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Vacation in Cuba

Updated on January 16, 2015

Cuba: Vibrant, Exciting Vacation Destination

Cuba is a fascinating place to visit because it is almost frozen in time due to the difficult political situation over the last few decades. It is relatively easy to visit from most of the world, with the obvious exception of citizens of the USA for whom there have been major restrictions.


The famous sights of huge 1950s American cars and Spanish Colonial architecture of Havana are mixed with the obvious poverty, but it still retains a vibrant musical culture.


There are many tourist beach resorts in Cuba, popular with divers, but for a real cultural trip the smaller cities of Cienfuegos and Trinidad are an excellent place to visit.


This review of Cuba gives travel tips, advice and recommendations of places stay and things to see, atmospheric hotels etc.


Please also see my South American Photo Gallery



Getting There (and entry requirements)

It is relatively easy to get to Havana and other tourist areas with regular flights from Europe, Canada and many major cities around the world, although entry from USA is more difficult due to a the political situation between the two countries.

A visa is required to enter Cuba unless you have a Russian Passport.

Map of Cuba - Where is Cuba?

Cuba is located in the Caribean Sea, very close to the United States and The Bahamas, west of Haiti, east of Mexico and north of the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. Havana is the largest city and the capital. Santiago de Cuba the second city. The main island, Cuba is 766 miles long and is surrounded by four groups of islands: Colorados, Sabana-Camaguey, Jardines de la Reina and Canarreos.

Climate:

The climate is tropical, cooled by northeasterly trade winds. The drier season runs from November to April, and a rainier season from May to October. The average temperature is 70 °F (21 °C) in January and 81 °F (27 °C) in July. Cuba is prone to hurricanes, particularly in September and October.

Getting Around in Cuba

Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba

Getting around is easy. There are both modern and the iconic old fashioned taxis, tricycle and motorbike rickshaws. Hiring a car from Havana is easy, but expensive and can be arranged from the major hotels in Old Havana. Driving and navigating in Cuba is fairly difficult, with poor roads, maps and road-signs. Alternatively a big old car and driver can be hired for hours or even several days for a similar cost to the rental car. Renting a car has the added problem that if you leave it people will wash it for you or guard it, then demand money on your return.

Old Havana

Old colonial european architecture, vibrant atmospheric cafes and bars make Old Havana a wonderful place for tourists to chill out. The grand old hotels with roof terraces make a great place for an evening drink and perhaps a cigar.

Havana Books

Classic American Cars

There are many old American 1950s cars in Havana. Imports from the US stopped at about that time and the cars have been maintained. Many of the other, newer cars are from Russia.

Step back in time...

Music in Havana

There is a vibrant, yet relaxed atmosphere in Havana. Music is very important here, with many street performers and house bands playing in the roof-topbars of the old hotels in Old Havana. A wonderful way to relax in the evening after a busy day of sight-seeing. The most famous music from Cuba is perhaps the Buena Vista Social Club.

Buena Vista Social Club

Buena Vista Social Club Video

Havana

Exploring the surroundings of Havana

Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos

Hotels in Cienfuegos

Trinidad

Trinidad, Cuba

Cuba's favourite Honymoon destination

Situated in a swamp/lagoon near Trinidad this wonderful honeymoon hotel looked idillic. We stayed for one night and were eaten by some very unpleasant swamp creatures. The bites took months to heal.

The Hemingway Trail

Hemingway seems to have been everywhere in the world that I have been to and there is usually a place referred to as Hemingway's favourite bar... except in Havana there appear to be about 20 of them including El Floridita, which is a particularly atmospheric drinking establishment.

Some more Classic Cars

They just love to show off for the tourists.

Friendly locals

Guestbook

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    • Klaartje Loose profile image

      Klaartje Loose 4 years ago

      I dance Cuban salsa, but have never been to Cuba yet...

    • brandonv111 lm profile image

      brandonv111 lm 4 years ago

      I have always wanted to go there. Thanks for sharing.

    • OrlandoTipster profile image

      OrlandoTipster 5 years ago

      Place to go on a budget once embargo is lifted.

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 5 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      Beautiful photo journal.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Always wanted to pay Cuba a visit - maybe someday! Nice photos :>)

    • profile image

      brynimagire 5 years ago

      It looks very helpful. Thank you very much! Nice lens !

