Cuba is one of the favorite destinations for all travelers, not because it’s budget-friendly, but because the traditional architecture, colorful streets, stunning white beaches, and quaint vibes attract every traveler.
In the last few years, this Caribbean island has become famous, and most cruises dock at the Havana port to see the colors of Cuba. There are a lot more things to do and explore in Cuba.
When it comes to the Caribbean countries, people get afraid of violence and crimes, but let me tell you, in Cuba, it’s a whole different vibe – super chill and peaceful. There’s no need to fret; you’ll feel good vibes here. So, if you’re up for it, pack your bags because this island is calling your name, and it’s a breeze to explore!
Today, I will be your travel guide to Cuba and let you know some of the exciting chores to do there.
How Far Is The Cruise Port From Cuba
Cuba is the go-to destination for most Caribbean cruises. If you’re cruising around the Caribbean islands, chances are Cuba’s already on your radar. It’s that one place you’ve got to tick off your bucket list!
The nearest port to Cuba is Havana port. Havana is the capital of Cuba, and from this port of call, every major attraction is easily accessible. This capital city has a total area of 726 km2 and 2.1 million population.
You need to grab a taxi from Havana Port to your hotel room. Heads up! There are no Uber services available in Cuba. I love the old and retro styles of taxis; they are a little expensive, but riding them is so much fun.
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Where To Live In Havana, Cuba
The first challenging thing for me was the accommodation in Havana, Cuba. And for sure, getting perfect and reasonable accommodation is the goal of every traveler.
But don’t fret! In Havana, dozens of affordable hotels are waiting for you. You can enjoy their top-notch luxury for just a few hundred dollars.
I recommend you go to hotels nearer to your port, which will save you time and taxi fares. I stayed at El Candil Boutique Hotel, a five-star hotel offering all the amenities and complimentary breakfast.
Besides this, you can also consider CasavanaCuba Boutique Hotel, which has a seafaring balcony. Another great hotel nearer the cruise port is Napper By Rottenberg, which offers complimentary breakfast, bar, and spa services.
For solo travelers, I recommend living in “Casa Particulars”, the spare rooms reserved by the locals. This way, you can get mixed up with the local traditions and friendly people.
I appreciate the kind behavior of Cuba’s locals. They are so friendly and help you find the best “casa particulars. You can easily recognize such rooms by an anchor sign on the outside door.
In a nutshell, the accommodation in Havana is not a big problem. So you should focus on other things to do in Havana, Cuba.
Things To Do At Havana, Cuba
1- Explore The Culture Of Habana Vieja
Havana looks like an old 1900s city, and every traveler wants to enjoy the old-fashioned vibes. Just hop into a vintage car and explore the different colors of Habana Viejo.
The place is just wow! Here, you will stumble on historic buildings, colorful streets, museums, galleries, and plazas. Here, you will feel like you’re walking in a past century. On top of that, the classical house architecture is worth seeing in Old Havana (Habana Viejo).
By the way, this area is closer to the sea; a gentle breeze always blows here, so there’s always this cool breeze going on. Taking a stroll is a breeze, too—just grab a water bottle to stay refreshed as you go!
Even though there are many iconic attractions, the Malecon Boulevard, Capitolio building, and Grand Theatre are visited.
2- Visit La Guarida For the Best Dining Experience
The next important thing is consuming some calories, and without satisfying taste buds, it gets boring.
But don’t worry!
Just book a taxi and visit La Guarida for an exquisite dining experience. The restaurant has vintage vibes, and the building seems too old, but I will give it a 10/10 for the food.
If you’re going for dinner, I suggest sitting on the rooftop to enjoy the night view of Havana. Plus, the live music performers are also there on weekend nights to entertain you.
You can order their famous smoked Marlin Tacos, Caimanero-style grouper, and some of their notable desserts.
3- Explore The Playas de Este
After Aruba and the Bahamas, Cuba has the best white beaches. Relax yourself and soak up the sun on Playas de Este beach. The beach is just 30 minutes from Havana; you can swim in translucent and warm water to relax your body.
Don’t forget to bring beach essentials like sunscreen, umbrellas, and some cocktails for a refreshing experience.
You can also capture some stunning photos, especially at sunset, with a mesmerizing view to make your mind positive. Don’t forget to grab some coconut water and other cocktails.
4- Take Some Photos At El Morro Castle
Havana, Cuba, is full of historical monuments, and one worth visiting is El Morro Castle. Visit this fort before sunset (late afternoon) for more spectacular views.
Take some pictures of old weapons used to protect Havana Bay from pirates and foreign invaders. Also, the castle looks incredible and is a prime example of Spanish military architecture.
