7 places to visit in Cuba in 2019
Cuba is a multilayered destination that doesn’t cease to surprise us, 2019 is just around the corner and whether it’s its exuberant nature, the culture, its religiosity, the scenery, the infinite white sand beaches, the strongly ingrained authentic traditions or the jovial nature of its people there always seems to be something up its sleeve. To know more about Cuba’s multi facets check out these seven places to visit in in 2019.
Next year the capital will have it extra special as this magical city will be turning 500 years old! Since 2018 preparations have been going on in expectation of this anniversary. Therefore, the city will be imbued in round the clock festivities in its honor, adding to the already wonderful atmosphere left in testimony by its countless visitors.
While here, you could pay a visit to the Centre for Contemporary Art “Wilfredo Lam” (a transcendental Cuban artist). Taking a walk down the “Callejon de los Peluqueros” (Hairdresser’s Alley) is also an option, it’s an original bazar of local businesses, restaurants and bars with a unique atmosphere. Make sure also to check out the “San José” souvenirs market in one of the docks at the bay where you’ll be able to find a varied and rich collection local craftsmanship.
“Cayo Santa María” Key
This 10 km beach fringe of clear waters where you can easily see the bottom, the surprising nature, endemic fauna and white sands is sure to strike your senses and impact your emotions.
In this dreamlike location Meliá has recently unveiled the Paradisus Los Cayos hotel, a modern five-star All-Inclusive eco-resort ideal for your stay. Its exquisite bungalow design architecture has been conceived to easily blend in with the coastal scenery.
This is the classic sun, sand and beach resort for Cubans and foreign visitors alike, its shallow turquoise waters and fine white sands surrounded by tropical vegetation have made the fantasies of many come to life. Although considered as a paradise for open air activities this destination packs more surprises for the interested.
The “Casa Del Ron” is ideal for Cuban rum tasting and marinating them with a legitimate Cuban cigar, you can also learn about its history and manufacturing process. The “Josone Park” is also a good choice, known as the “Green lung” of the peninsula it’s a 9-hectare space with an artificial lagoon and various restaurants.
The soon-to-be open 5-star All-Inclusive Meliá International hotel is the perfect choice to lodge here, it’s recommended for weddings and honeymoons, YHI Spa, families, golf and meetings.
To the south of the island sits this beautiful but rather different city. It is the only one in Cuba to have been founded by French settlers and it preserves a somewhat calmer aura and a particular image accentuated by the French style architecture.
Here you could start your day by visiting “Punta Gorda” at the bay of Cienfuegos (one of the most beautiful places here) where you will see modern and colonial architectures blending with American southern style wooden houses, an amazing combination. Next, off to the mountains where it’s worth discovering the natural charm of the “Hanabanilla” reservoir or the impressive “El Nicho” waterfalls. A perfect ending for a day would be to appreciate the beauty and tranquillity of day to day life in Cienfuegos from the terrace of the “Palacio de Valle” restaurant.
Initially one of the first 7 villas founded on the island despite the passage of time it has kept its irregular outline, something uncommon in urban practices in Cuba. As you walk down its streets and around its parks, public squares, and cultural institutions it becomes evident why it is known as the city of churches and pottery.
When coming to Camagüey I propose you visit the exquisite historical centre. One of its main public squares is called “San Juan de Dios”, in which a popular attraction is the “San Juan de Dios” art gallery where you’ll be able to appreciate a display of art mixed with authentic traditions of the region.
Another interesting place worth checking out is the Casanova Pottery Workshop where the Casanova family has passed down the secrets of working with clay from generation to generation in a city that is known for its “Tinajones”; as a plus you can also buy authentic items made out of clay.
If you like ballet don’t forget to buy a ticket to go and see the Camagüey Ballet Company which holds national and international credentials.
Santiago de Cuba
It is the second city in size and economy wise and another destination you must include in your list when coming to Cuba in 2019.
Summer is a good time to come, the sun is out, perfect to hit the beaches, people are on holidays and there’s a party mood everywhere. July is usually the month when the Santiago Carnivals take over the city. The contagious Caribbean music, the joyful atmosphere, the vibrant colours, and the massive participation of the people is enough to make anyone move to the rhythm in the biggest carnivals on the island.+
Apart from the hip shaking there is a unique town that is an absolute must if you visit Santiago and that is the town of “El Cobre” (The copper), famous for being one of the spiritual centres of the Cuban people.
Towards 1540 the unrestrained search for gold led to the discovery of one of the largest copper deposits in the American continent. However, it was the placing of the sanctuary of “La Virgen de la Caridad”, (Patron Saint of Cuba) what elevated this site to the category of worldwide known.
Life in the town is limited to mining and very closely related to the cult of the Patron Saint, which was coroneted by his sanctity Pope John Paul II. Prayers and whispers accompany the thousands of inbound visitors that go every day to present a request to the virgin, in retribution for a promise or just out of simple curiosity.
The diversity of cities and towns in Cuba is perfectly complemented with the addition of the city of Trinidad to this “To Visit” list. This 504-year-old urban compound still preserves its XVIII and XIX century styles, treasuring an interesting yet high concentration of architecture with close to full colonial buildings predominance.
In Trinidad we find an uncommon authenticity reflecting a certain way of life far from the big cities and a set of customs and traditions pertaining to the colonial period.
There are some outstanding and luxurious mansions but the houses that you’ll encounter more often are the ones without front porches with spacious living rooms after the main entrance. Remarkably, people still live in these houses that have remained frozen in time and whose appearance is protected by the Conservation Office of the Historical Centre of Trinidad.
The city is surrounded by the “El Valle de Los Ingenios” (Sugar Mills Valley) where you can find historical sites of sugar mills and estates that have been turned into museums. There are also natural places that you can visit and beaches of course, actually “Playa Ancón” 20 minutes away from the city centre is one of the best beaches in Cuba’s southern coast.
Soon you’ll be able to lodge and have the Meliá experience in Trinidad as in the year 2020 this hotel chain is set to open one of its hotels here.
 massive jars used to store water manufactured from the XVII until the XIX centuries in central-eastern Cuba.