Six Quintessential Experiences to Have in Cuba

(Last Updated On: May 4, 2023)

A destination like no other, Cuba is an intoxicating mix of colonial cities, dramatic landscapes and vibrant culture. Still a newbie on the international tourism scene, this Caribbean isle is packed with unique things to see and do. So to narrow it down, we’ve handpicked six quintessential experiences to have in Cuba.

Classic Cars in Havana, CubaRide in a classic car

Stroll about the capital of Havana and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. Dotted everywhere along its cobblestone streets are an iconic assortment of classic American cars. Dating back to the ’50s, these vehicles represent the impact of the US embargo, which banned Cuba from importing foreign cars for over five decades.

Nowadays, relations have been restored with the US, but these colourful legacies remain the quintessential form of transport in Cuba. So if you’re looking to explore the city, hop in the back of one of these old timers and enjoy a tour or, alternatively, hire one out for yourself.

Colorful houses in Vinales, Cuba

Stay in a casa particular

Whilst there is a choice of hotels and resorts in Cuba, without doubt, the most authentic form of accommodation is a casa particular. Translating to mean ‘private homestay’, they offer a similar experience to that of a bed and breakfast or Airbnb.

As you pay for a room in a local’s house or apartment, you’re directly supporting the Cuban people. They’re also on hand to offer you advice on things to do or where to eat if you choose not to dine in with your hosts. And for an insight into everyday life and culture, there could be no better experience.

Salsa dance class

Dance salsa with the locals

With salsa thought to have originated in eastern Cuba, it’s no surprise music and dance are such a huge part of the country’s culture. Whether it’s local dancers showing off in the street or a car blasting Regaetton, Cuba has a rhythm and life here moves to the beat.

Watching others dance salsa is often exciting enough, but you can’t possibly leave Cuba without picking up a few moves. No matter what your level of experience, you’ll find classes to get you going on the dancefloor. And once you check out Cuba’s salsa bars, you’re in for a whole new level of fun.

Tobacco Farm in Vinales, Cuba

Visit a tobacco farm

The lush green landscape of the Vinales Valley draws travellers looking to unwind after the sightseeing and nightlife of Havana. An area famed for its tobacco, this landscape is composed of towering rock formations known as mogotes and rolling plantations.

Machinery isn’t a part of the tobacco growing process here and the locals still pick crops by hand and plough fields with oxen. Visit one of the plantations for yourself to learn about its history and see how Cuba’s famous cigars are made.

Beach with palmtrees at Cayo Levisa island, near Pinar del Rio, Cuba

Relax on the beaches

With its idyllic Caribbean-style beaches, a visit to Cuba wouldn’t be complete without some rest and relaxation. And one of the best places to go is the beautiful island of Cayo Levisa.

Boasting a three-kilometre stretch of sugar-white sand, sapphire waters and green palms, Cayo Levisa is a little slice of paradise. Thanks to its separation from the mainland, it also manages to retain a relatively isolated feel with its bungalow-style hotels. Although mainland Cuba has plenty of beaches to rival Cayo Levisa, including Varadero and Playa Ancon.

Mojito cocktail in a bar in Cuba / Havana

Sip cocktails at the Havana Club Museum

There’s no better place to sample Cuba’s most popular spirit than the Havana Club Museum. Located in the historic Habana Vieja district, the museum is set in a renovated 18th-century colonial townhouse.

Here you’ll not only gain an insight into the origins of Cuba’s rum, but also experience the making process first-hand. And once you’ve finished your tour, head to the adjoining Havana Club Bar and order your favourite mojito or daiquiri.

Inspired to travel to Cuba? You can enjoy all of these experiences on our group tours.