Cuba has long been a vacation destination for Canadians, and American travelers are just beginning to understand why. It’s a unique place in the world where beautiful beaches meet old historic cities and friendly people can be found on every street corner. If you’re visiting the island of Cuba, be sure to do these 6 activities.
1. Visit Old Havana
Old Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with tons to see and do. Historic forts, museums, and vintage cars on cobblestone streets are all on display in the famous section of the city. The Plaza de la Catedral is home to the stunning Catedral de San Cristobal, which was completed in 1777 by the Franciscans. Old Havana is also home to some fascinating history, so if you love museums be sure to stop by the Museo de la Ciudad.
2. Sample the cuisine at La Bodeguita del Medio
La Bodeguita del Medio is an institution in Cuba. It first opened its doors in 1942 and has seen the likes of Hemingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Nat King Cole visit throughout the years. The walls are filled with pictures of former patrons – order anything on the menu from the sea and you won’t be disappointed. Oh, and dance a little.
3. Get active in Vinales Valley
Sitting on the Northwestern side of Cuba is the Vinales Valley, home to some of the most stunning green views in the world. The mountain formations are called “mogotes” and are unique to the valley, so get your camera ready. You’ve never seen anything like this before.
The valley is home to some of the best biking and hiking in the country, not to mention plenty of horseback riding. Bring your workout gear and get ready to see a ruggedly beautiful side of Cuba.
You can see the mogotes in the background of the photo below.
4. Visit the islands
Yes, Cuba is an island. But this island has its own islands that are also worth exploring. Cayo Largo del Sur, in particular, is as gorgeous as it looks in the picture above. It’s a small resort island off of Cuba’s southern coast know for its long sandy beaches. Be sure to visit the sea turtle farm and visit the small museum on the island when you’re not relaxing on the white sand beaches.
5. Explore nature at Topes de Collantes
This nature reserve in the Escambray Mountain Range is just a short drive from Trinidad, Cuba. The wet winds coming off of the Atlantic Ocean have made he area a spectacular place for many plants and animals to call home. See over 40 species of orchids, banana and plantain trees, gigantic ferns and begonias, the Cuban Tody, Cuban Woodpecker, and even the Tocororo, Cuba’s national bird.
6. Tour the Partagas Cigar Factory
It wouldn’t be a trip to Cuba if you didn’t get your hands on their most famous export. You can also visit the Romeo y Julieta, Cohiba, or Upmann Cigar Factories, the point is you need to visit at least one of the famous brand factories while you’re in Cuba. The prices can’t be beaten when compared to your home country, and you’ll learn a lot about the process and why Cuban cigars are considered the best cigars in the world.