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Explore Cuba: The Hidden Gem of the Caribbean
For years, some travelers would not have dream of stepping foot in Cuba. However, some recent travel changes have made Cuba a favorite place to visit. Aspiring travelers are also curious about this country that has been closed to many tourists for years.
Cuba is particularly enticing to many tourists because of its history. They are intrigued by its friendly people, vibrant culture, and the many tourist attractions.
Cuba has a remarkably rich history. You cannot go wrong, visiting any cities. It all depends on how much time you have and your interests. While the entire country is impressive, but if you plan to spend less than five days, I recommend going to Havana and Trinidad. Those two cities are also my favorite places to visit.
Instead of Trinidad, you can also plan to spend a few days in Havana and Viñales if you prefer the countryside.
It could be challenging going to three cities and expect to experience each one fully on a short trip.
How to Get There to Trinidad, Cuba
Getting to Trinidad from Havana is as easy as taking the public bus or a collectivo, which is what a shared taxi is called in Cuba. From Havana, you can get on the Viazul public bus to Trinidad, and a ticket cost about 25 dollars each way.
Your best option is to take a collectivo, which is about the same price or a few dollars more.
I made the mistake of taking the Viazul bus. I was miserable because the bus trip was about 7 hours. The bathroom was not working, and the bus rarely stops for breaks. Before I went to Cuba, I paid for round trip tickets online and decided to forgo my return ticket. Instead, I opted for a collectivo back to Havana because I just could not bring myself to be on a bus again for 7 hours.
The collectivo is the best option, and you can get to your destination in less than 4 hours. The driver picks you up and drops you in front of your hotel/hostel. Whereas the bus stops at the station and you have to take a taxi to your final destination, which adds more time to your trip.
Trust me, take the collectivo taxi! They are really safe.
Where to stay in Havana, Cuba
One of the best hotel choices in Havana is Casavana Cuba because it has a spectacular view of the city. Airbnb is a popular alternative for many travelers. They are managed by the Cuban people, and you immediately support the locals when you choose to stay at an Airbnb.
If you prefer Airbnb, Escorial in Plaza Vieja (Old Square) is a great option. It is located in the center of the city and walking distance to everything, restaurants, museums, and tours.
Before exploring the city, you may want to try the local dishes. There are a plethora of restaurants that serve local cuisine. A few that travelers want to try are the San Juan Bar and Grill, Habana 61, Mojito-Mojito, and Mas Havana.
However, if you are a vegan or vegetarian, the options are very slim. You can have salads, pasta, rice, and beans. I would recommend bringing some protein bars, nuts, and dry food.
What to do in Havana, Cuba
When it comes to things to do in Havana, the possibilities are practically endless. I suggest that you take the time to do a tour on the hop on hop off the bus because it is the best way to see the city. There are three different bus routes that travelers can choose from, and each one offers an authentic feel of Havana.
A ride in one of the vintage cars is an experience you can never forget if you love antique cars and an enthusiast. There is nothing better than riding around in a classic car like they have done for many years in Cuba. Old Havana is where many of the museums, art galleries, and old historic buildings can be found, so most people will find that their days can easily be spent there.
No one will want to miss Plaza Vieja Havana, as it is filled with bars, restaurants, and cafes, making it an excellent spot for hanging out with friends and for people watching.
Why Explore Trinidad, Cuba
Founded in 1514, Trinidad is a historical town in Cuba. One of the many UNESCO World Heritage sites in Cuba and has been a member of this elite group since 1988.
Where to Stay in Trinidad
Once travelers arrive in Trinidad, they need to check into their hotel. One of the best options for travelers is Hostal Casa di Elio Ramos, which is only approximately five minutes from Plaza Mayor. The roof terrace is perfect for those who want to see extensive views of the city at any time of the day or night. Another option is the Jean Arial Casa Particular Airbnb. It is walking distance to the historical area and restaurants.
Places to Eat in Trinidad
Local cuisine can be found almost everywhere in Trinidad, but some of the more popular restaurants include Restaurante San Jose, taberna la Botija, Paladar Sol y Son, and Restaurante Museo 1514.
When it comes to visitors learning where things are in Trinidad, there is no hop on hop off bus for them to take a tour on. However, with so many other available options, no one will ever need to worry about filling their days with fun adventures. Most people will start their journey be wandering around the cobblestone streets, as they look for historical buildings and other attractions of interest.
Short breaks can be spent on the steps of Casa de la Musica, and visitors see that many people use these steps for the same thing. It is an excellent place to sit and watch people as they pass by while learning more about how the locals go about their days. Visiting the historical area is a must. The colorful buildings and Spanish colonial architecture are breathtaking.
Everyone will want to take time to visit Playa Ancon, which is one of the most famous beaches in the entire country. It does take a little time to reach this beach from Trinidad, but the journey is quite worthwhile. Anyone that doesn’t want to travel that far can go to Maria Aguilar beach, which is a little closer; and it can be just as enjoyable.
Why Explore Viñales
Located in the North Central part of the country, Viñales is also a UNESCO heritage site. Once you get there, you truly feel the true essence of Cuba. Just 2.5 hours from Havana, you can spend a day trip experiencing this small town. The best way to get there is to take a Collectivo (taxi) from Havana. You can visit the farming life, eat savory Cuban dishes, and buy some souvenirs. I did not get a chance to visit Vinales when I was in Cuba, but it is on my list of places to visit when I go back.
Any of these three cities allow every traveler to experience the authenticity of Cuba and seeing parts of the world that have been shut off to so many for so long. Check out our Cuba picture gallery.
Let us know about your travel experience in Cuba. What was your favorite place to visit?
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