The largest Caribbean island, Cuba drizzles with culture, history, and a fascinating mystery. Soothing live music flows through the cobbled squares in World Heritage-listed Old Town of Havana, the charming old buildings in the colonial cities of Cuba bring the feel of a land frozen in time, and the vintage cars still run through the streets. Get on this amazing Cuba vacation to step into this beautiful world which has been a source of inspiration to a number of writers around the world!
Cuba is also overflowing with natural beauty. The massive island boasts over 5000kms of coastline encircled by gleaming beaches. Coral reefs glitter in the turquoise waters, and the lush countryside and magnificent islands of Cuba have acted as host to presidents, offered harbour to revolutionaries, and have given enormous inspiration to writers from all around the globe, one of them being Hemingway. With its amazing diving and fishing, as well as beauty and history, Cuba vacation is going to offer you a diversity and depth which few Caribbean islands can compete.
Day 1: Havana
When it comes to must-see destinations in Cuba, Havana naturally comes on top of any list. Today, it has become quite easier to reach the capital city of Cuba with a number of flights flying directly from hub cities (which include some from the US as well). Famous for its quaint “stuck in time” vibes, the city is at once familiar as well as surprising. The Old Havana streets are filled with vintage American cars and colonial buildings.
On your Cuba vacation, you can’t at any cost miss a leisurely stroll along the sea wall (malecon), a walk past the bars once visited by Ernest Hemingway, la Bodeguita del Medio and La Floridita, and exploring the Museum of the Revolution. The major hub for transport, Havana is a retro, cosmopolitan and sophisticated city which is famous for its stunning nightlife as well as thrilling days. Try out some local fresh rum direct from the distillery and witness cigars being rolled in a small factory manually. Connect with the locals along Malecon, which offers visitors plenty of fun as well as spectacular sea views.
Day 2: Varadero
Varadero is situated at just a brief drive from the city of Havana. It is a famous beach resort town on Hicacos Peninsula and is home to one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. A stretch of coastline lets you relish the splendid views of the Atlantic Ocean, the azure warm waters, and the white sandy beaches that are truly spectacular sight to behold. While the beautiful beach is the reason for Varadero being one of the best places to visit in Cuba, there’s much more to do here. Make your way to Parque Josone which is a beautiful park packed with lakes, botanical gardens, bridges, and wildlife, not to mention camel rides, vendors and even music. Bellamar Caves are also worth visiting. It is an immense cavern system that has been accessible to visitors for over 150 years. You can also visit Cayo Piedra Underwater Park, situated in the northeast. Here you can snorkel, swim and witness some of unique marine life of Cuba.
Day 3: Trinidad
Are you a history and architecture lover? Well, if you say yes then Trinidad is the place for you to visit during your Cuba vacation. The historic as well as atmospheric city with its village-kind of feel and pastel-hued colonial architecture, Trinidad draws tourists in huge numbers. It is also a perfect base if you wish to explore the Sierra del Escambray. Moreover, it can also be used as a jumping off point for the heavenly stretch of coastline on the Peninsula de Ancon as well as its beaches (especially Playa Ancon).
Plaza Mayor, which is considered as the heart of Trinidad, is the main square encircled by neo-Baroque buildings. A colonial convent lies next to the plaza, which is now home to the Museum of the War against the Bandits. Once you are done exploring the museum, just move uphill away from the plaza for some handicraft souvenirs shopping. The famous items which are available here for sale include napkin linens and hand-sewn tablecloths. The Palacio Brunet Mansion is another spectacular structures in the city, which acts as the Museo Romantico today. Make your way to praise a stunning collection of 19th century antiques and artworks.
Day 4: Vinales
The town of Vinales is a splendid destination and the favorite place of Castro on the island, the history tells us. It is a must-visit spot for culture during your Cuba vacation. Although, in recent years, Vinales has become a little touristy, the old-world charm of the valley still remains. The landscapes are scenic - from the fields of tobacco plants to the curved limestone karsts, and the streets dotted with vibrant colonial houses, you shoot in any direct and get a stunning photo. Surrounded by mountains, the valley still grows tobacco to manufacture legendary Cuban cigars and while you are here, you must sample a freshly rolled cigar to get a unique Cuban experience. You can enroll in a salsa class, cycle through the gorgeous hills, or simply sit and observe life go by. While there are a number of national parks in Cuba, none is so gorgeous and easily accessible as the one situated in the Vinales Valley. Numerous caves here add an extra amount of adventure for the fearless travelers. Cuevas del Indio (Indian Caves) is one of the most famous caves where you can embark on a boat ride entirely within the cavern system.
Day 5: Cienfuegos
Founded by the French and not the Spanish, Cienfuegos is the youngest Cuban city which is unlike other cities on the island because of its unique atmosphere. It is famous as the La Perla del Sur (the Pearl of the South), thanks to its gorgeous Bahia de Jagua bay. If you are someone who admire mid-century modern architecture, then you must see the peninsula of Punta Gorda during your Cuba vacation. The place still has many 1950s homes, carefully preserved. Visit Pueblo Nuevo, the heart of Cienfuegos, and explore the history museum, take a French or Spanish language lesson, or dine at an outdoor cafe. This beautiful town which is just adjacent to a harbour is filled with history, art and culture. Even if you just stroll around the streets here, there’s plenty of things to do. Thanks to the strong French influence in Cienfuegos’ architecture as well as customs, there’s a much more European feel.
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