Cuba is one of the most hidden treasures in the world. It’s a place where you can experience old-world culture, but with an eye to the future. From Havana to Santiago de Cuba, there are many different aspects of Cuban life that make this country so special.
Cuba is known for its amazing culture, incredible art and vibrant history. The country has a strong sense of identity that comes from being close to America yet so far away in many ways.
Check out these 20 things you should know about Cuba!
- 1. Havana
- 2. Sugar
- 3. The Tropicana Club
- 4. National Ballet of Cuba
- 5. The Beach in Guardalavaca
- 6. Cuban Art
- 7. The Music of Cuba
- 8. Santeria
- 9. The Museo de la Revolución
- 10. African Influence
- 11. Rum and Cigars
- 12. Hemingway’s Havana
- 13. Baracoa
- 14. Museo del Ron Havana Club
- 15. The Street Artists of Cuba
- 16. Varadero Beach
- 17. Coffee
- 28. Trinidad
- 19. Che Guevara Memorial
- 20. Vinales Valley
- *Wrap It Up
Havana is the capital of Cuba and one of the most iconic cities in the world. This city is a living example of Cuba’s rich history, culture and vibrancy.
The streets in Havana have a certain rhythm that may have you dancing to the beat. The streets are lined with buildings that sometimes house many small businesses including food stands, art galleries and old-fashioned tailor shops.
The people in this city are a mix of various cultures that often blend together with music, diverse food and expressive art which is located all over Havana.
The cultivation of sugar has been a part of the economy in Cuba for three centuries. The country’s molasses and rum are considered some of the best in the world.
The process of growing sugar can be viewed all over this beautiful country, but one place you should not miss it is in Viñales where many different types of sugar cane are grown.
3. The Tropicana Club
The Tropicana is an iconic cabaret that was established in Havana in 1939 and has been entertaining audiences ever since.
In fact, this club is known as the home of the best “rumba” show in Cuba! If you want to experience something extraordinary on your visit to Cuba, this is the place to go.
4. National Ballet of Cuba
The National Ballet of Cuba has more than 200 dancers that have performed all over the world. This company and its performers are considered some of the best in Cuban culture.
The talent on this stage will often leave you speechless and will take your breath away from the very start of the show.
5. The Beach in Guardalavaca
Many people say there is no better way to experience a vacation than by relaxing on a beautiful beach that has all of the amenities you need nearby. This paradise can be found at Playa Esmeralda in Guardalavaca.
This stunning beach has beautiful sand, plenty of palm trees and a large man-made pool that is surrounded by colorful lounge chairs and fresh lemonade! What more could you ask for?
6. Cuban Art
Cuban art is full of vibrancy and emotion. This country’s creative community believes in dancing to the beat of their own drum and they do not all conform to one single style, which can make Cuban art a very exciting experience.
Many of the street artists in Cuba come from diverse backgrounds that include music, dance, fashion or even shoe-making. Their talents often bring them to art as a way of expressing themselves and sharing with others what moves them.
7. The Music of Cuba
Cuban music is world-renowned and some of the popular styles include rumba, salsa and bolero. If you visit this country during the summer months, a good place to experience different musical genres and meet local artists would be at an outdoor party in Havana.
Santeria is a religion that comes from West Africa and Cuba. It is believed to have been brought to the island by slaves many years ago.
Many people participate in this faith with their personal beliefs and will often keep religious items inside of their homes. Animal sacrifices are one way of communicating with God, but these sacrifices do not take place inside the house.
9. The Museo de la Revolución
The Museo de la Revolución was Castro’s home before he became president of Cuba. This is where he stayed for two months before Batista fled the country and was also his temporary office during that time.
This historic building has kept its old-world charm and also provides some interesting insights into the life of Castro. It is a beautiful museum with plenty to explore!
10. African Influence
Cuba is a melting pot of many different cultures which has made way for the potent influence of African culture. Even the religious practices on this island have been influenced by this large portion of the population.
If you are lucky, you may be able to catch a drumming circle in one of the parks where local people will sing and dance together. One way to immerse yourself into Cuban culture is by attending an event like this.
11. Rum and Cigars
There is something truly magical about sitting down at a cafe with friends to enjoy some delicious Cuban rum and cigars.
This country has been growing tobacco for generations, which means they know a thing or two about how to make this product perfect! Come here if you are interested in learning more about the art of making cigars or if you are just looking to relax and enjoy some excellent quality tobacco products.
12. Hemingway’s Havana
Hemingway has long been a romanticized figure in Cuba, so it makes sense that his home would be converted into a museum.
During the peak of his career, he spent time living in Cuba, and this was the place where he found his inspiration to write.
The house still holds many of his original belongings and is a great way to learn more about this worldly figure in Hemingway.
Baracoa is the oldest city in Cuba and it is often referred to as “the gateway to the Caribbean.” Many people who travel there will tell you that getting there was part of their journey.
This region offers some truly breathtaking natural landscapes, such as the Baconao Park or Punta Tuna beach.
You are likely to find local artists selling their work by the river and you can also check out one of the local eco lodges.
14. Museo del Ron Havana Club
If you are a rum lover, then this is the museum for you! This distillery was built in 1878 and still uses age-old processes to make their rum.
You can learn all about the production of this delicious drink and also take part in tours of their facilities.
15. The Street Artists of Cuba
The streets of Havana are filled with talented street artists who will often paint for you if you give them a tip.
This is an interesting cultural experience to add to your trip and it won’t cost you a lot of money. Just remember that tipping culture is not as common in Cuba and many people are just trying to make some extra cash in their free time!
16. Varadero Beach
Many people choose to visit Cuba because this is where they can spend the day relaxing on one of the most beautiful beaches. The white sand and clear water make for the perfect getaway.
Because of the large number of German immigrants that arrived in Cuba during the 1800s, Cuban coffee has a distinctly European taste to it.
There is a train line that runs through this region and you can often find local people selling coffee by the tracks for tips. It is not uncommon for Cubans to drink 5-6 cups per day so if you need a caffeine fix, head over to this area.
Cuba is known for having a vibrant culture with entertainment that rivals what you would see in the states.
The old-world architecture mixed with modern music makes for quite an interesting combination!
Trinidad is full of ornate buildings and has some truly incredible architecture. This district dates back to the 18th century so it’s filled with old-world charm.
19. Che Guevara Memorial
If you are planning to visit a few memorials, then this is one that should definitely make the cut.
Che Guevara was a Cuban born revolutionary who dedicated his life to liberating third world countries from colonial rule. He is still an icon for many people around the world and there are statues of him in other locations as well.
When visiting this memorial, you can also check out the nearby Callejon de Hammel. This is where Cuban artists often hang out to sell their work and is a great place to pick up some authentic souvenirs as well!
20. Vinales Valley
The Vinales Valley is truly a picturesque sight located in the Pinar del Rio Province. This valley is filled with lush vegetation and has breathtaking views of the mountains.
One way to explore this area is by horseback, which also makes for a very romantic experience with your significant other!
*Wrap It Up
If you are looking for a destination that has something to offer everyone, then Cuba is the place. There are majestic natural landscapes, beautiful beaches and some of the most talented street artists in all of Latin America. This country offers something for every type of traveler so if you have never been here before, it’s time to plan your trip!
Which location on our list do you think sounds like an interesting departure point? Let us know by commenting below!
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