Cuba Captivated: One of the Caribbean’s Vibrant Havens

The allure of Cuba lies in its food, culture, people, and the unmistakable atmosphere. Remarkably, it stands out as one of my absolute favorite countries to visit. With its rich history, iconic landmarks, and delectable cuisines, planning your next trip to Cuba is an opportunity you wouldn’t want to miss.

I often wish everyone could experience the magic of Cuba for a couple of weeks, truly immersing themselves in the unique attractions the country has to offer. However, for those planning to spend at least a week on this captivating island, I wholeheartedly recommend exploring my two favorite cities: Trinidad and Havana. Each city offers a distinct flavor of Cuban life, adding to the overall charm of your visit.

Transportation Between Havana and Trinidad, Cuba

Traveling between Trinidad and Havana presents two options: the Collectivo Taxi and the Viazul bus. Having experienced both, I found the Viazul bus journey to be an interesting but stressful ride. The approximately seven-hour trip lacked breaks, and often, the onboard bathroom was out of order. Despite these challenges, the ticket price was budget-friendly, around $25 for a round trip between the two cities.

For a more seamless and stress-free travel experience, I highly recommend opting for the Collectivo taxi (shared taxi). This mode of transportation not only took me to and from Havana and Trinidad in less than 4 hours but also dropped me off directly at my destination. In contrast, Viazul would only take you to the station, requiring an additional taxi ride to reach your actual endpoint.

Where to stay in Havana, Cuba

One of the most memorable accommodations I had the pleasure of experiencing was at Casavana Cuba. I was fortunate enough to occupy a room that offered a breathtaking view of the city.

For those who may not be avid hotel enthusiasts or harbor concerns about safety, Airbnb provides a popular alternative for travelers. Opting for an Airbnb not only offers a unique and personalized stay but also allows you to support local residents. Additionally, it unveils hidden gems when it comes to dining options.

I recommend considering Escorial in Plaza Vieja (Old Square) for your stay. Nestled in the heart of the city, it provides convenient access to everything—from museums and restaurants to tours. The central location ensures that you are within walking distance of the city’s vibrant offerings.

What to do in Havana, Cuba

Before delving into the heart of the city, immerse yourself in the local culinary scene. Havana boasts an array of restaurants showcasing authentic flavors. Among the must-try establishments are San Juan Bar and Grill, Habana 61, Mojito-Mojito, and Mas Havana.

For those adhering to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, the dining options are somewhat limited, primarily consisting of salads, pasta, rice, and beans. Consider supplementing your meals with protein bars, nuts, and dry snacks for a more diverse palate.

When it comes to exploring Havana, the possibilities are virtually limitless. I highly recommend embarking on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, providing a comprehensive overview of the city. With three distinct routes to choose from, each offers an immersive and authentic experience of Havana.

For enthusiasts of antique cars, a ride in one of the vintage vehicles is an unforgettable experience. Cruising through the streets in a classic car, reminiscent of the bygone eras in Cuba, is a true delight.

The historic heart of Havana, Old Havana, beckons with its wealth of museums, art galleries, and ancient structures. It’s a destination where one can effortlessly while away their days.

A visit to Plaza Vieja Havana is non-negotiable. The square is a vibrant hub teeming with bars, restaurants, and cafes—ideal for socializing with friends and indulging in some people-watching. Don’t let this lively locale slip off your itinerary.

Where to Stay in Trinidad

Upon arriving in Trinidad, the first order of business for travelers is to check into their accommodation. A top recommendation is Hostal Casa di Elio Ramos, situated just about five minutes from Plaza Mayor. What sets it apart is its fantastic roof terrace, providing breathtaking views of the city any time of the day or night.

Alternatively, consider the Jean Arial Casa Particular Airbnb, a convenient choice within walking distance of the historical area and various restaurants. This Airbnb option combines proximity to key attractions with the comfort of a personalized stay, offering a well-rounded experience for travelers exploring Trinidad.

Places to Eat in Trinidad

While Trinidad may not boast hop-on-hop-off buses for city tours, fret not; the city offers a plethora of options and activities to fill your week with enchantment. Begin your journey by strolling through the cobblestone streets, where historical buildings and captivating attractions await at every turn.

Should you find yourself in need of a brief respite, Casa de la Musica beckons. This vibrant spot not only offers a chance to relax but also provides a front-row seat for people-watching, accompanied by the melodic tunes of talented musicians. The colorful buildings and colonial architecture add an extra layer of charm to the experience, making it a favorite among visitors.

A must-visit destination in Trinidad is Playa Ancon, renowned as one of the country’s most famous beaches. Though it requires a bit of travel from the city, the journey is well worth the effort. For those seeking a closer alternative, Maria Aguilar Beach is my second favorite, offering proximity to the city without compromising on enjoyment.

Countryside Comfort Vinales, Cuba

If the hustle and bustle of city life isn’t your preference and you yearn for a more tranquil atmosphere in the countryside, Vinales is an ideal choice. Nestled in the North Central part of the country, a mere 2.5 hours from Havana, Vinales holds the distinction of being a UNESCO heritage site—truly embodying the essence of Cuba. Even for a day trip, you can immerse yourself in the charm of this small town, exploring farm life, savoring delectable dishes, and acquiring souvenirs. While I didn’t have the chance to explore Vinales fully, it undoubtedly remains on my list of must-visit places for my next journey.

Each of these three cities offers travelers a genuine taste of Cuba, allowing them to discover parts of the world that were inaccessible to many for a significant period. Feel free to share your travel experiences in Cuba and let us know which place was your favorite to visit. We would love to hear more about your adventures!

Happy travels,

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