In the northern Caribbean where the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and Atlantic ocean meet, lies a country surrounded by dazzling crystal blue beaches. Where the traditions of Spain, Africa, and the native people blend with the flames of revolution and independence, exists a world of contagious rhythms, aromas, and flavors like no other – the Republic of Cuba. Traveling around Cuba you’ll discover around 5,700 km (3500 miles) of coastline with coral reefs, cliffs, bays, and sandy havens. It’s easy to see why Cuba is known as The Pearl of The Antilles.
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What’s The Best Time to Visit Cuba?
Cuba has two seasons, the dry season with blue skies and gorgeous sunny days and the wet season with, you can take a wild guess here, a lot of rain. The best time to visit Cuba is from December to May.
For a good combination of weather and prices, the best time to go is January and February. The nighttime temperature is lower but there is barely any rain to ruin your Caribbean vacation.
A Few Facts About Cuba
- Cuba uses two official currencies
Cuba has the CUP (Cuban Peso) and the CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso). 1 Euro equals to around 30 Cuban Peso whereas 1 Euro equals to 1.14 Cuban Convertible Peso. The Cuban Peso is more frequently used amongst the Cuban residents whereas as a traveler, you’ll use the Cuban Convertible Peso.
- Vintage American cars are all over Cuba
Over 60,000 classic cars still remain on Cuban roads. The cars are important possessions, with owners willing to do whatever it takes to keep them running, including using engines of boats or lawnmowers. The cars also provide a significant income stream – a Cuban driver makes more in a day than a Cuban doctor in a month.
- Wi-fi in Cuba
The internet situation in Cuba is different, but Cuba is not completely cut off from the rest of the world. Buy an Internet card so you’re able to connect to wi-fi. While you might not be able to connect at every cafe, you are able to connect if you need to.
How to Get Around Cuba?
Classic cars and motorbikes
An hour in a classical car costs around 13 Euros (15 USD). The affordable option for those wishing to explore the island on their own schedule is to rent a motorbike, that will cost around 20 Euros (25 USD).
Buses and colectivos
For longer trips, try the Viazul bus company, they are not that expensive and you will get to your destination quickly. You can get a colectivo, a shared ride, from your hotel. Most colectivos run the routes between all major cities. They are also one of the more affordable options!
In Havana, you’ll find the “coco taxis”- they are a lot of fun, but they do come with an inflated price. The taxi might end up being older than you are, but it’s an experience! Avoid riding with unlicensed taxis, as you would everywhere else.
Most of Cuba’s larger cities are served by the mainline, which links Havana with Santiago de Cuba. To buy a ticket, you will need your passport, and it’s advised to bring your own toilet paper on board!
Accommodation in Cuba
The cost to travel to Cuba is very affordable, even for five stars all-inclusive hotels. You won’t pay as much as you would in many other countries but you will have all the luxury. There are many hotels and resorts in Cuba offering an all-inclusive package.
Find the best area to stay in Cuba on Booking.com! An all-inclusive accommodation in Cuba in a luxury hotel costs around 100€ (around 6USD). On the more affordable side, you can find hotels for 20€ (USD).
10-day itinerary Cuba
Whatever you wish to gain from your Cuba trip, it’s beneficial to plan a 10 day Cuba itinerary. Cuba’s diverse cities and wonders of nature make it a challenge to pack up the whole trip in 10 days. Here are our suggestions on where to go in Cuba and top things to do in Cuba in 10 days:
Day 1 – Havana
Start your day at Habana Vieja or Old Havana. Walk around the small side streets, check out the colonial houses and visit the museums. Head to Plaza de la Catedral and visit the Havana Cathedral. Just around the corner find the. Walk around the corner and tour the Royal Force Castle, the oldest stone fort in the Americas. Head for a walk along Havana’s Malecòn, the 8 km seawall. Eat at Barrio Chino- Havana’s Chinatown. Sip a cocktail on one of the rooftop bars. Both Mojito and Daiquiri originate from Cuba, try them at Fabrica De Arte Cubano!
Day 2 – Havana
On your day 2 in Havana, take a 1-hour classic car tour and visit Plaza de la Revolucion where many important historical events took place. You can see the Jose Marti, Che Guevara, and Camilo Cienfuegos steel memorials decorated from steel. Head back to the city and eat some local food. If you want to eat at a privately owned restaurant look for the word “Paladar” at the entrance. Shop for souvenirs at the San José Market and walk around the Malecòn along the north shore of the Centro Habana neighborhood, to the Vedado district for a beautiful sunset. Spend the night partying in the Vedado District.
Check out the detailed Havana itinerary and accommodation suggestions at our one day in Havana itinerary.
Day 3 – Varadero – Havana
On your last day in Havana, take a day trip and spend the day relaxing at the beautiful beaches of Varadero. Varadero is a place with all-inclusive luxury resorts, but the beaches are accessible to visitors. If you’re just looking for a sweet all-inclusive weekly vacation with beautiful beaches, the best hotel is Melia Internacional. Otherwise, spend your day on the beautiful Varadero beach. Head back to Havana and spend your night dancing at the Jardines de 1830.
Day 4 – Viñales
Head to Vinales, UNESCO World Heritage town with outstanding landscape. Have breakfast in Casa Particular. Book a guided tour of one of the tobacco farms, you can learn the process of growing, drying and rolling tobacco and try it out at the end of your tour! Head on a tour of Cueva del Indio, a cave of spectacular beauty. Visit the Plaza Jose Marti where you can connect to wi-fi and make sure to check out the cathedral Iglesia del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus. Stay in this area to enjoy Viñales’ nightlife, especially the live performances at Centro Cultural.
