Cuba Recommendations

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Things to Do and See in Cuba

The food, the music, the cigars, the tropical beaches, the classic cars – what’s not to love about the potential Cuban vacation, other than the political hoops involved in visiting from the United States, which are quickly disappearing. And with all of that possibly coming to an end in the near future, now is the time to start putting together your Cuba vacation itinerary, so that you’re ready to go once the restrictions are lifted. That way, you can beat the wave of travelers to the punch, and see the country in all its unspoiled glory.

While you’re there, make sure that you tour a cigar factory and purchase some hand-rolled Cubans for yourself and the folks back home (just avoid buying the cheap imitations on the street). Make sure you attend at least one musical performance, as well. Taking in that afro-Cuban sound with its reliance on the old-world rhythms and new-world jazz influences is the stuff that memories are made of. Eat a Cubano sandwich and enjoy café Cubano every day you’re in the country. While you might get to a beach, beach vacations are still not promoted as a legitimate activity for American visitors.

Or spend the day touring the Museum of the Revolution, located in Old Havana in what was once the Presidential Palace of all the past presidents of the country. There, travelers will discover interesting exhibitions dedicated to the revolutionary war of the ‘50s, including the yacht aboard which Fidel Castro traveled from Mexico to Cuba.

The Weather in Cuba

Cuba is an island in the Caribbean Sea. As such, it experiences the beautiful sameness of temperatures in the seventies and eighties year round, punctuated with the occasional tropical storm. Hurricane season for the Caribbean is the same as it is for the U.S. So if you’d prefer not to witness the power and awe-inspiring devastation of a tropical super storm, plan your trip outside of the June through November hurricane season.

September and October are the worst of the season; so if your schedule won’t permit traveling to Cuba outside of the December through May window, consider June or July.

Cuba Transportation Options

Cuba can be difficult to get around, but for all the difficulty, it does have a wide variety of transportation options. There are ferries that run between coastal cities, and from the cities out to the smaller surrounding islands. There are collectivos, taxis that run on long fixed routes between cities, shared between riders. And caminos, trucks that act like open-air buses between the cities. Hitchhiking, if you're so inclined, is also relatively safe and popular.

Within the bigger cities there are buses, which can be challenging if you’re on a schedule; bike taxis; and auto taxis that either charge by the meter, or offer a flat rate. Both rates are usually comparable, but if you pay the flat rate, then the driver gets to keep the money, whereas the metered fares are surrendered to the state for redistribution. Many of the smaller towns also have horse-drawn carriages for rent, as well. Of course, if you're traveling as part of a group on a guided vacation, you'll not have to contend with mastering local transportation.

Hotels & Resorts in Cuba

Though travel restrictions to Cuba for U.S. citizens are easing, foreign investment in resort and hotel properties are still some time off. And, while there are several beautiful places to stay in Havana and the country’s other cities of reasonable size, finding lodgings elsewhere in the country will largely depend on a traveler’s ability to find what are known as casa particulars, or bed and breakfasts.

Given the current difficulty of finding accommodations in Cuba, tourists are encouraged to book hotels well in advance of traveling to Havana or elsewhere in the country. TravelStore works with several suppliers in Cuba that operate smaller tour groups, or that can arrange private tours, while also assisting in securing hotel rooms for our guests. Cruises are another means of visiting Cuba, with Fathom already operating there, and more to follow.

Unique Adventures and Experiences in Cuba

Much of contemporary Cuban culture and the uniqueness of the Cuban environment in the Western world will qualify as an adventure for some. But, for those looking to get even farther off of the beaten path, here are a few suggestions.

Learn to roll your own cigars while in country. You most likely already have a Cuban cigar factory tour on your list of must-sees in Cuba. Why not take the experience one step further, and take a quick class on how to hand-roll your own cigars? You may not leave with anything worthy of smoking that you made with your own hands, but the experience will be worth it in and of itself!

Visit Hemingway’s home in Havana; though it may be locked when you get there (thanks to thieves raiding the home of collector’s items), you can still look in the windows and take in the view from the porch where Papa once sat.

Rent a classic car and tour Havana or Santiago de Cuba. Thanks to the trade embargo, there are very few vehicles in Cuba that are less than sixty years old. Many classic cars can be rented (some with drivers) to tour the cities and surrounding country in style.

More About Cuba

Plan your adventure to Cuba today. Whether you’re hoping to visit multiple locations by cruise ship from Miami, or planning to fly into Havana and use the city as your base of operations, wandering the city and the countryside one end of the island to the other, you can enrich your Cuban vacation experience just by calling one of our Cuba travel experts today. Learn more about vacations in Cuba.