In carved stone and bold, tropical colors and sounds, Old Havana reflects Cuba’s complex history of conquest, slavery, liberation, and revolution.
Cuba is unlike any place you have ever visited. Its recent history, socio-political development, and proximity to the U.S. make it unique in the world. Cuba is also beautiful with stunning beaches, lush, tropical foliage and dramatic architecture. But Cuba’s most winning feature, what really sets it apart, is its culture reflected in the people, art and music. There is nothing quite like this magical island anywhere else in the world. If you are thinking of going to Cuba and want to hit the key highlights, read on. HAVANA The air smells of the salty ocean that surrounds it. The
Source: Highlights of Cuba
Cuba is the ultimate “unexplored territory”, yet it is only a few miles off the coast of Florida. Here’s three cities in Cuba that guys will love to explore.
Source: Ultimate Cuba Getaway For Guys
Planning a trip to Cuba? Here are 5 incredible cities in Cuba to visit to experience the amazing culture and beautiful scenery.
Camagüey, Cuba, Jul 10 (Prensa Latina) The inhabitants of this eastern Cuban city celebrate today the tenth anniversary of the inclusion of its Historic Center in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
There’s a reason UNESCO rewarded the atmospheric Cuban town of Trinidad with a world heritage site listing. This delightful colonial era gem stands out as one of the most charming places in the country to stay and explore. Here are our suggestions for top 5 must see Trinidad Cuba attractions to help you make the most of your stay.
Walk the cobbled streets of Trinidad’s old town
The pedestrianised streets at the heart of Trinidad are lined with colonial era properties. Former mansions have been converted into shops and restaurants while museums abound. Climb the bell tower of the Convent of San Francisco for the best views across the town. At ground level, the place houses the Museo Nacional de Lucha Contra Bandidos (National Museum of the Struggle against Bandits). It offers a fascinating insight into the Cuban revolution from a Cuban perspective. Stroll back to the Plaza Mayor and sit on the steps of the Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad – there’s no better place in Trinidad for the pastime of people-watching.
Enjoy traditional Cuban music
The Viñales Valley, National Monument since 1979, was the first cultural landscape recognized by UNESCO throughout the Americas, declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 and National Park in 2001.
“Timeworn but magnificent, dilapidated but dignified, fun yet maddeningly frustrating – Cuba is a country of indefinable magic.” Lonely Planet Travel Guide.
Charlie and I took a 3 and a half hour horse ride through Viñales National Park for a fee of 25 CUC ($25) each which included being picked up at our casa particulare in a horse-drawn taxi. The tour was arranged by our hostess the day we arrived in Viñales.
Our tour started at William’s stables. He assigned a horse to each of us — we were 4 plus William who was our guide and wrangler.
Our first stop was a tobacco plantation where we saw men cutting the plant in preparation for drying. It was explained to us how the tobacco grows and is readied to become the famed Cuban cigars — Cohibas, Monte Cristos, or Romeo y Juliets.
It is dried in barns then rehydrated in an herbal bath to make it pliable enough to roll.
Each of us was given the opportunity to smoke.
Famed for its colourful capital, Havana, unspoilt sandy beaches and lush rainforests, it is easy to see why Cuba is one of the world’s top destinations. However, there is so much more to this Caribbean island…
Being driven around the bustling, cobbled streets of Havana in an ancient, but beautifully preserved 1950s Cadillac, Chevrolet or Oldsmobile, you feel like you have entered a different era.
It’s not just the unusual combination of grey Soviet-era brutalist architecture juxtaposed with gems such as the Gran Teatro (lit up at night it is a marvel).
Nor is it the contrast between the seemingly endless and wide Malecon waterfront, with the blank canvas of the ocean beyond, and warren of sheltered and shady old town streets where crumbling facades defy gravity thanks to the ingenuity of the population and plenty of wooden props.
No, what really makes you feel that you are in a different time to the rest of the world — and certainly the shoving and pushing grim-faced commuters of London — are the people.
“Andale, andale,” farmer Ramon Rodriguez commands his oxen as I hold onto their reins and worry whether the enormous beasts of burden will bolt. I might not know much Spanish but I can recognize cartoon character Speedy Gonzales’ command for “hurry up.”
Later I learn a speeding ox team is unlikely since the males are castrated, which makes them easier to control. I was also clueless to the conversation happening around me as Rodriguez asked a fellow journalist if he, too, was castrated.
I missed that machismo moment while concentrating on keeping the oxen on their muddy, well-beaten path, and being caught on video saying it’s “just a typical day in Cuba.”
But for Cuba’s 4.7 million annual visitors (one-third of them Canadians) leading an ox team through a sugar cane plantation is anything but typical. Most tourists come for the sandy beaches and remain secluded in all-inclusive resorts, ignoring the local culture.
This has been the norm since Cuba began welcoming tourists again almost 30 years ago.
Backroads’ new bike trip in Cuba takes cyclists on a two-wheeled tour through the rural countryside and into Cubans’ homes for an up-close look at this fascinating island, simultaneously stuck in time and in the midst of unprecedented change.
In Cuba, the plan is that few things will go according to plan.
