Sitting just 160 km off Florida’s coast, Cuba is the largest of the Caribbean islands. From its bigger cities to its rural utopias, each area of Cuba has its own specific history and unique atmosphere. But at 109,884 km², the island is bigger than most people realise and you might just have to make some hard choices when it comes to your itinerary.
To give you a hand, we’ve put together a list of five of the best places to go in Cuba on a first-time visit.
Most trips to Cuba start and end in
La Habana Vieja, Havana’s old town, is where most of the action takes place. Wander past colourful facades to check out grandiose monuments like El Capitolio (the National Capitol Building). Next, check out the baroque 16th century Catedral de San Cristobal. Then break for a cocktail at the Plaza de Armas, the city’s longstanding social hub.
Before delving headfirst into Havana’s legendary nightlife, spend the rest of the afternoon people watching at the Malecón. The seawall’s coastal views and carefree atmosphere make it one of the best places to go in Cuba.
A ride in an American classic car is a must when in Cuba. Take this 2-hour ride through the streets of Centro Habana, Vedado and Miramar before heading to the famous Hotel Nacional for a sunset cocktail. Cuba in style!
Spend 4 nights in Cuba's capital Havana before heading to the white sandy beaches of Varadero:
It’s been said that Castro’s favourite place on the whole of the island was the
Explore the region on an e-bike: discover tobacco plantations, stop en-route to chat with the ever-friendly locals and visit a cave that has since turned into a night club.
Some time on the beach is definitely next on the cards. And where better than the archipelago where Hemingway was said to have sailed his yacht looking for German submarines? Connected to the mainland by a series of beaches, Jardines del Rey is a chain of idyllic islands. Tourism arrived late to Jardines del Rey with the result that it’s pleasingly underdeveloped. In fact, the entire area is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with no permanent residents allowed on the islands. One of the archipelago’s best beaches is the sublime Playa Pilar. Pilar sits pretty on the Cayo Coco, and its 21-kilometre stretch of white sand is framed by mangroves. Add a huge flamingo colony to Jardines del Rey’s list of attributes, and we think you’ll agree it’s definitely one of the best places to go in Cuba.
Take an e-bike ride along the coastline and the Valley of Sugar Mills to explore Trinidad's countryside. Afterwards, return to the city to learn more about Trinidad's history and culture.
If the idea of taking an e-bike for longer than a day excites you, take a look at our