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Our top reasons to visit Cuba

Added 23 Jan 2014
Our top reasons to visit Cuba
 

Cuba is a mecca of things to see and do for adventure travellers. Follow in the footsteps of revolutionaries and discover the classic cars and colonial charm of the towns and cities. We wanted to give you our top ten reasons to visit Cuba but we couldn't quite narrow it down, so below you'll find the less catchy (but equally as inspiring!) 'Top Fourteen Reasons to Visit Cuba'.

cuba havana Havana
Cuba’s capital city is a cultural playground. Wander around the ‘Old Town’ and admire the 18th and 19th century Spanish architecture. Pay a visit to the Plaza de Armas (Havana’s oldest square and site of the city’s foundation), dating back to the early 1520’s. Visit El Templete, (the oldest neo-classical building in Havana), and Casa de la Obra Pia (notable for its curvaceous baroque portico, which was carved in Cadiz in 1686). Rising above the city on Catalanes Hill, the Plaza de la Revolución is Cuba’s political centre. Given its political importance – a key location for May Day marches and other festivities – it’s an essential stop on any itinerary.
   
 cuba car Cruise in a 1950’s vintage American car
The best way to see the city sights is surely from the seat of 1950’s classic car. Book yourself a driver and ask to cruise along the Malecón, the atmospheric ocean road peering out to sea, set against a backdrop of a long parade of coloured colonial and art deco buildings.
   
 cuba cocktail Sip a mojito at the National Hotel
A national monument, this is Havana’s most famous hotel. It first opened its doors in 1930 and has been frequented by the rich and famous ever since – from Winston Churchill to Al Capone. Head up to the hotel bar La Terraza for a cocktail and a magnificent view of the Malecón.
   
 cuba bay of pigs Bay of Pigs
Pay a visit to the historic site of the failed 1961 US invasion of Cuba and see the commemorative museum at Playa Giron. The area is also well-known for its picturesque beaches, snorkelling and scuba diving, as well as rich and varied birdlife.
   
 cuba trinidad Trinidad
A UNESCO world heritage site, Trinidad is known for its colourful architecture, buzzing nightlife, friendly people and great food. Get lost wandering through the narrow streets and twisting alleyways of this colonial town.
   
 cuba topes de collantes Topes de Collantes
Enjoy a walk through this stunning nature reserve park in the Escambray Mountains, searching for hummingbirds and rare orchids. Pass caves, rivers, falls, grottos, canyons, natural pools with crystal clear water, and mountain hills surrounded by Mariposa (Butterfly lily - Cuba’s national flower).
   
 cuba camaguey Camaguey
Travel to this provincial capital via the ‘Valley of the Sugar Mills’ and Sancti Spiritus – passing fields of sugar cane, cattle ranches and citrus trees. Camagüey’s historic centre – considered the largest and most preserved on the island – has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can enjoy its many lavish churches and the twisted maze of streets.
   
 cuba sierra maestra Sierra Maestra Mountains
Take a drive out to the picturesque Santo Domingo village, nestled in Cuba’s highest mountain range and walk or cycle through the beautiful scenery.
   
 cuba rainforest Comandancia de la Plata
Walk through virgin rainforest to the site of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary headquarters. The trail is well marked and can be completed in around four hours return. Castro’s own small quarters consist of a bedroom with a simple camp bed, a kitchen, a fridge, a study and a secret trap door to escape through if he was under attack. Take your camera to frame some memorable pictures of the rebel camp.
   
 cuba santiago Santiago de Cuba
Take a guided tour of Cuba’s second city and the historic epicentre of revolutionary ideals. From here, you can take a trip out to visit the El Morro Fort.
   
 cuba santa clara Che Guevara’s Mausoleum
No trip to Cuba is complete without a visit to Santa Clara – the final resting place of Cuba’s hero. It houses the remains of the revolutionary Emesto Che Guevara and twenty-nine of his fellow combatants killed in 1967. At the site, there is also a museum dedicated to Guevara's life and an eternal flame lit by Fidel Castro in Che's memory.
   
 cuba vinales Vinales
Explore the stunning countryside near Vinales – and the ‘mogotes’ (or limestone formations) that are home to fields of tobacco plants for Cuba’s world famous cigars. There are also plenty of marked routes for hiking, or try horse riding.
   
 cuba caya levisa Cayo Levisa
After all that exploring, take a ferry to this beautiful tropical island.  Just a few hours from Havana, the island is part of the Los Colorados archipelago and has a stunning powder white beach, colourful coral reefs and the warm azure waters of the Gulf Stream.
   
 cuba salsa Cuban music scene
Cubans are famous for their music and dance and you won’t be able to go far without coming across either – especially on the streets in Havana and Trinidad. If you’re feeling brave, get up on your feet and join the locals in a dance, or try a more organised salsa lesson.