Why Visit Cuba? – 6 BIG Reasons to Travel to Cuba
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Cuba is a very special country with many things to offer visitors unlike anywhere else in the world. Need some inspiration to book a trip to Cuba or reasons to visit Cuba? Well, in this blog I will tell you exactly why Cuba stole my heart and why to visit Cuba for yourself!
Why Visit Cuba – 6 Reasons to Visit Cuba
A trip to Cuba is unlike any other. Cuba is truly a unique country that will leave you wander-lusting for more. Whether it’s the incredible scenery, the friendly people, or the vibrant culture, Cuba is sure to steal your heart just as it has stolen mine.
Unfortunately, too many people go to Cuba and simply sit in a resort the majority of the time.
There is so much to experience in Cuba that you really need to venture out and explore! Even if that means going on a tour in Cuba, the most important thing is that you are able to get out and about and experience everything that makes Cuba so special.
Reflecting on my recent trip to Cuba has made me realize why Cuba is such a great travel destination and some reasons why most people would love it (like I did!). And it isn’t just one thing, but a collection of many different aspects of my trip that make Cuba a stand-out in my memory.
These are the 6 main reasons I fell in love with Cuba, and are some great reasons to visit Cuba that are sure to inspire you to book that trip!
1. Vibrant Music and Dancing
Thinking of my time in Cuba, the first thing that comes to mind is all of the music and dancing. Everywhere I went there was music and people dancing salsa.
I love live music and really appreciated the efforts most bars and restaurants made to have live music each night. Many of the musicians sold CD’s for only a few dollars and they made for a great souvenir to bring home!
If you ever wanted to learn to dance salsa, Cuba is the perfect place to let go of your inhibitions and give it a go! Sign up for proper lessons or just wing it at a local in a club – either way, you’ll learn and have a blast doing so!
The music and culture surrounding it is just one big reason to visit Cuba – a reason that will speak to those who enjoy music, dancing, or been just fun nights out on the town with a couple of drinks!
Related Read: Along with tons of other activities, salsa and live music are some of the best things to do in Havana!
2. Beautiful Architecture and Cities
Walking the streets of Cuba is stunning and interesting in itself simply because of the incredible architecture and historical buildings. Old hotels in Parque Central in Havana date back hundreds of years! Everywhere you look there is history on the walls and this makes Havana world famous.
Some of the less touristy areas of Havana are also interesting to walk. The buildings are also historic but they just haven’t been restored yet. To me, this just adds to their charm. Graffiti filled walls tell stories and make for a good way to learn about Cuba’s past.
Although Havana is the largest city in Cuba and where you’ll see the most beautiful architecture, there are other places around the country that are also worth checking out. Vinales is a country town where all of the houses and buildings are painted vibrant colors of the rainbow. Trinidad is another city that is well known for historic buildings and stunning architecture – an “instagrammable” moment at every street corner!
Cuba has done an amazing job of preserving old buildings. It’s a huge reason to visit and trust me, there is nowhere else in the world offering historic architecture on this kind of scale.
Related Read: Havana is one of the 10 best cities in Latin America to visit. Find out what the rest are too!
3. Friendly and Welcoming People
Cubans are very warm people. Many of them will greet you with a smile and kindness. Generally, Cubans love tourists and appreciate them visiting and supporting the tourism industry. People will say “hi” to you often, and many will ask you where you are from in their best English.
One of the best ways to really get to know the people of Cuba is to stay at “casa particulares”. Casa Particulares are privately owned hotels, almost like Bed and Breakfasts. Many of them are extremely nice little homes and the homeowner, your host, will go above and beyond to make sure you are comfortable. The local hosts are so warm and accommodating that you are guaranteed to feel at home immediately! Expect home-cooked meals and personal recommendations for tours and activities.
While there are some scammers (especially around Old Havana) there are also lots of very kind and helpful Cuban people. We experienced this first-hand many times.
For example, one time when we were backpacking in Cuba we went to the bank to exchange some money into Cuban currency. The line at the bank was very long and we had already been waiting for about an hour when some people tried to go to a teller before us (when it was our turn.) A young Cuban man started speaking to them angrily in Spanish and although we couldn’t tell exactly what he was saying (our Spanish skills are pretty basic), we could understand that he was saying that it was our turn and they had to wait.
We appreciated him standing up for us in a line full of locals and making sure we were treated fairly. This kind of situation was common in Cuba though. Locals will frequently offer to translate for you, give you directions, or even some local suggestions for places to visit.
It’s nice to feel appreciated in a country as a tourist, and to me, makes for a great reason to visit Cuba for yourself!
Hot tip: Learn a bit of Spanish before you visit Cuba. If you speak Spanish then you will really enjoy getting to know the locals, but even a few phrases will go a long way!
