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What to Do in Cuba? 8 Super-Fun Activities You Don’t Want to Miss Out

Aug, 12 || No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Visiting Cuba is not something that you do every day. In fact, for most of us, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. That is why you need to make the most of every minute of your Cuban holiday. To help you out, here are 8 extremely exciting activities you can engage in while in Cuba.

1.Scuba and Snorkel

The whole Caribbean archipelago is a dreamland for those who are into scuba diving and snorkeling. Cubans have realized that these activities have a lot of potential in bringing the tourists, so they’ve decided to build luxury diving resorts. This is especially true for the north of the island.

Resorts in Jardines del Rey, for example, are extremely popular among snorkeling enthusiasts. The reason is that this island stands on the top of a coral reef. The best thing is that you can explore it with the help of experienced diving instructors.

If you feel more adventurous, go south! Cuba’s south coast is a hidden jam that’s kept away from the mass tourism. These idyllic beaches, crystal clear waters and an abundance of diverse water-life are not to be missed if you’re a diving enthusiast.

Banco de Jagua might be the ideal place if you want to boost your adrenaline levels. If you go for a dive in this place, you will probably come upon encounter various species of shark, including cat shark, reef shark, hammerhead shark, and so on. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you even encounter a whale shark!

2. Cuban Revolution Historical Tours

Havana is Cuba’s biggest and most important city. However, but the ‘cradle of the revolution’ is the city called Santiago de Cuba. The revolution started in 1953 when Castro’s troops attacked the Moncada Barracks on 26 July. That date was later adopted by the revolutionaries as the name of their movement. Today, the Moncada Barracks serve as a museum of the Cuban Revolution.

The 3rd-in-command in the ranks of the revolutionaries, Frank Pais, was murdered on the streets of Santiago de Cuba. His childhood home was later turned into a museum, which you can also visit.

The Cuban revolution both started and ended in Santiago de Cuba. On the first January 1959, Fidel Castro announced the victory from the main balcony of the city hall of Santiago de Cuba.

The Santa Clara battle was probably the decisive battle of the Cuban Revolution. The rebel army led by Che Guevara seized the city of Santa Clara on the New Year’s Eve 1958. For that reason, this city is where Che Guevara’s body is buried. The Mausoleum of Che Guevara is a must-visit item in any Revolution tour.

3. Deep Sea Fishing

If you’ve read Hemingway books, you’ve probably come across the stories about deep-sea fishing. The great author was very passionate about this, that he often visited Cuba in order to fish for big marlins. In fact, marlin fishing is still very big in Cuba. There are marlin-fishing competitions held every year and one of them in named in Hemingway’s honor.

Speaking of Hemingway, here’s another interesting fact – one of his best-known works, The Old Man and the Sea was actually based on a true story! Guess where it happened? In Cuba! To be precise, off the coast of one of the islands of the Jardines del Rey archipelago.

4. Zapata Swamp Tour

Zapata Swamp is the biggest swamp in the whole of Caribbean. It stretches across an area of 1,680 square miles. Because it’s so large, it’s not a surprise that the Zapata Swamp is home to more than 900 autochthonous plant species.

Migratory birds come here to settle during winter, making the total count of bird species in Zapata Swamp around 171. There are also 31 reptile species in the swamp, including the Cuban crocodile.

While you’re in the Zapata Swamp, you mustn’t skip visiting the Fiesta Campesina farm. This is the place where you can see all of the island’s endemic species, close up. There is also a crocodile breeding farm nearby, which houses over a thousand crocodiles.

Another must-visit place in the Zapata Swamp is a replica of a pre-Columbian village. Called Guama, this village is located in the middle of the swamp, meaning that the only way to get there is by boat.

5. Cycling

All the roads in Cuba are extremely cycling-friendly. This is because the most of the island consists of flat plains. What this implies is that driving a bicycle is fairly easy, making it perhaps the best way to explore the countryside. However, if you’re an ‘extreme cyclist’, Cuba still has something to offer.

The Sierra Maestra Mountains in the southeast of the country are where the country’s highest peak, Pico Turquino stands at 6,476 ft. Conquering it on your bike would be an adventure you’d never forget.

You should also know that Cuban roads are generally quiet and safe, even in the biggest cities. Cuban drivers are considerate toward cyclists and will leave you enough room on the road for you to ride the bike safely. You also don’t need to worry about being robbed as Cuba is one of the safest countries for tourists in the world.

If something goes wrong with your bike, you can get a cheap taxi to bring you back to your hotel. Another great thing is that government vehicles have a duty to pick any hitchhikers, so don’t be shy to ask them for help.

6. Architecture Tour

Centuries of Spanish rule in Cuba left a mark on its culture. This is most obvious when it comes to the architecture. Locals in Havana offer specialized tours around the city which will show you the most significant buildings from the colonial period.

Every architecture tour in Cuba should include visiting Havana’s baroque fortresses, as well as the neo-classic buildings in the Vedado district. Spain fell from grace with Cuba in the 1800’s. That’s the time when Cuba found itself a new ally – the United States.

For over half a century, the Republic of Cuba was heavily influenced by the US culture. This is most evident in the cars from that era, which are still driven around the streets of Havana. There are also many buildings that witness of that era, like Havana’s El Capitolio for example.

Since the Cuban Revolution, a new style of architecture took charge.  The revolutionary government sought for something that had to be functional before anything. Social realism is the style that fitted the profile.

7. Pico Turquino Hiking

The highest peak in the whole country is Pico Turquino is located in the southeastern Cuba, in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. A bust of Cuban national hero, Jose Marti is placed on the highest spot on the island.

Getting to the top of the mountain is a challenge many tourists want to endure. There are lots of tours for hikers who want to see Pico Turquino, most of which start off at Las Cuevas. This is the place where you can hire a professional guide.

The total walking distance from the bottom to the top is 6.33 miles, which is why the hike usually starts early in the morning. As the entrance to the mountains closes at 10 AM, you are bound to get back to your apartment before night.

Cigar Factory Tour

All Cuban cigars are made manually by cigar rollers or ‘torcedores’. These skilled workers are much respected in Cuba for the job they do. Probably the most famous brand of Cuban cigars is Cohiba Esplendidos, a personal favorite of the late Cuban President, Fidel Castro

John Kennedy, on the other hand, was a huge fan of H. Upmann cigars. In fact, he loved them so much that just days before the embargo on Cuba started, he ordered 1,200 of these cigars for personal use.

Romeo y Julieta is another premium brand of Cuban cigars, famous for being Winston Churchill’s favorite choice. Speaking of Romeo y Julieta cigars, the factory that makes them is in the central area of Havana. What this means is that visiting it should not be a problem, especially if you go on a cigar factory tour.

It will show you how tobacco leaves are rolled into cigars, as well as how to smoke them the right way. In the factory’s gift shop, you’ll be able to buy Romeo y Julieta cigars at very affordable rates. The same goes for other brands of cigars, as well as cigar-themed souvenirs.

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