A Variety of the Best Places Cuba has to Offer
I have spent two weeks in one of the most exotic countries in the world and this post is about the top 10 places to visit in Cuba. Cuba is very special and colorful country, with many contrasts and problems/pleasures. You have to see for yourselves.
1 – Valle de Vinales
– famous with the mogote hills and best soil for tobacco that makes the landscape colorful and picturesque. The best agriculture region in the country, green and full of small farms. The visit of a tobacco farm is a very special experience. Here you can also walk in the Santo Tomas Cave – the second largest on the American Continent.
2 – Havana
– the most important city in the country. Havana Vieja (Old Havana) has to be seen although is already much populated with tourists. Most memorable – to take a drink on the terrace of the Hotel Ambos Mundos, where Hemingway was staying between 1932 and 1939. From the terrace, you will have a beautiful panorama to Havana on the background of a Cuban music played by a local group. See these 25 photos of Havana to inspire even more your wanderlust!
3 – Cienfuegos
– UNESCO heritage site with an amazing collection of architectural styles and it is an example of urban planning built with modern hygiene and order concept by the French settlers in 1819. Don’t miss to taste the pina colada cocktail in El Palatino while listening to the lively rhythms of the Cuban music. The bar is situated right front of the Park Jose Marti in the center of the city and it is favorite spot of locals and tourists.
4 – Escambray Mountains
– second highest mountain in Cuba, it offers the traveler fresh air and rest from the heat during the visit of Trinidad. The adventure – Russian army truck platform brings you to the Guanayara National Park where you can walk in the jungle. The local guide will give you interesting details about the flourishing flora and fauna such like the story of the “tourist tree” – it has such name because it is changing its red skin in same way as the tourist are losing theirs on the beaches of Cuba. 😉
5 – Trinidad
– the Old Town of Trinidad is practically pedestrian and this helps to keep the original atmosphere from the colonial time when rich Spanish aristocracy had houses here. Beautiful architectural pieces, colorful and well maintained. My favorites – the Romantic museum and the Canchanchara bar. Wandering the streets of Trinidad on a beautiful sunny afternoon is a memorable experience.
6 – Guama, the Laguna de Tesoro and the reconstructed aboriginal village Aldea Taino
– start with the visit of the crocodile nursery and farm where you can learn about the Cuban crocodiles and what’s the difference with the American crocodile. You can touch some small, still cute specimen. Then, you will be taken by a fast boat to the Laguna de Tesoro where an aboriginal village is reconstructed to show what the life of the native people was before the Europeans reach the island. The setting is very beautiful and peaceful. No doubt why there is a hotel just next constructed by the government especially to be used for honeymooners. Small beautiful bungalows looking as a part of the landscape and facing the lagoon are spread amongst the vegetation.
7 – Santiago de Cuba
– unfortunately, a city that I couldn’t visit. But given the description of Santiago de Cuba by Rough Guides, it is a brilliant scene of Afro-Cuban culture, with an atmosphere filled with music, myths, and rituals. Best attractions to be visited are Diego Velázquez’s sixteenth-century merchant house and the elegant governor’s residence. Definitely, a type of place not to be missed.
8 – Soroa
– also known as the “Rainbow of Cuba”, named after the Salto de Arco Iris waterfall. Here you can visit the largest orchid farm in Cuba with over 6000 plants and 700 different types of orchids. Real tropical heaven. Be sure to have some time to sit on the terrace with the beautiful view and to enjoy its special atmosphere with a cup of Cuban coffee.
9 – Varadero
– it is what I call: go-to-Cuba and not-see-Cuba. Don’t do the mistake to go ONLY to Varadero and not to visit other parts of the country. Varadero is not Cuba. It is mass tourist establishment with more than 50 all inclusive hotels. They offer beautiful sunsets, swimming pools under palm trees and peaceful vacation. The entertainment and food are on an acceptable level. It is perfect to rest few days after previously exploring the real Cuba.
10 – Pinar del Rio
– not very touristic as I could see by myself. And this is the beauty of the place. It’s not as colorful and clean as Cienfuegos but has a real life on its streets. Walking there you feel almost as local. Wandering around you will find some secret gardens of a houses that are, as a t many cities of Cuba, great examples of the previous grandeur of the country. Advice: if you like, buy from here leather shoes or bags that you can find all over Cuba, in Pinar del Rio their prices are much lower as the tourists are not regular visitors here.
From all top 10 places to visit in Cuba, Valle de Vinales is my favorite place. Absolutely unpolluted nature, still authentic culture and simple lifestyle – this valley is one of the few places on Earth that are still pristine.
Have you been to places that remind you of Heaven?
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