Off the Beaten Path Cuba: Must-See Sights and Experiences

Welcome to Cuba, a country bursting with vibrant culture, rich history, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered! As you wander through the cobblestone streets and listen to the rhythmic beats of salsa, you'll find that every corner has a story to tell. Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, there's always something new to uncover in this captivating capital. Here, I'll share some of the lesser-known treasures of Cuba that are sure to make your trip unforgettable.  


From tucked-away plazas to bustling local markets, follow me, Sheryl Baker, as we explore the must-see sights and experiences that will give you an authentic taste of Cuba.  

Sheryl in front of Havana airport

Secret Spots for Cuban Coffee 


One of the best ways to discover Havana's rich cultural tapestry is through its coffee scene. Imagine wandering through the vibrant streets, only to stumble upon a quaint little café that feels like your own secret find. Cuba Libro in El Vedado is precisely such a gem. It's not just a spot for grabbing a cup of coffee; it's a full experience. Sip on excellent coffee, nibble on delicious pastries, and relax in the shaded patio while you flip through an intriguing book from their collection.  


If you’re an art enthusiast, head over to HAV Coffee & Art. Here, you can enjoy a finely crafted coffee while soaking in the creative atmosphere brimming with local art.  


Each of these cafés offers a unique slice of Havana's soul, ensuring you get much more than just a caffeine fix. Make sure you indulge in the local flavors; a cortado or a café con leche can offer you a taste of Havana's rich history. 

Sheryl sitting by beach at sunset

Hidden Beaches: Unwind Away From the Crowds 


Tired of the bustling beaches and tourist-filled shorelines? Discover Playa Maguana, a secluded paradise just outside Havana. Known for its crystal-clear waters and pristine sandy shores, Playa Maguana offers a tranquil escape. Imagine lounging under the swaying palm trees, with only the sound of gentle waves as your soundtrack. Perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and even snorkeling, this hidden gem provides the perfect respite from the crowds.  


Another hidden gem is the secret swimming hole at Jibacoa Beach. Nestled between rugged cliffs and lush greenery, this natural pool offers serenity and unmatched beauty. The clear waters are perfect for a refreshing dip, while the surrounding nature trails beckon hikers to explore the untouched landscape.  


Lastly, don't miss Playa de Este, a local favorite that's just a short drive from Havana. Unlike the more famous beaches, Playa de Este maintains a quieter, more relaxed vibe. With shallow waters ideal for families and a few local eateries serving delicious Cuban cuisine, it’s the perfect spot for a peaceful day out. Pack a picnic, grab a good book, and let the tranquility of these hidden beaches wash over you. 


The Magic of Havana's Rooftop Bars 


If you're a fan of street food, Havana has a delightful array of flavors waiting for you. Begin your culinary journey at a local paladar – these family-run restaurants offer a genuine taste of Cuban cuisine. From classic Ropa Vieja to irresistible churros, there's no shortage of delicious dishes to savor. Be sure to try the local specialty, Tostones, which are twice-fried green plantains that pair perfectly with a cold drink.  


For a more immersive experience, you might want to stay in a Casa Particular. These private homestays provide an opportunity to connect with local families and gain insights into Cuban life. Your hosts might even share some homemade recipes, giving you a true taste of Havana's culinary heritage. 


Visit Havana’s Jardin Botánico 


When you think of Cuba, bustling streets and classic cars might come to mind, but there's a green haven waiting for you just outside the Havana city center: Jardin Botánico Nacional. This botanical garden is more than just a collection of plants; it's a serene escape from the urban hustle where you can immerse yourself in Cuba's diverse flora. The garden sprawls over 1,500 hectares, offering a peaceful retreat and a chance to connect with nature.  


Whether you’re a botany enthusiast or just looking for a quiet place to relax, Havana’s Jardin Botánico offers a delightful escape. 


Visit Museo de la Revolución 


For those looking to dive deep into Cuba's revolutionary past, a visit to the Museo de la Revolución is essential. The museum, housed in the former Presidential Palace, takes you on a journey through the tumultuous period of the Cuban Revolution. From well-preserved artifacts to in-depth exhibits, you’ll leave with a profound understanding of Cuba's fight for independence.  


Visit Havana’s Countryside 


Havana is famous for its bustling streets and historic architecture, but the true magic often lies just outside the city. The countryside surrounding Havana is brimming with stunning landscapes, charming villages, and unique experiences that offer a different perspective on Cuban life.  


Some must-see sights and experiences in Havana's countryside include:  


  • Las Terrazas: A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that offers breathtaking hiking trails, bird watching, and the chance to swim in natural pools. 
  • Valle de Viñales: Known for its dramatic limestone hills called mogotes and traditional tobacco farms where you can see cigar-making in action. 
  • Trinidad: A colonial gem with cobblestone streets, colorful houses, and well-preserved architecture. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site that feels frozen in time. 


From lush green valleys to vast tobacco plantations, the rural area around Cuba provides a serene contrast to the urban hustle and bustle.  


Cuban photos from Sheryl's trip


Escape to Cuba  


Whether you’re exploring secret coffee spots, relaxing on secluded beaches, or immersing yourself in its rich history and culture, Cuba is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.  


Ready to embark on your own Cuban adventure? Call Sheryl at Your Passport to Travel today and book your trip! Let's make those dreams of Havana a reality!