Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Mon June 08 2015

Opinion Home | Notes from the Goats

  • Nick and Dariece | June 8, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    5 Must-Visit Cuban Cities

    5 Must-Visit Cuban Cities

    All photos courtesy of Goats on the Road

    Cuba is filled with stunning colonial cities, beautiful beach towns, and areas that are teeming with history. There are many must-see spots in the country, but with most people having limited vacation time, it's hard to see everything! Here are our top choices for a two-week jaunt:


    This capital city has moved up in the rankings, and has now become our favorite city in the world (and that's saying a lot!) There's just something going on in Havana, something in the air. The vibe of this city is upbeat, fun and unique. It's a place unlike anywhere we've been. Old Ford and Chevy cars plow the streets, while colorful, colonial buildings surround the plazas and line the sidewalks. As a very rough estimate, there are 900 buildings of historical importance in the old town alone! Basically, everywhere you look you will see a stunning piece of architecture.

    Not only are the cars old and the buildings beautiful, but Havana has a lovely, five mile long Malecon (seafront promenade). Friends and families gather here in the early evening and into the night to enjoy some drinks, music, dancing, and hanging out. It's the perfect place for an after dinner stroll. Cars, architecture and the Malecon are just a small fraction of what make Havana so special.


    Trinidad is popular with tourists, and for good reason. However, with its popularity comes quite a bit of hassle from the many touts trying to sell you anything and everything, constantly. If you can venture away from the main plazas and squares, you'll be able to enjoy the peace and quiet of the city. Of course, you wouldn't want to miss the popular sites surrounding the Plaza Mayor or the impressive Museo Historico Municipal. But once you've seen them, make sure to leave the touristy areas to get a better feel for the city.

    A huge bonus of traveling to Trinidad (apart from seeing the beautiful colonial city) is that Playa Ancon Beach and the Valle de los Ingenios are just a few minutes away! You can explore the city in the morning and head to the beach during the hottest part of the day. The following day, you can be horseback riding in the valley during the morning hours, then cooling off in a waterfall when the afternoon heat hits.


    Unfortunately, many people only make it as far east as Trinidad, which is a shame because they are missing one of the gems of Cuba. Camagüey is a unique city with narrow alleyways, baroque-style churches, and numerous plazas and restaurants. There's a long pedestrian-only walkway, which is always busy and filled with local people enjoying the day.

    The best way to spend an afternoon is strolling down the alleyways getting "lost" while gazing up at beautifully preserved buildings. Arriving at the Plaza San Juan de Dios you can enjoy a cup of coffee while looking out at the Museo de San Juen de Dios. It doesn't matter which road you take here, all of them have something incredible to offer.


    This is a quieter city, making it a nice two-day break from the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities in Cuba. Stroll down the small pedestrian street, explore the Plaza Jose Marti, take in a show at the Tomas Terry Theater, and wander along long seaside promenade to the very end, reaching the residential district of Punta Gorda. This is a great spot to watch sunset. If you happen to be in the city on a Sunday, make sure to check out the Flamenco Cultural Show at El Patio del Gitano (located right near the bus station), and stop by to try their delicious Spanish cuisine.


    Located about 120 miles from Havana, yet seemingly worlds away, is the Valley of Viñales. This is where most of Cuba's famous tobacco is grown. This whole area is surrounded by towering limestone karsts and fields of tobacco, yuca (cassava), and sugarcane plantations. Zigging and zagging through the fields are narrow, rust-colored, dirt pathways. Cycling through the countryside, or hiking around is the best way to get a feel for all that Viñales has to offer. Families will invite you in to enjoy some fruit, juice, coffee, and a cigar!

    The countryside is the main draw here, but there is much more to see. Check out one of the many caves, horseback riding, and head out to the stunning Cayo Jutias beach, which is about an hour drive away. We suggest renting a scooter to be able to explore the area on your own steam.

    For information on planning check out: Planning a Trip to Cuba: To-Do List Before Travel

    Have you been to Cuba? Which cities would you recommend?

More Cuba


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Nick and Dariece Notes from the Goats

Nick and Dariece Nick and Dariece are the couple behind Goats On The Road, a website designed to inspire others to live a financially sustainable, location independent lifestyle. Masters at making money abroad and turning their travels into a way of life, they've been on the road since 2008 and have explored some of the least visited places on earth, finding adventure wherever they go. They are also full time contributors at Credit Walk where they share their expertise of making money and travelling forever. Check them out at Goats On The and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Journey on an Avalon River Cruise

Cruise Lines & Cruise Ships