In recent years, Cuba has become one of the most coveted destinations in the Caribbean; not only for its riveting history and amazing cultural riches but also for the pristine beauty of some of its beaches and cays. The country is a good mixture of the modern, the traditional and the downright unique and amazing, all of which makes it irresistibly appealing. Even Obama himself couldn’t resist the beckoning of the rumba drums, and even when his strict diplomatic agenda didn’t allow him time on the beach, he certainly made sure to take in plenty of the capital’s cultural marvels.
The best way to enjoy Cuba is by combining its colourful culture with some downtime on one of its remarkably beautiful beaches and the easiest way to do this is by twinning a stay in Havana with Varadero; Cuba’s most famous beach resort. For a fulfilling holiday that gives you more than expected, and then some, Havana and Varadero are the two top destinations not to be missed
Sandwiched between USA and the north of Jamaica to the south, Cuba is perfectly located to enjoy the best weather and have the perfect mix of Caribbean and Latin influences. With year-round sunshine and glistening beaches, any time is a good time to visit Cuba, check out how to best combine it with our top recommendations here:
The buzzing capital plus endless coastline: Pairing Havana with Varadero
If you want to delve deep into the island’s history and culture while getting a feel for modern day-to-life Cuba, Havana is the quintessential place to visit. Even sparing a couple of days to see it will be definitely worth it and if you can afford to stay a bit longer there’s plenty of action to fill your days with. Must-stops include Old Havana’s colonial historic centre with its wealth of cobblestone squares which must be toured on foot to be properly appreciated, as well as walking alongside the scenic Malecon seawall promenade (great for its sea views as well as people-watching opportunities). Other obligatory stops include El Capitolio, Gran Teatro de la Habana and the Revolution Square.
Beyond its rich culture and great music, Cuba is also known for its endless coastline and powdery soft white sands and Varadero is the epitome of all that with added style, home to some of Cuba’s most luxurious beachside hotels. It’s Cuba’s oldest beach resort and also the largest with over 20 kilometres of blessed shoreline. Lapped by the crystalline shallow waters of the Kawama Channel, this stunning beach is dotted with a large variety of all-inclusive hotels and resorts (over 50) for all budgets. The surrounding area is also home to buzzing bars and nightclubs such as Palacio de la Rumba and Mambo Club. You can explore Varadero, its downtown and adjacent towns like the city of Cardenas by renting a scooter or hiring a cab. You can also hop on the tourist open air bus to check out the nearby locations like Parque Josone, Cueva de Ambrosio, Mansion Xanadu and the Gaviota Marina.
So, there you have it, Havana and Varadero are the perfect combination for a soul-enriching and relaxing twin-holiday to Cuba. Combining the two in a single visit is the best way to get a more well-rounded experience of the country.
Other cultural hubs paired with idyllic offshore island hideaways:
Havana might be the most popular and trendiest culture-rich hub in the island, but it’s not the only city in Cuba to boast amazing colonial riches. One other such place is the UNESCO-listed town of Trinidad, even more spectacularly stuck in time than Old Havana and providing great opportunities to admire lush nature as its surrounded by the Sierra del Rosario Mountain Range and with easy access to the also UNESCO-listed Valley of the Sugar Mills.
The perfect way to enjoy Trinidad’s cultural and natural riches is to combine it with the nearby offshore key of Cayo Santa Maria, where you can select from top-notch all-inclusive accommodation at quality hotels directly facing the most beautiful of turquoise waters. Here you get the best combination of old-world colonial feel plus island hideaway seclusion – a real treat for all the senses!
Another two great places to combine during a holiday to Cuba are Santiago and Guardalavaca. Santiago de Cuba is famously known as Havana’s rival and has historically disputed its second place as Cuba’s most important city. This is the best place to explore Cuba’s music roots as the birthplace to the island most intoxicating rhythms as well as follow in the trail of the Revolution at sites like the Moncada Barracks. Follow this with a stay in the nearby beach town of Guardalavaca and you will have reached absolute perfection. With great quality all-inclusive resorts and the most tranquil emerald waters, Guardalavaca is tough to beat.
And finally, for nature lovers and eager diving enthusiasts, Havana can also be perfectly combined with the western key of Cayo Levisa, uninhabited and completely undeveloped with the exception of the only one hotel there; where you would be staying at. It feels special and remote in ways no other tourist cay in Cuba can. It’s also home to a great scuba diving centre providing the best opportunities to get acquainted with Cuba’s rich marine life.
Whatever combination you choose, one thing’s for sure, Cuba is a destination best experienced in twos (or more) and a twin-holiday or multi-centre holiday is the only way to tick all those essential boxes.