observe crocodiles, turtles and more pink flamingoes.
If you like off-the-beaten-track places that aren’t so well-known on the tourist map, Baracoa might be appealing. This oldest city in Cuba has a black-sand beach, forest trails and waterfalls, and abundant nature and wildlife. The Yunque, a tall mountain with an unusual flat top, is worth the tough hike for the epic views when you reach the peak. The area also has a rich history. Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492 and then Baracoas was officially founded by Cuba’s first governor, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, in the year 1511.
Alejandro de Humboldt National Park
There are not many places with such a wide and diverse collection of plant, insect, bird and animal life as what you can see in the thriving Alejandro de Humboldt National Park. The UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-see for nature lovers and conservationists. You can book a guided tour and hike through the forest area, so you don’t get distracted and lost as you admire the scenic waterfalls, lush green forest and exotic birds that will greet you along the way.
The charming city of Cienfuegos has a European influence which you can see in the grand architecture and lifestyle of the locals. Dubbed the Paris of Cuba, the city is quite unlike any other part of Cuba. Enjoy roaming around shops and art galleries in the quaint old town and see the harbor area and bright mansions that make this city recognizable from images you’ve probably seen in travel magazines. Cienfuegos is a hub for the sugar trade as well as coffee and tobacco.
Cienfuegos is also a wonderful place if you love water sports and activities. You can enjoy going snorkeling, sailing, fishing and swimming. For divers, a fine collection of underwater shipwrecks are a big attraction, along with caves and underwater labyrinths.
From the wonderful Varadero all-inclusive resorts to family-run hotels, Cuba has great accommodation options in every corner of the island. You can always find something interesting to see and local hospitality is warm and friendly. Not to mention the food which is deliciously exotic and fresh. Cuba vacations are ideal for travelers who want a place that is culturally and historically vibrant and blissfully tropical. Really what more could you want from a vacation destination?
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