Cuba

Travel Guide
Havana

Explore the largest island in the Caribbean, a long-forbidden nation that charms with its scenery, architecture, music and historic streets.

Cuba is the Caribbean’s largest island, a delightful mix of crumbling Spanish colonial architecture, vintage cars, salsa and rumba. The island’s natural beauty attracts visitors from around the world. Relax on breathtaking beaches and trek through wetlands looking for exotic bird species.

Start out in Havana, Cuba’s capital. With castles, churches, palaces and cobbled plazas, the compact old city, Habana Vieja, has many of the island’s most interesting sights. Visit the 18th-century Havana Cathedral for its baroque façade, sculptures and frescoes. Learn about Che Guevara and the rise of Communism in the Museo de la Revolución, housed in the former presidential palace. Enjoy an evening stroll along plazas and streets lined with colonial buildings. Stop in a bar to listen to live bands playing Cuban soul and salsa.

Go to Plaza de la Revolución, a vast public square in modern Havana which hosts political rallies. As you travel around the city, note the cars. Many are vintage American vehicles, relics of pre-revolutionary times.

Tour the sights of some of Cuba’s other cities. Admire the Spanish colonial-era houses and churches of Trinidad and sample the Afro-Caribbean culture of Santiago de Cuba.

Cuba has a warm subtropical climate with plenty of sunshine throughout the year. About two hours east of Havana, find Varadero, a large resort with white sandy beaches, a golf course and watersports. Dive among the corals off the north coast of Cuba and unwind with a mojito on the palm-tree-lined beaches of Playa Santa Lucía.

Enjoy a nature trip to Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve in southern Cuba. The large wetland area is home to crocodiles and many species of birds. Take a guided tour of the Laguna de las Salinas to see thousands of pink flamingos.

Cuba is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of the United States. Although travel between the two countries is now more common than in prior decades, U.S. residents should check with the State Department on current restrictions before booking travel.

Popular cities in Cuba

Malecon
Havana
Sip rum cocktails or enjoy a cigar on a terrace overlooking the intriguing Old Town while you contemplate the history of this newly accessible Caribbean city.

Reasons to visit

  • Hotel Nacional de Cuba
  • University of Havana
  • John Lennon Park
Santa Clara
Santa Clara
After Che Guevara liberated this city in 1958, the area continued its revolutionary path, eventually leading to edgy cultural developments.

Reasons to visit

  • Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado
  • Museo Memorial al Che
  • Parque Vidal
Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos
Once a French settlement, this Spanish trading center has become a truly modern waterfront city with interesting architecture and a varied slate of activities.

Reasons to visit

  • Palacio de Valle
  • Cienfuegos Cathedral
  • Tomas Terry Theater
Matanzas
Matanzas
Surrounding a quiet bay, this city on the north coast is known as the Athens of Cuba because of its cultural heritage.

Cuba

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