The 5 must-see cities of Cuba

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It is easy to get caught up in all of the beautiful sites and locations to visit in Cuba. You may want to see the Spanish colonial architecture or experience Cuban nightlife. Maybe you want to immerse yourself in Cuban Spanish with its Cubanisms and peculiar pronunciation. Whatever your reason for delving into the rich culture of Cuba, these five cities are jam packed to the brim with life, history and experiences you will never forget.

Havana 2,135,498

Havana is the capital and largest city in Cuba. With 2.1 million people, it is packed with life. You can see vintage cars in the streets of most of the cities of Cuba, but none of them have the attraction, and practically the lifestyle, that comes with the Malecon. Since the beginning of construction, the Malecon has become a center of entertainment and life in Havana. Traveling to Havana requires visiting the Malecon and seeing how Cubans enjoy themselves (and even fish!) in the day-to-day.

Santiago de Cuba 425,851

Santiago de Cuba is known as a cultural city for many reasons. Here many of the country’s musicians and traditional dances have been born. Dances like guaguancó, which is accompanied only by percussion, give Santiago de Cuba the rich cultural history that it has today. Along with the dances and musicians produced by Santiago de Cuba, it also houses a large number of practitioners of Afro-Cuban religions like Santeria.

Camagüey 305,845

While Santiago de Cuba may have Afro-Cuban religions, Cmagüey has churches and cathedrals that show off its Catholic soul. The many churches sit among a tangled web of alleyways. According to many, this is due to pirates who disrupted the city historically. The interweaving roadways were supposedly used to distract and confuse those who wished to harm the city or its people. Exploring this web of alleys and roadways will show off some of Cuba’s spirit and people that you might not catch at the Malecon in Havana.

Holguín 277,050

If you are more interested in ecotourism in Cuba than passing the days on the beach or the street, then Holguín might be the best city for you. Most tourists who choose to visit Holguín do so because of the flora that surrounds and encompasses the city. It does however, boast some of the prettiest beaches available in Cuba and there are a ton of other ways to interact with nature. What about the Dolphinarium? You could swim with dolphins in the morning just to spend the afternoon on the beach. Sounds nice, huh?

Guantánamo 207,857

Now, this last city you have probably heard of. It is mountainous to the north and is connected to Havana via the Carretera Central. While Guantánamo certainly has its fair share of sites and activities, it is widely recognized because of the presence of the US Naval Base there. In recent years, Cuban officials have said that the US occupation is illegal, but it has been under United States jurisdiction for years. Despite US President Barack Obama’s orders, the detention camp there has yet to close.

Traveling to Cuba gives you the opportunity to see, experience and live in each of these cities. And, hey, you don’t have to visit them all at once! Each city offers a different kind of insight into Cuban culture and life, so each must be experienced in itself.

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