The Caribbean’s most flavorful island, Cuba warmly welcomes you to a sensory explosion. Whether you enjoy the rhythms of Cienfuegos’ Benny More or the refreshing mint of a Cuban rum mojito, something tasty awaits in Cuba. If you are a Cuba virgin or a repeat Cuba traveler, here are three places not to miss on your winter getaway. (And, yes, Americans, you too can travel to Cuba.)
With its sheltered bay and stunning neoclassical architecture, it is no wonder why this town of nearly 150,000 is called the Pearl of the South. Much quieter than the resorts of the keys and the northern coast of Cuba, Cienfuegos is a true getaway with some of the best sunrises and sunsets along its bay and ocean boulevard, the Malecón. One of the best views in all of Cienfuegos is from the top of Palacio de Valle. Enjoy a mojito and a view of the bay for a splendid happy hour. For a taste of some of the best seafood in the area, visit the Punta or point of Cienfuegos and a quaint bayside restaurant, Villa Lagartos. If you aren’t a seafood lover and want the most authentic Cuban pork, head to Los Laureles for roasted pork, mojo, and yucca.
If the classic cars on the roads of Cuba aren’t enough to feel like your have time-traveled back 50 years, the cobblestone streets and colonial architecture of Trinidad will take you back centuries. Nicknamed the Sleeping Beauty, Trinidad is a visual delight with vibrant colors along its narrow winding streets. Shutterbugs will enjoy framing shots from the Plaza Mayor as well as the tower of the Palacio Cantero. Don’t forget to try the typical drink of Trinidad, a canchánchara made with rum, limejuice, sparkling water, ice, and honey. The best place to try one of these and enjoy Cuban rhythms is the canchánchara bar, located just off the Plaza Mayor.
Just 49 miles outside of Havana, adventure lovers flock to Las Terrazas for the more quajiro (country folk) lifestyle. The best accommodations in the area are at the Moka Hotel where you can stay in the hotel or with local families in Casa Particulares (private homes with rooms for rent). From there you will only be minutes from the wonderful pools of San Juan, where you can frolic in natural pools while enjoying naturally made slides. During the afternoons, the onsite restaurant has live music as well as really great criolla food and cold Crystal beer.
If you are looking for a great view and a dose of Cuban coffee, head by car to oldest coffee plantation in Cuba called Cafetal Buenavista. Enjoy a strong, hot, and thick Cuban coffee. Afterwards, witness the old grindstone as well as the slave quarters. The highlight of the visit will be the view of the lush valley of Las Terrazas below.
Experience the flavors of Cuba from its pure rum and cigars to fall off the bone, roasted pork. Don’t forget your appetite or your dancing shoes as a meal turns into a party quite quickly with Cuba’s son and salsa rhythms.
If you are looking for more articles on my adventure travel to Cuba, check out:
Travel Back in Time Fifty Years in Fifty Minutes – Travel to Cuba
Celebrating Life One Rooster at a Time
When Life Gives You Lemons, in Cuba You Make Canchancharas
As always, stay up-to-date on more adventure travel stories and tips from Cuba, Kauai, Quebec, Peru, Finger Lakes, and more by connecting with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.
Here’s to more good times and good stories.