Road trip around Cuba

Our travels started in Havana and continued through Varadero, Trinidad, Playa Ancon, Cienfuegos, Playa Giron and Viñales.

Here are the top places we highly recommend to experience the country locally with a bit of fun.

Best of Havana

  • Plaza Vieja – you will feel like in Croatian Dubrovnik. Beautiful square with nice cafes and restaurants overlooking the plaza.

  • Playa Santa Maria – Caribbean looking beach just 30 mins from the town. Get on the T3 bus from front of Hotel Inglatera

  • Old Architecture & Old American cars – Explore the city and its beauty by walking. Beautiful old houses and cars Brings you back to 50’s

  • Drink rum and dance – Havana has a few venues where Hemingway used sip his Mojito and Daiquiri and prices reflects it. Anywhere you decide to go, you won’t have lack of Guantanamera song or rum.

Best of Varadero

  • BeachVaradero beach is super long, great for being active. However if you do not stay in all inclusive hotel, the town itself does not have much to offer. If you are after nightlife, Varadero is the wrong place.

Best of Trinidad

  • Architecture – Beautiful colourful Spanish style buildings and cobblestone streets are specific point of Trinidad.

  • Mayor Square – The main square with live music above you is a great meeting point. Grab your bottle of rum sit in the cobble stone stairs and meet other travellers. The plaza has also wifi

  • Waterfalls – About 5.5 km from the town is a national park with amazing waterfall. Accessible by walking, do not pay for a tour or taxi. Entry is 10CUC. Waterfall has a nice freshwater cave you can swim in and a cliff you can jump off

  • Playa Ancon – Real Caribbean beach with white sand and crystal clear water just 15 km from the town. Get a taxi Colectivo for 2CUC and escape the business of Trinidad

  • Restaurant La RedaccionA bit pricey but worth to spent a bit more to taste their delicious dishes. Mediterranean influenced cuisine, well designed interior and great service. A nice change to chicken and rice dishes.

Best of Cienfuegos

  • Corso Cienfuegos is also called Paris of Cuba. And for a reason. The main corso is for pedestrian only with nice colonial buildings, few cafes and restaurants. However after dark this town is pretty quit.

  • PeopleThe nicest people live in Cienfugos. Head to Rita’s Casa for amazing accomodation with a terrace. And if she doesn’t have a spare room, Rita will set you up with contacts all over the country

  • Cafeteria La PiñataNot far from the bus station is a locals’ cafe run by two lovely sisters. Amazing egg & cheese sandwiches for 8 CUP ($0.30) and great coffee.

Best of Playa Giron

A little town set on Bay of pigs. Seriously nothing to do in town unless you after a serious beach time, snorkelling or scuba diving.

  • Playa Los CocosNot playa Giron but Los Cocos is a highlight of the town. Walk west from playa Giron along the beach for about 15 mins and you reach pure and natural beach with a little shack selling mojitos and coconuts.

Best of Viñales

Our ultimate top from the trip. Viñales lies in a beautiful valley surrounded by jungle looking mountains.

A little town is quite touristy but offers plenty of great restaurants, hikes, horse riding, bike riding and even beach time.

  • Cave with underground river We hiked about 13km to a hidden cave with underground pool. Use a mapsme app for a detailed track. Warning, you will need to jump a few fences to get to cave but it’s def worth. Bring a headlight as the cave is super dark with murky water. But it is an adventure. Be prepared to pay 2CUC for entry. Not sure why but locals occupied the entry and charge gringos money.

  • Tobacco and Coffee farmsOn the way to cave you can spot a few Tabasco and coffee farms where you can learn about the process. We stopped randomly at a tabacco one and farmer detailed explained the process of making cigars and their selling it to the government. 90% of their production has to be sold to government for price government sets. Left 10% is for the farmers and their only chance to sell it to tourists.

  • Tres Jotas RestaurantThe best best best Piña Colada in the world. And what’s even better is that staff let you pour as much rum as you wish. Simply they bring a bottle of Havana to your table and leave it there for you to fix your alcohol level. Tres Jotas is a hip tapas bar located almost as a last building on a Main Street.

  • BBQ restaurant – Amazing little restaurant located opposite second wifi spot in a town. Place is selling enormous portion of grilled meat, veggies and great Pina Coladas.

Cuba is changing extremely fast. Meeting a few travellers they visited the country a few years back, also reading the Lonely Planet book which was 7 years old, I can see the massive progress Cuba has done.

Plan your visit to this country as soon as possible to experience the real Cuba before western world over take its beauty and uniqueness.