Trip and Wellness

10 Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in the Cuba

Blurred motion of Cuban flag against Capitolio building in Havana. National flag is in motion against famous parliament building against blue sky.

Explore the largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba, and immerse yourself in its rich history, vibrant culture, and alluring charm. Experience the vibrant live music that fills the cobbled squares of Havana’s Old Town, witness the classic cars cruising the streets, and immerse yourself in the timeless atmosphere of Cuba’s colonial cities with their stunning old buildings, all of which have been designated as World Heritage sites.

Cuba is a great destination for travelers seeking natural beauty. Explore the vast island with over 5,000 kilometers of coastline, where you can find stunning beaches. Explore the glimmering coral reefs in the turquoise waters of Cuba’s sublime islands and lush countryside, which have provided refuge to revolutionaries, inspired writers from around the world, including Hemingway, and played host to presidents.

Few Caribbean islands can rival the depth and diversity that Cuba offers, with its rich history, stunning beauty, and excellent opportunities for diving and fishing. Discover the enchanting land of Cuba by checking out our recommended must-see destinations and activities.

1. Trinidad

Panoramic view over the city of Trinidad, Cuba with mountains in the background and a blue sky. The bell tower belongs to the Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco.
Source: istockphoto

Trinidad is an excellent spot to visit in Cuba if you like history or architecture. Plaza Mayor, Trinidad’s principal plaza, is flanked by neo-Baroque architecture. A colonial convent next to the square today houses the Museum of the War Against the Bandits or the Lucha Contra Bandidos. After visiting the museum, take a short trek uphill away from Plaza Mayor to browse for handcrafted goods. Hand-sewn tablecloths and napkin linens are popular commodities for sale. The Palacio Brunet Mansion, which today functions as the Museo Romantico, is another stunning edifice in Trinidad. Visit to see a great collection of antiques and artworks from the nineteenth century.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Trinidad: Best Areas & Hotels

2. Havana

View of downtown Havana city with old classic cars and people walking on the street, Cuba.
Source: gettyimages

Exploring the vibrant city of Havana, the capital of Cuba is a worthwhile travel experience. Explore a city that seamlessly blends colonial mid-century architecture with modern cosmopolitan cities in the region. Experience the vibrant nightlife scene and breathtaking coastal views of the landscape and ocean. It is still a perfect destination for travelers and one of the most popular tourist spots in Cuba for endless enjoyment.

Begin your journey in La Habana Vieja, the historic district of Havana, where you can witness a blend of decaying colonial architecture and lively mid-century constructions. Make sure to experience watching hand-rolled cigars being made in a small factory and tasting freshly distilled local rum before leaving Havana. Experience the local culture by strolling along Malecón, a scenic seawall that runs along the coast and provides stunning ocean vistas and exciting entertainment opportunities.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Havana: Best Areas & Hotels

3. Varadero

Top view of resort town of Varadero, Cuba
Source: istockphoto

If you’re looking for a tropical getaway, Varadero in Cuba is a must-visit destination. With its stunning beaches, it’s no wonder why it’s considered one of the best in the Caribbean. The destination is located on the Peninsula de Hicacos, extending towards the sea on the north coast. To access it, one must cross a drawbridge connecting it to the mainland.

This stunning palm-fringed strip boasts over 50 hotels, attracting visitors from all corners of the globe with its breathtaking white-sand beaches.

When traveling to Varadero, make sure to visit the Parque Ecológico Varahicacos, which features two caves: Cueva de Ambrosio and Cueva de Musulmanes.

While traveling in Varadero, you can visit the serene Parque Josone which boasts beautiful flower gardens, a restaurant, a swimming pool, and a small lake where you can enjoy row boating.

In addition to diving and snorkeling, travelers can enjoy deep-sea fishing, golfing, skydiving, and visiting cultural attractions on day trips.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Varadero: Best Areas & Hotels

4. Cayo Coco

A beautiful shallow beach at Cayo Coco, Cuba
Source: istockphoto

Cayo Coco is a serene travel destination in Cuba, known for its picturesque beaches and remote location. Explore the island that inspired Hemingway’s novels, Islands in the Stream and The Old Man and the Sea, as well as nearby Cayo Guillermo.

Cayo Coco is a beautiful travel destination located in the Jardines del Rey archipelago. It is connected to the mainland by a bridge, but most travelers prefer to arrive by air.

The main draw is the beaches basked in sunlight. Explore the stunning beaches of the island, starting with Playa Los Flamencos on the Atlantic side, boasting a five-kilometer stretch of pristine sand. For a serene experience, take a peaceful nature trail at Playa Prohibida, which remains undeveloped and tranquil. The destination also provides exceptional opportunities for birdwatching.

