Always been meaning to go to Cuba? So have we. The largest island in the Caribbean has an abundance of character, history and natural beauty and is a must-see destination. Thinking of faded buildings, old yellow taxis, cigars and salsa – this is only scratching the surface. Dig a bit deeper and you’ll find glorious beaches with white sand and clear water, lush forests and historic cities.
Secret Escapes is now offering a fantastic twin-centre deal to both Havana city and the beach resort of Varadero in Cuba – allowing you to explore the best of both worlds. Now… What to do whilst you’re there?
Here’s a few suggestions to help make the most of your Cuban adventure;
- Take a stroll through the Old Havana – which has been around for close to 500 years and is home to buildings dating back to the 1700s. Amble through narrow cobblestone streets, old traditional buildings and ancient crumbling ruins. The five main areas to explore include Plaza Vieja, Plaza de Armas, Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de San Francisco and Parque Central.
- To appreciate Cuba’s rich history – have a look around the oldest of Havana’s three forts –Castillo de la Real Fuerza, with its new shipwreck museum. Visit the Museo de la Revolución, outside you’ll find the Granma, a cabin cruiser yacht built for 12 people. It dates back to 1956, when 80 exiled rebels (with Ché Guevara among them) came dangerously close to sinking the overcrowded boat, as they sought to return to Cuba.
- No visit would be complete without relaxing on Cuba’s beautiful beaches – including local beaches such as Playas del Este near Havana and exclusive island resorts like Cayo Coco north of Ciego de Ávila. Choose from the beaches of Santa María (known as the Havana Riviera), with soft sand and turquoise waters, or Playa Ancón near Trinidad and Playa las Tumbas on the Guanhacabibes Peninsula. Varadero is a particularly lively resort, located in the resort town of Matananzas, north of Cuba and combines beach life with nightlife.
- To discover Cuba’s natural wonders – take a trip to Pinar del Río – Cuba’s most beautiful province, with its mogotes, (rounded limestone mountains that are covered in lush vegetation). Here you can discover wondrous caves, home to stalactites and stalagmites, and underground rivers.
- If you are looking for an active adventure – why not follow the footsteps of the revolutionary army, to Cuba’s highest peak, Pico Turquino (1972m), in the Oriente’s Sierra Maestra range. Other hiking trails include the Sierra del Rosario and Viñales areas of Pinar del Río province and around Baracoa in Guantánamo.
- In search of Cuban nightlife – you need go no further than the bars in Havana, where there is a lively scene – with bands playing Cuban classics and the Tropicana nightclub holds open air cabarets. In Trinidad, try Casa de la Música and and Museo Romantico by Plaza Mayor – or in Santiago, there is Casa de la Trova (Calle Heredia), Casa de las Tradiciones (Calle Rabi) and there’s often live music in the the main square, Parque Cespedes.