Old Havana is a well-preserved slice of Cuban history. Strolling around the cobbled streets and gazing up at the grand Baroque and neoclassical buildings, it’s easy to imagine what life in Cuba was like 200 years ago.
Trinidad is one of Cuba’s most popular tourist towns and the streets are often packed with foreigners. Travelers can soak up the lively ambiance of this charming city in the cobblestone Plaza Mayor, the city’s central square.
Sun-splashed beaches are the prime attraction. Playa Los Flamencos, on the Atlantic side of the island, is a standout with its 5 kilometer strand of sun-bleached sand, while the quiet and undeveloped Playa Prohibidad offers a peaceful nature trail. Animal lovers will enjoy the El Baba Nature Park, home to turtles, crocodiles, and flamingoes, and the island offers excellent birding.
One of the highlights of eastern Cuba is beautiful Baracoa, the oldest city in the country. It was founded in 1511 in the province of Guantanamo and construction began on the first church here around that time. Cut off from much of the outside world until the 1960s when the La Farola highway was built, the city still has a remote feel.
Due to its important place in Havana’s history, the Plaza de la Revolucion deserves at least a brief stop if only to absorb the events that transpired here. Castro delivered speeches in this vast square, attracting more than a million people at times. And in 1998, during a visit to Cuba, Pope John Paul II celebrated mass here.