13 Things to do in Cuba

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

Saying that Cuba is a hot destination is an understatement. The island is high on the bucket list of many travelers. The clock seems to have stood still here for decades, but recent changes to the policy with the US threaten to change that. For those who want to plan a trip through Cuba, here are the best things to do in Cuba.

Sam Van den Haute CheckoutSam

Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!

Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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    what to see in Cuba?

    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.

    la habana vieja things to see in Cuba

    La Habana Vieja! The colonial past and communism are cstill learly visible.

    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.

    highlights of cuba : vinales

    The village is cute, but the real attraction is to head out to the fields and nature of Viñales.

    3. Trinidad

    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!

    trinidad things to see in cuba

    Trinidad is one of my favorite spots in Cuba. Doesn’t it look amazing here?

    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.

    things to do in Cuba Che Guevara mausoleum

    Hasta la victoria siempre!

    5. Guardalavaca

    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.

    guardalavaca what to do in Cuba?

    The beach of Guardalavaca is beautiful but most of all: very authentic.

    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.

    crocodile zapata cuba things to see

    Luckily the crocodiles aren’t found anywhere else in Cuba!

    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.

    pico turquino cuba what to do

    Is the heat of Cuba getting too much for you? Climb up the Pico Turquino!

    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?

    salsa dacing cuba activities

    Salsa dancing in Cuba! An activity you shouldn’t miss out on.

    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.

    snorkeling cuba things to do

    A refreshing jump into the crystal clear waters of Cuba will bring you into a new world!

    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.

    cayo coco things to do cuba

    One of the best things to do in Cuba? Cayo Coco of course!

    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?

    rolling cigars in Cuba

    Rolling and smoking a Cuban cigar… You have to try it!

    12. Mojitos

    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.

    mojito cuba things to try in cuba

    Smoking cigars and drinking alcohol. Cubans sure do enjoy their lives!

    13. Baracoa

    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.

    Baracao things to see in Cuba

    Baracao is breathtakingly beautiful

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