Havana´s unique character is unmatched elsewhere in the world: Where else can you find pre-1960s cars still on the road? Despite isolation for more than half a century, Cubans continue to laugh and dance and spread their cheer. A Cuban holiday will be chocked full of interesting sights and people to ensure a memorable tropical vacation. While you might be tempted to stay in your vacation villa in Cuba, there are several places that you should visit that are only a short drive from the Cuban capital. Below are a few out-of-town destinations that will make your Cuba trip more memorable.
Havana Riviera is found just 30 minutes from the center of Havana. The locals call it the Playas del Este or the Eastern Beaches. There are more than a dozen beaches in the area, but the best one is Santa Maria, which has the finest and cleanest sand in the Havana Riviera. Guanabo is a beach town where you can hang out with the locals and sip a mojito while viewing the crystal-clear sea. The period between January and April is when the beaches are not as crowded because the locals avoid the beach during the winter months. However, during the summer season the beaches become very crowded with both locals and visitors on their holiday in Cuba.
Another worthwhile coastal area to visit is the Jibacoa, which is just an hour from Havana. Jibacoa has several beaches and a small town that features caves and cliffs. What´s more, tourists have yet to discover this hidden area. One of its secret spots is the Playa de los Artistas, which is a secluded beach and one of the best snorkelling spots in Cuba. Other activities in Jibacoa include hiking, caving, and basking under the sun.
Varadero is the Cuban version of Cancun. It has fine sand, warm sea, and all-inclusive resorts. Because the government has allowed residents to offer Havana holiday rentals and open restaurants, there are more diverse lodging options in the area. In the past, only visitors were allowed in Varadero but the government rescinded the policy, and now locals are allowed to have getaways to the nation’s best beaches.
Sora and Las Terrazas
Forty-five minutes from Havana is the artist colony of Las Terrazas. It provides the perfect day trip for nature lovers with features such as open studios and ziplines. Some of the activities in the area include bird watching and swimming. Venture to Soroa, which is known for its orchid garden and research station. There are more than 700 orchid species in the garden that bloom from December to March.
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