Considering Cuba for your next travel destination? It can be an alluring option for those interested in untouched history and a glimpse at a rich culture that is still unspoiled by traditional tourism. As you plan your trip to this corner of the Caribbean, you need to know all about what this island has to offer.
Take a Long Walk Through Old Havana
You can't visit Cuba without making Old Havana a part of your trip. This vibrant city is featured most prominently in songs and movies - and for good reason. Located in the center of modern-day Havana, this area is so full of history it ranks as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll find plenty to see and explore in Old Havana, from aged fortresses to grand cathedrals to colorful colonial buildings. Not to mention, the people watching along the Malecón is unbeatable, and you could spend hours at sunset basking in the sea air and music alongside the locals.
Take a Drive Along the Bay of Pigs
Maybe you heard of the Bay of Pigs in history class? This northern bay was the site of a failed military invasion in 1961. Today, it is a thriving tourist destination, not just for its historic significance but also for its adventure potential. A drive along the coast offers beautiful views, with several stops along the way offering opportunities for exploration. The waters are highly sought after for snorkeling and scuba diving, with plenty of coral reefs and local sea life to see.
Climb Piko Turquino in the Turquino National Park
Located in Southeastern Cuba, Turquino National Park boasts a tropical forest, coastline, and stunning mountains. Rising above the landscape is Piko Turquino, the highest point in Cuba. A hike to the top will take two to three days, and reward you with incredible turquoise blue skies (which inspired the name of the mountain). If you would rather stay closer to sea level, a trip to the national park is still worth it for the chance to see native plants and animals in their natural habitat.
Taste Authentic Cuban Cigars in Viñales
Dotted with tobacco farms (some over a hundred years old), Valle de Viñales is a stunning stop on your Cuba tour. This lush valley is akin to Hawaii, with its rich red dirt and rounded mogotes covered in vegetation. Tour authentic tobacco farms and taste freshly-rolled cigars. Rent bikes or horses and explore the valley, stopping by Mural de la Prehistoria, a massive mural painted onto a limestone cliff. You can also explore Cuevas de Santo Tomas, Cuba’s largest cave system and take a short boat ride through the dazzling stalagmite caves. The adventures never end in this beautiful region.
Sail away on the Caribbean
If you want to mix some relaxation into your Cuban adventure, consider sailing around the island. One of the most popular options is to charter a catamaran and fully enjoy a day of sea and sun. Some even choose to make this an overnight, multi-day trip on a vessel with cabin accommodations. From there you can choose your own adventure and tailor your sailing trip to your liking — visiting local islands and swimming in the warm Caribbean waters.
Explore Waterfalls in El Nicho
Not far from Trinidad, the El Nicho waterfall park is a perfect way to spend a hot and humid Cuban day. This natural waterpark includes several pools and waterfalls where you can take a dip. Some can get fairly crowded, especially in the summer months. But if you keep wandering past the groups of families and tourists, there are several large pools further down the path that are big enough for everyone to enjoy. Go for a gentle swim or try your hand at waterfall jumping - but be cautious and always scope out the water before you leap.