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

      Thank you so much for a visit I have heard mucgh about, and wish to see.... but probably never will.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I knew that I'd find great photos and a well-written lens when I came for a visit. I was not disappointed. Well done, my friend. It was like being there.

      Angel blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The pictures are are a treat to watch! Looks like I can save a lot of travel money just visiting your lenses! Thanks for the virtual tours! :)

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      My word, Andy, you have some wonderful pics and this is a great lens, *Blessed* and featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 21012. Hugs

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      Great photos!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      This looks a really cool place to visit. Love the photos.

    • profile image

      VillaDejaBlue 5 years ago

      Bueno cristalino aludas me gusta chapa

    • profile image

      knowaboutcuba 5 years ago

      Gotta love the classic car photos - we took quite a lot the last time we visited Cuba (downtown Varadero was especially nice and full of old 50s cars)

    • profile image

      simonwise 5 years ago

      Beautiful Cuba !!!

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 5 years ago from Havre de Grace

      Great information and love the photos! Thank you!

    • profile image

      monurohila 5 years ago

      Cuba is a fascinating place to visit because it is almost frozen in time due to the difficult political situation over the last few decades. It is relatively easy to visit from most of the world, with the obvious exception of citizens of the USA for whom there have been major restrictions.cheap flight Tickets -Search and Compare prices on cheap flights deal;Get cheap air tickets for all the leading airline from London to any worldwide destination, Book cheap flight air tickets at Rock Bottom Prices.

    • elyria profile image

      elyria 5 years ago

      This is definitely one of the most fascinating and mysterious countries. I have never been there but I read the book 'Last Dance in Havana' and loved it.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      one more lovely travel lens from you andy. such a wonderful presentation about cuban destinations. ~blessed~

    • Tamara14 profile image

      Tamara Kajari 5 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      Beautiful photos, so tempting. Made me wanted to pack right away :) Those old cars fascinate me, as well as the old architecture. Squid angel blessed!

    • zimbali2011 profile image

      zimbali2011 5 years ago

      I love Cuba. Will visit there one of these days.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Cuba is a fascinating place to visit because it is almost frozen in time due to the difficult political situation over the last few decades. It is relatively easy to visit from most of the world, with the obvious exception of citizens of the USA for whom there have been major restrictions.cheap flight Tickets -Search and Compare prices on cheap flights deal;Get cheap air tickets for all the leading airline from London to any worldwide destination, Book cheap flight air tickets at Rock Bottom Prices.

    • profile image

      monurohila 6 years ago

      Cuba is a fascinating place to visit because it is almost frozen in time due to the difficult political situation over the last few decades. It is relatively easy to visit from most of the world, with the obvious exception of citizens of the USA for whom there have been major restrictions.It is relatively easy to get to Havana and other tourist areas with regular

      Cheap flights from Europe, Canada and many major cities around the world, although entry from USA is more difficult due to a the political situation between the two countries.

    • BFunivcom profile image

      Allan R. Wallace 6 years ago from Wherever Human Rights Reign

      My well traveled Latin friend from Costa Rica said she found Cuba to be the most Latin of countries. Perhaps its separation has helped to retain its culture. It looks like you had a beautiful adventure.

    • Philippians468 profile image

      Philippians468 6 years ago

      you've stirred up in me the adventure spirit! cheers

    • KokoTravel profile image

      KokoTravel 6 years ago

      Very nice and educational about Cuba.

    • profile image

      chrishwatson 6 years ago

      Its really very impressive, Thanks for sharing.

      Book your Airline Tickets at Crystal Travel.

    • profile image

      chrishwatson 6 years ago

      Its really very impressive, Thanks for sharing.

      Book your Airline Tickets at Crystal Travel.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Am sure my husband would love those old cars.

    • javr profile image

      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Very interesting lens. I would like to see those cars in person.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 6 years ago

      Yeah, I've flown over it but that's as close as I'll ever get I guess.

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 6 years ago from London, England

      @MargoPArrowsmith: Thanks for the reading suggestion.

      Yes, I knew about the restrictions for American going to Cuba. I thought they were going to be relaxed a couple of years ago, with the possibility of a few cruise ships being allowed in and some direct flights from Florida, I think, but that doesn't appear to have happened. Maybe that was just journalist speculation. It is of course easy for Europeans to go there. It certainly is a fascinating place.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      1. You should read Last Dance in Havana, a wonderful book about all aspects of Cuba. You can find it on my Eugene Robinson lens.

