CUBA TRAVEL GUIDE

Cuba is the largest Caribbean island. Cuba is still closed to American tourists, but it is open to all world travellers eager to discover its rich culture and historical past. Cuba is known for its famous cigars and American vintage cars. With stunning beaches and a few rum distilleries, it would be best if you enjoyed both the urban and rural aspects of Cuba when choosing the best places. Cuba’s capital, Havana, is a must-see on any trip. But it also offers the opportunity to explore the fantastic scenery and culture throughout the island. We have a travel guide for your convenience, including all the travel information and some critical travel advice and tips. This information will surely help you while planning your trip to Cuba. You can also look at our  packing essential guide so that you might not forget anything while packing your bags for the journey.

Please check necessary details about activities, attractions, hotels, restaurants, etc. before visiting there in light of Covid-19.

Most Visited Cities In cuba

Below are some most visited and famous cities you can plan to visit on your vacation to Cuba. These will surely make your trip memorable for life.

1. Havana

Havana is the capital of Cuba, and the main transport hub. Virtually all tourists will spend some time in Havana. The city’s sophisticated, retro, and cosmopolitan vibe is well-known for its vibrant nightlife. But, there are plenty of exciting things to do during the day. You can’t leave Havana and not see cigars being made by hand in a small factory or taste local rum straight from the distillery.

2. Trinidad

Trinidad, Cuba, is a beautiful place for those who love architecture or history. Plaza Mayor is the heart of Trinidad, and Neo-baroque buildings surround it. The Museum of the War Against the Bandits or the Lucha Contra Bandidos is located next to the plaza in a colonial convent. The Palacio Brunet Mansion is another stunning structure in Trinidad, and it now houses the Museo Romantico. You can visit to see a wonderful collection of antiques and artworks from the 19th century.

3. Santiago de Cuba

Located in eastern Cuba, Santiago de Cuba is a coastal city known for its colonial history and it is known as the Second City of Cuba. The heart of the city is the Parque Cespedes, a central plaza that is surrounded by a number of historical Spanish colonial structures.

4. Vinales

Although Cuba has many national parks, none are as beautiful or accessible as the Vinales Valley. Vinales is a lovely destination, and Castro loved it. Mountains surround it, and tobacco continues to grow in the valley. Numerous caves offer an additional level of adventure for those who are more adventurous.

5. Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos, Cuba’s most unique city, is home to many interesting people, and it has a distinct atmosphere. The peninsula of Punta Gorda, which is mid-century modern architecture at its best, is a must-see for anyone who loves it. Many 1950s homes are still in existence, and many of them have been well preserved. Pueblo Nuevo is the center of Cienfuegos. Here you can visit the history museum, eat at an outdoor café, or learn Spanish or French in a lesson.

Top Things To See And Visit

You’ll discover that this country offers so much more than just the tourist trails. Below we have got you a few famous attractions that are worth visiting during your trip to Cuba.

1. Old Havana (Habana Vieja)

Habana Vieja, or Old Havana, is a well-preserved piece of Cuban history and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s easy for anyone to imagine how life was 200 years ago as they walk along the cobbled streets, admiring the grand Baroque or Neoclassical buildings. The historic buildings are receiving extensive renovations. The major attractions include Plaza de la Catedral, the legendary restaurant and Hemingway hangout, Bodeguita del Medio, and the Castillo de la Real Fuerza.

2. Varadero

Varadero, one of Cuba’s most popular beaches, is also home to one of the Caribbean’s best beaches. More than 50 hotels line this famous strip, and its stunning white-sand beaches attract visitors from all over the globe. Varadero also has the Parque Josone, home to beautiful flower gardens, a swimming pool, and a restaurant. There’s also a small lake where rowboats can be used. Deep-sea fishing and skydiving are other popular activities.

3. Cayo Coco Beach

The Cayo Coco Islands are located in the northern part of Ciego de Avila. They are one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Cuba. The island is well-known for its popular Caribbean-style “all-inclusive resorts”. It is a remarkable engineering and architectural feat to create the causeway that connects the island and the mainland. It is a beautiful place to enjoy a light breeze and a warm sunbath.

4. Valley of Sugar Mills

The Valley de Los Ingenios, or the valley of sugar mills, is located in central Cuba’s city of Trinidad. It is a beautiful reminder of Cuban prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is made up of three distinct valleys that are home to sugarcane plants. This place, home to many tourist attractions, is a reminder of a dark period and houses watchtowers built to keep an eye on the 11,000 slaves who worked in the plantations.

5. Morro Castle Fortress

The Morro Castle Fortress, which guards Havana city against the entrance to Havana bay, is one of the most stunning constructions in the Caribbeans. The castle, named after the “Three wise men”, is an Italian-designed masterpiece. It is an excellent reminder of the battle of Havana, which took place in 1762 during the seven-year war. It offers a stunning view of the sea from its fort and is often used to navigate.