It’s essential that you arrive with an open heart, a curious mind and a supreme level of flexibility.
Expect the unexpected … it’s all part of the adventure!
These nuggets of wisdom — skeptics might call them warnings — were in the pre-departure packet that arrived in the mail a few weeks before my December bike trip in Cuba.
My husband and I, both avid fans of two-wheel travel, signed up for our cycling vacation before the Cuba situation started taking telenovela-like twists involving so-called sonic attacks, a State Department warning, confusing new travel restrictions and a hurricane named Irma.
“Are you sure you want to go?” my mom asked on more than one occasion.
The answer: absolutely.
Top Places to Visit in Havana Cuba. Old Havana, El Malecon, Plaza de la Revoluvion, the Cathedral & a classic car ride are all must see sites in Havana…
Not climbing back on the bike after breakfast can be a bit disorienting, but Trinidad is not a place you fly in and out of.
It is one of only 5 original Spanish colonial towns in Cuba, and it is by far and away the best preserved. Mostly colourfully painted single storey buildings, it’s heritage is further confirmed by its rough cobbled streets, not very comfortable for either walking or cycling.
Founded in the early 16th century, it was a staging post for expeditions to South America and it was from here that Hernán Cortés launched his invasion of Mexico.
You can spend hours wandering the streets, negotiating the tour groups and touters, and be surprised by something interesting round every corner. I was waylaid my a museum called The battle against the bandits.
The island’s third-largest city is home to a spectacular ballet theatre, an eclectic music scene and multiple UNESCO world heritage sites.
CAMAGUEY, CUBA — The dancers are covered in a sheen of sweat as commands fly from the balcony of the storied Teatro Principal. “Maria, you have to keep your arm lower,” barks Aurora Bosch, a former prima ballerina with the Cuban National Ballet. “Baja, baja, baja.”
The members of the Camaguey Ballet tremble from the exertion of holding poses as the guest critic makes minute adjustments to tilted heads, fluttering arms, and elongated feet in handmade pointe shoes. It is at least 30 C outside the three-storey, neoclassical-style theatre, and it is not much cooler inside.
Bosch has been invited to critique rehearsals of the ballet’s 50th anniversary program, which includes this dance choreographed to “Cabalgando con Fidel”, a song released upon Castro’s death.
A look at our time ashore in Trinidad Cuba with Viking Cruises, as part of Viking’s new voyages Cuba cruises from Miami, Florida.
At first glance, it’s hard to know exactly what to do with your time in Cuba. Sailing aboard Viking Cruises’ Viking Sun on Viking’s weeklong Cultural Cuba itinerary from Miami, guests have two-and-a-half full days to explore this fascinating island nation.
Unlike other cruise ships, Viking Sun doesn’t dock in Havana. Instead, it sits at anchor off Cienfuegos, Cuba – a pretty little town on the southern coast of the island. Viking has always been particularly adept at crafting unique itineraries, and what at first seems like a disadvantage is actually a massive win for the line on many fronts.
From Cienfuegos, Viking offers nine different shore excursion options – all of them complimentary.
Nudging the emerald Escambray mountains, Trinidad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Cuba’s most charming towns. So perfectly preserved are the quaint colonial buildings, the entire town feels as though it’s trapped in a time warp from the 18th century. Stroll the winding cobbled streets here to discover a trove of architectural treasures, from colorful colonial mansions to historic churches and pastel-painted bell towers with panoramic views. Most of the buildings span the 17th to 19th centuries when the town prospered from the sugar and slave trades.
Trinidad is also a great base for day trips to the mountains and the sea. From here, sightseers can hike to waterfalls in the Sierra del Escambray; bike to the pretty Playa Ancon, a palapa-studded beach; or venture into the Valle de Los Ingenios, yet another World Heritage-listed gem.
Two weeks, four cities. Donovan chronicles his journey in Cuba, across Varadero, Trinidad, Vinales and finally to Havana.
Cold war, communist state, trade embargo. These are the three phrases that come to mind whenever someone mentions Cuba. Thanks to our western-dominated media influence, many people do not have a good impression of Cuba. Not surprisingly, when I informed my family that I was headed to Cuba, they were all worried and asked me why I needed to explore that part of the world.
I was undeterred by other people’s opinions and the deteriorating US-Cuba relations. I had already booked my flights and nothing was about to stop me. My plan was to stay two weeks in Cuba, visiting four different cities: Varadero, Trinidad, Vinales and Havana.
I flew in to Cuba via Varadero airport.
Cuba is undoubtedly a country filled with historic, breath-taking landmarks that are culturally very significant; it has nine cultural and natural sites that hold the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage status and another three submitted for consideration!
With so many beautiful attractions and places of interest scattered throughout the country, we’ve handpicked four must-see spots you should include in your itinerary when booking your holiday to Cuba.
As the oldest city in Cuba, Baracoa is one of the country’s best-kept secrets – its isolated location means that you can get a taste of real Cuba and get to know the local characters for a truly authentic experience.
With its secluded black-sand beach, impressive waterfalls and lush green forests, the city is filled with beautiful sights for any lover of nature.