There is no doubt in my mind or in yours, that if you are to visit Cuba, you are going to Havana. This is completely a given. You will fall in love with Havana. I mean, with all the music, dancing, food and drinks—you might fall in love in Havana! But Havana isn’t the only major city worth a visit while you are in Cuba. Here is a list of a handful of other cities that are definitely worth a visit while you are there. They each have their own flavor of culture and personality, and you might just be surprised by what you end up enjoying most while you are in Cuba. You may not have time to visit all of them, but please do try and get to some of these cities—you won’t regret it!
Trinidad is a stunningly beautiful colonial city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are no cars allowed into the city center, so it’s a fantastic place to go for long, uninterrupted walks on the fabulous cobblestone streets. Markets abound and there are musicians on nearly every corner. There is a beautiful tower where you can climb to the top and see remarkable views of the city, views that will take your breath away! You will not want to miss the chance to eat in restaurants that are set in old colonial homes and to experience a wonderful atmosphere and environment. Like so much of Cuba, there are endless amounts of beautiful culture to experience.
Much less visited by tourists, Cienfuegos is definitely not a place to overlook. Located right on the sea, this beautiful little place is a calm escape from the hustle and bustle of the major cities. There is a natural beauty and energy that encompasses this quiet city. There is a cemetery with tombs honoring soldiers from various independence wars. You can walk around the botanical garden and different shores. Not far from the city of Cienfuegos is the Bay of Pigs, the place a lot of the more modern history revolves around. As a book lover, I would bring a nonfiction book about the Bay of Pigs to the actual location and spend a day reading and looking out over the spot. But if you’re less interested in that and more interested in the pure natural beauty—opportunities for diving and snorkeling abound in this area!
The second largest city in Cuba and by far the hottest, Santiago is the classic Caribbean environment. The architecture is memorable and beautiful, the music is loud and lively and there is so much to see and do! Walk around, plan a day trip and soak in everything you can. Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen though! You’ll always enjoy the day more if you feel your best.
Santa Clara’s claim to fame is as the first city that was freed by the revolution in 1958. Here you can see a monument to Ernesto Che Guevara, a site that has become a pilgrimage for many visiting the city who want to honor the revolutionary hero. Coincidently Santa Clara is the city where Che’s wife, Aleida March was born. It is full of music and culture and is certainly home to a whole host of history!
Small and a little sleepy, Baracoa is worth a visit for any of you who are eating your way through Cuba. The gourmet capital of the country, Baracoa offers a host of eateries and delicious dishes. Highly tropical, it rains nearly every day and the effects of that rain are evident on the wearing buildings. But it is a quiet city that is quite delicious and offers a host of reasons to stop by for a visit and maybe even stay a little longer than expected.
A living labyrinth! The city of Camaguey is designed in such a way that enemies of invaders would get lost and confused in attempts to find their way around. An exciting design with a fun basis in history and an explorers dream! It is on the busier side so there are lots of little shops to visit. But be careful to trace your steps, lest you get lost along your way!