      2. Did you know that it is illegal for Americans (land of the free we are) to go to Cuba? Several people from my church have been, including the the youth group several times, but you have to go to Mexico or Canada first and then travel to Cuba. The Cubans don't stamp American passports because they don't want to cause problems for the tourists

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This lens is awesome. I love it. I am going to tell my editors on my Thai News website to write something about this lens and probably feature it.

      I will comment here again once we do.

      Great Work

    • newbizmau profile image

      Guided Abundance 7 years ago from Mobile, AL

      Didn't know this was a safe place to Vacation! I'll have to read up on Cuba. Thanks for the great lens.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 7 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by my lens

      Lizzy

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I would love to have the money to go to Cuba to buy up some of those cars that are in remarkable great condition and bring them back state side. Love the Zazzle shop picture with the Cuba sign, nice shots Andy! - It must get pretty hairy on the island when there is a big storm roaring!

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 8 years ago from Lancaster PA

      the Cuban Healthcare System is exemplary!!

      America could learn alot from it!!

      Beautiful lens!!! Fived and Faved!!!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      It's interesting that they have such old cars in Cuba. It must be a sight to see. It's hard to believe it's just 90 miles from Key West, it's so different.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I love Cuba. I've been going there almost every year since 1985 I know what you mean about the biting swamp creatures :)

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Ah, as expected, some great pictures to get me interested in having a Cuban vacation. That would be a rather short jaunt for us -- might have to consider!

    • profile image

      PosterChildSmile 8 years ago

      Would a vacation in Cuba. Nice photos and stories.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      I feel like I'm on vacation when I read your lenses.

      Great photography

      Lizzy

    • Webcodes LM profile image

      Webcodes LM 8 years ago

      Enjoyed the pictures 5*, looks a lot cleaner than I imagined.

    • isabella lm profile image

      isabella lm 8 years ago

      5* you deserve them

      Thank you for joining the Best Islands Guide!

    • isabella lm profile image

      isabella lm 8 years ago

      Thank you for joining the Best Islands Guide with this great lens of yours too!!

    • isabella lm profile image

      isabella lm 8 years ago

      nice lens!!

      why don't you join the Best islands' group?

    • isabella lm profile image

      isabella lm 8 years ago

      great lens! You can join with it the Top islands' guide

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Wonderful photos, 5***** I love the old Spanish colonial architecture. WOuld love to go to Cuba.

    • SylvianeNuccio1 profile image

      SylvianeNuccio1 8 years ago

      Beautiful lens!

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 8 years ago

      nice photos! i admire them andy! i wish we all could be like you travelling all over the world!

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 8 years ago from England

      Oh it looks fabulous! I love the pic of the lady with the HUGE cigar!! 5*****

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 8 years ago

      oh I have always wanted to go to Cuba, since being a fan of '30-'40 movies and seeing the times in Cuba, music and all...what a shame that this is not accessible to us, what a waste. Hope I live to see the day we can bring this country back to a free society. All those cars will bring in money for the people that own them(I would think) thanks for sharing!...5*

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 8 years ago

      Beautiful photography, Never wanted to go to Cuba, but looks interesting.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      Hi Ancy,

      Thank you for virtually taking me with you to Cuba. What lovely pictures.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      Cool pictures!

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 8 years ago

      I love this lens Cuba has the old world charm

    • profile image

      Mayflowerblood 8 years ago

      A lot of very nice old cars over there. awesome pics of cuba!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      You've got some lovely photos here! Welcome to All Things Travel.

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 8 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for joining ”Anything and Everything Travel” Group. We look forward to seeing your other travel related lenses in our group. Keep up the good work.

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      [in reply to Margo_Arrowsmith]

      Yes. A few years ago there was talk of US cruise ships being allowed to stop there, but I don't think it ever happened and I'm not sure what the situation will be in the future. Cuba is certainly an interesting place to visit if it does become easier to do so.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 8 years ago

      We in the states can't travel legally to Cuba. However, my church has a sister church in Matansa. There are groups that go, including the Youth Group that goes every 3 years. They have to go to Canada to get there. But they all say it is worth it! *****

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 8 years ago

      We in the states can't travel legally to Cuba. However, my church has a sister church in Matansa. There are groups that go, including the Youth Group that goes every 3 years. They have to go to Canada to get there. But they all say it is worth it! *****