 

Cuba Travel Costs

Thoughtful planning will help you get more for your money while you enjoy the best of everything the Bahamas has. This travel guide may help, but be ready to spend some money on your trip. Cuba tourism is a bit expensive in this part.

Accommodation

While you can spend up to $300 per night in the most luxurious hotels, Casa Particulars is a more authentic and enjoyable way to experience the country. A casa will provide you with your bedroom, with a queen- or double-sized bed and a private bath. Casa Particulars will not usually cost more than $20-$30US per night. Most of them include breakfast. They all offer the opportunity to meet a Cuban family and help you find local attractions and restaurants.

Food

Cuban food prices can be very different. You can find small restaurants and street food stands offering delicious meals at a fraction of the cost. It is called “peso food” in Cuba, and it’s a great way of saving money. You can usually get “peso pizzas”, which cost between $0.25US and $1US. Drinks at your casa can be cheaper than those at bars, and you can expect to pay $2 for cocktails and $1 per beer. You can find cocktails and beer can be found at more excellent restaurants or bars, often priced between $2-$3. You’ll need to stay hydrated in Cuba because it’s boiling, and a 1.5L bottle of water should cost $0.70.

Activities

Entertainment and activities in Cuba typically cost an average of US$175 per person per day. It includes fees for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Transportation

Cuba has many ways you can get around. You can take a tour around Cuba, rent a car, or hire drivers if you don’t have your vehicle. Public transport is reliable and affordable. You will also find cute little coco taxis in Havana. Cuba is a costly country to rent a car. You’ll pay at least US$80 per hour, and it’s possible to split the cost with other travellers. In some cities, you can rent motorbikes. You can rent motorbikes for as low as US$20 per day, and they are worth it. Many local buses run on a regular schedule and can take you from one place to another within the city.

Total Cost

It will all depend on how extravagant you travel and how expensive luxury hotels and fancy meals are.
Budget: US$35/ day
Midrange: US$50 / day
Top-End: US$100+/ day

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Where To Eat In cuba

To help you on your trip to Cuba we have got you a list of few handy restaurants you can try here.

1. La Guarida

La Guarida’s interior will transport you back in time. They offer authentic local cuisine but also international cuisine (vegan options available). Guess what? You might spot celebs as many have dined here. The restaurant can cater for weddings and corporate events, as well as birthdays and receptions. The restaurant also has a bar and smoking lounge, where you can enjoy a Cohiba or one of their original cocktails. Cigar Aficionado said that “La Guarida” is the most challenging table to reserve on the island, and it remains the best restaurant in Havana. We recommend booking a reservation to ensure a spot.

2. Los Naranjos

Los Naranjos, a gourmet restaurant and lounge bar located in the heart of Havana’s Old Town, is an exceptional choice. An extensive wine and cocktail selection, stunning interior decor, and terrace seating to enjoy warm Cuban evenings are just what you need on vacation. It is a great place to enjoy a romantic evening or for a business dinner. The hotel concierges highly recommend this restaurant to travellers.

3. Riomar Bar & Grill

The waterfront restaurant offers stunning views from its terrace, boasting a mix of Mediterranean, local and international cuisine. The seafood platters are a favourite of travellers. Riomar’s look and feel are modern, even though most buildings in Cuba are older, even the restaurants. You can find vegan and gluten-free options at the restaurant, as well as a wide selection of wines and other drinks.

4. Restaurante Cafe del Oriente

The elegant interior design of the mansion was preserved as Restaurante Cafe del Oriente, which was transformed from an estate into a gourmet restaurant. With fine china and linen tablecloths, you will feel like a lord while dining. Waiters are dressed in tuxedos. The bar offers a variety of international and local drinks as well as a full bar. The garlic shrimp is a popular appetizer, while the meal’s main course includes lobster, steak primavera, and pasta primavera.

5. Sensaciones Restaurante

Travellers highly recommend it for romantic dinners or business meetings. There is also a private area that you can use for birthdays, small groups, or enjoy cigars with your friends. Sensaciones offers a modern atmosphere, which is not common in Cuban restaurants. It’s well-known for its delicious empanadas, pies and laing. It is also home to great mojitos. Canadian and American tourists and Cubans who have returned to Cuba to visit their relatives agree that this is the best Havana restaurant. It is worth a visit.

Where To Stay In cuba

Your days in Cuba can be filled with relaxation or excitement, so make sure your accommodation is equally happening. We have got you a list of few handpicked accommodation options which can surely make your trip worthwhile.

1. Hotel Boutique Casavana

The Hotel Boutique Casavant is located in Havana. It offers accommodation with a restaurant and free private parking. With that, each room has a private bathroom, a kitchen, a terrace at the housing and 24-hour access to the front desk, room services and currency exchange. All units are equipped with flat-screen TVs and complimentary toiletries. A Continental breakfast is offered at the restaurant.

