Without a doubt, Cuba’s national sport is baseball and boy they are good! Baseball fans from the US and Canada are certainly familiar with names like Céspedes or Escobar who play in the MLB. The Cuban national league starts in August and goes till April. Games are played every 1-3 days making it a perfect activity for winter holidaymakers to this Caribbean country.
Read more: How to Watch a Baseball Game in Cuba
This is the best cultural experience you can get from your trip to Cuba. Casa Particulars are somewhat like home-stays but with more privacy. The homes are extremely well kept. While hotel prices in Cuba are not exactly the cheapest, with casa particulars you can get a really nice room for just 25-35 CUC (25-35 USD) per night. Many times, your room is an entirely separate section of the house with your own terrace and even a kitchen.
But what is most interesting about staying in a casa is getting an insight into Cuban life. Take some time to talk to the family and learning about the nation’s culture and history. The hosts are always very helpful and can arrange transportation between cities, rental bikes etc.
A must-try is also a home cooked dinner (and breakfast) available at most casas. For the price of just 5-10 CUC (5-10 USD) it is always a big feast and extremely delicious!
Leave touristy Havana, Varadero or Trinidad and visit what Lonely Planet calls Cuba’s edgiest city - Santa Clara! This busy city is home to the memorial of Cuban revolutionary hero Che Guevara, who liberated the city in December 1958, ending the brutal Batista dictatorship.
Santa Clara is also known for it’s tobacco factory (Fábrica de Tabacos Constantino Pérez Carrodegua) which produces top-quality Cuban cigars. Take a tour around the factory and learn more about this valued tobacco. The factory is also less crowded than the one in Havana, making the experience more authentic. Tickets cost 4 CUC (4 USD), you can buy them at Cubatur (office near Parque Vidal).
Over 20-kilometers (12-mile) of paradise beach stretches uninterruptedly along the narrow Hicacos Peninsula in Varadero. It is ranked as one of the best beaches in the world and I can see why! The waters are crystal clear with perfect temperature. It’s shallow for a long time before getting too deep. The waves, if any, are fun but not threatening. The sand is clean and golden blond.
If you're staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts, I recommend making a trip to the “Cuban” part of Varadero, anywhere between Calle 20-40. The beach here is wider and less crowded during high season.
Even though Varadero is a typical tourist town, to my surprise, it had a very nice and calm vibe. There’s a lot of activities available other than just sunbathing. You can play golf at Varadero Golf Club, scuba-dive, hike at Varahicacos Ecological Reserve, go to one of the malls, mini-golf, bowl and much more.
A good way to get around and see the whole peninsula is to hop on one of the double-decker Beach Tour Buses for 5 CUC (5 USD) a day ticket.
Choose your favourite American old-timer and hop on an one-hour city tour around Havana. Cars await tourist near Parque Central. Prices are 30-40 CUC (30-40 USD) depending on your bargaining skills. Your driver will take you along the Malecón and to the main sights, giving time to hop off and take a picture.
I was positively surprised by this tour, as seeing the city from a vintage car while listening to some good Cuban reggaeton was both relaxing and fun. The tour also includes a guide who will briefly tell you about the main sights.