Holidays in Cuba: what do I have to know
Multiple possibilities are available to plan a travel to Cuba. This incredible island, stretching over 1000 kilometres, can cater to the needs of travellers who want to relax on its superb beaches. Its colonial cities allow to satisfy the cultural desires. And it's by combining the two that your stay in Cuba could become more than worthwhile. Let's find out which cities you shouldn't miss on your Cuban getaway. From the coasts to the interior, let us guide you through this read before you fly off to new adventure.
Which cities to visit on a trip to Cuba to discover the culture?
- Santiago de Cuba
Havana for a trip back in time
Commencing your holiday in Cuba with its effervescent capital: Havana. This colonial city is packed with places to see, starting with its old town, Habana Vieja. With the old cars parked in front of the buildings, the unparalleled architectural beauty or its casas particulares of Havana.
Don't miss Centro Habana either, which, although less popular, will plunge you into the heart of Havana's authenticity. As you walk through the streets, you won't miss the dome of the National Capitol and its incredible details. Then feel the sea air as you stroll along the Malecon, the long promenade to the north of the city. At the same time, you will discover the Vedado district and its fake New York look. In fact, why not do it in a classic car? Finish off with a visit to the Museum of Evolution and the city's fortresses to delve into the country's history. And if you don't mind going off-centre, check out Fusterlndia, also known as the Cuban Guell Park.
Finally, note that if you want to visit the city in a carefree manner, favour a hotel in the centre such as Cuba's Ibersotar hotels. Alternatively, your more out-of-town hotel will certainly offer a daily shuttle service to make your travels easier.
Cienfuegos, a city in the south of Cuba
Because of its past, Cienfuegos is a city with many sights worth seeing. It was built by the French after being discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1494. The first thing to be covered in this colonial city is its main square: Parque Jose Marti. Located in the heart of the city, you can admire its colonial architecture in a peaceful atmosphere. Then head towards the Malecon, the avenue that runs along the seafront like Havana. To the north, you will come to the Paseo del Prado, lined with houses in the classical style. And if these little wonders have left you wanting to see more, head to Punta Gorda. This is where the city's most beautiful buildings can be found.
Finally, let's not forget that Cienfuegos is nestled in the heart of a bay. So take a look at the fortress built in the 18th century to protect the bay from pirate attacks. Finish on a natural note by visiting the botanical garden of Cienfuegos. Its exotic plants are sure to take you on a journey as we await our next destination.
Trinidad, its cobbled streets & colonial houses
Inscribed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco, Trinidad is unsurprisingly a city to visit on a day trip to Cuba. Considered the best preserved of all Cuban colonial cities, it represents a must-see. With the impression of being in the heart of a Cuban postcard, you will be amazed as you walk through its old town. Then head for its Plaza Mayor, in the heart of the city. This square is filled with churches, restaurants and green spaces, and is a place of great energy. Then visit the Palacio Cantero, a magnificent 19th century house that now houses the Municipal History Museum. You can also enjoy a magnificent view of the city as you climb the steps of its spiral staircase. This will certainly make you want to get closer to the mountains that you can see in the distance. To do this, head to the Topes de Collantes Natural Park.
Santiago de Cuba: a day in Cuba on the trail of the revolution
Facing the Caribbean Sea, in the south-east of the island, Santiago de Cuba is a particularly important city in the history of the island. It is the second largest city in the country, but it does not rival Havana in importance alone. Its beauty and charm have nothing to envy the capital. To see it, start with the historic old town. This is where you will find the city's number one attraction: the Parc Céspedes and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption. The former is a beautiful square where the inhabitants like to meet. And it is here that the magnificent cathedral, also known as the Santiago de Cuba cathedral, is located. The latter is the seat of the city's archdiocese.
