| 3 min read
When I first started planning our trip to Cuba, I looked at the map thinking one month would be way too much to visit this relatively small country. I researched if we couldn’t combine it with a visit to Jamaica or the Dominican Republic, but because there are no ferries between the islands and flights were ridiculously expensive, I abandoned the idea. While planning a whole month in Cuba, I however soon realized it’s not even enough time to properly tour the island. Even though we had a whopping 33 days in Cuba, I could’ve easily added up to 5 extra days to visit a few interesting places we had to skip.
This is what our planning looked like:
- 2 days in Havana (and another one later on)
- 3 days in Baracoa
- 1 day in Santiago de Cuba
- 3 days in Sierra Maestra to climb Pico Turquino and visit Comandancia de la Plata
- 1 day in Bayamo
- 1 day in Camaguey
- 1 day in Remedios for the Las Parrandas festival
- 1 day in Santa Clara
- 2 days in Sancti Spiritus (one of which we used to arrange our visa extension)
- 4 days in Trinidad
- 1 day in Cienfuegos
- 4 days in Viñales
- 2 days in Las Terrazas
- 1 day in Havana
- 1 day on Playa Larga
- 1 day in Matanzas
- 1 day in Varadero
Adding up the days amounts to 30, but a lot of time was lost on public transportation. If you want to travel on a budget, make sure to count in some extra time for travelling around.
Places I wanted to see, but had to skip because of a lack of time were Holguin, Las Tunas, Cayo Coco and Playa Girón. I could also have spent more time in Baracoa, which turned out to be our favourite destination on this trip.
The ups and the downs of travelling Cuba
Travelling low-budget in Cuba was exhausting at times. The Cuban government imposes expensive licenses to Cubans wishing to transport or accommodate tourists. This means Cuban people aren’t allowed to pick up foreign hitchhikers, while local (dirt cheap) buses don’t sell tickets to non-Cubans. Tourists can only stay at government-run hotels or in registered ‘casa particulares’, owned by locals who rent out one or more rooms in their own house. For that reason, Couchsurfing does not exist in Cuba. It is however still possible to travel relatively cheaply throughout the country, but it demands energy. A lot of energy.
Apart from that, we really loved travelling in Cuba. We visited during Winter, meaning that the weather on this Caribbean island was just perfect. No tropical downpours, no scorching temperatures and no unwanted hurricanes. And finally, the landscapes and activities are varied enough to keep anyone happy. We alternated intensive hikes and historic cities with some relaxing time-off at the beach with delicious cocktails throughout. The people are friendly and super welcoming. The communist society seems to function relatively well for now and it’s really interesting to learn about it. I honestly think now is the right time to visit this intriguing country, because in ten years’ time it will have changed completely.
Do you have questions? Did you experience something similar? Did you notice a mistake? Please share!