Cuba is a Caribbean oasis blooming with culture and tradition. Visiting Cuba can be an exhilarating experience as travelers have the opportunity to immerse themselves in an endless number of local dichotomies. Guests will experience fine beaches and classy cobblestone streets rounded by a series of dilapidated buildings and pangs of poverty. These abrupt transitions give the island an unprecedented feeling of magic and mystery.
For Cuban admirers, now is the best time to visit this enchanted island. Cuba is recovering from an economic embargo and the first taste of private enterprise is starting to blossom. This means tourism is at an all-time high and guests visiting Cuba will be met with open arms. If you’re planning to visit Cuba in the near future here are a few things you’ll want to add to your travel itinerary:
1. Vibrant Beaches
Most tourists gravitate to Cuba’s gorgeous white sandy beaches. A country in the Keys, Cuba offers a variety of beaches for any style. For a more relaxing day, visit Playa Paraiso. It was recently voted the third most beautiful beach in the world and has some of the calmest waters on the island. For a more active beach vibe, Varadero Beach is your best bet. Varadero is littered with shops, a stash of hotels and a variety of restaurants and food trucks so you can spend the day in your suit while immersing in the resort lifestyle.
2. Museum of the Revolution
This historic palace has served as home to several Cuban presidents. The outskirts of the building’s walls feature several revolutionary items including a tank from the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion, a replica of the yacht used to transport Fidel Castro and several revolutionaries, and various other modes of transport used during the revolution. Designed by New York’s Tiffany and Co the interior of the fortress is classy and elegant. The Hall of Mirrors was designed to resemble the Palace of Versailles and the central staircase is breathtaking and guarded. The museum floors descend chronologically and tactfully tell the story of the Cuban Revolution. This tourist site is a great trip through history and will get you in the mood to explore the rest of the country.
3. Bay of Pigs
No trip to Cuba is complete without a visit to the infamous Bay of Pigs. Located along the Zapata Penninsula and about a two-hour trek from the capital of Havana it boasts some beautiful greenery and is famous for its biodiversity. It is a popular spot for scuba diving and snorkeling. It’s also a hot spot for the history buff. Guests can tour the Museo de Playa Girón and learn about the historic invasion that took place in 1961. A tribute to the Cold War, this site is a must see!
4. Old Havana
When visiting Cuba you’ll most likely spend some time in the city’s eclectic capital. Old Havana is one of fifteen municipalities forming Havana. It is the city center and most heavily populated. It also preserves some of the country’s rich culture and heritage landing a spot as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city sits along a bay and boasts some of the most beautiful castles and cathedrals in the world. Tourists can easily spend 2-3 days roaming the streets, sampling the delicious cuisine, and soaking up the local jazz scene.
5. The Malecon
The Malecon is a top-rated destination for tourists visiting Cuba. Built in the 18th century the Malecon is Cuba’s seaside fortress. A giant seawall wraps around the city protecting its lively business-centered community. The buildings represent an eclectic mix of architecture painted in a myriad of colors. It’s a stunning location for photographs and offers a modern twist to some of the more dated communities in Cuba. The area is a day trip out from Havana and offers something fun and interesting for the whole family.
6. Castillo del Morro
This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the best preserved Spanish fortresses in the world. You can find the structure perched on top of a seaside cliff. Furthermore, the architects designed it in the 1500s to protect the city against pirates. It also temporarily served as a prison in the late 1700s. Many tourists will enjoy a day boat trip to the bay which offers stunning ocean views of the fortress. From land, tourists also have the opportunity to explore various levels of the fort soaking up the history along the way. Regardless of your preference, this site is breathtaking and you can’t miss it!
7. Vinales Valley
Vinales Valley is an oasis for nature-lovers. Located just a few miles west of Havana in the Sierra de Los Órganos Mountains it boasts over 130 kilometers of gorgeous limestone formations known locally as mogotes. Moreover, this predominantly agricultural area is also home to several Cuban tobacco plantations. Tourists can visit the plantation area and learn about the making of the infamous Cuban cigars. Additionally, the valley is also a great location for bird watching, hiking, and climbing. Tourists visiting Cuba won’t want to skip this natural wonder.
Finally, these options are just a few of the many local attractions on the Caribbean island of Cuba. Although the country struggled for decades under a controlling regime, it is slowly restoring a more entrepreneurial and capitalistic outlook making it a prime location for tourists. Lastly, if you’re visiting Cuba in the near future, add these gems to your bucket list!
Images sources: depositphotos.com