4. Rum and Cigars
I’m not going to lie to you here, rum and cigars are actually a huge reason to travel to Cuba! Cheap rum and top-quality cigars that you cannot get elsewhere in the world make for a good time. Even if you aren’t a drinker or smoker (self-proclaimed alcohol lover over here) you’ll have to at least try the locally made rum and tobacco – it’s part of the Cuban experience!
Rum is tasty and cheap in Cuba, so you’re likely going to drink your fair share while on holidays! In fact, at one restaurant that I went to, I ordered a Pina Colada and my cocktail came out with a full bottle of rum on the side. Confused, I asked the waitress why I was brought the rum, and she said I was allowed to add as much rum as I wanted! It’s safe to say I got pretty tipsy off just that one cocktail.
There are tons of bars and restaurants spread across the country offering delicious cocktails made with rum, which is Cuba’s specialty. Expect Pina Coladas, Cuba Libres, and of course, Mojitos! You can also get high-quality “sipping” rums.
If you really like rum, consider visiting the Havana Club Rum Museum in Old Havana. Not only will you learn about the history of rum in Cuba, but you’ll also get to visit the tasting room!
While I don’t smoke, the cigars in Cuba were actually very good. There was something special about sitting out on an open patio, listening to live music, smoking a cigar, and drinking Pina Coladas that I will always remember.
If you;re not a ciagr smoker then be sure to tell that to the salesman. There are cigars available at diffferent strengths and ones suited to beginners. Also, try dipping the tip of the cigar that you’re smoking from in locally-made Cuban honey. This is a trick we learned while visiting a tobacco farm in Vinales, and it makes the cigar taste sweter and prevents the tobacco from falling into your mouth.
Be sure to also buy your cigars from trusted sources. Sometimes people sell “top-quality” cigars that are actually just filled with cigarette tobacco – gross! Go to a registered cigar government vendor (La Casa del Habano in Havana is a good one) or buy from a hotel. Specialty cigar shops are also a good choice, and you’ll recognize them by their fancy décor and expensive range of cigars.
Did you know that there is also some great craft beer in Havana you can try?! This is a good option if you’re not a huge rum drinker.
5. Vintage Cars
Looking back on my photos of Cuba, my favorite of all seem to involve classic cars. It is amazing to see all of the old cars driving around. Some of the cars are restored and some are just plain old and run-down. But regardless, the cars mixed with the beautiful historic buildings make for some beautiful sights to see and of course, photos!
I would highly recommend taking full advantage of these vintage cars. While there are proper yellow taxis in Cuba, you might as well enjoy the experience and take a vintage taxi to get around. In fact, we found that they were actually cheaper than the yellow taxis. So not only is it an experience, it is a better deal!
You can also hire the fancy restored cars with a driver as a tour guide to take you around on tours of cities and sites. Negotiate on the price though, usually, you can barter them to half of the original asking price.
We went on a 1.5-hour long tour in Havana and it only cost us $20 USD. This was in the evening though as it was less busy. During peak afternoon hours, prices are inflated. You can find these cars with drivers in Parque Central in Old Havana. However, it is possible to organize them anywhere through your hotel.
Hot tip: Consider taking a vintage car from the airport instead of a yellow taxi. Not only is it more fun, it’s generally cheaper too!
6. Gorgeous Natural Scenery
Cuba isn’t all about cities, cars, and cigars. This island nation has some seriously beautiful natural landscapes too. From the rolling hills in Vinales to the stunning beaches in Veradero, Cuba has it all.
Once you escape the hustle and bustle of the city limits, you’ll be met with the countryside just waiting to be explored. Lakes, Caves, hills, the list goes on and on. Personally, I think heading out and exploring all the fun things to do in Vinales is a great way to take in these landscapes.
Of course, hanging out on the beaches next to the Caribbean Sea is nothing short of magic! If you like warm weather, the ocean, and white sand then Cuba is the place for you! The beaches alone could be enough of a reason to visit Cuba!
As much as I love cultural experiences and the hustle and bustle of the city, it is always nice to have a day or two relaxing on the beach! I am sitting here right now reminiscing of soaking up the sun…take me back!
Before you go…
As mentioned before, too many people “travel” Cuba, but they really only stay in the boundaries of the hotel. Don’t do this. Get out and about, explore the streets of Havana, travel to different towns, and check out the tobacco fields. In order to truly fall in love with Cuba, you need to actually experience it.
The truth is that Cuba is an extraordinary country. When in Cuba you are guaranteed to see a colorful culture, vibrant people, and breathtaking scenery which are great reasons to visit Cuba. I am personally so glad that I decided to visit Cuba, and I am already starting to think about when I should go back!
I hope this blog has helped inspire you to visit Cuba! If you do decide to go, be sure to check out the rest of our Cuba blogs which include detailed travel guides and travel tips. Also, you might like some of our other popular blogs below:
December 15, 2020