Cuba, the small but very diverse island nation just south of the US, has only just reopened American tourists and other nationalities. Famous for it’s cigars, Mojitos and beautiful white, sandy beaches – Cuba offers much more than just the typical touristy things. There are beautiful colonial cities and towns, and stunning nature reserves also. We’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 things to do in Cuba, enjoy!
Top Things to do in Cuba
1. Smoke a Cuban Cigar
How can you visit Cuba and not have a Cuban Cigar? Basically synonymous with Cuba, cigars can be bought almost anywhere, and for as low as $1 on the streets. The best ones come right from the tobacco farms, and you can also take tours at the Partagas and Romeo y Julieta factories.
2. Relax on a Beach
Cuba is also famous for it’s white sandy beaches that go sprawl for miles along the coast. While the most popular is Varedero, there are many less crowded beaches to choose from including Playa Los Cocos and Playa Pilar. Check out Playa Larga if you want to do some water activities like snorkeling or scuba diving.
3. Drink a Mojito in Havana
Where better to have a Mojito than in Havana which traces back to the 16th century drink known as “El Draque”, after Sir Francis Drake, a drink made from local ingredients to prevent scurvy and dysentery. Now a ubiquitous drink found all over the world, you can’t go to Cuba without at least trying one. Try one at La Bodeguita del Medio where Hemingway made famous or have one at the classic Hotel Nacional
4. Wander around the streets of Trinidad
Trinidad is possibly the most photographed place in Cuba besides Havana, but it still contains that “small town feel” which is a plus. It’s a small colonial city situated near the Escambray Mountains with stunning architecture, cobblestone streets and brightly painted buildings like something found in Ecuador or Colombia. The locals are incredibly friendly and welcoming.
5. Valle de Vinales
Valle de Vinales is a tobacco plantation where two of Cuba’s most famous exports are grown: tobacco and coffee. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can stroll around the valley with the freshest cigar you’ll probably ever smoke. It’s less crowded than more famous tobacco factories and offers some stunning vistas.
6. Follow the footsteps of Christopher Columbus in Baracoa
Baracoa is the oldest settlement in Cuba and one of Christopher Columbus’ first arrival spots in 1492. It’s quite far from Havana, making it one of the least visted places, which means less crowds! There are stunning beaches, lush rainforest, beautiful mountain sides and a nice little town with the imposing El Yunque tabletop mountain the backdrop. It’s a good place to try the local chocolate, as there are tons of cocoa trees around.
7. Take a ride in a Classic Car
Cuba is famous for it’s classic old car scene. You’ll get to experience them right at the airprot, and the taxis are classic 1950’s American cars. A tour through Habana Vieja in a nice convertible Cadillac is always a simple, fun albeit cliché thing to do.
8. Hike Topes National Park
Topes de Collantes is a large nature preserve just outside of Trinidad in the Escrambay Mountains. There are lots of waterfalls to explore and paths to hike. You can take a horse or a large 4×4 that offer tours to the waterfalls.
9. Dance at Disco Ayala
This disco is not like any other disco, it’s a subterranean night club located inside a cave. Head here after midnight where you’ll see fire dancers, acrobats and much more. It’s a 100 feet underground and features a full dance club among stalagmites and stalactites. It’s 10 a minute walk up the hill from Trinidad. Even if you’re not the best dancer it’s definitely a unique one of a kind experience and worth going.
10. Check out the Hemingway Museum
Finca la Vigia, the former home of Ernest Hemingway’s can be found about ten miles outside Havana. It’s a large estate with Hemingway artifacts, his boat the Pilar, and a swimming pool. This is the home where he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea.