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Hi, Diti here. Trendy mom, frequent traveller & lover of adventures and the good things in life. So let’s go, adventure awaits us, one blog at a time!

Cuba- The Best Things To See, Do And Eat + Suggested Itinerary You'll Love!0.

Cuba- The Best Things To See, Do And Eat + Suggested Itinerary You'll Love!0.

Cuba is like a hidden world just calling for us to uncover all that it holds for us! It's also a bit like going back in time in a fascinating way!

Breathtaking beaches, jungles, scenic roads to explore and yet the highlight for me were the people; absolutely wonderful! So welcoming and warm, eager to share their country with the world while also sharing their own personal stories. Color will meet you everywhere you look! The cars (of course), the architecture, the villages, the food, the scenery but most of all, the people themselves!

Cuba is famous for contentious rhythms, rich history, salsa, rum & exotic cocktails such as the Cuba Libre, and let's not forget the cigars which are legendary! It's a fun and very interesting experience getting to sit in the heart of Havana, having drinks in the same bar Hemingway himself sat and now students hang around debating Che Guevara's contribution to the world of revolution, wondering where would Cuba have been today had he lived.

Did you know that Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean?

There is just so much to see here! I will definitely have to go back to discover more of this amazing island.

Why should you visit Cuba you ask? It’s stunning, it’s a unique adventure, and because its the least commercial island/country in this area, making it so authentic and real!

I would recommend going now, before it becomes touristy so to speak, overly commercial, and before major multinationals show up here, see it the way it is and has been for centuries; that's where the magic lies!

The people of Cuba taught me that much of what is said about them in the Western world isn't true and that you can be happy with less. Material things are not important here, the key here is family and togetherness, this is the true essence of the Cuban people.

Visa requirements

Any foreigner visitor visiting Cuba needs a visa to enter. This process is done online.

Click for details here: https://www.cubatravellingonline.com/

Best times to visit Cuba

Cuba has a sub-tropical climate meaning it's warm year-round with gorgeous sunshine to look forward to. The cool winds provid some relief from the heat. Just like any other island in the region, here too you have a dry and wet season: The dry season is December to April while June to October is the wet season, you can expect to see a few tropical rain showers during the dry season as well.

Getting around

Domestic flights: This is a quick way to get around from one side of Cuba to other, however, all flights go via Havana so depending on your end destination, check to see if it make sense in your case to do or perhaps another way is easier and quicker.

Travel by bus or train: Viazul is the main bus company running though it does have more competition these days worth checking. In general, using the bus is reasonably priced, it is comfortable and runs daily, offering many route options to travelers. TIP: Make sure you purchase your tickets in advance! And keep in mind: The trains are slow!

Taking an organized tour: This was our preferred way of getting around and it didn't disappoint! Good prices, reliable, a very comfortable way of traveling and moving around, and we've learned so much from our local guides! They were goldmines of information.

Self-driving: This is probably the most challenging way of getting around here, or it adds to your Cuban adventure lol depends how you look at it. It starts with you driving on the right side, the majority of cars here have a manual transmission, and many cars are also old...Signage on the roads is close to nonexisting, roads in remote areas are in poor conditions and not well lite. Keep all this in mind when considering hiring a car.

Taxis: These will surprise you with just how cheap they are! Drivers will either let the meter run or offer you a flat rate instead. Usually, there will be a very small difference if any between the two prices.

Did you know that from the air, Cuba resembles a crocodile or alligator? This is the reason behind Cuba being referred to in Spanish as El Cocodrilo.

The food in Cuba is sensational! Make sure you try some of these local dishes:

  • Empanadas and Pastelitos: Meat-stuffed, fried or baked.

  • Have fresh fish and seafood along the coast. Simply a MUST!

  • Arroz con pollo: A classic- Chicken and rice.

  • Boniato con mojo: Sweet potatoes in a garlic citrus sauce.

  • Cocido de garbanzos: Chickpea stew

A suggested itinerary

We started our Cuban adventure in Varadero, staying at the Sol Palmeras resort as our base.

A top location offering spectacular ocean views, relaxed yet vibrant all-inclusive resort. It features 6 restaurants, 8 bars & a lagoon-style pool, and of course, beach access, water sports, and spa treatments are awesome too!

For more information and reservations click:

https://www.booking.com/hotel/cu/sol-palmeras.en-gb.html

Varadero is located on a 20km-long Peninsula, along this gorgeous stretch of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, you'll find many hotels, small restaurants, shops, and water activities.

Top 4 activities to enjoy in Varadero

  • Visit the Hicacos Point Natural Park: Mangón Lake is at the heart of it and is home to colorful birds and butterflies. The famous attraction here is swimming in the Ambrosio’s Cave, an ancient long cave with paintings and quite a large amount of bats so beware. Visit the ruins of La Calavera Salt Works.

  • Enjoy the water! There are eight marinas and watersports centers to choose from. Activities on offer are kayaking, jet skis, windsurfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. There are wonderful diving spots in the area filled with corals, opening up a whole world of color you'll love! Take time to relax on the beach, take in the sun and amazing surroundings. Are you more about relaxation? Take a boat trip to one of the offshore cays.

