Cuba has recently been a fascinating destination for several reasons. There’s the collection of well-preserved colonial architecture and the intoxicating music of Cuban artists. In addition, the country itself is stunningly beautiful. There are nature preserves and beaches with swaying palm trees and fine sand. Most of them untouched, thanks in part to the lack of commercialization. Though the country has and continues to slowly open its doors to tourists, for many casual travelers, booking a cruise to Cuba is the best way to see and experience the country. Here are some suggestions on what activities you can do while at these Cuban ports of call.
What to Do at Cuban Ports of Call
The country’s capital, Havana, is where most travelers’ introduction to Cuban culture begins. While in the city, venture into the historic district and wonder at the magnificent Capitolio Nacional. The de facto government building opened in 1929 and served as the Cuban seat of government until the revolution in 1959. Today, it is slowly making its way to becoming the home of the legislative body of the Republic of Cuba.
After touring the city’s historic district and learning the story behind its iconic structures, take a break and grab a snack. Try a mariquitas, which are essentially dried plantain chips; or tostones, which are twice fried plantains smashed together and made into little cakes. If your excursion allows for an overnight stay, check out Ernest Hemingway’s favorite haunt, El Floridita, to catch some live music.
Finally, if you’re a cigar aficionado, don’t miss a cigar factory tour. Havana is the birthplace of premium Cuban cigars and seeing unspoiled tradition like that at the Partagás Factory, is an experience to behold.
Santiago de Cuba
After Havana, the next most popular Cuban ports of call is Santiago de Cuba. Located on the opposite side of the island and sandwiched between two national parks, it is known as the birthplace of the Cuban Revolution.
Take a historic center tour where you’ll touch upon some of the key sites that shaped the revolution in Cuba. You’ll learn about the storming of Moncada Barracks and stop by City Hall where Fidel Castro proclaimed revolutionary victory.
The most relaxing of the Cuban ports of call is undoubtedly Cienfuegos. The city, located on the northwestern section of the country’s Caribbean coast, is affectionately known as “La Perla del Sur” (the Pearl of the South). Take a walking tour excursion of its historic center, where you can peruse the streets that feature untarnished 19th century structures. Then walk along the Punta Gorda which provides plenty of spots for incredible sunset views. This seaside walkway is full of colorful houses and provides travelers with panoramic views of the limestone 18th century fortress, Castillo de Jagua.
Do you have other Cuban cruises offshore excursion suggestions at any other Cuban port of calls? Share your thoughts below.