A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cienfuegos is a showcase of Neoclassical architecture. The city feels laid back and even prosperous. Jose Marti Park in the center of town is a shady spot to take in the elegant surrounding buildings. Then stroll the country’s longest promenade, Paseo del Prado. On the waterfront are more stunning buildings and views of the beautiful bay.
2. Vinales Valley and Cueva del Indio
Another of Cuba’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Vinales is a lush, picturesque valley in Pinar del Rio province studded with tobacco fields and sheer, rock formations called karsts. It’s especially nice seen from a scenic overlook on the road in. Within the valley, the Cueva del Indio (Indian Cave) is a vast network of underground caves. If you like dripping, cavernous places and geological spectacles, this is a fun excursion.
First descend a steep staircase and walk through tall galleries and narrow passages, then board a motorboat and let the underground river lead you back into the sunlight. Altogether it takes about 30 minutes.
3. Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs)
In April of 1961, U.S. backed, Cuban exiles attempted to overthrow the revolutionary regime. They did not succeed. There’s a very good little museum here and it makes for an interesting historical stop.
4. Che Guevara Mausoleum at Santa Clara
Whatever you may think of Che Guevara, this monument to Cuba’s #1 national hero leaves an impression. Santa Clara was the site of the final battle of the revolution in 1958. Che died in 1967 fighting another revolution in Bolivia. His remains were discovered in a mass grave near a Bolivian airstrip and interred in Santa Clara in 1997.
5. Finca Vigia
Ernest Hemingway lived in Cuba for almost 30 years, 1932-1937 at the Hotel Ambos Mundos in Old Havana and 1939-1960 at his estate, Finca Vigia, about 7 miles outside of Havana. The property is now a museum, filled with the objects of the writer’s everyday life. The house is pretty, surprisingly homey and cheerful (if you overlook the dead animal heads and bullfighting posters on the walls) and the grounds are lush and peaceful.
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