Cuba is well-known as the pearl of the Antilles and also the largest island in the entire Caribbean Sea with wide varieties of attractions that you can explore and many things to do. Cuba also has many hidden gems that you can explore instead of going to tourist hotspots.
Top six hidden gems in Cuba
Explore Cienaga de Zapata
This is a peninsular region on the southern coast of Cuba and it can be called the diamond of all hidden gems as there are many things to do here. The peninsular have wide arrays of attractions that you can explore as it homes the mysterious lagoon, infamous Bay of Pigs, replica indigenous village, hidden fish cave and many more.
Go sightseeing at Viñales Valley
This is situated close to the western coast of Cuba with a scenic view and many florals grow here on the red soil and this is a spot where you will see hummingbirds as they collect their nectar from colorful blooms. You can also explore the limestone caves called mogotes.
Experience Havana from The Malecón
If you want to really appreciate the splendor of Havana, the perfect place to do this is at Malecon which is 90 miles across the ocean. The best way to explore this is to stroll from one end of its wall to the other and you can do this early in the morning or on cloudy days so as to avoid the scorching sun. This is the perfect place to go people watching as this is a hotspot for the locals doing their thing.
Dine at a Cuban paladares
These are independent restaurants that can be found in private homes around Havana. The thing about Paladares is that they do not have signs to lead you to them and you will have to ask the locals before you get there. You will get a mouth-watering authentic Cuban meal from these restaurants.
Visit El Nicho Waterfall
This is located in the lush tropical jungle of Parque El Nicho in between Trinidad and Cienfuegos. You will have to go on a 25-minutes hike before you get to this mesmerizing waterfall where you can swim and just enjoy relax in its cool, cascading waters.
Explore Sancti Spiritus
This is among the oldest colonial cities in Cuba and it is homes to wide arrays of attractions that you can visit. This is the best place to know more about Cuba’s past as it homes historic churches, monuments, and buildings.
Best time to travel to Cuba
The best time to come here is towards the end of the year till April. Due to its hot tropical climate, the average temperature in the summer is 24 degrees and in the winter months, it is less than 15 degrees. There is a lot of rain on the island in the wet season from May-October and the peak tourist season is between mid-December to mid-March.
You are going to need a visa before you can enter the country and you can buy a tourist card at the airport before you check-in. If you are holding American passports, the procedure is trickier as you can enter Cuba under specific categories. You are also required to have an outbound flight before you will be allowed to enter the country.
You should ensure you book your accommodation in advance before you visit this country as many sites do not work in this country. This will make your journey here stressful as you look from one place to another asking for prices. Websites like Airbnb and Booking.com does not work here and the common accommodation that you can get in Cuba is Casa Particular which are apartments or rooms that is rented out by the locals for fees daily.
Be prepared to wait for everything
In Cuba, you will have to learn to wait in line as there are queues for most things you will be needing particularly the ones that involve the government. The means Cubans plan for this queue is that you ask for who is last in line and then you go behind them and call out you are the last in line and when another person comes, you are then free to wander around as long as you are back before your turn. So as not be frustrated by the long lines, you should try to plan for it.
Print out your travel documents
Ensure that you print out all the crucial documents that you will need before you travel here, documents like travel insurance, hotel reservations, or any important papers that you might be needing. There are not many cafes in Cuba and it is hard to print out these documents in Cuba.