Cuba’s stunning natural landscapes and vivacious spirit have rendered it a true favourite among travellers worldwide. Whether you’re after a colourful, bustling city, a glorious sweep of coastline or a tropical island in the sun, Cuba holidays in 2018 have it all.
Historically fascinating, culturally rich and visually stunning, Cuba undeniably does things its own way. From the moment you arrive, every winding street and jaw-dropping beach you discover will astound even the most experienced traveller. Spend your time kicking back on the beach, soaking up the sun or delving into the country’s intriguing pockets of cultural wonder.
Cuba holidays are unique in the purest sense of the word. Dancing to its own beat, this sun-kissed destination provides a vibrant atmosphere, glittering coastlines and astounding cities unlike any you’ve experienced before. In the words of Cuba’s golden girl, Gloria Estefan, the rhythm is going to get you.
Cuba’s mix of colours, textures, influences and flavours is sometimes best enjoyed on the move. And its multitude of meandering coastal roads, lively streets and intriguing cobbled thoroughfares allow for this with ease. The Malecón, Havana’s dazzling seaside drive is perhaps the best example. This protected promenade with its interesting architecture was built as a playground for the middle-classes and now acts as the city’s sociable hub. Sprinkled with museums, restaurants and cafes, this is the perfect place to find the top things to do in Cuba.
If you find yourself being drawn to the vibrant charm and historical allure of Cuba’s big cities, both Havana and Santiago de Cuba tick all the boxes. Endless adjectives can be applied to the country’s capital, but its indescribable charisma bowls over all who visit. Check into one of Havana’s trendy hotels or characterful guesthouses and soak up the colours and rhythms for yourself.
Wine and Dine
With its Spanish and Afro-Caribbean influences, Cuban dishes are simple but hearty with rice, beans and slow-cooked pork often on the menu. For a more personal and atmospheric meal, head to one of Cuba’s small private restaurants, known as paladors. Here you will find new and exciting chefs serving up a more eclectic, modern menu.
Rum, of course, is where Cuba excels. It’s the true home of those well known cocktails, the Cuba Libre, the Mojito and the Daiquiri. But you’ll also find beer, coffee and pineapple soda are popular choices of refreshment amongst the lively Cubans.
The Coppelia ice cream parlour in Havana is something of a Cuban institution and a must-visit when in town, if just for the architecture and spectacle. Just be prepared to queue!
With a perfect mix of beaches, city culture, natural landscapes, exotic wildlife and sports, Cuba has something for all the family. Children will receive a warm welcome at hotels and on the beach, and many outdoor locations hold a wealth of activities especially for kids.
A great place to start is Havana’s Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, an impressive 18th-century fort that hosts museums, restaurants and colourful re-enactments. Not to mention a sweeping view over the harbour.
A holiday to Cuba is an adventure into another world and there are plenty of tours and excursions that will offer all kinds of experiences, from swamps to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Come face-to-face with rare crocodiles at the Zapata Swamp Biosphere or see some of the best caves in Cuba by visiting the relaxed town of Viñales.
Action and Adventure
Although most visitors find the lure of the white sandy beaches too good to resist, there are a myriad of island adventures to enjoy when heading inland. Cuba’s communist status often flavours the expectations of those who visit, but the reality of this sun-drenched Caribbean island continues to surprise and delight.
Havana is a fitting capital for such a country – busy, humming, vibrantly colourful and a true multi-cultural hub. It’s a must-visit. Complete with coastal vistas and an explosive, musical after-dark atmosphere, Havana encapsulates everything that Cuba holidays have to offer.
Cuba lures adventure lovers and nature lovers in droves with its scenic mountain ranges, vast valleys and forests. From the wetlands of the Zapata Peninsula to the distinctive rocky towers in the Valley of Viñales, there is so much to discover.
Life's a Beach
As well as big city bustle, Cuba specialises in naturally beautiful seascapes and sugar-white islands. It is impossible to discuss Cuba holidays without mentioning the glorious, sweeping coastline of white sand beaches and turquoise seas. Those who want to indulge in some relaxation can enjoy kicking back and soaking up the sun, while those who want to turn the action up a notch can make a splash in the local water sports scene.
Cuba wouldn’t be Cuba without its miles of sun-drenched beaches. Any visitor to the country is truly spoilt for choice when it comes to coastal destinations, from the long white sands of Cayo Coco to the famous Varadero resort. Renowned as the country’s most decadently beautiful beach of all, Playa Sirena in Cayo Largo is a stretch of sandy heaven. For those who prefer their beaches a bit more action-packed, Cuba’s western tip and Maria La Gorda in particular is the place to go to make a splash. A firm favourite with water-skiers, windsurfers, divers and snorkelers, you’ll find everything you need to dive right in – just don’t forget your beach towel!
Cuba is all about music and dancing, so anyone looking for a toe-tapping good time is in for a treat.
As you might imagine, Havana is the place to be. An exotic array of bars and clubs offer up a joyful mix of live cabaret, jazz and salsa to get you dancing. The retro chic of the famous Habana club in Havana must be seen to be believed, with 1950s American cars, planes and motorbikes covering the floors, walls and ceiling.
Santiago de Cuba is equally lively, with a glittering array of bars and clubs offering live music and dancing until late.
There’s a Cuba for every type of couple, with beaches and harbours to relax in and restaurants and bars to dance away the nights.
For a spot of romance in Havana, head to the Malecón, where admiring the sunset goes hand-in-hand with people-watching along this protected waterside drive. And once the sun is down, the music and dancing are up with venues open until late.
Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, there’s a wealth of quiet, forgotten scenic towns to explore. Or for the active, there are opportunities to hike, cycle and swim your way around this vibrant island.
With a wealth of influences from Spain, Africa and beyond, Cuba’s art, music and history is a diverse fusion of styles. Music is everywhere in Cuba with tunes flowing from the bustling bars and clubs, through the lively squares and streets.
While the cities and towns will keep you busy as you explore beautiful old buildings, museums, squares, churches and impressive forts, tours will take you out into the natural landscape. You’ll find some fantastic museums in Cuba, covering everything from the revolution and medicine to chocolate and rum, many housed in beautiful buildings.
Art lovers looking for something truly unique should travel from Havana to the artists’ village of Fusterlandia, a public art project made up of colourful tiles covering buildings, walls and statues.