Trinidad and the interior
Prosperous and modern Cienfuegos, 325 km southeast of Havana, lies at the foot of the Escambray Mountains and has a picturesque port. Downtown was built in the 19th century with the help of French settlers from Louisiana, which is why many of the finest buildings bear resemblance to New Orleans. The historic city center has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005. The main attractions around the Parque José Martí are the cathedral and the Teatro Tomás Terry, built at the end of the 19th century and known for its magnificent interior. Closer to the port are the castle, Castillo de Jagua and the Palacio de Valle, which features multiple architectural styles and Moorish influences. Today there is a restaurant with a roof terrace, from which one has a magnificent view of the bay and the surrounding area.
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Historic Trinidad (444 km east of Havana) has retained the atmosphere of an old colonial city despite the increasing number of tourists. Founded in 1514, Trinidad was one of the first seven cities in Cuba, and the many magnificent buildings from the 17th to 19th centuries ensured the city’s place among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Besides the cobblestone streets and pastel-colored houses, the main attractions are the elegant Parque Martí and several museums in the colonial buildings, the best of which, the Museo Romántico, has been beautifully renovated in the style of the period. The Taller Alfarero, a ceramics workshop that still uses traditional methods, is also worth a visit. Many tourists don’t stay in Trinidad itself, but at the nearby beach resort of Playa Ancón. Also worth mentioning is the 50m high Torre de Manaca Iznaga, a lookout tower with great views of the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) and the Escambray Mountains.
The busy city of Santa Clara (288 km east of Havana) is in the heart of an agricultural region. Santa Clara is often associated with revolutionary hero Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, who subdued the city for the Cuban Revolution before dictator General Batista abdicated. As well as promoting this vibrant city, the government is also working to maximize the potential of the rest of the area’s attractions, including Remedios and the beaches around Cayo Las Brujas.
The stone bridge over the Yayabo River at Sancti Spíritus is the oldest on the island. A stroll through the sleepy streets of this quiet town is a great way to admire the colonial architecture. The best example of this architectural style is thisColonial Art Museum.
Cigars, rum, Cuban music cassettes and local handicrafts are some of the most popular souvenirs. Special currency shops also offer goods that are not otherwise available. There are duty-free shops in all international airports and some hotels in Cuba. Opening hours: Mon-Sat 09.00-18.00 and Sun 09.00-12.00.
Seafood is particularly popular, as are omelettes (often stuffed with cheese), pork, suckling pig, chicken and rice, and fried green plantains. A thick soup of chicken or black beans is also commonly served. Cuban ice cream, which is said to taste just as good as Italian gelati, is ideal as a dessert or simply in between. Dishes in the hotels are not necessarily unusual, e.g. B. Chicken, fish, cheese and ham, fresh papaya, melon, pineapple, mango and banana. Savory desserts on offer include pastries, fruit tarts, caramel pudding and guava cream. Drinks: Bars generally have table and counter service. Cuban coffee is world famous and excellent; Cuban beer is not very strong, but tasty. Spirits are expensive, with the exception of rum, which is used in many cocktails such as daiquiris and mojitos (pronounced “mo-chi-tos”). Nightlife is concentrated in Havana, Varadero, Santiago de Cuba, and Guanabo east of Havana. Entertainment programs are often planned by the tour operator and visited in groups. There are various shows, nightclubs and theaters. The already legendary Tropicana nightclub offers excellent open-air shows to rousing salsa rhythms. Havana’s theatre, opera and ballet have seasons all year round and tickets are not expensive but must be booked in advance. Cinemas show films in Spanish, but some have subtitles.
The best hotels can be found in Havana, Varadero, Holguin, Caye Coco and Santiago de Cuba, where there is accommodation of all categories. Since most holiday stays in Cuba are package tours, the hotels are selected by the tour operator. Most larger hotels have a tourist office. Further information can be obtained from the Cuban Tourist Office (see addresses).
56% of the population with no religious affiliation, 39% Catholics, also Afro-Cuban, Protestant and Jewish denominations.
Social Rules of Conduct
Manners: When greeting someone shakes hands. Cubans greet each other with Compañero, visitors should use Señor or Señora. All Cubans have two surnames, but only use the first when addressing them. Clothing: Since the revolution, clothing has become much more casual. Cuban men wear guayabera (a slightly wrinkled shirt worn over trousers). Smart clothing is rarely necessary. Men should only wear shorts near the beach. Women wear cotton dresses or trousers during the day and cocktail dresses for special occasions. Tipping: A small tip is appropriate. Smoking: In Cuba it is forbidden in all public buildings and means of transport, as well as in cinemas, theatres, shops, restaurants, Bars and pubs No smoking. However, hospitality establishments can have smoking areas that are closed off by walls and doors and equipped with air extraction facilities.
Best travel time
Hot, subtropical climate all year round. Most precipitation falls from May to October. In autumn (August – November) hurricanes can occur. The cooler months of January and April have the least rainfall.
Area (sq km)
11,326,616 (Source: homosociety)
Population density (per square km)
Population statistics year
Main emergency number