Cuba cities have a lot to offer for a tourist, and each one has its own charm. There are a number of interesting sights to see across the island, and knowing what you can find in each of the major Cuban cities is a way to start planning your trip to Cuba.
Of course, this is the capital of Cuba and the city where you’ll find the most hotels, restaurants and other tourist amenities. Most of Cuba’s national museums are in Havana, as well as many art galleries. You can also catch a show at the Great Theatre of Havana if you enjoy live performances.
There is also the famous Old Havana quarter that is fantastic for seeing the old architecture of Cuba and to fine many interesting shops and restaurants from the colonial period. There are several old forts around Havana that are a must-visit while you’re in the city. (more on Havana…)
This is a beach resort town on the northern coast of the island, and one of the busiest places for tourists who are in Cuba for the surf and sand. Many of the major resorts are in Varadero, though there are other natural sites in the area besides the gorgeous sand. The Bellamar Caves and Hicacos Point Natural Park are two lovely spots you can explore when you need a sun-bathing break. It’s a beautiful part of Cuba, but not somewhere that will show you the true culture of the island. (more on Varadero…)
Now Camaguey is a Cuban city that is inland and more south-central on the island. It’s the third-largest city in the country, and it has another historic district that visitors love to stroll through. The town is famous for its clay pots, so watch for them decorating most streets. There aren’t any “tourist attractions” in Camaguey, so it’s a good spot to see some of the real national charm.
Holguin is another inland city where you can see what Cuba is like away from the beaches. There is a large aquarium complex known for its dolphins, and the Bahia de Naranjo Nature Park is another outdoor area to go hiking in. There are a few smaller local museums in Holguin as well as the usual compliment of gorgeous old buildings.
Trinidad isn’t a common destination but it’s a lovely little town with beautiful old buildings and a nearby nature reserve. You can also tour some of the old sugar mills from Trinidad. (more on Trinidad….)
Get off the usual tourist track in the small town of Jibacoa, on the northern coast of the island. Home to just a couple resorts, and plenty of open beaches for swimming and amazing coral reef scuba diving. (more on Jibacoa…)
Santiago de Cuba
This brings us down to the very southern coast of Cuba to Santiago de Cuba. Another old fort is open to the public, and the Turquino National Park is not far from town where you can hike through the Sierra Maestra mountains. A good day-trip from town is the Baconao historical park, where you can go for a walk and see natural sights as well as a reconstructed pre-Columbian village. The city is on the coast but there are few sandy beaches in the area.
Pinar Del Rio
At the very other end of the island is Pinar Del Rio, surrounded by the lush Vinales valley. There is a large botanical garden and a cigar factory that offers tours to the public.
Lastly, there is the town of Santa Clara where you can see the popular memorial to Ernesto Che Guevara. It’s a great city for historical monuments, old churches and political landmarks.
Of course, these are just a few Cuban cities you may want to visit. With a little planning, it wouldn’t be too difficult to visit 4 or 5 cities during your stay and see the island from end to end.
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