The vast majority of Cuba’s tourists gravitate to the attractive arcs of white sand that pepper the country’s north coast and offshore island. Cuba captivates visitors with its abundant tropical pleasures and cultural treasures. Located in the north Caribbean, the time to get to Cuba is from December to May where you can expect dry sunny days and plenty of blue skies. Known for miles of white sand beaches, clear blue waters, striking architecture and the best cigars in the world, part of Cuba’s charm is what it stands for, authenticity, culture, breathtaking landscapes, and incredible people that offers genuine hospitality.
Where to stay
You can stay in an all-inclusive beautiful old hotel in Old Havana or Habana Centro that was build before the Revolution - like the Saratoga and Nacional, which is worth every expense. Still, the best accommodation in Cuba is a casa particulares or private homes. These rentals are more personable and affordable than hotels and you get a taste of the real Cuban lifestyle by staying with the locals. Some casas are beautiful colonial buildings with rooms that are private doubles and includes a private bathroom. Rates are per room - which means traveling with someone implies savings!. Meals are not included but hosts are usually great cooks and they are willing to prepare some of their best recipes. Owners are also keen to provide information to their guests - on what to do and places to visit, where to eat, and will arrange transportation and laundry.
CUC (Peso Convertible) - used by foreigners and Cubans to buy certain things and is worth about $1.
MN (Moneda Nacional) - whose conversion rate is 25 to a CUC.
Good food, drinks, and places to see
As with lodging, the best places to eat is called paladar or paladares (privately run restaurants). Their food is affordable, delicious, plentiful and flexible to your schedule. A few recommended paladares are La Moraleja, near the Habana Libre Hotel. There’s also Cafe Laurent for a more retro feel. For a dreamy garden respite in a residential neighborhood, try La Cocina de Lilliam. For drinks, you can try a sweet heady brew known as guava brandy or Guayabita del Pinar which is the signature liquor of Pinar del Rio. And no mojito will ever compare to mojitos in Cuba. Cubans all have their own recipe for making mojitos and piña coladas. Cuba is also known as “Rum Island” so book a visit to the Bacardi Rum factory for free tasting and see how rum is made locally and exported worldwide.
Old school cool
While roaming the streets, discover the wild musical beats that bleed almost continuously. Everything goes here, from mambo, rumba, bolero and reggae, get your fill in a wide variety of live music venues and brush up on your moves with the locals. Marvel at the beautiful landscapes of Viñales Valley, home to vast tobacco fields and incredible panoramic views. One of Cuba’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, Trinidad is a gem that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time from being steeped in history from the sugar and slave trade. Take a train into the Valley of the Sugar Mills and enjoy tours of the plantations overlooked by verdant countryside with big colonial and palatial architecture, Spanish-feel plazas, and winding cobbled streets.
If you like diving and underwater bliss, you’ll love Cuba for its pristine waters. You can explore the marine life with over 50 species of coral and vibrant tropical fish. From the largest colony of black coral to underwater caves, shipwrecks and turtles, you’ll be left in awe of Cuba’s aquatic treasures. Surrounded by the emerald sea, enjoy diverse watersports like kayaking, windsurfing, and hobie cat sailing. Stay up late and head to Disco Ayala after midnight to go to a club inside a real cave. Every night they have a show with fire dancers, acrobats, and more. It’s the perfect end to a Cuban holiday!.