Salsa, mojito, cig@rs… Where to go in 2016? Here is the video of our incredible trip to Cuba, a 20 day tour from Havana to Varadero, through the most beautiful places of this magic island.
So… we are just back from our beautiful trip to Cuba, the largest and more interesting of the Caribbean islands. We have been travelling for 20 days exploring one of the most exciting places in the world. This is the story of our crazy journey to Cuba and the incredible Cuban culture. Hope you can get inspired and jump on the next plane. So, are you ready? Let’s start from the beginning!
After a 12 hours bumpy flight from UK we finally landed in Havana where we spent 8 days, then we took a local bus to Viñales and explored for 3 days the stunning nature, tobacco fields and wild beaches around. We decided to go south, so we traveled for 7 hours to Trinidad and we instantly fell in love with the City. One hour ride from Trinidad and we arrived to the French colonial city of Cienfuegos, which we quickly visited before coming back to the north and spending the last 4 nights in that paradise called Varadero.
This is the list of the best places in Cuba, the places you should visit if your are planning to travel to Havana, Varadero and the to other special cities of the Island. The best things to do in Cuba to enjoy the real and most authentic Cuban atmosphere. Curious to know what you should not miss in Cuba? Vamos a empezar!
What to do in HAVANA
One thing you should know about Havana is that is a crazy, noisy, colorful city! So take a walk into the colorful streets of Havana Centro and Havana Vieja (Old Havana) and start getting used to the Rhythm of this incredible Capital.
Museo de la Revolucion
Do not miss a visit to the Museo de la Revolucion, the 1919 old Presidential Palace where you can find out more about the History of the island and the Cuban revolutionary war. The Salon de los Espejos (Hall of Mirrors), designed following the example of the rich interiors of the Palace of Versailles, is the most beautiful spot for a picture.
Plaza de La Catedral
Reach the heart of Old Havana walking through Plaza de la Catedral, called after the Catedral de la Virgen María de la Concepción Inmaculada de La Habana, one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Havana and one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Cuba.
Bodeguita del Medio
Then, have a drink at La Bodeguita del Medio, the place where the Mojito cocktail has been invented. Since 1942 this has been the place where to drink mojito and enjoy authentic cuban music.
Visual art Gallery in Plaza Vieja
Reach the 16th century Plaza Vieja, one of the top 5 squares in Havana, and visit the Visual Art Gallery (Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales) housed in one of the renovated 18th century colonial building surrounding the square. From the museum you can enjoy the most beautiful view of the Plaza, or just discover contemporary art masterpieces from local and international artists.
Plaza de la Revolucion
Take the touristic bus and stop in Plaza de la Revolution for a selfie with the Che. Just in front of the Memorial Jose Martí, on the 1953 Ministry of Interior building, shines the legendary 30 meters mural dedicated to Che Guevara, together with the slogan Hasta la Victoria Siempre.
Gimnasio Rafael Trejo
Cuban boxeurs are worldwide known and there is a place in Cuba where Olympic champions start their journey into the Box world. Hidden in the very heart of old Havana you’ll find the Gimnasio Rafael Trejo, an open air professional gym where you can attend a boxing lesson or just watch young boys (and girls!) training. Veeery interesting!
Hasta que se seque el Malecón
You can’t leave Havana without a classic tour on one of the beautiful vintage shiny american cars parked in front of the Hotel Inglaterra, in Parque Central. 15 dollars for a crazy ride along the Malecón at sunset. Unforgettable!
Dinner at La Guarida
And for dinner? Reserve a table at La Guarida restaurant, one of the most renowned and exclusive Paladar of the city, housed in a spectacular space, and where the movie Fresa y Chocolate has been filmed. All the most important international stars have been here, from Spielberg to Beyoncé, from Roberto Cavalli to Rihanna. Now should be your turn!
What to do in VIÑALES
Viñales is a little cute village in the Pinar del Rio Province, in the west side of Cuba. A UNESCO World Heritage area you should visit if you love nature, wild beaches and… cigars.
Horse ride in the tobacco fields
Explore the Valley with a 3 hour horse riding guided tour and experience the life of a real caballero, riding through tobacco, banana and coffee fields.
Excursion to Cayo Jutias
Tired of the country life? One hour from Viñales you can bask on the white beaches of Cayo Jutias. The Playa is surrounded by mangroves and crystal clear water where you can go snorkeling and spot colorful starfish.
What to do in TRINIDAD
We liked Havana, but we fell in love with Trinidad, a peaceful and frozen in time city, where you can feel and experience the authentic Cuban atmosphere. Trinidad has been founded more than 500 years ago, in the center of the Island, in the beautiful Sancti Spiritu Province. For its preserved beauty, Trinidad is a UNESCO World Heritage site you should not miss if you are travelling to Cuba.
Reach the city center of Trinidad and take a look around in Plaza Mayor. Many bars and traditional shops will keep you busy for a while.
Museo Histórico Municipal
For only 2 pesos ( 2CUC) you can visit the Museo Histórico Municipal and enjoy the most beautiful view of the city from the Museum’s panoramic tower.
Casa de la Musica
Have dinner in one of the traditional restaurants of the city and spend the rest of the evening (and the night) in Casa de la Musica, an open air venue just on the side of the main city’s Cathedral. Real Cuban dancers will invite you for a rumba, a merengue or a salsa. 1, 2, 3 – 5, 6, 7. Ready?
What to do in CIENFUEGOS
Cienfuegos is La Perla del Sur (The pearl of the South), founded by French immigrants at the beginning of the 19th century.
French colonial architecture in Parque Martí
Walk through the city center of Cienfuegos, listed among the UNESCO World Heritage sites, to enjoy the beauty of the french colonial architecture and try to spot the (only) Cuban Arc of Triumph, located in Parque José Martí.
Leave the bustle of the city behind and reach the Malecón. Walk along the sea, savoring the scents of a roasted lobster, which you can eat with only a few pesos in one of the restaurants nearby, and order your special cup of guava ice-crem at Coppelia, on your way back to the town.
What to do in VARADERO
We left the centre of the island to spend the rest of our journey in Varadero, a real paradise nestled in the Province of Matanzas, where you can find the best beaches and most exclusive resorts.
Lay on a white beach
After a crazy tour through the island, the only thing you want to do before living Cuba is laying on a beach for hours, drinking fresh piña (pineapple) and coconut juice. Varadero is the perfect place for an all inclusive holiday and, hey… you’ll fall in love with the incredible colors of the Caribbean sea.
For only 15 dollars you can leave your resort for a few hours, take a guided catamaran tour and discover the beauties hidden under the water.
Scooter ride to Varadero City
Rent a scooter and reach the city centre of Varadero for an ice-cream and a short shopping session in one of the many souvenir shops you’ll find along the way.
This was our crazy Journey to Cuba. Hope you enjoyed it.