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A guide to the 10 best places to stay in Cuba

If you’ve ever dreamt of strolling through vibrant, cobblestone streets, dancing to salsa music, or sipping on a mojito under the Caribbean sun, then Cuba is calling your name. This beautiful island with its rich history, diverse culture, and breathtaking landscapes, is a dream destination for many.

From familiar favourites like Havana to the hidden gems of Playa Paraíso, we’re about to embark on a virtual journey through the best places to stay in Cuba. Each with its own unique personality and charm.

So, grab your fedora, dust off those dancing shoes, and join us as we look at the 10 best places to stay in Cuba!

1. Havana

In Old Havana (Habana Vieja), you can explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Castillo de la Real Fuerza, and stay in boutique hotels and colonial-style accommodations. For a more modern Cuban experience, travellers can head to Vedado. A little gem known for its trendy vibe and lively nightlife, Vedado offers panoramic city views with an intimate community charm.

From present-day to historic, the heart of Cuba invites you to dance to its rhythm. Havana is the perfect spot for those seeking an immersive experience where history and contemporary pleasures blend. The vibrant streets and luxurious havens of this enchanting city will surely have you coming back for more.

2. Varadero

Varadero is a gem nestled along the island’s northern coast, known for its stunning beaches and vibrant atmosphere. Just picture miles of soft, white sand kissed by crystal-clear turquoise waters as your backdrop.

But it’s not just about the beach; Varadero offers a little something for everyone. Whether you’re into water sports like snorkelling and diving, or you prefer to relax with a cocktail in hand at one of the many beachside bars, there’s no shortage of fun here. Plus, the town itself is filled with lively music, delicious food, and friendly locals eager to share their culture with visitors.

3. Trinidad

Nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Escambray Mountains, this enchanting city invites travellers to immerse themselves in a bygone era. Stepping into the city of Trinidad is like stepping back in time, where well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture lines cobblestone streets create an enchanting atmosphere.

The atmosphere here is so laid-back and welcoming, and the locals are incredibly friendly. You can wander around the charming plazas, visit the nearby sugar plantations, or even dance the night away to live music in one of the many vibrant bars. And the beaches are just a short drive away, perfect for soaking up the sun and snorkelling. Trinidad truly captures the heart and soul of Cuba, making it one of the best places to experience the island’s rich culture and history firsthand.

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4. Viñales

Nestled amidst tobacco fields, Viñales offers a captivating blend of stunning landscapes and rich culture. Here, relaxation takes a distinctive form, with eco-friendly lodges and charming farm stays seamlessly blending into the picturesque surroundings. As the sun sets over the lush valleys, Viñales reveals itself not just as a destination but as a sanctuary of creature comforts intertwined with nature.

Whether you’re sipping locally grown coffee on the veranda of a traditional casa particular (guest house) or embarking on a horseback ride through the lush tobacco fields, every moment in Viñales is an immersion into a slower, more meaningful pace of life.

5. Cienfuegos

Nestled on the southern coast of Cuba, Cienfuegos is also known as “The Pearl of the South.” With a distinct French influence evident in its architecture and culture, this Cuban city boasts a unique charm. Waterfront accommodations offer breathtaking views of the bay, creating a serene atmosphere for travellers seeking both relaxation and cultural immersion.

From strolling down the iconic Malecón to indulging in delicious local cuisine at street-side cafes, Cienfuegos offers a unique blend of history, beauty, and warmth. This is an authentic Cuban experience you won’t want to miss out on.

6. Playa Paraíso

Picture pristine white sands, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees – it’s like stepping into a postcard when you visit Playa Paraíso. Boutique hotels and eco-friendly resorts dot the pristine shoreline, allowing travellers to unwind in the lap of luxury while surrounded by untouched natural beauty.

