Cuba, here we come! Cuba is one of those places that we, the United States abiding citizens, are nervous to venture to or simply have blocked out of our minds due to the so-called never-ending embargo! Take a look at this blog post to learn about some stuff to do in Cuba.
With all that hype, it just makes this amazing country more and more interesting to me! But what really made this vacation in Havana a reality is having one of my good friends from Antigua, Guatemala move there with her family!
Planning to me is practically an art form and part of the creation and development of the (Canvas) trip. Especially when you are traveling for a limited period of time and with two kids (7 years old and a one-year-old). I want to make sure I get the highlights but also don’t overtire my children so that they are miserable and make my trip (and life) miserable as well!
I literally spend hours learning, researching and basically having a blast finding out everything I must prepare, all the must-do’s, and the hidden secrets of Cuba.
We have eight days, so the initial amount of stuff that I wanted to do, is virtually impossible!
Better to focus on the main things and get the most out of the places.
Stuff To Do In Cuba
Cuba has an awful lot to offer adventurous holiday-goers. Aside from its stunning scenery and beautiful beaches, it’s filled with plenty to do as well as to see, so that you don’t have to sit still for a second. If you prefer long walks to laze on a beach, and would take hiking over kicking back in a five-star hotel, here are a few adventures you might want to embark on. Here are some of the best things to do that Cuba has to offer.
Where are we going in Cuba?:
Havana – this goes without saying. And after ALL the research I did, you can literally spend one year here and still not see everything. So we will be focusing only on Cuba for this blog post.
My Bucket List for Things to do in Cuba
There is just so much to do and so little time. However, I have narrowed it down to these things, in no particular order:
Havana is split into four parts: Old Havana, Centro Havana, Havana Miramar, and Havana Vedado – all of which I intend to visit. And here are some things to do in Havana
1. Staying in a Casa Particular
You can stay in a hotel anywhere in the world, but you can only stay in Casa Particulares in Cuba! Basically, what this is are rooms or houses rented out by families. They are usually living there or next door. We chose this Casa – Casa Habana 1932.
2. Eating at a Paladar
This is very similar to a Casa Particular. It’s a family that opens their house and serves meals. This is government regulated, of course, but you get a home-cooked meal and the true Cuban experience
3. Smoke a Cuban Cigar
This kind of goes without saying. I’m not a smoker but, is such a popular and important aspect of what Cuba is all about. So when in Rome …
4. Hang out on the Malecon
Havana Centro – this is the boardwalk that runs along the beach and apparently just walking along this road is an experience in itself
5. Ride in a classic car
From what I’m told, or have read, this makes up for the majority of the taxis in Havana and all of Cuba
6. Cigar Factory Tour
I want to see where the infamous cigars are made and are as illegal in the US as marijuana!- There are three that I found out about:
- Partagas Cigar Factory – Old Havana Centro– Calle Industria 524, behind the Capitolio
- Fabrica de Tabaco H. Upmann – Havana Vedado – Calle Amistad 407 between Calles Barcelona and Dragones
- Fabrica de Tabaco La Corona – Havana Vedada – Calle Zulueta 106 between Calles Colon and Refugio
7. Callejon de Hamel
Centro Havana – this is an alleyway that is closed off and now is filled with local artist’s works – Directions: Callejon de Hamel, San Lazaro # 955, E/ Aramburu y Hospital
Cuban’s national ice cream – Havana Vedado – their main headquarters are located: Calle 23 and L (in the park on the other side of Cinema Yara)
9. Havana Viejo
Old Havana! This goes without saying. Seeing the old part of the city is one of the most amazing things you can do in Cuba. With all of its old buildings and cars, you won’t be disappointed.
10. Plaza De Armas
This is the central plaza of Havana Vieja, and is great for people-watching, which is our favorite thing to do!
11. El Morro – Fortress
Havana Vieja – This looks like an interesting park and attraction to visit. We’ve been to tons of forts, and this would be a good addition to our fortress collection.