Then take in the city's rich history by visiting the Tívoli district. It was created by French immigrants when they settled there to escape the revolution in Haiti. As you stroll through the particularly steep streets, you may come across the Museum of the Clandestine Struggle. This museum traces the history of the clandestine struggle against Batista in a beautiful colonial-style building. The Balcony of Velázquez, the Carnival Museum, the Place of the Revolution, the Emilio Bacard Museum, the Historical Museum of July 26th, the list of places of interest seems endless. And above all, if you've decided to make your travel to Cuba in July, don't miss the festival, arguably the best known in the Caribbean.
Another list that never ends is the Cuban cities in which to fill up on culture. Camagüey, Baracoa, Santa Clara, or Holguín où you will be able to understand the interest and importance that Cuba has; salsa… The whole country seems to be full of treasures just waiting to be covered.
Where to go for a luxury Cuba trip centred around nature?
In order to recover from all these cultural discoveries, it is time to make way for lazing around on the most beautiful beaches in Cuba. Away from the hustle and bustle, enjoy the beautiful beaches and lush landscapes that the island has to offer for unforgettable moments.
Varadero on the Hicacos Peninsula
Varadero in Cuba is a city not to be missed. Known throughout the world for its inviting white sandy beaches, be sure to check them out. Once there, you will be faced with a cornucopia of choices. For one thing, you can take advantage of the facilities your hotel in Cuba might offer to maximise your tent. A little massage in the wellness area? A gourmet break in the restaurant? A swim in the pool? Or maybe you'd prefer the turquoise waters of the sea? Speaking of the sea, why not take a break on the shore? Lying on the sand, kissed by the sun's rays, it's hard to enjoy Varadero more than a stay at the Melia Internacional Cuba. There are, however, other leisure activities that will delight the most energetic.
The resort offers a wide range of aquatic activities. Why not start with snorkelling? Although snorkelling in Cuba may seem unusual to many, it is a destination rich in marine life. Through the translucent waters surrounding the resort, it is not difficult to spot all kinds of fish. You can then go on to the discovery of Matanzas. This province has a rich history and is full of classicist treasures that contrast beautifully with the region's beautiful beaches. The same goes for the Zapata marsh, which has an impressive wildlife reserve and is well worth a visit. Finally, consider renting a car so you can venture out further and do even more exploring.
Two of Cuba's most beautiful cayos
Wondering which cities to visit on a travel to Cuba ? Well, you should know that it is just as wise to ask yourself which one to visit so that your trip is memorable.
Start with the island of Cayo Coco, one of the largest in Cuba. The fourth largest in the country to be precise, it is mainly occupied by hotels. The latter border beautiful beaches where it is pleasant to swim all year round, but that is not all. In the mangrove or in the forest, you can also come across one of the hundreds of bird species that inhabit the island. It is moreover a white ibis nicknamed coco by the Cubans which gave its name to Cayo Coco. There is also a strong chance that you will meet a pink flamingo on this land covered by 75% by vegetation. On the sea, the island also offers plenty to do. For example, you can try your hand at water sports. Jet ski, windsurfing, catamaran& You name it!
It's also up to you to see how to fill your day in Cayo Largo, a small island in Cuba. Offering everything you would certainly expect from a paradise getaway, it is unlikely to disappoint. With its fine sandy beaches, this island in the Canarreos archipelago will surely satisfy your desire to relax. Follow in the footsteps of Christopher Columbus and the pirates and come and enjoy the wonders of this island. After enjoying the sandy stretches, head for the village. Green and lush, they are rich in flora and fauna. The same goes for the coral reefs, so don't miss out on the snorkelling and some of Cuba's best snorkelling centres.
Last on our list of cities to visit: Viñales. An ideal destination if you're wondering what to do in Cuba outside Havana, you'll find some particularly charming colonial houses in the heart of the city. However, this is not the main attraction. On the outskirts of the town you have access to the valley with the same name. You will then discover a site classified as a Unesco heritage site, notably for its unparalleled beauty. when to go. And for those who are lost and want to make the most of their cheap travel to Cuba, don't forget that there is a solution available to you. Simply combine two destinations, one cultural and one natural, to give you a complete view of what Cuba has to offer!