Cayo Guillermo is a great travel destination, connected by a causeway to Cayo Coco. It has stunning beaches, including the gorgeous Playa Pilar, and a range of all-inclusive resorts to choose from.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Cayo Coco: Best Areas & Hotels

5. Playa Paraíso, Cayo Largo del Sur

Cayo largo beach Cuba
Source: istockphoto

Cayo Largo del Sur is a must-visit destination for beach lovers in Cuba, with Playa Paraíso (Paradise Beach) being one of the most stunning beaches in the country. The stunning Playa Sirena is a must-visit destination for travelers, with its powdery white sand and crystal-clear baby blue sea. It is located on the sheltered western edge of the island and seamlessly merges with the equally breathtaking Playa Sirena.

Cayo Largo del Sur is a perfect travel spot for those who love the sun. The place has a dry and sunny climate, and it is known for its stunning beaches. Although there are not many tourist attractions, there are plenty of hotels and resorts to choose from.

6. Cienfuegos

Plaza de Armas, Town Hall and Cathedral with dramatic sky, Cienfuegos, Cuba
Source: gettyimages

Cuba’s Cienfuegos is a unique city that stands out from others on the island. As it was established by the French instead of the Spanish, it offers a distinctive ambiance. 

La Perla del Sur, also known as the Pearl of the South, is a popular travel destination. If you’re a fan of mid-century modern architecture, you should visit the peninsula of Punta Gorda. There are still many travel destinations that feature 1950s homes, many of which have been carefully preserved. 

In the heart of Cienfuegos lies Pueblo Nuevo, a vibrant hub for travelers to immerse themselves in the city’s rich history, indulge in local cuisine at charming outdoor cafes, and even brush up on their Spanish or French language skills.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Cienfuegos: Best Areas & Hotels

7. Santiago De Cuba

View of the cathedral of Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Source: istockphoto

Santiago de Cuba is a great travel destination located in the eastern part of Cuba. It is a coastal city with a rich colonial history. The Second City of Cuba, Santiago de Cuba, was established by the Spanish in the 16th century. 

At the center of the city lies Parque Cespedes, a bustling plaza surrounded by a variety of Spanish colonial buildings with rich historical significance. The plaza is a historic site where Fidel Castro declared the success of the revolution in 1959. While traveling, you may want to consider visiting the Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, a 17th-century fortress that offers stunning views of the bay.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Santiago de Cuba: Best Areas & Hotels

8. Vinales

The sunset view of Vinales Valley in Cuba.
Source: istockphoto

The Viñales Valley in Cuba boasts a stunning and easily accessible national park, which is unparalleled in beauty. Viñales is a must-visit travel destination with a rich history. It is said to have been a favorite spot of Castro’s during his time on the island. 

Explore the valley surrounded by majestic mountains, witness the cultivation of tobacco used to make world-renowned Cuban cigars, and embark on thrilling adventures through the numerous caves in the area. One of the most popular travel destinations is the Cuevas del Indio, or Indian Caves, where you can take a boat ride completely within the cavern system itself.

9. Baracoa

Although Havana is currently the contemporary capital of Cuba, it has not always been the focal point of Cuban politics. Baracoa, also referred to as the First City, is a great travel destination. It was the initial capital of the island. 

Founded by the renowned explorer Diego Velazquez in the early 16th century, Baracoa boasts of its colonial architecture that still stands to this day. One of the places worth visiting is the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion. Visitors can explore the green, lush rainforest environment of El Yunque by hiking the mountain overlooking Baracoa, which is just 30 minutes away from the beach. Baracoa serves as a great base for this adventure.

10. Guardalavaca

Aerial view of Bartacoa Bay, Guantanamo, Cuba
Source: gettyimages

Guardalavaca, located in the Holguin province, boasts stunning beaches that are surrounded by sparkling waters. Unlike Varadero, it is a more secluded and peaceful destination. The tropical sun beats down on the sweeping strand of beach, but there are plenty of shady patches provided by the lush foliage fringing the area for those seeking respite. Travelers who enjoy diving and snorkeling can discover a wide variety of marine creatures while exploring the coral reefs.

Explore the lush jungle, set sail on the crystal-clear waters, and discover the vibrant city of Santiago de Cuba on exciting day trips from Guardalavaca.

To the west of Guardalavaca lies Bahia de Naranjo, a beautiful coastal area that includes three islands. One of these islands is Cayo Naranjo, where you can visit the Dolphinarium and have an unforgettable experience getting up close and personal with these friendly creatures.

A visit to Chorro de Maita is a great travel option from Guardalavaca. You can explore the native Indian burial site and experience a recreated Taino Indian village.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Guardalavaca: Best Areas & Hotels