2. Villa Celeste

The 5-star hotel has room service, an ATM, a 24-hour front desk and a shared kitchen. Currency exchange is an easy option here. Each unit in the hotel has air conditioning and a seating area. Villa Celeste rooms have a view of the lake and a shared bathroom that has a shower. Each room has a desk and kettle. You can choose from a continental or an à la carte breakfast at the accommodation. Villa Celeste has a playground for children.

3. Casa Pepe Zayas

Casa Pepe Zayas is located in Trinidad and offers accommodation with air conditioning. It also has access to a private garden with a terrace. There is private parking available. Each morning, the homestay offers a breakfast buffet. Casa Pepe Zayas is located 9km from Playa Ancon, and Casilda is 5km from the property. Jaime Gonzalez International Airport is 59km from the accommodation.

4. Casa Pedro-María

Casa Pedro-Maria offers a variety of amenities, including a restaurant and a bar. It has a terrace which will give you a view of many close attractions. You will find a 24-hour front desk, a shared kitchen, luggage storage, air conditioning and a private bath. Casa Pedro-Maria guests can enjoy a continental buffet breakfast.

5. Residencia Santa Clara

Residencia Santa Clara is located in Havana, with Old Square easily reachable within 1.4km. It features an express check-in/check-out, non-smoking rooms, a bar and free WiFi. There are also two terraces. The property offers a 24-hour front desk, room service, luggage storage, and all rooms equipped with the bed linen. You can choose from a continental or a-la-carte breakfast at the hotel.

how to get around In cuba

1. Car Rentals

We always recommend having your own vehicle to explore a place. It’s essential to pull over wherever you like, go on a dirt road if necessary, and explore the destination. That’s how travel is. You can drive to San Tomas Cave or Cayo Jutias for sunset. You can hire a driver for the day or an hour to drive you around Cuba in one of Cuba’s classic cars.

2. Taxi

There are tricycles made of round tricycles in Havana that look like a yellow coconut. Although this is a giddy way to travel, it’s still fun. Avoid high prices. Many coco taxi drivers will charge travelers a steep fee for a short ride. Try to agree on a price before you get in.

3. Bus

Tourists use the bus as their most popular mode of inter-city transport. Viazul, the most popular tourist bus available, is quite good. The bus is comfortable and clean. You can stop at various points along the route to eat lunch or take a look around. Make sure you bring snacks for the journey in case you feel hungry. You can purchase tickets for Viazul buses at the bus station or by contacting an Infotur office. To avoid disappointment at the bus station if there is no space, book your bus tickets online.

4. By Air

The plane is handy, with nearly 1,000 km between Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Havana. Most major cities have an airport, and some cayos also exist. It remains a mode of transport that is quite costly and much more expensive than Viazul. It can also be helpful for long distances, where the bus journey is exhausting. For example, between Havana and Santiago de Cuba, it takes 16 hours to travel from one city to the next. By plane, it takes only an hour and a quarter.

when to go

When there is plenty of sunshine, and dry weather, December to May is the best time to travel to Cuba. You should bring warm clothes, as it can get cold in the mountains in December and January. However, this is a great time to visit Cuba. While June through November is the rainy season, it is still a modern time to visit. You can expect rain if you travel during this period, but it will usually be a brief heavy downpour followed by clear skies for the remainder of the day. You should also be aware that it can get scorching and humid in the wet seasons, so make sure to allow plenty of downtime for any itinerary. Although this is hurricane season, Cuba is less likely to be affected than other Caribbean islands. The most likely months to experience a hurricane are September and October.

Need To Know

Currency

There is now one unified currency in Cuba, the Cuban Peso (CUP). The CUP will trade at 24 pesos to the US Dollar.

Language

Cuban Spanish is the most popular language in Cuba. You might wonder how easy it is for people to communicate with islanders if you plan to visit. English is being used more in Cuba due to the growing tourism industry, but it is less common in small towns and villages.

Best Booking Resources

Air Booking

Skyscanner Skyscanner is an excellent flight search engine that searches many airlines. It also searches for budget carriers, which are often overlooked by larger sites. 

Hotel Booking

Casa Particulars can be booked on–  Hostelsclub.com

Booking.com The site features more 1,400,000+ properties in 226 countries. You can  find it really easy to search between multiple property types since they have so much inventory.

Tripadvisor.com– Without a doubt is the one best travel site that can be used to plan a trip. There’s no better resource trying to get reviews of hotels, restaurants, and attractions. There’s also the Tripadvisor forum where you can ask specific questions where a local expert will usually be able to provide you an answer.

Bus booking

 Viazul serves all the largest cities on the island.