From tantalizing Cuban sandwiches to refreshing mojitos, this relaxed island is the largest in the Caribbean and offers a plethora of delicacies and history to explore. It has a fascinating colonial foundation while still maintaining a vibrant tropical vibe with its luxurious beaches and laid back island atmosphere. On the rise for international acclaim, Cuba is working to gain a place on the list of top travel destinations in both the Caribbean and the world.
Below is a list of the top 10 destinations complied with the help of My Travel Guide for tourists and corporate travelers alike in this beautiful Caribbean country:
- Havana: No trip to Cuba would be complete without a stop in the capital city of Havana. The splendor of this city comes from the charm of its colonial core and small town atmosphere, despite having 2 million people within its population. Although it is a growing metropolis, Havana is a city cautious about preserving its 1950’s heritage where retro cars and regal mansions still abound.
- Santiago de Cuba: The second largest city on the island, Santiago de Cuba is the site where the victory of the Cuban Revolution was proclaimed, making this town full of rich heritage one of the great historical and cultural hubs on the island.
- Veradero: Veradero is arguably the most popular destination for first time travelers to the island. It is often referred to as “Cuba’s Cancun”, where lavish resorts dot the bleached white sand and residents and visitors can enjoy an array of aqua activities.
- Holguin: Holguin is one of the few cities in Cuba that offers the best of both worlds in order to experience every dimension of Cuba’s unique geography. From Holguin, it is only a brief commute to either the beautiful beaches of Guardalavaca or to the dense backcountry to visit the La Mensura or Humboldt National Parks.
- Cienfuegos: There is no location like Cienfuegos in the Caribbean, as the entire town is designated a UNESCO Heritage Site. Full of grand architecture and must see landmarks from the 18th and 19th centuries, Cienfuegos has been beautifully preserved for contemporary visitors to enjoy.
- Santa Clara: The city of Santa Clara is similar to Santiago de Cuba as it holds a vast amount of history to discover while on the island. The last and arguably most important battle in the Cuban Revolution (named for the city itself) took place within this site in 1958. Today, Santa Clara holds the mausoleum of Che Guevara, and a museum dedicated to his involvement in the Cuban Revolution.
- Cayo Coco: Cayo Coco is truly a vacationer’s dream. This secluded, small cay is located directly off the coast of the mainland and boasts the most lavish and exclusive resorts in Cuba. The most stunning and peaceful beaches in this nation are also found in Cayo Coco, making it an ideal locale for an incentive destination.
- Trinidad: Trinidad sits on the western coast of Cuba, and the entire town itself is a living museum. Tourists can enjoy a stroll down a cobblestone avenida to admire the colorful pastel houses or take a ride on the Baldwin Locomotive, a 20th century steam engine that takes passengers to the Valley of Sugar Mills.
- Pico Turquino: Pico Turquino is Cuba’s highest mountain, and the opportunity to trek to this peak should not be missed. It is a strenuous route, but the nature and history along its trails makes it well worth it. Indulge in bird watching and let your imagination flourish as you discover abandoned wartime jungle headquarters.
- Cienaga de Zapata: The Zapata swamp is one of the most remarkable and untouched regions on the island. It is also at the top of the Caribbean’s largest wetlands, and is home to the endangered Cuban crocodile. Nature buffs will relish the chance to see some of the purest and unspoiled wilderness in Cuba.
While it once was a hotbed of revolution, Cuba is rapidly becoming a traveler’s dream. From ardent conservation of historical landmarks and neighborhoods to its pristine white sand beaches and ocean resorts along the coast, Cuba is the epitome of a diamond in the rough. The reputation of this island oasis is drastically improving since the discord of the 20th century, becoming a land of immense opportunity for the incentive travel industry for many years to come.
Written by Andy Tallon
JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.