12. Visit a Cuban Market
Located in Havana Centro – this is something I really want to experience! I always visit a local market wherever I go. I feel like this is where you can really get a taste of local’s culture and daily life away from the touristy stuff.
13. Hector’s Pizza
Located in Havana Centro – it’s said this is the ultimate way to order pizza! You shout up you want pizza to Hector on the rooftop and he lowers it in his basket: Directions – Corner Infanta at a rooftop of San Rafael – he’s only open 12 – 4 on various days, hope I’m there for one of them!
14. Museo de Revolucion
The Revolution Museum. I’m not a big museum person, but this certainly seems like a very appropriate thing to do, especially with the little knowledge we get in the US about what really happened. It will be good to see it and hear it from the horse’s mouth.
15. Drink a real Cuban Mojito
I am a huge Mojito fan and have been way before they have become a dumb fad that now charges over $15 a drink in any major US city. I want it with Havana Rum!
16. Artisan Souvenir Shopping
I have to get local artwork! I also know that in some cases it can be a bit cliché, but if you look closely, you will end up finding something unique and special.
17. Coco Taxi
Again, not really sure what it is, except that it’s nicknamed the Cuban version of a Rickshaw. Sounds interesting to me.
18. Underwater Activities
Cuba is famed for its breath-taking beaches and sparkling seas, but if sunbathing isn’t your style, there are plenty of other ways that you can enjoy them, starting with some underwater adventuring. The two most popular outdoor activities are snorkeling and scuba diving, with centers dotted all over the island. Enlist a professional diver to take you deep down under the sea, and enjoy stunning sights that you’ll never forget. From surreal shipwrecks to magnificent coral reefs, there’s plenty to see when you journey into the blue.
Cuba is filled with rivers, and for those who are fans of some extreme sporting action, rafting is one of the best ways to enjoy them. Exciting, adrenaline rush inducing, and unforgettable, it is best experienced on the Rio de Aguas Blancas, a waterway known for its extreme twists and turns and hair-raising ride. Offering a chance to admire the country’s exquisite loveliness at the same time as getting your blood up, it’s the perfect pastime for erstwhile adventurers.
Cuba is a wonderland of lush mountains and beautiful national parks, and there is plenty of climbing, hiking, and trekking trails to explore for those who want to see them up close and in detail. Sierra Maestra is a particularly lovely place to go adventuring, with plenty of wild things to spot and vistas that will take your breath away, as is the stunning Vinales Valley. Dare to go down barely trodden paths to see the most picturesque parts of this charming country Cuba.
Before you go to Cuba, we recommend casting your pre-conceived notions of fishing aside. Beloved by locals and tourists alike, it’s very different from sitting by a dreary English river in the pouring rain. Instead, it will give you a chance to really appreciate the stunning coastline, and there are plenty of boats to hire for those who want to enhance their experience by heading out into the crystalline waters. One of the best spots to give it a go is beautiful Varadero, which is worth a visit for its charm alone.
This pretty much sums up what I definitely want to do when I visit Havana, Cuba. The rest will be up to chance, and we are open for a full-on adventure!!!
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2 thoughts on “Top 21 Things To Do in Cuba: My Bucket List of Activities”
Congrats on getting your Cuban experience off the ground.
We’re also sharing in the delight now that Cuba is opening up to the US, we along with NatGeo have just been given approval to operate adventure tours, trips and vacations into the beautiful country. We’re looking forward to introducing everyone to the rich Cuban heritage and culture that makes it such an amazing place.
If you’re interested in finding out more about our new Cuba Adventure Trips, please check out our site and adventure travel blog for more details.
I literally just got back from Cuba last night. That’s why the late response, since there is virtually no internet.
The people is what made it for me!!! I have never met such amazing, fun, kind, smart, lively, sensual people in my life!!!
I would love to write a guest post about the country for your site to help you with the tours!