Heavenly beaches, old cars, cigars – these are obvious associations with Cuba. However, the largest Caribbean island has much more to offer.
Check the top 8 attractions of Cuba.
Caribbean, Cuba – OLD HAVANA (Habana Vieja)
Visiting Havana, the capital of Cuba and the largest city and port in the Caribbean, it is worth starting from the oldest district. Neglected for a long time, it gained real splendor after being inscribed on the UNESCO list of monuments. Today, not only because of its turbulent history, it attracts lovers of atmospheric cafes, restaurants, museums and hotels. The focal point of Old Havana is the Cathedral Square, with the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception towering over it built in the 17th century. It is also a meeting place for dressed Cubans posing for photos with huge cigars and dancing to the rhythm of the music of Buena Vista Social Club.
Caribbean, Cuba – TRINIDAD DE CUBA and SUGAR VALLEY
Other monuments of Cuba entered on the UNESCO list. Trinidad, a real pearl of colonial architecture, is the third oldest city in Cuba, which has retained its traditional character. Refurbished, colorful, even unreal. Every evening in Trinidad there are salsa events that attract both tourists and locals. When you stop exploring one of the most beautiful Caribbean cities, you should hook the beach – the most beautiful are on the Ancon Peninsula.
Near Trinidad there is also another great tourist attraction: the Sugar Valley (Valle de los Ingenios). It was the cultivation of sugar cane that became the source of the splendor of Trinidad in the 18th century. Remnants of those times are the remains of the lavish residences of former growers.
Caribbean, Cuba – CIENFUEGOS
In the port of Cienfuegos in the Caribbean Sea worth moor for longer. The city also known as the “Pearl of the South” is famous for its restored colonial architecture. The monuments of the old town are currently on the UNESCO list. One of the city’s most beautiful attractions is the square with the cathedral, theater and triumphal arch at Parque Jose Marti. It is also worth taking a stroll on Boulevard del Prado – the longest in Cuba or go to dinner at the Palacio de Valle, where the richest Cuban merchant used to reside.
Caribbean, Cuba – CIENFUEGOS
In the port of Cienfuegos in the Caribbean Sea it is worth mooring for longer. The city also known as the “pearl of the south” is famous for its restored colonial architecture. The monuments of the old town are currently on the UNESCO list. One of the city’s most beautiful attractions is the square with the cathedral, theater and triumphal arch at Parque Jose Marti. It is also worth taking a stroll on Boulevard del Prado – the longest in Cuba or go to dinner at the Palacio de Valle, where the richest Cuban merchant used to reside.
Caribbean, Cuba – CAMAGUEY PROVINCE
Camaguey is a land of cowboys. The largest province of Cuba is famous for cattle breeding, which initiated the development of cowboy culture – Cuban Vaqueros. The capital of the region is the city of Camaguey, the third largest in the country and one of the first on the island and the Caribbean. It has great cultural and historical significance and a unique atmosphere created by unique colonial architecture. After the pirate invasion in 1668, Camaguey rebuilt and permanently entered the history of human heritage, finding a place on the UNESCO list of monuments. The city where national heroes, writers and artists once lived, is famous for its dense network of streets that were supposed to protect against pirate invasions.
Caribbean, Cuba – SANTIAGO DE CUBA
Santiago de Cuba, the second largest city on the island, the former capital of Cuba and one of the first settlements founded in the Caribbean. There are numerous museums and galleries – e.g. Antiguo Cuartel Moncada in the center and the Bacardi rum museum. Although the splendor and fame of the capital took away the city of Havana, during the summer carnival celebrations no other city can compare with it. The effect of year-round preparations is the July costume parade to the rhythms of African drums. The anthropological peculiarity of Santiago is the strong ethnic diversity, the core of which are Haitians. An architectural curiosity is the oldest building in all of Cuba, now the Museum of Old Cuba, located on the main square of the city, or Parque Cespedes.
Caribbean, Cuba – BARACOA
Beaches, mountains and great history. Baracoa is a small town on the eastern tip of the island. The Spaniards, led by Christopher Columbus, founded the first capital of the colony here, from which they began to conquer the island. A quiet life in Baracoa, formerly devastated by pirates prowling the Caribbean, focuses on the square around the cathedral, which houses the legendary crucifix brought by Columbus. The city is surrounded by mountains, inhabited by the Indians during the conquest, and a tropical forest – ideal for trekking trips. The nearby Playa Maguana is known as one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.
Caribbean, Cuba – VINALES VALLEY
One of the most beautiful lands in the Caribbean – the Vinales Valley, has been entirely inscribed on the UNESCO list. Its biggest attraction are huge mogotes, i.e. powerful, lonely rocks covered with lush vegetation. A must-see when traveling around Cuba is a giant rock painting that depicts the history of human evolution – not as old as the name “Mural de la Prehistoria” suggests, it is the work of modern painters. The mural was made on the recommendation of Fidel Castro in the 1960s. Vinales Valley should not forgive themselves who love Cuban cigars, because here, among the plantations that cut through the mountain landscape, you can learn how they are made.
Caribbean, Cuba – VARADERO
One of the largest resorts in the Caribbean; it is almost completely deprived of native inhabitants. It is almost exclusively visited by Europeans – Cubans resettled to other regions of the island. The sandy beaches of the Cuban “Miami Beach” are the prospect of casual rest, because the city has no monuments or old town. Instead, it abounds in restaurants, clubs and hotels.
Caribbean, Cuba – GRAN PIEDRA
It is located in the south of the island, near Santiago de Cuba. Together with the Parque Baconao biosphere reserve, it creates an exceptionally picturesque landscape, dominated by tropical forests and mountains. There are plenty of trekking routes in the area, and instead of big cities there are wild beaches and bays. Among the attractions of Gran Piedra there is no shortage of commercial ones: Valle de la Prehistoria is a great Jurassic park with artificial dinosaurs, while in Museo Nacional de Transporte we will see an exhibition of old Cuban cars.