Cuba, the Caribbean’s largest island, is home to spectacular sandy beaches. But what makes this country so unique and appealing to newlyweds is the rich cultural and architectural heritage which is clearly visible everywhere you go. There is much more than the the delight of Old Havana and its historic hotels and jazz clubs where Hemingway once checked in that can charm you. The city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The charming scenery, welcoming atmosphere and friendly people are guaranteed to make your honeymoon as memorable as it should be. From shopping to organized trips, swimming to paragliding, cigar plantations to white sandy beaches – you can find everything in Cuba.
So if you’re on the verge of starting a new innings of your marital life, Cuba is the place for you. Here are the top 10 hotspots you can’t miss on your voyage to the land of love:
1. Pilar Beach (Playa Beach)
It is one of the most beautiful and amazing beaches, courtesy of its serene atmosphere and soothing waters. In the words of Ernest Hemingway “This is certainly the most wonderful beach of Cuba and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, a must visit!” It was even featured as the setting for one of the author’s books, Islands in the Stream.
2. Old Havana
Old Havana is a world heritage site. If you’re into people, music, buildings and historic walking areas then this is the perfect place. A must-see destination. Attractions include San Salvador de la Punta Fortress, Catedral de San Cristóbal, San Francisco de la Habana Basilica and Castillo del Morro.
3. Playa Paraiso Beach
Playa Sirena and Playa Paraiso beaches are so extraordinary looking that you’re sure to become mesmerized. White, fluffy sands surrounded by crystal clear water…all you have to do is take your swimming gear along with you and submit yourself to the natural beauty.
4. Old Square (Plaza Vieja)
Old Square was originally known as Plaza Nueva (New Square). It was later renamed Plaza del Mercado (Market Square) as Havana’s commercial hub. While there, don’t forget to check out the Leonardo Da Vinci Dark Room.
5. Partagas Cigar Factory
Cuba is known for its cigars. And whether you’re a smoker or non-smoker, pay a visit to Partagas Cigar Factory for a glimpse into the making of this world renowned cigar.
6. Vinales Valley
Vinales is completely different from Havana – it’s not as bustling as the big city and a major advantage is that you can experience the wonderful Cuban countryside. Apart from many hotels that are present in the area,there are a few casa particularis (as they are commonly known) or private houses where you can stay.
7. National Museum of Beautiful Arts of Cuba (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Cuba)
In Cuba, life and revolution on the streets makes for a real experience. This museum is one of the stops you must make while in Havana. It displays an enormous range of sculptures and paintings which date back from the 17th century. Large and, surprisingly, not very crowded, the museum has a charming store where you can shop for souvenirs. Sadly, memories are all you can take back with you as it is forbidden to take photos inside.
8. Varadero Beach
Varadero Beach is absolutely beautiful. But if you use one of the paths instead of going down by the beach bar, you can avoid having to pay tips every day to someone who only puts the lounger down for you and places your towel on it. The beach is extremely clean and the water is crystal clear. The Beach Bar provides good lunch time snacks but avoid eating there in the evenings as you get a lot of visitors in the form of mosquitoes.
9. Bahia de Naranjo Nature Park
The nature park is an awesome family excursion destination. You get to see two shows, one with a sea lion and another with dolphins. You also get an opportunity to swim with the dolphins if you’re brave enough. You can get to see six meters of coral reefs, archeological sites and caves.
10. El Malecon
El Malecon is lovely during sunset. If you’re adventurous and want to mingle with the local population then this is the place for you. Note: take a bottle of rum with you when you go. It has become part of their tradition now. Enjoy the sounds of the Cuban musicians jamming…it makes for a nice cultural and romantic experience.