The Towns And Villages of Cuba

If it’s in Cuba and it’s worth seeing, insightCuba can take you there. Our destinations include Havana, with its bustle and beauty, and towns and villages all along the length of this scenic and charming island:

Habana Vieja "the old city"

Havana: From “Habana Vieja,” “the old city,” to its cobblestone streets, classic cars, eclectic architecture, paladares, jazz, and El Malecon, Cuba’s capitol city has it all. Our Weekend in Havana, Jazz in Havana, and many of our other tours visit this important city.

Santiago de Cuba

Hot, hilly, and culturally diverse, the island’s second-largest city, Santiago de Cuba, explodes with festivals, street vendors, horse-drawn carts, the sounds of son and salsa music, and the sight of white-garbed Santeria devotees. Our Undiscovered Cuba and Cuba By Land & Sea tours visit Santiago de Cuba.

Baracoa Archaeological Museum

The country’s oldest town, Baracoa, is home to the island’s chocolate factories and cucurucho works, where pineapple-coconut-palm leaf candies are made. The little village near the island’s eastern tip boasts pristine beaches, pastel houses, El Yunque mountain, changui music, and lush rainforest—truly an island paradise. See Baracoa on our Undiscovered Cuba tour.

Horse and wagon in Cienfuegos

Sometimes called “the pearl of the south” or “the Paris of Cuba,” Cienfuegos (literally “one hundred fires”) rewards visitors with its neoclassical architecture and orange-tiled roofs, as well as coastal reefs, tranquil waters, and coral columns. Other attractions include the centuries-old Castillo de Jagua fortress, Jose Marti Park, and a number of notable monuments. Our Classic Cuba and Cuba By Land & Sea tours visit Cienfuegos.

At Cayo Granma island, red-roofed houses, many on stilts, stand guard around the harbor. Visitors and locals enjoy excellent fresh seafood and magnificent scenery.
Visit Cayo Granma on our Undiscovered Cuba tour.

Cathedral in Matanzas

Matanzas: On the Bay of Matanzas on Cuba’s northern shore, the “city of bridges” (17 of them!) is sometimes called “the Venice of Cuba,” and sometimes “the Athens…” owing to its rich cultural history. Birthplace of the rhumba, this comparatively large city sports museums, natural wonders, and other landmarks. Our Jazz in Havana tour includes Matanzas.

Horses in Bayamo, Granma, Cuba

Bayamo, in Granma Province, is one of the largest cities in the region, and home to a prominent university. Though Bayamo played a big part in island history, it’s better known today for its horse carts, relaxed pace, chess games, and Saturday night parties.
Our Undiscovered Cuba tour includes Bayamo.

Holguin, near the southern tip of Cuba, boasts beaches, parks, museums, and galleries—not to mention a baseball stadium and the enormous Loma de Cruz religious monument, visible for miles. Our Undiscovered Cuba tour will take you to Holguin. 

The first things visitors notice about Camaguey are the clay pots set outside to capture rainwater. Camaguey’s “old town,” built like a maze (to confuse would-be marauders, according to some accounts) was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Artistically impressive Ignacio Agramonte Square and no fewer than 15 churches grace Camaguey. InsightCuba’s Undiscovered Cuba tour will take you there.

Near the center of the country, Santa Clara, with its quarter-million inhabitants, is divided into more than 30 neighborhoods. Santa Clara is locally known for its university and imposing Che Guevara monument, as well as tobacco production and myriad street vendors. See Santa Clara on our Classic Cuba, Vintage Cuba, and Undiscovered Cuba tours.

Unique bird and animal species and an idyllic Cuban countryside make Playa Larga the ideal getaway for Scuba enthusiasts, beachcombers, nature lovers and all who appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. InsightCuba’s Classic Cuba and Cuba By Land & Sea tours take you to Playa Larga.

UNESCO World Heritage Site Trinidad features sugarcane mills, the historic Plaza Mayor, Colonial-era structures, and beautiful buildings in pastel hues. Beaches and bays include the lovely Playa Ancon. In the evenings, the town comes alive with musical performance and dance. InsightCuba’s Classic Cuba tour visits Trinidad.

UNESCO Biosphere reserve Las Terrazas (or “terraces”) houses more than 70 bird and 800 plant species. Once home to numerous coffee plantations, this picturesque community features whitewashed houses with colorful rooftops and Cuba’s famously welcoming locals. It’s also home to open studios and craft workshops. Experience Las Terazzas on our Scenic Cuba tour.

Viñales seems to offer a trip to a prior century, with views of limestone formations, farmers riding to work on horseback, and endless fields of tobacco under bright blue skies. Tranquility and beauty reward those who travel there. See Viñales on our Scenic Cuba tour.

Some of Cuba’s best scenery—mountain ranges, tobacco plantations and sugarcane fields—can be enjoyed in Pinar del Rio, “pine of the river.” Like most of Cuba, it features noteworthy architecture and warm, welcoming citizens. Farmers known as “guajiros” perform traditional music, telling stories through song. Our Scenic Cuba tour visits Pinar del Rio.

Cayo Santa Maria, connected to the mainland by a long causeway, defines “unspoiled.” Only in the past fifteen years has this small, lovely island seen a hotel (and its new hotels are magnificent). Thatch umbrellas, white sand beaches, and azure waters housing scores of tropical fish make Cayo Santa Maria an attractive destination. Visit Cayo Santa Maria on our Vintage Cuba tour.

Rarely visited by tourists, Remedios, near the center of the island, holds several notable historic buildings, including Iglesia Mayor with its thirteen ornate altars. Home to abundant Spanish colonial architecture, quiet streets, and lively “Parrandas” Christmas festivals, Remedios charms all who take the time to see it. Visit Remedios on insightCuba’s Vintage Cuba tour.

Caibarien Corner

Known for carnivals, white sand beaches, and expertly cooked crab, Caibarien, nicknamed Villa Blanca,” or “White Town,” in honor of its sun-bleached sand, delivers an authentic travel experience, far from tourist hotels and attractions. Its people are friendly, even by island standards. Our Vintage Cuba and Undiscovered Cuba tours stop in Caibarien.

Text by Chelsea Lowe 
Photo by Robin Thom