Published on March 7th, 2016 | by Crissandra Ayroso0
5 Things to Do Outside of Your Resort in Cuba
Not too far from the heavenly white sand beaches, is a Cuba that will charm and allure you.
Just outside of your resort, plumes of cigar smoke fill a bar with locals drinking Cuban rum, keeping sips in time with vivacious Latin rhythms. Couples spill out of nightclubs, dancing shoes slung over shoulders, walking arm in arm past the pastel facades of crumbling colonial buildings on a warm, balmy summer’s night.
Feel the hot, hot heat with the upbeat tempos of Santiago de Cuba, the romantic sights in Old Havana, and earthly delights from the local rum to the world-famous cigars. With so much to see and do on this island, here are the top 5 things to do outside of your resort in Cuba:
1. See Old Havana
This side of Cuba will pull you in with its arduous, passionate history, pastel Spanish colonial facades, and vibrant nightlife. An evening stroll down Calle Obispo will lead you to this street’s famous restaurants, nightlife, Cuban Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture, and Ambos Mundos, the hotel that Ernest Hemingway lived in for seven years. Stop by a couple of the most popular squares, including the Plaza Vieja and Plaza de San Francisco, a former monastery and current live music venue.
2. Move to the rhythm of the island
Discover the untamed, soul-stirring Afro-Cuban rhythms of Santiago de Cuba. Touted as Cuba’s music capital, Santiago de Cuba is home to an originating traditional style of music known as son, a mix of Spanish guitar and African percussion. Son can’t be heard and not seen – make the trip out to Camaguey to visit the world-renowned Afro-Cuban dance company, to watch the Ballet Folklorico Tucumba.
Take a history lesson in Cuban music and dance that roots back from France to Spain to West Africa and Congo. Experience a group percussion workshop in an intro to salsa, rumba, and son, in Trinidad with Intrepid Travel on the Cuba Music and Dance tour, or take a salsa lesson with G Adventures on the Cuban Rhythms tour.
Trinidad, a Spanish colonial town founded in the 16th century, is a lush, picturesque beach town. Well known for its bars, live music venues, and nightclubs, Trinidad is also home to the notable Disco Ayala – a three-level actual underground dance cave. Open seven days a week, this nightclub features five dancefloors, three bars, and nightly cabaret acts. And speaking of quintessential cabaret acts, spend an evening at the Tropicana, Havana’s oldest and most famous night club.
3. Discover El Malecon
This beloved romantic, dilapidating seawall stretches across 8 km of the northern coast. It’s a prime spot to people watch with the locals, see spectacular views of the Caribbean, watch the sun set as the gas lanterns illuminate the boardwalk, and view a parade of vintage American cars as they flex by.
4. Tour a tobacco plantation in Pinar del Rio
Take a cigar factory tour and witness a demonstration on G Adventures’ Cuba Explorer tour. Join Intrepid’s Grand Cuba tour on a local farm to experience the ‘guajiro’s’ way of life, and relax or help out with daily farm duties like grinding coffee, or help harvest tobacco. This picturesque region of Cuba farms some of the world’s best tobacco, and is the source of one of the best-selling cigars in the world, the Montecristo.
5. Visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial
Che Guevara, an Argentinean-born, Cuban revolutionary leader is one of the most notable historical figures of our time. Visit his memorial in Santa Clara, where Guevara’s body was recovered from Bolivia in 1997 and reburied in Cuba.