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Central Cuba Travel Guide

  • Photo: Tupungato / Shutterstock

Plan Your Central Cuba Vacation

Cuba's geographic heart beats with the rhythms of Afro-Cuban music, of turquoise waves crashing on white-sand beaches, and of life unfolding in splendid colonial cities. Its coral reefs are awash in color, its mangrove swamps attract flamingos by the thousands, and its lush mountain valleys are filled with birdsong of all types.

Inviting beaches border Central Cuba to the north and south.

In between are varied landscapes—from mountains to mangroves—dotted with historic cities. Unlike that of many Caribbean islands, Cuba's early history centered on life in cities, and scattered across this region are three of the nation's seven original "villas"—Trinidad, Sancti Spíritus, and Camagüey—as well as the colonial town of Remedios. In each, time-worn churches and mansions line cobbled streets and tidy parks; in the verdant countryside beyond, old farmhouses overlook sugar plantations, royal palms tower over pastures populated by the people's cattle, and children in red-and-white uniforms play outside one-room schoolhouses.

Central Cuba's northern and southern coasts have many beautiful stretches of sand. The beach count leaps dramatically when you include the hundreds of cayos (keys) that flank the shores. More and more visitors are discovering the northern cayos, collectively called the Jardines del Rey (Gardens of the King). In the south, the less accessible archipelago known as the Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) is visited only by diving excursions.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Beaches. Each central province has a bit of shoreline, and many of the beaches here are lovely turquoise shallows and powdered ivory sands shaded by coconut palms. Central Cuba's best beaches are on its northern keys—Villa Clara's tranquil Cayo Las Brujas, and Ciego de Ávila's more developed Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo.
  2. Colonial Architecture. Several cities have histories that date from the arrival of the Spanish. Trinidad, the best-preserved of these communities, has block upon block of cobblestone streets lined with 18th- and 19th-century structures.
  3. Scuba Diving and Snorkeling. Diving possibilities range from coral formations just offshore to the isolated, hard-to-access, coral-ringed islands of the Jardines de la Reina, protected within a vast underwater park teeming with marine life.
  4. The Cuban People. The increasing popularity of the casa particular (individual homestay) and the paladar (private eatery) provides new opportunities to get to know individual Cubans, witness their everyday lives, and forge friendships.
  5. Great Resorts. Some of the newest Cuban resorts are now found on the cayos of the Jardines del Rey Peninsula. From these island-paradise homebases you can head out to some of the traditional colonial cities.

When To Go

When to Go

Hurricane season runs from May to November, with September through November presenting a greater risk of your vacation being washed out. The...

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