  • Visit the Artisan Market: A great place for getting your souvenirs...Think wooden figurines, handmade jewelry, and fashion accessories such as shoes, and bags.

  • Hotspot alert! VILLA XANADU: The villa is built at the highest point in Varadero to make the most of the sunset views. The ultimate rooftop to enjoy a cocktail and to die for views.

Book your tickets here: https://www.getyourguide.com/?partner_id=OUO459C

Excursions and day trips you can take from Varadero

Take a day trip to Havana: From Varadero, it's about a two-hour drive to Havana, and the views are stunning! To name a few, you will be driving along the Matanzas Bay, the Bacunayagu bridge where you can watch over the beautiful Yumuri valley, and the del Este beach is a beautiful sight as well.

Havana is a cozy city with colorful narrow streets which are fun to walk through. Rich history on every turn.

Book your tickets here: https://www.getyourguide.com/?partner_id=OUO459C

Local highlights:

Visit Havana Vieja, the old city: This is a colonial neighborhood protected by UNESCO since 1982, rich in history, restaurants and bars, live music and just awesome local vibes. This is the origins of Havana.

Visit El Templete: This house was built in 1827 at the foot of the Ceiba tree also marking the famous Plaza de Armas. The Ceiba tree that now stands here is a part of the original tree, this is where the locals celebrated the town's first mass and town meeting back in the 1500s. This house commemorates all that! Every year on November 16, the day Havana was founded, a procession makes its way around the Plaza de Armas to the ceiba tree to commemorate and celebrate the city’s founding.

Visit El Castillo de La Real Fuerza: The Castillo de la Real Fuerza is a fort on the Western side of the harbor built to protect the entrance to Havana.

Visit Palacio De Los Capitanes Generales: This is the former official residence of the governors of Havana. It's actually built where the city's original church once stood, a very extravagant 18th-century building showing Cuban baroque architecture in full glory.

Have a drink in one of Hemingway's favorite hangouts such as the Floridita and visit the Cathedral square.

Take a drive in a classic car! So much fun! The usual stops are at the iconic Hotel Nacional, the Square of the Revolution, and the Malecon.

Visit a local Tabak factory: Seeing the way cigars are made and the level of knowledge and professionalism required will help you see why they are so expensive…

Visit a rum museum.


Time to enjoy the beautiful nature and jungles of Cuba!

Take a two trip to visit Santa Clara, Trinidad, Cardenas, and Cienfuegos.

Note: You can also fly with a helicopter to Trinidad, an unusual adventure indeed. Not for the fainthearted.

The route- Day 1

You’ll be driving through Cardenas and Cienfuegos, along the Caribbean coast arriving in the El Cubano nature park, located on the banks of Guaurabo River. Horse back riding, hiking trails and so much more.

Trinidad is a small colonial town, very Insta photogenic. Cobblestone streets. a Cathedral, and a beautiful neo-baroque main square where you'll find grand houses owned in the past by former sugarcane plantation lords. The beach is something to write home about! It’s also be declaired World Heritage by UNESCO.

We spent the night in the Escambray mountains, a perfect location to connect with mother nature while disconnecting for a bit from social media and the world.

Day 2

An old Russian army truck will take you Guanayara, welcome to the jungle! You have a couple of trails to choose from to reach the waterfalls. We chose the Rambo tour which was loads of fun, expect a slightly cold swim as the water is cold. From here you'll walk through coffee plantations and the rain forest, ending in Casa de la Gallega; perfect for meal with a view.

Book your tickets here: https://www.getyourguide.com/?partner_id=OUO459C

The final stop in Santa Clara, here you'll find the national monument for Che Guevara, you'll also find his mausoleum and a museum, this place has a deep impact on all who visit here. It very hard to describe in words...TIP: What ever you do, don’t skip this place!

Another fun day tour is joining a Jeep safari! A memorial day from our Cuban adventure.

We chose the Yumuri tour; excellent on all fronts!

You self drive your jeep following the guide leading the convoy. The best thing about this trip is that you get out into the countryside seeing farms, plantations, tiny villages along the way and just beautifully scenic views. You also get a chance to engage the locals. You’ll visit the city of Matanzas. You'll also drive through the Yumuri valley. Later you will enjoy boat rides and water bicycles on the Canimar river.

Visit the Saturno caves and snorkel in the Coral beach - MUST STOPS! This is a flooded underground cave featuring an amazing pool of crystal-clear freshwater.

Swim with dolphins: It is a special encounter that will stay with you forever! And you can combine this with a day out sailing on the water in a catamaran. From the Gaviota marina in Varadero, you can sail out for the day, you'll stop in the dolphinarium built in the middle of the sea where you can cuddle and bond with dolphins. From here after a short snorkeling break, you'll sail to the island of Cayo Blanco, a beautiful uninhabitable island to enjoy the rest of your day.

If you plan to stay longer then three weeks and have more time then think about visiting these places:

  • Santiago de Cuba

  • Guardalavaca

  • Guantanamo Bay

  • Holguin

Cuba is a beautiful destination that will stay with you I dare say forever!

Do you need help planning your trip? Drop me a line: fromadifferentangle@gmail.com

Let’s also hang out on IG & Twitter: @mytrendytrail

Yours,

Diti




















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