Explore

Cuba

This guide divides Cuba into five colour-coded sightseeing areas, as shown on the map below. Find out more about each area on the following pages.

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Getting to Know Cuba

HAVANA

Cuba’s animated capital city lives up to its international reputation as a captivating time warp. While much of La Habana Vieja – the enchanting colonial quarter – has been restored to elegant grandeur, the rest of Havana’s evocative urban centre has changed little since the 1950s. Classic American cars rumble past stunning buildings in a mesmerizing amalgamation of styles, from Art Nouveau to Art Deco. The city is also the epicentre of Cuba’s exciting gastro-revolution, topped off by a vibrant nightlife that includes colonial-style drinking holes, opulent rooftop bars and sizzling nightclubs. As well as all of this, Havana boasts superb museums, innovative art galleries and grand theatres.


Best for Exciting gastronomy

Home to Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, Capitolio, Paseo del Prado, Museo de la Revolución, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Necrópolis de Colón, Memorial José Martí

Experience A drive down the Malecón in a 1950s convertible

Go To: HAVANA i

Getting to Know Cuba

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t People milling around Plaza Vieja

Getting to Know Cuba

WESTERN CUBA

West of Havana, in the provinces of Artemisa and Pinar del Río, the landscape becomes increasingly dramatic, reaching its zenith in the Valle de Viñales. Visitors flock here for hiking, horseback riding and other ecotourism activities. Don’t miss the artistic mountain community of Las Terrazas and the village of Viñales, which is nestled in the valley surrounded by tobacco fields and soaring mogotes. At the western extreme of the island, the Península de Guanahacabibes combines superb bird-watching with scuba diving at María la Gorda, while the white sands of Cayo Levisa, off the north coast, are perfect for a reclusive escape.


Best for Fantastic scenery

Home to Las Terrazas, Valle de Viñales, Isla de la Juventud

Experience A horseback ride to a tobacco farm to discover how cigars are made

Go To: WESTERN CUBA i

Getting to Know Cuba

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t A diver surveying a shoal of porkfish and snapper in the Caribbean Sea

Getting to Know Cuba

CENTRAL CUBA – WEST

This diverse region is home to both captivating cities and stunning beaches with teeming offshore reefs. Here, you’ll find Varadero, Cuba’s largest and most developed resort. Fewer than 50 km (30 miles) away is the contrasting city of Matanzas, permeated with Afro-Cuban traditions and music. The Península de Zapata, meanwhile, offers both fantastic fishing and a superb museum at the site of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. Cuba’s revolutionary history is also keenly felt in the university city of Santa Clara, which is home to the Che Guevara monument, whereas Cienfuegos’ gentle charms and musical heritage entice many a casual visitor to linger.


Best for Encountering wildlife

Home to Mantanzas, Varadero, Península de Zapata, Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, Jardín Botánico Soledad

Experience A scuba dive among coral reefs and shipwrecks off Punta Francés on the Isla de la Juventud

Go To: CENTRAL CUBA – WEST i

Getting to Know Cuba

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t Beautiful clouds over Varadero’s vast beach

Getting to Know Cuba

CENTRAL CUBA – EAST

Comprising the geographic heart of Cuba, this zone showcases sensational stretches of sand on the cays of the Jardines del Rey and sublime diving and fishing off Jardines de la Reina on the south coast. Enchanting Trinidad – the jewel in the crown of colonial cities – is justifiably one of Cuba’s most popular sites, outshining even historic Camagüey. For those in search of wilderness, head to the verdant Valle de los Ingenios or Cayo Coco, where crocodiles and flamingoes are easily seen.


Best for Colonial cities

Home to Trinidad, Sancti Spíritus, Cayo Coco, Camagüey

Experience A hike up the Sierra del Escambray, which surrounds the Valle de los Ingenios

Go To: CENTRAL CUBA – EAST i

Getting to Know Cuba

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t Musicians playing in Casa de La Trova, Trinidad

Getting to Know Cuba

EASTERN CUBA

From the Moncada Barracks to Fidel’s mountain rebel headquarters, the eastern side of the island marks the centre of Cuba’s revolutionary history. The region’s natural landscape is also noteworthy – Cuba’s oldest city Baracoa enjoys a striking setting beneath the rainforest-clad Sierra Cristal, while the rugged Sierra Maestra offers the ultimate high with a trek up Pico Turquino. In Santiago de Cuba, the island’s second largest city, history complements a colourful Afro-Cuban culture, vivacious nightlife and the country’s liveliest carnival.


Best for Revolutionary history

Home to Holguín, Santiago de Cuba, Castillo del Morro, Parque Baconao, Baracoa

Experience A trek to La Comandancia de la Plata – Fidel’s guerrilla headquarters – in the Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra

Go To: EASTERN CUBA i

Getting to Know Cuba

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t Boats moored on a wooden bridge near Baracoa

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