Lose yourself in Havana
One of the wonders of a Cuba holiday is certainly its quirky capital. Today, Havana is a metropolis of two million inhabitants and one of the most fascinating cities on the planet. Old Havana is a piece of history and all the images you previously held of brightly coloured, paint peeled buildings with locals sitting in doorways smoking cigars come to life.
Wander around the famous Necropolis Cristobal Colon – one of the largest cemeteries in the Americas – and gaze upon elaborate marble statues amid the graves of famous revolutionaries, scientists and authors. If that’s not your thing, head to the beautifully constructed cathedral and enjoy a drink at Bodeguita Del Medio, one of Hemingway and Nat King Cole’s old watering holes.
You’ll find there’s so much to do in Havana, places to explore, things to learn, and foods to try, you’ll need to go again and again to tick it all off.
Best beaches in Cuba
Holidays to Cuba are a top pick because of the magnificent beaches – and they really are incredible to see.
A popular choice with those booking All Inclusive holidays in Cuba, Cuba’s number one beach resort, Varadero, is located on the north coast and just a two hour drive east of Havana. Here you’ll find over 20 kilometres of pristine white sand beaches, 4 and 5 star resorts boasting world–class service and elegant cocktail bars overlooking the emerald sea. It’s the perfect spot to relax with a cocktail in hand and soak up some rays.
Playa Ancon offers an even more pristine coastline but has managed to keep a natural feel with palm trees and greenery creeping down to the sand. You’ll find great snorkelling and diving sites off the shoreline here, which is ideally located just outside the colonial UNESCO city of Trinidad.
On holiday in Cuba you’ve got plenty to do depending on what you want out of your holiday, but one thing you’ll get everywhere is incredibly picturesque Cuban beaches. They’re a must for everyone.
A taste of Trinidad
To experience the slower pace of Cuba, be sure to head to the quaint cobbled streets of Trinidad in the centre of Cuba. This UNESCO treasure is like an outdoor museum with its perfectly preserved Spanish colonial buildings, so much so it’s the whole city that’s the UNESCO Heritage site.
Head to the Plaza Mayor to experience the gentle hospitality of the locals or enjoy an ice-cold mojito in one of the bars lining the square. With so much to see and so much history and culture to take in, Trinidad is often known as a living museum.
Spend days here lazing on the long stretches of white sand or bobbing along to the salsa music. The surrounding mountainous region also makes for great hiking and horse riding. One of the most popular destinations is the Salto del Caburni waterfalls, where after an hour’s hiking over wooded terrain, you’re free to enjoy a refreshing dip in the natural pools. Now what’s really more rewarding than that?
Cuba is an extremely fascinating and interesting place with much to explore, but on holiday in Cuba there’s always time to slow down and take it all in.
Salsa in Santiago
Home to the traditional rhythms that gave birth to salsa music, Santiago is the second biggest city in Cuba. Nestled in the southeast of the island, this city has a totally different feel to Havana with a distinct African–Caribbean influence and fast paced, narrow streets bustling with people and cars.
Santiago is said to be the hottest, most colourful and musical city, it’s rich in colonial history and is the educational centre of Cuba – the cultural capital of Cuba as some call it. Santiago is certainly a spot to add on your holiday itinerary.
Jump on a bus to Castillo del Morro, located at the city’s harbour, and explore this historic fort and castle complete with moats and working cannons. Once back in the centre, wander around important historical sites such as the Moncada Barracks and Revolution Plaza and dance your way into the night.
The nightlife in Santiago is packed full of live music venues with an atmosphere that must be experienced at least once when holidaying in Cuba. You’ll also find outdoor nightlife where the streets will be filled with music and dancing, making you feel like you’re in a movie.
Explore breathtaking national parks
Cuba has its fair share of national parks dotted all over the island. Each offers their own individual canvas of spectacular forests, beaches, lagoons and caves to explore, with the added opportunity to visit working coffee and tobacco plantations.
Valle de Vinales National Park sits in the west of the island and is one of Cuba’s most breathtaking settings. Having gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999 for its dramatically isolated steep-sided residual hills, the park can be explored by foot or on horseback.
The largest National Park in Cuba is Cienega de Zapata National Park, located in the Southeast of Havana. It comprises over 1 million acres with miles upon miles of trails and wetland to explore.