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5 Great Cuban Destinations For Your Next Holiday

Cuba isn't another generic tropical island. Any of these 5 destinations are great choices for your holiday trip where you'll be immersed in local culture, food, and history.

Cuba isn’t another generic tropical island. Any of these 5 destinations are great choices for your holiday trip where you’ll be immersed in local culture, food, and history.

 

Now available for travel for Americans, Cuba is one of the hottest up-and-coming travel destinations in the world. Whether you’re a newbie to international travel or have been around the world twice, chances are, if you’re from America, you’ve yet to visit Cuba.

When planning your next holiday, leave the stress behind and use this guide to find the best place to stay, eat, and experience. You can’t go wrong if you choose one of these five great Cuban destinations for your next holiday.

 

Havana

 

Where to Stay: Reasonably priced and situated in the fantastic Old Havana, Hostal Chez Nous is a great place to start your trip. If you’re looking for something grand and authentic, check out Hotel Florida known for it’s stunning architecture and interior.

 

What to Eat: While you may face some harsh looks from locals, don’t let that deter you from getting your ice cream fix at Coppelia. Stand your ground and get a few scoops of the well-known, cheap ice cream that has been around for decades. Try eating like the locals at El Chanchullero where you’ll find traditional tapas at an affordable price.

 

What to Do: If you’re there for your hotel or dinner reservation, check out more of Old Havana. The Old Square has lots of small shops and stores where you can buy souvenirs and trinkets. Experience live music and the history of the area as well. Don’t leave Havana without stopping to see the Plaza de la Catedral and take in the authentic Cuban culture.

 

Trinidad

 

Where to Stay: At the top of the list is the oldest inn on the island, Pax Guest House. If you’re looking for something more traditional and high-end, the Hyatt Regency Trinidad features multiple world-class amenities.

 

What to Eat: Make a stop at a casa particular. Wondering how to find one close to you? If you have internet access, use the app Cuba Junky. A popular spot is Casa El Caribe.

 

What to Do: Take a walking tour of the historic spots in this city – it will be worth every penny – or peso. Make sure to soak up all of the unique Afro-Cuban culture it has to offer because of its diverse history. For a break away from everything, take the day and have a picnic at Ancon Beach and enjoy the sun and sand.

 

Pinar del Rio

 

Where to Stay: The top-rated Hostal Juana is a favorite for the holidays, so be sure to book early. There’s also an incredible amount of Airbnb rooms and homes for rent, from as low as $25 USD. Find some options here.

 

What to Eat: Try some traditional food at Bar El Meson and dine in a very unique environment at Finca San Vicente. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll be happy to find just what you’re looking for at Restaurant La Berengena.

 

What to Do: Visit the beautiful botanical gardens, Jardin Botanico de Vinales, to see much different flower varieties than you’ll see in the states. Cayo Juitas is a great beach to visit. If you’re tired of sand getting in every crevasse of your body, check out the Valle de Vinales. Bring your camera where you’ll see stunning views of outdoor green scenery.

 

Varadero

 

Where to Stay: The name truly explains what you’re in for: a sanctuary. Spend a few nights at the Sanctuary at Grand Memories Varadero for an experience you won’t soon forget. You’ll be in paradise if you choose others, too. Varadero boasts places such as Royalton Hicacos Varadero Resort & Spa, Blau Varadero Hotel Cuba, and Iberostar Varadero.

 

What to Eat: Even if you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort, you’ll want to venture out to the restaurants of Varadero. Try La Barbcoa for great steak, Barracuda Grill for a meal on the beach, or dine in a building that used to belong to Al Capone at The Casa de Al (Capone).

 

What to Do: Instead of hitting another beautiful beach, take a trip to the Saturno Cave or Ambrosio Cave for some excitement and adventure. If you’re a rum drinker, don’t leave Cuba without seeing the House of Rum.

 

Santiago de Cuba

 

Where to Stay: While there are plenty of hotels, Santiago de Cuba is a great place to check out the local homes. Stay for extremely cheap, but get all the benefits of a beautiful local’s home such as stunning views, amazing locations that are central to everything, and luxurious rooms and décor. Try renting a single room or entire home.

 

What to Eat: Restaurants are plenty, so make sure to pick one that is known by locals to have great food, or is rated highly by visitors. Check out St. Pauli for great tapas, Restaurante Setos Cuba for large groups that can all sit together, or Roy’s Terrace Inn for some of the best authentic food in the city.

 

What to Do: There’s so much to do in the second largest city in Cuba. Check out the many historical museums or various cathedrals. For all history lovers, make sure the Casa de Diego Velazquez is on your list – the oldest residence in Cuba, existing since the 1500s.

 

Cuba isn’t just another tropical island. While it’s easy to find the lure in Cuba’s pristine beaches and all-inclusive resorts, there’s so much more the island has to offer. If you plan your holiday around the unique, one-of-a-kind cultural and historical attractions, you’ll have a special trip that your family will remember forever.

flickr: Angelo Domini