Visiting Cuba is like stepping into a time machine. The country’s mix of Spanish and African influences reverberates through its cobblestone streets. It’s always fun to converse with the locals. That’s why it’s cool to learn some Spanish such as expresiones espanolas.
Here are some of favorite things to do in Cuba that should be on everyone’s Cuba bucket list.
Ride in a 1950’s Convertible
One of the biggest trademarks of Cuba is it’s notorious collection of antique cars from the 1950’s. After the US erected the embargo against Cuba, it became quite difficult to import new cars to the island and so that’s why you see so many “old” cars on the streets today. While many people still use them for every day use, most of them are used as taxis or private cars that you can ride in with a driver. If you’re lucky they’ll let you drive.
Smoke a Cuban Cigar
Cuban cigars can be bought everywhere in Cuba, but some of the best Cuban cigars come right from the tobacco farms. Cuba’s capital city is brimming with fine cigar shops, and the best not only have superb selections, talented staff and lockers to store cigars meant to age, but they are designed as places to sit, linger and smoke. Top quality single cigars can be bought in stores from anywhere between (7-25$), while boxes of 25 are priced upwards of 120$.
Visit Ernest Hemingway’s house, Finca Vigia
Finca Vigia is located in the small, working-class town of San Francisco de Paula and it’s here that he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. Built in 1886 by a Spanish Architect Miguel Pascual y Baguer, Finca Vigia was purchased by Hemingway in 1940 for a cost of 12,500$.
The museum features such items as unpublished writings, his original typewriter, and even his fishing boat, Pilar, which inspired his Pulitzer Prize winning novella. If you’re a true Hemingway fan you can’t miss seeing this. You can also collect nautical sconces if you’re into nautical home decor.
Enjoy the Beaches
Cuba is a perfect destination to truly disconnect. The country is home to over 300 stunning strips of white sand, with crystal clear waters and excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities. One of tourists favorite beaches in Cuba was Varadero, which is 12 miles of white sandy coastline.
There are around 28 diving spots in Varadero.
You can expect to see huge variety of flora and fauna and take part in various beach sports. Another off the beaten path beach is Playa Jibacoa, located between Havana and Varadero.
Beautiful white sand beach that not many know about. A great alternative to Cuba’s popular beaches, Playa Jibacoa makes a great day trip or a relaxing place to spend a few nights at one of the three Playa Jibacoa hotels.
Get lost in Trinidad
Trinidad Cuba is a gorgeous Spanish colonial town with the old part of town being a UNESCO world heritage site, and getting lost exploring it is one of the best things to do in Cuba. Just walk the cobblestone streets, around every corner another photo opportunity awaits you.
Marvel at the Museum of the Revolution
It used to be the Cuban Presidential Palace until the Cuban Revolution, when it became a museum. The exterior is designed in Neo-Classical style, while Tiffany Studios designed the interiors.
It witnessed how the politicians of the time maneuvered the destiny of a nation, trapped in contradictions between the national interests and the official politics committed to the United States.
The Museum’s collection includes revolutionary memorabilia and exhibits alongside some of Cubas more modern History. Not to be missed is the “Granma” the small boat used by Castro and 82 Soldiers of the revolution to return from exile in Mexico.
Drink local Rum
For Cubans, rum is personal. The spirit is a core part of Cuba’s national identity and has, along with cigars, fueled the country’s economy for decades. Havana Club is the best known of all Cuba’s rums. Lesser-known varieties such as Cubay’s pleasantly sweet dark rum and Ron Palma Mulata, a good white rum that is slightly cheaper than its Havana Club equivalent. The local shops sell juice box like boxes of rum for roughly 50 cents. Party with the locals on the street with your juice box. Cuba produces a lighter, crisper rum than elsewhere in Caribbean.
Eat a real Cuban sandwich
The Cuban sandwich you may be accustom to in America is not the same as a Cuban sandwich in Cuba. You’ll just have to add eating a Cuban sandwich to your list of things to do in Cuba and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Eat at a Paladar
Restaurants run by self-employers. Mostly family-run businesses, paladars are fundamentally directed to serve as a counterpart to state-run restaurants for tourists seeking a more vivid interaction with Cuban reality, and looking for homemade Cuban food.
Try out one of these at least once on your visit to Cuba. While at a state run restaurant the menu typically offers steak or lobster, paladars usually serve Cuban food classics like ropa vieja (slow cooked shredded beef), fried plantains and beans.
Music and dancing
If you want real, authentic Cuban nightlife, head over to Casa de la Musica just west of Vedado and close by the Tropicana.
The music in Cuba is infectious and the dancing is out of this world. Hot nights spent inside local bars filled with sounds of salsa, cigar smoke, and the enchanting aroma of coconut rum make unforgettable memories.