Cuba, the diverse island in the Caribbean, is always worth a visit. Holidaymakers can discover countless places here where time seems to have stood still. For example, vintage cars from the 1950s still drive through the streets of Havana. But collectors are not at the wheel. No, they are still suitable for everyday use.
The morbid charm of the streets and alleys of Cuba’s cities has already cast a spell over many. But a lot has happened. The socialist country has invested in tourism. And that is particularly noticeable around the many sights. The plaster has not crumbled there for several years. The sights of the island also include nature and the breathtaking beaches.
Vacationers can enjoy the sun in the white sand and bathe in the warm sea, which shines in more than 50 shades of blue. The forests offer cooling shade and lakes with crystal clear water. The best thing about it: The island is now completely developed for tourism. You can discover all the sights on organized trips or by public transport.
In the following we present you the most exciting tours, most beautiful attractions and best sights in Cuba.
1. The capital Havana
Havana, once the pearl of the Caribbean, then a decayed beauty for a long time. It has always been a magnet for tourists. If only because of the imposing quay wall, the Malecón. Much has happened in the capital as a result of the country’s cautious opening to capitalism. Many sights shine in new splendor.
Cuba’s capital has not lost its charm – on the contrary. Many small shops, restaurants and lovely hotels have settled here. They all offer holidaymakers a very individual experience. And of course they still exist, the old classics that Ernest Hemingway wrote about. What would a vacation in Cuba be without a visit to the legendary Bar Floridita?
2. Isla de la Juventud
Cuba is a classic island nation. There is of course the main island, but there are also a few smaller islets. The most famous island is the Isla de la Juventud. A small piece of earth with an eventful history. Because once pirates sought refuge here, aiming at the capital.
Later it became a penal colony and a training camp for the offspring of the Socialist Unity Party. Hence the name, which means “island of youth”. Today it attracts tourists with its long, wonderfully white beaches. And last but not least, the reefs and atolls off the island are a paradise for divers.
3. Colonial Heritage in Trinidad
A lovely city located on the Caribbean coast. The winding streets take you back to colonial times in one fell swoop. In the meantime, many of the houses have been lovingly renovated and give an impression of the island’s golden age. Rich investors once spent their summers in the magnificent villas on the coast.
The many museums in the city are especially worth a visit. Above all the Museo Nacional de la Lucha contra Bandidos. It tells of the fight against crime on the island. Another extra tip: Enjoy a wonderful view over the roofs of the city from the tower of the museum.
4. Son – the unique sound of Cuba
Son is not really worth seeing, but above all is worth hearing. As you wander the streets of the cities, you will discover combos everywhere. They sing of the beauties of the island and the sufferings of love. The musicians accomplish the feat of creating songs that sound cheerful and yet deeply wistful at the same time.
The “Son Cubano” (short: Son) is undoubtedly an extraordinary style of music and strongly linked to the history of the country. A special experience is a visit to the Buena Vista Social Club, to which Wim Wenders dedicated a film. The detour to the outskirts of Havana is worthwhile, because here you can experience the real Son of the island.
5. The most beautiful beaches in Cuba
Cuba is in the Caribbean. And what would a vacation in the Caribbean be without enjoyable, relaxing days on the beach? In Cuba there is a whole variety of dream beaches with fine, white sand and turquoise blue water. The best known is certainly the bathing paradise in the north of the island, Varadero. You won’t meet Cubans here, however.
The locals cavort in the east of the island, where the beaches are not leased to hotels. For our travel experts in the editorial team, the most beautiful beaches are on Cayo Largo, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Coco and Playa Ancón near Trinidad.
6. Santiago de Cuba
Santiago is located in the very east of the country. The metropolis is not yet as touristically developed as the capital. But that is precisely what makes it so charming. It still exists here, the morbid charm that has already been celebrated so often. And vacationers can discover a completely different side of the island here:
The African American religion of Santeria. If you visit Santiago, you should definitely try the specialty of this region: the Canchanchera. A cocktail made from rum and honey. In Santiago you can find the drink on every corner. It was once thought of by bartenders who wanted to help people survive a long war.
7. Pinar del Rio
Make sure you take a trip to the region. 80 percent of Cuban tobacco grows here. The cigars are also produced here, which is a good opportunity to test one of these legendary glow sticks. But not only tobacco thrives here wonderfully. In the woods you can take a break from the tropical heat.
The very brave can also enjoy a cool bath at one of the many waterfalls. The tourist offers in the Vinales Valley are very rich. Those who like it sporty can hike or explore the region on a mountain bike. Those who want to take it easy can take part in a hike on horseback.
8. Pure nature: Alexander von Humboldt National Park
The famous explorer Alexander von Humboldt has never been to the island, but he would certainly have felt very much at home in this little corner of the world. UNESCO has named this park in eastern Cuba a World Heritage Site – and it was worth it. The flora and fauna could develop better here than anywhere else on the island.
Scientists even rumor that the biodiversity is greater here than on the Galapagos Islands. With a little luck, visitors may come across the smallest bird in the world, for example. Many other interesting encounters and impressions await. The best way to explore the huge park is on a guided hike.
9. Cienfuegos – relaxed insider tip
Are Havana and Trinidad too overrun? Then visit the insider tip of Cienfuegos. The city has 170,000 inhabitants and is protected in a large bay. Unesco has also named its center a World Heritage Site. That is why the management went to great lengths to preserve the old town.
In the middle is the Parque Jose Marti, a palm oasis. All the important buildings of the city are located around them, from the town hall to the theater to the famous cathedral. The city invites tourists to stroll and stroll. Take this invitation and discover one of the most relaxed spots in Cuba!
10. Cigars and rum – Cuba’s gold
Wherever you go on the island, cigars and rum will be with you every step of the way. Take it easy. The cigars are rolled on the island and the tobacco also grows here. Cuba is home to famous brands like Cohiba, Montechristo and Romeo y Julieta. The factories are all located in the region around Pinar del Rio and can be visited.
Rum is also distilled on the island and sugar cane thrives in the west. The first manufacture of the famous Havana Club can be visited in the capital. There are also exciting insights into the history of the high-proof drink.