Cuba For The First Time; More Than Just Havana
Traveling to Cuba would not have been as amazing of an experience if I stayed in Havana for all 10 days. Believe it or not, my favorite memories from the trip did not happen in Havana. The views, the culture, and the ocean are just a few of the reasons why you must travel to other parts of Cuba.
The Road Trip
One of the benefits of leaving Havana is the scenic road trip to Veradero. Not only do you get to experience the beautiful wildlife, you get to drive along the coast. The drive is a little over 2 hours (I took a classic car taxi). Make sure you get the window seat because there is plenty of water, greenery, and small towns to see.
One reason we chose this town was because we wanted to spend a few days at the beach in the sun. We were not disappointed by this lovely beach town. The water was clear, the sun was bright, and the people were friendly. We spent one afternoon on the beach watching the sun go down as the sky turned pink. With beers in hand and empty stomachs we walked across the street from the beach to wonderful restaurants and tiny food stalls. My favorite beach snack was their less than $1 USD chicken box.
Cigar Cigars Cigars
You must go on the cigar tour. As someone who despises tours of any kind I will always keep it real about my experiences with tours. I went kicking and screaming to this tour and left with one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The cigar tour was about $10-15 USD. It included a personal tour guide who gave an explanation of the cigar process. You get your own horse to ride through the the land. My horse’s names was Coco Loco and she was feisty. You also get the opportunity to buy authentic Cuban cigars directly from the farm itself.
The view was spectacular. It was refreshing to step outside of the city of Havana and into a calm rural area. From the moment the bus arrived in the area the view was spectacular. The magical green landscape and along with fresh air had me prepared to never leave. The view of the land is breathe taking . The bus ride into the town is extremely scenic and calming.
Viñales has a town square with a number of cute restaurants and bar. One of my favorite places was a tiny little bar with roof top access. They town also has two popular clubs, one being a salsa club.
Overall, I highly suggest to travel outside of Havana when visiting Cuba. I decided on these two towns but there are tons of other towns such as Trinidad, Cienfuegos, and ect. The point is to experience the country as a whole, you will gain insight to the culture, meet more interesting people, and often times save a little money.