Now that Cuba is allowed to open up its doors to Americans, the interest in travel to this idyllic island paradise will only be increasing. This vibrant Caribbean locale features sugar-white sandy beaches, colorful houses, 1950’s classic Cadillacs, mouth-watering cuisine. Its close proximity to the United States makes it an ideal getaway any time of the year. Although it may seem intimidating to travel to this foreign land, once you experience the beauty of the inviting culture and people, you will immediately feel at ease and embraced by the welcoming Cubans. Here is everything that you need to know about traveling to Cuba:
The Best Places to Stay
As the capital city of Cuba, Havana is generally a prime destination for most visitors to the island. Havana bursts with color, both in its landscape and its friendly locals. This centrally located city is the perfect jumping off point for your adventures in Cuba and an ideal place to begin your journey. A variety of lodging accommodations from full-service resorts with ocean views to quaint and cozy inns give travelers a myriad of options to choose from when deciding where to stay.
Spending a few nights in Trinidad is also recommended so that you get a dose of the Old World charm of Cuba. This colonial gem is so well-preserved that you may feel lost in time as you stroll through its cobblestone streets. If you are looking for a beach getaway, look no further than the famed resort town of Varadero. As the crown jewel of Cuba's booming tourism industry, Varadero caters to the clientele looking for a fun and laid-back resort experience. With over 50 all-inclusive resorts dotting the landscape, there is sure to be something for every personal taste and preference.
Exciting Activities to Try
The moderate climate of this Caribbean island lends itself to play host to a myriad of fun and exciting activities. The beckoning waters of the Atlantic Ocean invite visitors to swim, snorkel, and boat. Cuba is a scuba-diving paradise with numerous dive centers located all over the island. As one of the prime fishing destinations in the Caribbean, visitors come from all over the world to experience its stocked waterways and coastal areas. Swimming in a cenote is also a thrilling activity while in Cuba. Because only a few places on the planet have these pits of water, this is a unique experience distinctive of the Cuban culture.
With three major mountain ranges spreading across the landscape, Cuba is a delight for hikers of all skill levels. Because maps are generally non-existent and trails are often not marked well, it is recommended to go with a designated guide for a better experience. Cruising in a classic Cuban car through the streets of old Havana is also a must-do activity while vacationing on the island. To really add some authenticity, be sure to smoke a Cuban cigar or drink a mojito while dancing the night away in an original salsa bar.
Don’t Miss These Sights
As a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, Old Havana is a must-see sight while visiting the capital city. It is easy to visualize what life was like in this historic city 200 years ago when you stroll through the Plaza de la Catedral and its Catedral de San Cristobal. Military enthusiasts will appreciate the Castillo de la Real Fuerza fortress. While in Havana, be sure to visit the Malecon. This four-mile seafront promenade is an ideal way to experience the beauty of the ocean balanced with an eclectic mix of well-preserved buildings exhibiting a variety of Cuba's bold architectural styles.
If you want an exceptional snorkeling and diving spot, be sure to check out the popular Cayo Piedra Underwater Park, located just northeast of Varadero. As a traditional 17th-century Spanish fortress, the Castillo del Morro guards the entrance of the Bay of Santiago. Today, visitors can explore the expansive fort and enjoy majestic views of the coastline.
Whatever your fancy, a trip to Cuba will please everyone in your travel party. The unique mix of old and new sets this destination apart from other islands in the region, beckoning visitors to return again and again.