There is also a snack bar inside the fort from where you can grab some snacks and a cigar shop near the entrance.
5- Enjoy The Famous Salsa In La Habana
Another entertaining cultural thing in Havana is the Salsa dance. The Salsa music is like this magical mix of Latin rhythms that lifts you off the ground. It’s a whole floating-on-air kind of experience!
In Cuban culture, Salsa is recognized as one of the major signs of happiness. So, if you’re passionate about dancing, you should learn Salsa.
There are many institutes in La Habana to learn Salsa. The go-to? Casa de la Musica—it’s buzzing with top-notch musicians and dancers. Here, you can burn some extra calories and indulge in the most entertaining dancing classes.
6- Visit The Viñales
The next stop is Viñales– the place to see the stunning tobacco fields, limestone hills, and traditional lifestyle.
You don’t need to directly book a taxi for Viñales, and it’s a 2.5-hour journey. Keep it easy – tell your taxi driver to drop you at the bus station. From there, you have two options: hop on a bus or grab a spot in a shared taxi.
The collective taxis will cost around 20 CUC per head, but you must wait for the other members to visit Viñales. But it’s a worthwhile journey.
By the way, Viñales is a very photogenic area with many major attractions you can visit. Don’t forget to capture a photo with the mural of prehistory.
7- Go To Viñales Tobacco Fields
Viñales is a small town, but it’s famous for its huge tobacco production. The lush fields of tobacco are worth seeing. You can also go horse riding if you feel tired; you can explore the entire valley easily on a horse.
This countryside is so relaxing and near to nature. Over the years, farmers have been grinding in the fields, growing top-notch tobacco.
Later, this tobacco is supplied to other Cuban regions, ending up in those classic Cuban cigars we all know and love.
8- Go For Trinidad Cuba
After spending a day in Viñales, it’s time to move to Trinidad’s next stop– famous for well-preserved Spanish architecture, colorful streets, vibrant homes, and beautiful waterfalls.
Alright! How can you reach Trinidad from Viñales? After all, it’s a six-hour-long journey. Some collective taxis and buses can get you there. I prefer to go with collective taxis, which can cost around 30 CUC per head.
You have to stay a night in Trinidad; one day is enough to explore this small village. The main attractions of this village include Plaza Mayor, Museo Romántico, Iglesia de la Santísima, some waterfalls, and stunning beaches.
9- Don’t Forget The Vegas Grande waterfall
Nothing is more relaxing in a hot summer than diving into a cold waterfall. And if you’re in Trinidad, the Vegas Grande waterfall awaits you. Take off your upper clothes, and jump into the water from the cliff.
You have to buy the tickets to get there, which is just 10 CUC per person. It’s a breezy 1.5 KM hike to reach the waterfall. Lace up those snug shoes, though – the trail’s a bit rugged.
10- Visit Trinidad, Cuba Beaches
Trinidad has many white sand beaches; the Playa Ancon is the best place to spend a few hours. It’s a 4 km long beach with white sand and crystal-clear water.
Unlike other famous beaches, there are no teeming people, so you can chill under umbrellas and enjoy some of the drinks.
11- Go Back To Havana And Do Some Shopping
Finally, it’s time to move back to Havana, do some shopping, and pack your bags.
Two options are there to reach Havana. The first one is a collective taxi and a bus.
A bus is a cheap option that costs around $20 or $25 per head, but there is a catch– it takes seven and a half hours to reach Havana. Whereas collective taxis take around four and a half hours, I recommend you to go for the second option.
After reaching Havana, rest and relax your feet and legs from traveling all day. Get some local food and coffee to energize yourself, and then do some little shopping.
There are no such luxury and elite-class shopping centers; the Almacenes San José Artisans’ Market is the only best place where you can buy souvenirs and shop.
So, guys, I hope you have liked this Cuba traveling guide. By the way, Cube is a peaceful country, and the locals are very friendly. Despite their challenging circumstances and financial issues, they help and meet you with smiling faces.
The Caribbean Islands will always remain in my heart, and people love their old cultural values. Their iconic houses, buildings, and transportation system is worth trying.
Cuba is still stuck in the past; if you’re getting exhausted from bustling modern city life, Cuba is the only destination to relax your mind.
I am Zoe Grace, a passionate enthusiast of cruise ships. With a decade of firsthand experience in the cruising industry, I have developed a deep understanding of the intricacies and wonders that these majestic vessels hold.
Now, I am excited to embark on a new journey as an author, sharing my knowledge and insights with readers who share my fascination for the world of cruising.
Join me as we explore the captivating world of cruise ships together.