While a trip to Cuba for the sole purpose of relaxing on the beach is still considered off-limits for most Americans (there are other travel activities that are legal; check out this how-to guide from CNN explaining the rules), that doesn’t mean you have to put your travel dreams on hold. Here are a few of the must-see spots once America gets the official green-light to visit the Caribbean island.
- There are many beautiful beaches to visit in Cuba, but if you’re dreaming of clear-blue water, powdery-white sand, and an abundance of sunshine, Varadero Beach is definitely worth a stop. Many of the mansions in the city have been converted to museums1 (for those looking for a dose of history), and there are plenty of caves, keys and forests to explore.
- Old Havana is a great place to stop if you’re looking to interact with the locals. This downtown area serves as the core of the original city of Havana, and boasts renovated structures dating back hundreds of years.2 Notable buildings include Castillo del Morro, La Cabaña, and Castillo de la Real Fuerza. If you decide to stay in one of the many hotels in this area, you’ll sleep easy knowing that Transcend® miniCPAP™ is international-travel ready. It comes standard with plug adaptors for international travel and it automatically converts voltage overseas. It also has an optional battery in case you happen to stay in an area with intermittent power outages.
Valle de Viñales
- One of Cuba’s eight national parks, Valle de Viñales is a lush tourist destination that is a hot spot for physical activity. Not only are there caves to explore, hills to hike and rocks to climb, thanks to the flat roadways that stretch between the mountains, this area is also known for being a cycling hub.3
Plaza Vieja (Old Square)
- Shortly after Havana had been declared the capital of Cuba, this plaza (called Mercado Nuevo (or new market) back then4) was the place to be for the wealthy to watch bullfights, executions and slave trading.5
President Obama’s recent visit to Cuba is one of many indications that it won’t be long before Americans are granted an all-access pass to travel to Cuba. As the relations between our country and Cuban leader Raul Castro improve, the restrictions will become lighter and hopefully there will be a sense of ease as travel increases. Until then, your dreams of delicious street food and mojitos set to the sound of live music will have to be fulfilled by your local watering hole.
1"Varadero Tourism: Best of Varadero, Cuba - TripAdvisor." Varadero Tourism: Best of Varadero, Cuba - TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor LLC, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
2"Old Havana." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
3Waterson, Luke. "Exploring Viñales, Cuba's Scenic Backyard." Lonely Planet. Lonely Planet, 12 Mar. 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
4"Plaza Vieja, Havana." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
5"Old Havana’s Plaza Vieja." Thirdeyemom. ThirdEyeMom, 21 Apr. 2014. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.