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5 Things To Do When You Visit Cuba

This is a collaborative post.
Thank you so much to our guest writer today, Simon Edmonds.

Is Cuba top of your travel bucket list? If not, it should be!

Rich in heritage, branded the birthplace of salsa and with beaches and mountains that will take your breath away, Cuba has plenty of places to see and things to do.

If you’re not sure where to start planning your trip to Cuba, don’t worry – we’ve done the hard work for you. Here we’ve listed the top five things to do on your visit to Cuba.

1. Havana

5 Things To Do In Cuba

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Havana is one of the most historic cities in the Caribbean.

We recommend starting in Old Havana. Winding lanes, colorful walls and thumping music set the scene in this truly unique city. Find a great walking tour and you’ll be taking in the sights of de le Catedral, de Armas, de San Francisco and Vieja, as well as Prado Boulevard.

2. Cuban food and drink

5 Things To Do In Cuba

Image credit: Unsplash

Make sure to stop off and sample some of Cuba’s delicacies, from sweet bananas and strong coffee to succulent meat, rice and beans, flavored with the region’s signature garlic and citrus marinade. Look out for Paladares – restaurants owned and ran by individuals instead of the state – and enjoy local, tasty cuisine in a variety of quirky, authentic and cosy settings unique to Cuba.

Cuba is the birthplace of many famous cocktails, including the mojito, the cuba libre and the daiquiri. As you’d expect, Havana plays host to over 100 cocktail bars, so be sure to try an authentic Cuban cocktail while you’re there. We recommend visiting El Floridita – this cosy cocktail bar was Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drinking spot (he spent two decades living in the city) and you’ll even find a statue of him in the corner. Ask for a daiquiri and one of the traditional red waist coated waiters will serve it up.

3. Baracoa

5 Things To Do In Cuba

Image credit: Unsplash

Did you know that Christopher Columbus traveled from the Bahamas to Cuba on his first voyage to the Americas? His first stop was Baracoa, which is home to wonky streets, towering palms, lush chocolate trees and some of the most unusual wildlife in the world, including the world’s smallest bird, frog and bat.

5 Things To Do In Cuba

Image credit: Unsplash

While most tourists tend to stop by crumbling Havana, or the white sands and crystal waters of nearby holiday resorts, many overlook the wonders of Baracoa. Here you can climb mountains, swim in one of the city’s 29 rivers, explore Indian remains, bathe on pristine beaches and tuck into local chocolate and coconut delicacies.

4. Santiago

5 Things To Do In Cuba

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Want to experience a truly Caribbean atmosphere? Head to Santiago, Cuba’s largest and hottest city, in the heart of the Santiago de Cuba province.

Check out the Parque Cespedes for its loud, lively and historic surroundings. Here you’ll find all sorts of interesting architecture and museums to explore. From there, take a trip to Calle Eredia, considered by many as the hub of traditional Cuban music thanks to the world-famous Buena Vista Social Club.

According to Lonely Planet, Santiago is known for its high crime rates, but that shouldn’t put you off. This city is packed full of interesting music, culture, food, architecture, literature and politics, so it’s worth taking the proper precautions to visit this wondrous city. We recommend travelling in a group (check out local walking and cycling tours) and have proper travel insurance in place – read up on the cover you’ll need before you jet off.

5. Go off the beaten track

5 Things To Do In Cuba

Image credit: Unsplash

The further you venture outside of Cuba’s cities, the fewer public transport options you’ll find. However, this shouldn’t put you off exploring some of the region’s tiny hamlets and villages nestled in the Cuban countryside. Take a car and visit ‘el Campo’, where you can enjoy a truly authentic rural Cuban experience, from lush farmlands, open fields and mountains to deserted beaches and tiny roadside stalls selling local fruit.

If you plan to rent a car while you’re in Cuba, it’ll need to be insured. Your rental company will be able to provide some assistance, however, make sure you do your research first.

What are we missing? 
Have you been to Cuba?

5 Things To Do In Cuba

Photo of myself standing in front of the 12 apostles, showing how windy it is

Brooklyn Murtaugh

travel blogger

Hi! I’m Brooklyn, a Canadian whose aim is to see as much of the world as I can, on my limited vacation days. I work full time, and want to show you how it is possible to do just that, while still making use of those precious vacation days.

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