1. The old Havana
La Habana vieja or old Havana is one of the biggest sights in Cuba. In most cases, the capital is the first encounter with the island and immediately represents a leap back in time. This is the place where oldtimers are waiting at the traffic lights or where you can make a tour through La Habana vieja with one of these old-timers. Renting an old-timer can already be done for 50 euros or 60 dollars for two hours.
2. Valle de Viñales Cuba
Especially in the early morning, when the fog rises from the bottom of the valley, Vinales is enchanting. This remarkable landscape of upright limestone pillars is not just one of Cuba’s most visited sights, but is widely recognized by many travelers as one of the highlights of Cuba. It’s in this very fertile land that the best tobacco in the world is grown. You can explore the valley by booking a horse ride. Definitely one of the most authentic things to do in Cuba.
During a holiday in Cuba, the colonial city of Trinidad is certainly not to be missed. Whenever people ask me what is there to do in Cuba, I immediately think of this place. The popular sixteenth-century village is packed with colonial buildings and churches, all connected with cobblestone roads and atmospheric plazas where travelers mix among the locals. The city is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Cuba and so certainly not to be missed on this list of things to do and see in Cuba. Are you staying there for a while? Go party in Disco Ayala! A cave transformed into a party-place can’t be found everywhere after all!
4. Che Guevara Mausoleum
Cuban history is one that is all about the revolution. And whoever says revolution immediately thinks of Argentine guerrilla leader Che Guevara. The Che Guevara Mausoleum in Santa Clara is a memorial containing the remains of Ernesto Che Guevara. The monument consists of a statue of Che that looks from a hill to the city. Santa Clara is known as the city of Che Guevara because it’s here that the last battle of the Cuban revolution took place. For that reason alone, Santa Clara and the Che Guevara Mausoleum are an important attraction of Cuba.
Like Varadero, Guardalavaca has many impressive beaches on which you can relax. However, it’s in stark contrast with the touristy and less Cuban feeling Varadero, the beaches here are much quieter and unspoiled. Green shrubs that grow on the beach provide some shadow for those who want to stay out of the tropical sun. From Guardalavaca, jungle excursions are also possible which make your stay in Cuba much more exciting.
6. Peninsula de Zapata
This national park is one of the top things to do in Cuba for bird and nature lovers. Together with Viñales, this is one of Cuba’s most spectacular sights. As one of the Caribbean’s largest marshlands, the Peninsula de Zapata offers incredible views, but a visit for the wildlife alone is also worth spending a few days here. The Cienaga de Zapata or Zapata swamp is home to more than one hundred and fifty different bird species and crocodiles.
7. Pico Turquino
This highest point in Cuba can be considered as one of the best activities of Cuba. With 1972 meters altitude, the Pico Turquino is the highest mountain peak on the Cuban island. Those who dare to climb it are literally following the footsteps of the Cuban revolutionary army.
8. Salsa lessons in Havana
Havana has a lot of Cuba’s most popular sights concentrated in the city, but anyone who wants to experience Cuba’s capital in a more unique way should definitely take some salsa classes. Are your salsa moves already amazing? Plan your vacation together with the International Cuban Dance Festival, which takes place every April. This festival organises seven days of non stop salsa. Do you think you can do it?
9. Snorkeling near Isla de la Juventud
There are about thirty dive sites around Varadero and even more coral reefs around Isla de la Juventud. The island on the coast of Cuba guarantees a rich experience of the underwater life, the chance to dive into shipwrecks and few people. The latter makes your snorkeling experience even more impressive. So if you like snorkeling, Isla de la Juventud should undoubtedly be on your own list of things to do in Cuba when you’re here.
10. Cayo Coco
Along the north coast of Cuba you’ll find the Jardines del Rey archipelago. Cayo Coco is probably the most popular island of the archipelago and has become a resort for tourists looking to dive, surf or do other water sports. The tours offered here are among the best excursions in Cuba.
11. Learn how to roll cigars
Taking pictures of the most famous sights of Cuba is one thing, but you also want to experience Cuba. The country is known for its cigars, which is due to the excellent quality of the tobacco from the countryside. The tobacco is transported to the cigar factories in Havana, and, of course, you can also roll some for yourself as a part of a tour. The Partagos factory offers such a tour from 10 CUC (about €9 / $10). I don’t think there are much other things to do in Cuba that can beat this, or are there?
If you want to make a list of all the sights in Cuba or all must do’s, there are undoubtedly many city visits or museums. But whoever wants to get to know the real Cuban culture must also taste it. Literally. It can’t get more Cuban than drinking a mojito, and even if you’re not a fan of cocktails, trying is a must.
The highlights mentioned above are undoubtedly the top things to do in Cuba, but if you want to be amazed by the natural beauty of the country you must travel to Baracoa. The southeastern tip of the island exceeds all other things to see in Cuba. The countryside around Baracoa consists of mountain peaks that peek out high above the plain, but also vast rainforests and rivers that pave the way to the ocean are a treat to the eyes.
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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.