Day 5 – Viñales
Visit the 3J Bar and where you can try a great mojito or coffee.They also offer tapas!. Then, visit the Cuevas de Santo Tomás, another spectacular cave in the area. Once you’re done with the tour, step on the Hop-on-Hop-off bus and explore the valley. For the best view, eat at Balcon de Valle, the view of the valley is absolutely stunning, and prices are very affordable! Or, try Barrio for the best grilled lobster. Head to Café Vista al Valle on the first floor of Hotel Los Jazmines to end your time in Viñales!
For a detailed itinerary and accommodation recommendation of Viñales, read out one day in Viñales itinerary.
Day 6 – Pinar del Rio
On the 6th day of your 10 days in Cuba, head to the gorgeous Pinar del Rio. Start your day at Parque de la Independencia (Independence Park), on Calle Martí. Walk around before you visit the cigar factory. You will find the best Cuban cigars right at Pinar del Rio so when you are here, make sure to visit the cigar factory Francisco Donatién. A short walk away, you can find the Casa Garay factory. Guayabita del Pinar, a liquor unique to the region is produced in there. Get your drink on and visit the Natural History Museum. Finish your day eating at El Gallardo, right next to the museum and get ready for your next day.
Check out the detailed Pinar del Rio itinerary for the best food and the coolest hotels!
Day 7 – Playa Larga
As you’re nearing the end of your 10 days in Cuba, you’ll find a place with gorgeous beaches and tasty seafood. Playa Larga is located at the Bahia de cochinos, also known as The Bay of Pigs and today, one of the best diving spots in Cuba. You can dive or snorkel and it’s one of the top destinations in cuba! Make sure to visit the natural pool of unsalted water, La Cueva de los Peces. Eat at Villa El Paraiso and spend the night at Casa Tiki. Dance the night away and drink all the mojito’s you can!
Day 8 – Playa Larga – Zapata
Reserve the 8th day on your 10 days in Cuba for Zapata national park. You can witness the animals in their natural habitat, and the park includes 160 species of birds, 31 types of reptiles and 12 varieties of mammals. You even have a chance to see the beautiful pink flamingos. When you return from Zapata, spend your afternoon at the beach of Playa Larga. Play volleyball, sip on cocktails in the shade and enjoy the natural wonders of Cuba.
Want to know where to party and the best places to stay in Playa Larga? For a detailed Playa Larga itinerary and accommodation ideas, check out our one day in Playa Larga post!
Day 9 – Trinidad
Spend your last two days of your Cuba itinerary of 10 days in Trinidad. A town with rich history and sweet undertone, due to its sugar production. Walk around the Old Colonial Center to learn more about Trinidad’s sweet history. Check out La Parroquial Mayor church, Museo Historico and the Museum of Colonial Architecture. For the rest of your day in Trinidad, rent a bike and head to the Ancón beach. Enjoy the natural perfections and when the sun tires you out, have dinner at La Botija.
Day 10 – Trinidad
It’s your last day of the 10 days in Cuba. As sad as you might be, there’s still places to see. Rent a bike again and ride through the coastal town of La Boca. Sip a fresh mango or orange juice, connect with the locals and try street food! There will be many beaches along the way so you can stop at refresh at any of them. Head back to the town and spend your last night dancing Salsa with the locals. Don’t miss the chance to learn, or show off, Salsa skills at the dancing event at the escalinata (staircase) below the Casa de la Musica.
If you’re looking for recommendations for great accommodation and local tips of Trinidad , we got you covered with our Trinidad itinerary.
If you decide to stay and explore the country more, we can recommend a visit to the two sensational places. The first one is great for chocolate lovers! Baracoa has exquisite cocoa farms where you can witness the whole process of chocolate production, ride a boat through the mysterious Yumuri Canyon or spend another lazy afternoon at the beach. The second one, Santiago de Cuba, is the charming laid back city where you can explore the lively streets, visit the house of Diego Velasquez and party with the best Cuban rum!
Logistical Tips and Tricks
Organize your trip in five easy steps!
BOOK A FLIGHT!
Obviously, if you’re going on a trip somewhere far a way, you’ll need to book a flight. There is absolutely no need to worry about this, though, because with Skyscanner, you will be able to find a cheap flight anywhere in the world. And their website is extremely easy to use, so you will have your seat on a plane in no time at all!
BOOK A ROOM!
To easily find the best possible room in the city you’re visiting, just head to Booking.com. They have quite literally thousands of options, a reliable rating system and will always get you a great deal. On top of that, you can learn a lot from the comments people leave there, too. No matter if you’re looking for an apartment or an elite hotel, you’ll find what you need here.
GET A CAR!
If you want the ultimate sense of freedom while on your trip, a car is a must. Fortunately, there is a simple way to get one – just visit Booking’s Rentalcars and they’ll have your vehicle ready in a jiffy. Now you’ll be able to explore the new city thoroughly and, who knows, maybe even make a trip outside it.
INSURE YOURSELF FOR PEACE OF MIND!
Accidents, mishaps and other troubles happen to everyone. The key is to be prepared. That’s why getting a travel insurance is such a great idea: it can help you deal with any health issues, theft and even cancelled flights. World Nomads know full well about the problems that can arise on a trip because they are passionate travelers themselves. That’s why they can offer you the very best deals.
FIND SOMEONE TO HELP YOU GET AROUND!
Want to have some company as soon as you land? Through Welcomepickups.com, you can find a local to meet you at the airport and help you find your way around the new city. They can also set things up for you, give you some useful tips and be helpful in general. The whole project is a great idea and very well executed, so do go and see how these people can make your trip a more pleasant one.