Cuba is the largest Caribbean island with rich history and culture. Itâ€™s also shrouded in mystery, because until recently it wasnâ€™t available to American tourists. Its natural beauty has inspired intellectuals for more than a century. It offers a diversity of options to its visitors â€“ from sublime coastline and lush countryside to beautiful old buildings and vintage cars cruising down the streets.
Hereâ€™s a list of sites you shouldnâ€™t miss on your visit there.
Trinidad is one of the most popular tourist towns and UNESCO lists it as part of World Heritage. Architecture dates back to the 17th century so just walking on the cobblestone in the central Plaza Mayor square is an experience you wonâ€™t soon forget. Neoclassical Church of Holy Trinity, Museum of Colonial Architecture and Casa de Aldeman Ortiz art gallery are there for those who want to add a little culture to their vacation.Â You can also go horseback riding to a sugar plantation village nearby, surrounded by sugar cane fields and palm trees.
Baracoa is the oldest Spanish settlement in Cuba and itâ€™s where its modern civilization started. Christopher Columbus landed there on October 12th, 1492. A Cuban indigenous people called Taino still live there. But itâ€™s more than a history lesson â€“ the scenery is beautiful as Salto Fino, the Caribbeanâ€™s highest waterfall, is located nearby. The town hosts two musical events â€“ one more tourist oriented and the other with more traditional music. A national park named after German scientist Alexander von Humboldt, who visited the island in 1801, is about 20 km to the north and it is a sight to see.
Cuba is known for its beautiful beaches, but experts from Sol Caribbean Travel say that Playa Paraiso (paradise beach) is the most popular with the tourists. Ancient Tulum ruins are nearby to the north and after a long day of exploring them â€“ there is nothing as soothing as Playa Paraiso. There are not many other tourist attractions, just a dry sunny climate, white sand, crystal blue sea and beach bars. For those who like more active vacation â€“ scuba diving is also available.
Parque Nacional Vinales
Parque Nacional Vinales is a place for outdoors enthusiasts â€“ itâ€™s a place for hiking and horseback riding like no other.Â The valley is surrounded with steep limestone hills called morgotes. On the other hand, the valley floor is an agricultural area where fruit and tobacco are grown. The charming small town of Vinales is nearby if you need time to recoup and rest. Tour companies usually offer a day-long trips from Havana to Parque. Many plants and animals found there are endemic to the area so you should be careful not to bring any outside fruit with you in order to preserve the ecosystem.
The Che Guevara Mausoleum
Mausoleum is a memorial to Ernesto Guevara, one of the most famous revolutionaries of the world. Itâ€™s located in Santa Clara (in remembrance of the fact that Cheâ€™s troops captured the city during the revolution in 1958). Guevaraâ€™s remains are located in the memorial, together with 29 others who died during the failed attempt to start an uprising in Bolivia. The site also contains an eternal flame burning in his memory and a 22-foot-high statue of Guevara. The Mausoleum is one of the most visited tourist destinations in all of Cuba.
Located in downtown of the capital – itâ€™s well preserved part of Cuban history. The city was founded during the Spanish rule and old baroque buildings are still there. The old military fortress, Castillo de la Real Fuerza, and Hemingwayâ€™s favorite hangout, Bodeguita del Medio, are also located in this area and are available to tourists. Leave at least a day to check it out.