Popularly known as the destination where the famous international sequel film – Fast & Furious was shot, Cuba remains to be an amalgamation of much more than just a movie destination and pretty beaches. Cuba is one of the largest islands among the Caribbean islands and is popularly known for its indefinable magic of culture, warm citizens, art and a homely feel. Increasingly becoming popular as a holiday destination for tourists, Cuba is seeing a higher rise in the numbers with every passing year. With innumerable museums, countless art galleries and tonnes of eateries to try out, the island remains to be one of the top-most chosen places to visit! We list down some of the most interesting & must-do activities that one should try during their holiday in the beautiful island of Cuba.
When to visit Cuba?
Cuba could be visited at any point of the year for adventure geeks who are up and about to travel and explore any place all year round. For the luxury traveller who is looking at a more favourable time of the year, should opt for visiting Cuba between November and March where the temperatures aren’t soaring high and the rains are comparatively less which would help one holiday stress-free!
Top things to do while in Cuba
- Drive in a Classic Vintage Car:
Your trip to Cuba is incomplete without taking a drive in a Classic Vintage Car all around the city of Havana. The modern colourful city has ample of sights to check out and local markets to explore! There isn’t any better way to drive around a classic beauty or be chauffeur driven in style! One could rent out vintage cars with or without drivers and move around the city, just like a local.
A Vintage Car in Cuba /Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons
- Go for a sunset walk on El Malecon, Havana:
Every place in the world views a sunset. However, there are only a few places in the world where one could view a beautiful sunset along with the natural ambience. El Malecon in Havana is one such place where one could walk or jog along an 8 kilometre paved road which runs along the sea and has a range of rich historic buildings housed opposite the sea making it a pretty view to take in after a long day of being touristy!
The 8km paved road alongside El Malecon, Havana /Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons
- Take in the rich history at Parque Céspedes, Santiago de Cuba:
Parque Céspedes is one of the most interesting areas in Santiago de Cuba. It is surrounded by romantic & colonial Cuban architecture which could have you immersed for hours. One could also visit the Bronze Bust of Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, the one who initiated the idea of independence for Cuba in 1868.
Soak yourself in the rich history of Parque Céspedes /Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons
- Enjoy some Beach Time at Playa Maguana, Baracoa:
The imaginary picture of best beaches around the world would be clear water, white sands and exquisite corals and fishes to look at! Well, you shall find all of these at Playa Maguana which is one of the best beaches of Cuba. The beach is a heaven for swimmers who would love to explore the coral reef at a stone throw distance. For others, the beach is a perfect place for some sun-bath and you could walk around the coast for delicious street food.
Enjoy the beautiful beach of Playa Maguana, Baracoa /Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons
- Learn Salsa Dance and Explore Water Sports in Trinidad:
Trinidad is known for some of the best beaches, unlimited mojitos and for those with two left feet who would love to learn some salsa dance! Sounds like a great combination? On your trip to Cuba, visiting Trinidad should be mandatory. One could easily spend a day in the town to engross into its interesting culture of night-life, visit the ‘outdoor museum’ which is a World Heritage Site and make the most of the beach by engaging in some professional water sports.
Explore Water Sports in Trinidad /Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons
- Snorkel & Dive at Cayo Jutias:
Cayo Jutias is one of the best beaches in Cuba specially known for snorkelling and diving and viewing the Black Coral. The height isn’t more than 15 meters which makes it favourable for a starter who does not know deep sea swimming. The town also houses an interesting metal light-house which was constructed by the USA in the early 1900’s.
Enjoy some snorkelling time and dive into the Cayo Jutias /Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons
- Smoke a Cuban Cigar
Smoking up a Cuban Cigar is a cherry on the cake to your trip. Even if you are a non-smoker, one should opt to just take a picture for memory sakes with a Cuban smoke. It is this majestic island where fine grade tobacco is grown and further processed into factories. If you are one who is interested in understanding the process, you could visit the Partagos factory which hosts organised tours to show tourists their business.
- Opt for a Home-stay with the Locals:
It is advised that on your trip to Cuba, for a few days in whichever city – one could opt for a home-stay with local Cuban families. Known to be extremely warm & friendly, the option remains to be an ideal one. Through your stay with a family, one could learn their culture, language and enjoy some home-made food & cocktails! It is best to choose your stay with the family while drafting your itinerary from your resident country to be able to share your plan and for them to be prepared for your arrival.
- Drink the Best Mojitos & Eat the Best Street Food in the World:
Interestingly, mojitos were invented in Cuba and so there isn’t a reason to not sip on one when you are in that country itself! For anyone trying out the drink, make sure to request you bar tender to add a little Havana Club Rum which is the authentic taste and way to enjoy a real Cuban mojito. As for street food, you could choose to eat Goat platters, Pork Burgers and Individual Hawaiian Pizzas which are drool-worthy. For those with a sweet-tooth, opting for some coconut pies and drinking some yummy fruit milkshakes remains to be the best and healthy option while in Cuba.
Drink up some local Cuban Mojitos with Havana Club Rum / Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons
- Experience a silent day at Christopher Columbus Cemetery:
The Cemetery is one of the most notable structures with exquisite architecture in all of Latin America. Designed by the famous Spanish architect Calixto de Loira y Cardoso, the cemetery’s construction was spread over a time-course of almost fifteen years. The monument sized cemetery is a living proof of how rich the country was in its culture & skill. It also importantly acts as final resting place for many notable Cuban and international residents.
The gorgeous Columbus cemetery!
Budgeting right when in Cuba
Chalking out a budget especially for an international trip can be tricky but is helpful and easy once you get to the place. While planning a trip to Cuba, one must have an idea about the place, its currency and a rough estimate of the costs. The Cuban currency is known as Pesos and the costs involved for meals, stays and travelling are slated on a medium range. For travellers, one could opt for the option of paying by cash at all places but it is suggested to not keep too much cash handy for safety sakes.
To provide a wholesome idea of an approximate budget which you could follow while visiting Cuba, we have drafted a detailed table for better understanding:
|DAILY COSTS PER DAY|
|LOW-RANGE (CUC 70 $)||MID-RANGE (CUC 70 – 140 $)||HIGH-RANGE (CUC 140 $)|
|Low Budget Hotel: CUC $ 25 – 35||Mid-Range Hotel: CUC $ 50 – 100||Resort or Historic Hotel: CUC $ 200 – 300|
|Meal in government-run restaurant: CUC $ 10 – 15||Meal in private restaurant: CUC $ 15 – 25||Car Hire or Taxi: CUC $ 60 – 70|
|Museum entry: CUC $ 1 – 5||Víazul Bus Travel from Havana to Trinidad: CUC $ 25||Evening cabaret: CUC$35–60|
Statistics Table Credit: Lonely Planet
Lastly, Cuba is one of the most serene and pretty islands in the world, especially for its warm people, colourful culture and pristine beaches. With innumerable activities and places to explore, Cuba is a country that will surely surprise you in every way possible and will keep you wanting to visit it again.
Kirti is an avid traveller & writer who is hoping to write a book one day. She is a media geek by profession and is a strong believer of Love, Faith & Hope. She is a scorpion at heart, who loves socialising and is a proud mother to an adorable Beagle puppy named Romeo!