Best Places to Visit in Cuba – Top 9 Attractions

There are so many places to visit in Cuba that you will struggle figuring out how to plan your holiday. The largest Caribbean island has plenty to offer, and you mustn’t rush your time spent here. Cuba is the preferred destination for food lovers, travelers hungry for culture, and anyone who enjoys getting the most out of life.

Although it is renowned for its vintage cars and cigars, there’s more to Cuba than just these stereotypes. You will get to see breathtaking landscapes, drink delicious rum cocktails, practice water sports, dance rumba in the streets, take amazing photographs in one of the most photogenic countries of the world, and so much more.

Top 9 Places to Visit in Cuba

Havana

Havana best places to visit in Cuba

Havana is the picture-perfect capital of Cuba, an enchanting city with a rich history to it. Just as the rest of Cuba, the city in on the verge of change and you will see how present and past beautifully come together to create one of the most captivating capitals of the globe.

The biggest attraction in Havana is the old town, called Habana Vieja. This UNESCO world heritage site gives us an insight into the Cuban life of 200 years ago. The cobbled streets, Baroque facades, and lush patios, they all speak of the nation’s colonial past. You will love the Catedral de San Cristobal, the Castillo de la Real Fuerza military fortress, and Plaza Vieja, a vibrant gathering spot. Don’t miss the chance to have a drink at the legendary Bodeguita del Medio, Ernest Hemingway’s favorite restaurant.

Trinidad

trinidad cuba caribbean town

Also a UNESCO heritage site, Trinidad is another step back in time. The buildings and cobblestone streets of the city center have been finely restored, becoming one of the most visited cities in Cuba thanks to its well-preserved colonial heritage.

Trinidad is packed with tourists feasting their eyes on the beautiful 17th to 19th-century architecture. Major attractions in the city include Plaza Mayor, Iglesia Parrroquial de Santisima Trinidad (Church of the Holy Trinity), Museo de Arquitectura Colonial (Museum of Colonial Architecture), and the Palacio Brunet.

Buenavista Biosphere Reserve

Buenavista Biosphere Reserve Cayo Santa Maria Cuba Caribbean

This 774,000 acres UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is made out of eleven core areas that include mangroves, active dune zones, coral reefs, rock beaches, and more. Inside the reserve, you will find two National Parks (Caguanes and Santa Maria Key) and two wildlife refuges.

This remarkable area also contains over thirty archaeological sites and caves adorned with wall paintings, four towns, and six villages. Travelers can explore the caves, go fishing, and learn to Scuba dive in one of the best diving spots in the Caribbean.

Jardines del Rey

Jardines del Rey Cuba Caribbean

This 450-kilometer archipelago contains hundreds of islands. It’s one of the best places to visit in Cuba to soak in the sun and recharge your batteries. Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo are two of the main islands that attract the largest number of visitors in the archipelago because of their warm turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and clear skies.

Peninsula de Zapata

Peninsula de Zapata Cuba Caribbean

Peninsula de Zapata is one of the widely spread wetlands in the Caribbean. This remote landmass, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is a nature lover’s paradise. The swamps and forests here create the ideal habitat for diverse, rare, and endemic wildlife.

Just a two-hour drive from Havana, on the south coast of the country, it also offers beautiful beaches and scuba diving facilities. The area is also renowned for being one of the best birdwatching spots on Earth.

Santa Clara

santa clara cuba caribbean

Santa Clara is a lively university town famed for being the place where the last guerilla battle led by Che Guevara took place. It is also here that his body was buried, and a mausoleum and monument were built in his honor. It’s one of the best places to visit in Cuba if you want to learn more about the country’s revolutionary past. The Che Guevara Mausoleum and the Museo Historico de la Revolucion are one of Santa Clara’s biggest attractions.

The city also holds one of the few surviving theaters of Cuba, the Teatro de la Caridad. Its interior still keeps much of the original furniture, décor, and artwork, despite numerous renovations.

Santiago de Cuba

santiago de cuba caribbean

Santiago de Cuba is the country’s second largest city, often regarded as the root of the revolution. It is a cultural hub with many museums that retrace events from the most important period in the nation’s history. Unlike other towns that still hold on to their colonial legacy, Santiago de Cuba is known as a more modern city that has seen a vast industrial development.

This is a bustling metropolis that has a strong Afro-Caribbean heritage. This can be seen in the eclectic music scene, art galleries, diverse architecture, and during the annual, vibrant Carnaval.

Baracoa

playa maguana baracoa

Baracoa is Cuba’s oldest city, being founded in 1511 in the Guantanamo province. It is here that Christopher Columbus landed on his first Cuban voyage. Because it is a fairly isolated settlement, this almost unspoiled village is just starting to receive a bigger number of tourists. This charming town is surrounded by hidden beaches, waterfalls, and virgin rainforest.

When in Baracoa, you must try the Cucurucho, a typical dish made of coconut, sugar, orange, pineapple, and other ingredients, and the Bacan, a delicious banana meat pie. The region is also famed for its cocoa production, and you can find lots of delicious chocolate to indulge in.

Varadero

varadero beach cuba caribbean

Varadero is Cuba’s most famous beach resort town and also one of the largest in all the Caribbean. Stretching along the Peninsula de Hicacos, it enjoys over twenty kilometers of white-sand beaches. It’s one of the best places to visit in Cuba to get that nice Caribbean tan. Visitors from all over the world are drawn to the resort’s turquoise warm water, the Parque Natural Punta Hicacos, the tranquil Parque Josone, and the country’s only golf course.

Tourists can also explore the two caves in the area – Cueva de Ambrosio and Cueva de Musulmanes. Travelling northeast, you can arrive at Cayo Piedra Underwater Park, a favorite diving spot where you can discover underwater shipwrecks. Besides the various diving and snorkeling facilities, adrenaline seekers can also practice skydiving while the more laid-back individuals can take day trips to the surrounding cultural attractions.

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