There are many things to do in Cuba besides lying around on the beach all day, not that the beach is a bad place to spend some time when on vacation.
Hiking in the Mountains
If you head inland, there are some gorgeous thick forests and open mountain ranges in Cuba that are idea for hiking and generally getting outdoors.
The Sierra Maestra mountain area is the best known spot for outdoor hiking in Cuba, and the Turquino National Park is a protected area in the mountains with trails and lots of scenic viewpoints. That’s at the southern end of the island near Bayamo, but the Guanahacabibes Peninsula National Park has another big natural area up at the western tip of the island too. No mountains, but lots of great coastline and forested areas too.
Touring the Cities
Most of the major cities have lots of things to do and see, so you can tour around the island and find plenty of attractions. The Old Quarter of Havana is a major tourist attraction for the unique architecture and old-world flavor of the neighborhood, and Santa Clara is filled with green city parks and several national monuments. There is also a historic quarter in Camaguay, if you are heading farther south. Most cities will have local museums and other sights to see too, so make sure you take a good walk around town wherever you go.
Yes, this is back on the beaches again but it’s a very popular thing to do in Cuba that is a bit more fun than just lying around on the sand. Not all the beaches have good scuba locations but there are a few spots that are well-known as good dive sites. Overall, the best place to dive is the Isla de la Juventud, a large island off the south-west coast of the Cuba. There is a protected marine reserve there, and you can see unspoiled coral reefs (like the Cabo Frances reef), shoals of bright fish and even a few well-preserved wrecks. Check out the scuba diving in Cuba page for more.
Seeing the History
There are lots of different things to do in Cuba that can show you the long and vibrant history of the island. First, you should plan on touring at least one of the fabulous old forts around the island. If you are in Havana, you can see the Fortaleza de San Carlos, and the Castillo de San Petro del Morro is another site near Santiago de Cuba. They have great history that you can reach out and touch, and the views over the ocean aren’t too bad either.
Historical monuments are a big part of the Cuban landscape too, and you can find many important ones in various cities. The Che Guevara Memorial is in the town of Santa Clara, and the mausoleum of Jose Marti is in Santiago de Cuba. And if you are in Havana, check out some of the many museums when you need things to do in Cuba.
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