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By far one of the top attractions in Cuba, and often the beginning and end point for Cuba tours, is Old Havana. Known for classic 50s era cars everywhere, crumbling yet still impressive architecture, and historic sites. Old Havana is a classic jumping off point for most tours in Cuba - providing historical and cultural context.
Havana has become synonymous with the vibrancy of Cuban culture and Old Havana takes this reputation in stride. Be aware of scams - many vendors will be ready to take advantage of travelers, eager to experience the real Cuba. For this reason, visiting on a tour is highly recommended (and required for Americans)
Getting out into the countryside of Cuba is one of the best parts of traveling there. When you venture away from the city you get a different taste of Cuba. Rural Vinales has its own kind of charm, despite being an economically depressed area. Vinales Valley has been named an UNESCO World Heritage Site - Cuba tours often include visits to tobacco or coffee farms, which are the main crops of the area.
The music of the “Buena Vista Social Club” is intricately linked to an ideal of Cuban culture. A visit to the brick and mortar Buena Vista Social Club is a common included activity on Cuba tours. And while the experience has the potential to feel touristy, when you let the music take you - there is nothing but enjoyment to be had.
Another region many may not think of immediately when traveling to Cuba, Trinidad & Topes de Collantes are frequently included on Cuba guided tours. Known for colonial era architecture, Trinidad is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for showcasing authentic Cuban life and for amazing art galleries.
Outside of Trinidad you'll find Topes de Collantes National Park. This is the perfect spot for hiking and taking in the natural beauty and wildlife of Cuba.
The mythos of Cuba is, for better or worse, tied heavily to mid 20th century American author Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway famously spent many years in Cuba, the country inspiring much of his writing.
Travelers to Cuba will get a healthy dose of Hemingway when you visit his many haunts, as well as his residence in Havana - which has been converted into a museum dedicated to his life and works.
History buffs will love this museum dedicated to the legendary, if ill fated, Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in the 1950’s. Housed in the original Presidential Palace in Old Havana, the museum goes through the revolution from inception to initial success, covering several key moments throughout the tumultuous road to oust President Batista.
This is a great stop on your tour of Cuba, providing wonderful context to Cuba’s complicated past, relationship with the United States, and how the revolution informed present day Cuban culture.
This fortress, guarding the entrance of Havana Bay, is a classic stop for tours in Cuba. Originally built as a formidable defense against pirates and other invaders, Morro Castle was built in the late 1500s, taking close to 50 years years for completion in the early 1600s. While the castle was innovative in how it protected the island, the castle was captured by British forces in the mid 1700s.
Today the castle serves as a museum and very popular tourist attraction. Keep your ears open for the traditional 9pm canons!
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