6 cuban cities and towns which are not in Havana but worth the detour

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It is true that the beaches in Cuba are hard to beat. But have you seen the rest of the country? The small colonial towns, mountain ranges, forests of royal palms, and all those bars that give off airs of his , and salsa?

If Havana is a must-see absolute and more popular than ever, this is not the only one to deserve your attention.

Also think to the following cities if you have the taste to explore Cuba away from the all-inclusive, taking all your time.

Trinidad

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Instagrammable wish, Trinidad is a small colonial town that has known its golden age in the 19th century thanks to the sugar industry. And it is almost as if she had not moved since this time, with its cobbled streets, horses, palaces, houses, multicolored and its “centre-city” that comes alive in the evening. In the distance you see the mountains of the Sierra del Escambray mountains and, all around, the beautiful valley of Los Ingenios. Many trips are one-day visit to Trinidad de Cuba, but it’s worth it to spend more time than that.

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Baracoa

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At the eastern end of the island, Baracoa is another Cuba. Surrounded by vegetation, extra bushy, it is the oldest (1511) and the most isolated cities of the island. Beaches, wild rivers, wooden houses and colourful chocolate factory, balmy the air, small hotels or Airbnb… We went there to soak up the atmosphere of another age, practicing his Spanish in the city centre and take a hike to the summit of Yunque, mount flat guard over Baracoa. A place for those who want to live in Cuba in the fashion adventurer.

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Santiago de Cuba

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Real birthplace of the revolution and the resting place of Fidel Castro, Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of the island, with approximately 500 000 inhabitants. It is here that the legacy of afro-cuban is more present in the country. Tropical and boiling of the culture, it promises you of the days colored (colonial architecture, museums…) and evenings well – caliente thanks to its many dance clubs, and music!

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Cienfuegos

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“If Cuba has a Paris, it’s definitely here,” writes Lonely Planet. Nicknamed the “pearl of the South”, Cienfuegos is a port city which, in fact, was founded by the French. This gives him a different touch of Spanish colonial towns of the rest of the country, with a classical architecture to discover in the city center (it starts at the parque Jose Martí). Do not miss the sector Punta Gorda to dive into the past in front of the grand mansions of the 1920s, at the edge of the water.

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Camagüey

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Third city of the country, Camagüey is known for its numerous baroque churches, for its literary scene and the arts (including Ballet) and for its streets are maze-like and colourful, where we like to get lost quietly. It is concentrated in its historic center, colonial, now inscribed in the UNESCO world heritage site, and one does not hesitate to spend a night of music typical to the Casa de la Trova.

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Viñales

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Agree, this is not a city. Vinales is a valley that you can explore from the small village of the same name. Ready to discover landscapes and unexpected in rural villages traditional? The region is dotted with tobacco fields and striking the “mogotes” mountains of limestone forms impressive. Meet them foot, bicycle or horseback, or explore the caves around the corner or – even better – spend the night in a casa particulare (bed and breakfast) to experience an immersion memorable.

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Sources: our archives, guides Ulysse, Le Routard, Frommer’s and Lonely Planet.

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