What do do in Cuba?
This short travel guide provides you suggestions to travel as a local and on a budget. Find out general info, must see sights, places to stay, discover where to eat as a local, where to go for the coolest nightlife and find out cheap transports to move around the island. Do not miss the best of Cuba.
Capital: La Habana
Currency: Peso cubano and CUC (Cuban convertible Peso). Tourists must use CUCs. 1 CUC=1 USD (American Dollar)
Best period to go: all year. Wet season from May to October: cheaper prices, sun shines in the sky but strong rains and hurricanes may happen. It’s still hot but some resorts shut down in low season.
To do not miss
What to do in Cuba? For sure you cannot miss the capital. It’s a warm, sensual and addictive city, walk around Old Havana (it’s a UNESCO world heritage site) and discover the unique colonial style of Plaza Vieja.
Plaza vieja, La Habana
Visit the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Old Havana, one of the 11 Roman Catholic cathedrals in Cuba.
Take a walk on the seafront (Malecón), 8 km (5 miles) of seawall along the cost in Havana and enjoy the view.
Malecón, La Habana
Don’t miss the museum of the revolution, in Old Habana, it is a must to understand the values of the communism and of the revolution in Cuba.
Mandatory to go to Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution square) in Vedado. It’s 31st largest square in the world and has an important politic value for Cuba. Here Fidel Castro has addressed more than a million Cubans on many important occasions.
Plaza de la Revolución, La Habana
Visit Callejon de Hamel in Central Havana, the heart of the Afro-Cuban culture. It’s literally a outdoor museum, plenty of murals and street art.
Callejon de Hamel, La Habana
On Sundays there is an amazing street show here do not miss it.
Sunday morning in Callejon de Hamel, La Habana
Still looking for what to do in Cuba? Go to Cienfuegos, which is also known as the pearl of the south and is an elegant and posh city also plenty of history.
Watch the sunset on the bay and enjoy some rum chilling in a sunny terrace, of course listening a song of Benny Moré (he is absolutely an icon here).
Bar in Cienfuegos bay
Walk around the picturesque Trinidad, one of the UNESCOs world heritage sites, and smoke a cigar in Plaza Mayor. The square during the weekend offers a free outdoor Cuban show.
Plaza Mayor Trinidad
Beautiful little islands around Cuba: white beaches and stunning vegetation, perfect for a relaxing escape and for outdoor sports.
To stay overnight you will need to book a room in an hotel or resort. It’s hard to find a private accommodation here.
If you are going to Jardines del Rey (Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo) by car stop at Ciego De Avila, a bucolic, warm and alive city, where to see the rural part of Cuba.
What to do in Cuba if you are not looking only for beaches? Go to Santa Clara. It’s the perfect place to have an idea of the Cuban society and to enjoy the night life. There is a big university here and do not forget to visit the famous Che Guevara’s mausoleum.
Santiago De Cuba
It is worth a trip: discover the tradition about music (Trova and Samba) and dance with locals on the road feeling the influences of the African culture. Santiago is the second most important city in Cuba and it is considered the cradle of the Cuban revolution.
Where to eat
Arroz con pollo and Cristal
Eat as a local. There are loads of restaurant in Cuba, some of them are expensive and popular among tourists.
Other places, mostly for locals, are spartan, cheaper (from 1CUC) and with authentic Cuban food. To find the best one ask to local people.
You can try delicious food at good value also in the “casas particulares” where locals cook real and fresh Caribbean dishes only for you.
Try fresh seafood or rice with chicken (arroz con pollo) a simple dish, very popular and absolutely nice.
Where to stay
Casa particular in Trinidad
The casas particulares (private houses) are certainly the best place to stay in Cuba if you want to travel as a local. They are private accommodations in Cuban homes, they are convenient (from 10$ to 30$ per night, double room), safety and clean.
You can book directly in Cuba but make sure your casa particular has the official blue sign on the front door.
If you love to travel all inclusive there are stunning resorts in Cuba (from 80$ per night, double room). You can book in Cuba with Cubatour and save some money. Of course you can also book a holiday package or a last minute from home if you chose to travel all inclusive.
Trip Hotel Cayo Coco
Night show in Cayo Coco
What to do in Cuba at night? Salsa of course, it is a must and is everywhere.
And also do not miss la casa de la musica for great Trova live shows
Plaza de Armas, Cienfuegos
You can easily find a taxi or rent a car (from 25$ per day).
Choose Viazul if you want to travel by bus. It connect many city of the island.
If you want to go to Los Cayos you must go by plane, car or taxi. Or get a bus to the nearest city and then get a taxi/car (or ferry if you are going to Isla De la Juventud).
CUBA is perfect if you are looking for...
Relax, history, landscapes, great food, sunshine, escape from the frenetic life, Latin music and a lot fun!