Things to do in Cuba

Cuba is one of the very last places on earth that I was desperate to go with immediate effect! With Fidel Castro dying last year, his brother standing down from power next year, it was important to me to experience Cuba before the end of that era. There are many things to do Cuba that make the long flight worthwhile! Here is my must do list for things to do in Cuba if you are lucky enough to visit soon:

Visit Old Havana


The tourist resorts in Cuba do not give you a feel for real Cuba, to get this you must experience the older part of Havana. The architecture, winding streets, hustle and bustle and cute pieces of history such as hotel which Hemmingway stayed in on and off for months make this a must. If you just want to go to Cuba for the all inclusive experience – you could go somewhere closer and cheaper. Havana really should be on your visit list.


Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana

I’ll be honest. This place creeped me out, but I’m glad we experienced it. Over the otherside of Havana, or La Habana as the locals call it,  this hotel has all of the art deco touches from when it was built in the 1930s. It is operated by the Government, as so many of the hotels in Cuba are (they’ve only recently let private companies in to run selected hotels) and the story behind the hotel states that it was the location for the biggest mafia meet there has ever been. Apparently Frank Sinatra played a concert at the hotel as the cover for the meeting. There is a bar which has pictures of all of the famous people that have stayed there, fascinating. Beware that the cocktail prices are the same price as home rather than the rest of Cuba, but they do make an excellent Mojito!


Watch a Buena Vista Social Club gig

Buena Vista Social Club are the most popular cuban export ever and it is easy to understand why. The music is awesome. Beautiful classical guitar and latin rhythms, although the original band are cracking on, new members have been recruited to carry on the legacy and they are well worth seeing. We organised this through our hotel rep, we paid for a vip package with a meal at a mansion, classic car and a meet and greet with the band (we weren’t aware of the meet and greet and it was a bit ridiculous as the man above with Mark was an absolute diva) but the meal in the mansion made it worth the extra money! The band perform wherever possible – sometimes in conference centres, so don’t be expecting a nightclub where you can dance, but it is still a good experience!


Varadero Beach

This beach is simply stunning and the aesthetic changes drastically based on the weather. Looks out to Florida, which is about 90 miles away. This beach is absolutely beautiful. If you stay in Varadero, you may be fortunate enough, like we were when staying in the Iberostar Tainos, that this is the beach your hotel backs on to. It will always have a special place in my heart as this is where Mark proposed!


Ride in a classic car

This is an absolute novelty. But totally worth doing as you never see cars like this at home anymore. Although I wouldn’t recommend long journeys as there are a lack of seat belts, so it maybe worth just paying the driver for a photograph, if like us, you have small children with you.


Drive a speedboat

There are many organised trips you can do and one to look out for is the one which allows you to drive a speedboat around a large stretch of river just outside Matanzas. Gives you an awesome feeling of being feel in nature! There is a bridge above, which you may also get the opportunity to stop on the side of and it is crazy to be above circling vultures as it is so high!