What makes it one of the best places to visit in Cuba? Well, apart from its breathtaking natural beauty, Playa Paraíso offers a laid-back vibe that’s perfect for relaxation. Whether you’re lounging on the beach, snorkelling in the vibrant coral reefs, or sipping on a refreshing mojito, this spot has it all. And, the warm hospitality of the locals adds an extra touch of charm.

7. Holguín

Travellers seeking authentic Cuban hospitality need to visit Holguín. This vibrant city is a hub of trade, culture, and natural beauty. Here, you’ll encounter friendly locals eager to share their traditions – and easily feel like a member of the community.

Whether you’re lounging on the pristine shores of Guardalavaca Beach, exploring the historic sites in the city center, or soaking up the lively music scene, Holguín has something for everyone. Believe us, Holguín’s authenticity will leave an indelible mark on your Cuban adventure.

8. Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba stands as the undisputed cultural capital, where history, music, and vibrant traditions intertwine into cultural richness. With its lively Afro-Caribbean spirit, this city boasts a rich tapestry of cultural heritage, showcased in its lively festivals, captivating music, and historic landmarks that speak of a time long past.

From El Tivoli’s colourful houses and cobblestone roads to the awe-inspiring oceanic views from Castillo del Morro, Santiago de Cuba is a must-visit for any traveller. Visit during the annual Carnival of Santiago de Cuba, a spectacular celebration of music, dance, and colourful costumes. This event truly highlights the city’s infectious enthusiasm for its cultural identity.

9. Baracoa

Baracoa’s charm lies not only in its breathtaking landscapes but also in its historical significance as the first Spanish settlement in Cuba. Surrounded by lush rainforests, pristine beaches, the azure waters of the Atlantic, and the iconic El Yunque mountain, this town is accessible along Cuba’s most scenic drive. Visitors can head to the National Park or indulge in local delicacies such as cucuruchos de Baracoa—small, cone-shaped candies made from a delightful mixture of grated coconut, honey, sugar, and sometimes nuts, wrapped in banana leaves.

No matter your interests, Baracoa is a hidden gem found off the beaten path and has something for everyone.

10. Playa Girón

Nestled on Cuba’s southern coast, Playa Girón beckons visitors with a unique blend of history and natural beauty. Infamous for the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961, this destination now invites visitors to explore its sandy beaches and delve into its past at the Museum of the Invasion. With tranquil turquoise waters and proximity to the biodiverse Ciénaga de Zapata, one of the Caribbean’s largest wetlands, Playa Girón offers a haven for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Accommodations, from beachfront casas particulares to comfortable hotels, provide a comfortable base for an enriching experience on Cuba’s captivating southern coastline. And if you’re a history buff, this is a spot you definitely want to add to your bucket list. .

Let me know in the comments what you thought of the post.
Planning a trip to Cuba anytime soon?

Efrat Sagi-Ofir

Efrat Sagi-Ofir is CRO & Founder of Air Doctor. Air Doctor is a startup that connects travelers to a global network of 20,000 local medical doctors through an easy-to-use app, to receive appropriate medical care from anywhere in the world. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. That picture of Playa Paraiso says it al, it’s really worth a thousand words. I guess it translates as Paradise Beach?

  2. When I went to Cuba, I only did Havana and
    Varadero. Even though I had a great time reading this makes me think that I might have missed out on 80% of what Cuba has to offer.

  3. If I had to name an image that summed up my impressions of Cuba it would be an iconic gleaming gas-guzzler from the 1940s or 1950s in front of some great colonial architecture. And there are a couple of those here.

    1. Cuba must be one of the ultimate destinations for photographers. I’d love to take my camera there for a holiday.

  4. Many of my friends have taken package holidays to Cuba and looking at their photos and hearing their stories, I get the impression that there’s a lot of the island and its culture that they’ve missed out on. There’s a lot here to build into a Cuba itinerary.

  5. Cuba must have the potential for the perfect holiday for us. We like a combo of restful beach days mixed with plenty of local culture. Start with some time on the beach at the beginning, to get the tan going, and then chill out with some beach time before that dreaded flight home.

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