Travel in Cuba: to the rhythm of a new time - INTI Tours
Caribbean beach - cigars - salsa - Che Guevara
Cuba has awakened as if from a slumber - and the country still has its unmistakable flair, which makes visitors curious. When traveling in Cuba, you will experience the rhythm of a new era. Travelers from all over the world explore Cuba with its unmistakable flair and music.
Walk through the alleys of Havana with colorful morbid charm, take a spin in a vintage car or swing your hips to musical salsa joie de vivre. Discover the beautiful Valle de Viñales, where supposedly the best tobacco in the world grows. Trace the footsteps of world-famous revolutionaries Che Guevara and Fidel Castro - in museums, at memorials, on hiking trails.
And enjoy Cuba's beaches, which are among the most beautiful in the entire Caribbean: white, fine sand, tropical palm trees, turquoise sea and a bright blue sky make the dream paradise perfect. Not only on the main island Isla de Cuba, but especially on the many smaller, often uninhabited islands, the so-called Cayos, you will find true gems. Work up an appetite?
Bienvenidos a Cuba!
Our types of travel in Cuba
Your dream trip to Cuba
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Examples of individual desire journeys on Cuba
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Country information about Cuba: "Largest island in the Caribbean".
In terms of nature, the Republic of Cuba is an archipelago. It consists of the main island Isla de Cuba, the southern Isla de la Juventud and 1,600 smaller, mostly uninhabited islands, the so-called Cayos. The Cuban archipelago belongs to the Greater Antilles and borders the Caribbean Sea to the south, the Gulf of Mexico to the northwest and the Atlantic Ocean to the northeast. The main island has a length of 1,250 km, the width varies between 31 and 210 km. Cuba is with almost 110,000 square kilometers about as large as the former GDR and has a good 11 million inhabitants. Three quarters of the Cuban population lives in cities. At the time of the Spanish conquest in 1492, 90% of Cuba was forested.
The full name of Cuba's capital is Villa San Cristóbal de La Habana. With about 3 million inhabitants, Havana is the largest metropolis in the Caribbean in terms of both population and area. In the north, the Bahía de La Habana lies directly on the Atlantic Ocean and is home to the city's three major ports. Havana was founded by the Spaniards in 1519 due to its strategically favorable location and was given the title of capital of Cuba as early as 1552. The sinking of the USS Maine in the port of Havana in 1898 was the immediate trigger of the Spanish-American War. The city is the political center of the country and the seat of the government, numerous ministries and businesses, and over 90 embassies. La Habana Vieja, the old town of Havana, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982.
Absolutely worth seeing:
- La Habana Vieja, the colonial old town of Havana around Calle Obispo, presents itself colorful, lively and full of joie de vivre. A colorful jumble of locals and visitors, lively street cafés and Cuban sounds and dance everywhere. The Hotel Ambos Mundos was once Hemingway's favorite hotel and offers a wonderful view from the top. A visit to the old pharmacies Taqueche as well as Johnson is impressive, where one feels transported back into the past. Havana's attitude to life is full of passion and Caribbean energy. The further you get from the colorful old town center, the more decay, faded colors and ruins take over your view.
- The Malécon, which is about seven kilometers long, invites you to take an evening stroll along the waterfront. Many locals also end the day here.
- On the trail of classic cars... Whether Cadillac, Buick or Chevrolet - the colorful downtown Havana is full of colorful vehicles that have come of age. You can admire and photograph them or even take a vintage car ride...
- The former presidential palace, which dates back to colonial times, offers a very imposing view from the outside and today houses the Museo de la Revolución. The museum, which is worth seeing, depicts the exciting past of Cuba and the capital Havana, which became the scene of the freedom fights against the dictatorship. The freedom fighters Che Guevara and Fidel Castro are still revered by a large part of Cubans as heroes of the Cuban Revolution. Political opinions and references to the city's turbulent history can be found on every corner of Havana.
- A visit to the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña fortress is worthwhile for the great views of Habana Vieja and the Malecón alone.
- At the time of the Spanish conquest in 1492, 90% of Cuba was forested. Seventy percent of Cuba's surface consists of flat to slightly hilly lowlands, which today provide ideal conditions for plantation crops and cattle ranching. In the center of the island, sugar cane is predominantly cultivated, while the world-famous tobacco thrives on the red laterite soils predominantly in the west. Extensive citrus plantations can be found on the island of youth. Today, only about 18% of the island is covered with forest, yet the vegetation is very diverse for Caribbean conditions, with about 8,000 plant species. Three mountain ranges and massifs with heights between 700 and 2,000m determine the topography of the island. The largest of these mountains is the Sierra Maestra in the east of the island, which gained international fame when the rebels led by Fidel Castro started their guerrilla war from there. In the center of the island rises the Escambray Mountains. The third mountain range extends west of Havana in the province of Pinar del Río. Here you can find one of the most beautiful landscapes in Cuba, the Viñales Valley. Single spherical rocks rise between the red earth with green tobacco fields and spectacular limestone caves can also be found in the area. In the south of the island, the Zapata Peninsula is home to large swamps, which have been declared an ecosystem worthy of protection. The more than 5,700 km long coastline is lined with coral reefs, mangrove bays, salt marshes, swamps and alluvial areas. A good half of the coast is offshore on a shallow shelf up to 200 km wide. The Cuban coral reefs are among the best developed reefs in the Caribbean and have high economic importance, especially for coastal protection, fishing and as a foreign exchange earner in international diving tourism. Sandy beaches are relatively rare on the main island, the best known being on the Varadero peninsula. Therefore, more and more cayos are being developed for tourism.
- The Cuban fauna is also rich in species. Especially attractive is the underwater world with its 900 different species of fish. Most of the land fauna belongs to the reptile genus, including crocodiles, iguanas, salamanders, turtles and 15 species of non-poisonous snakes. Cuba is home to the world's smallest bird: the shimmering hummingbird or Zunzúncito is barely larger than a grasshopper and weighs just two grams. Because of its red-white-blue plumage - the colors of the Cuban flag - it was declared the national bird. In general, the high number of endemic species is astonishing, accounting for over 50% of plants and 43% of animals. There are more than 200 nature reserves in the country, and six zones have been declared biosphere reserves by UNESCO.
The westernmost province of Cuba is an area of fascinating scenery as well as the center of tobacco cultivation. Like nowhere else in Cuba, countless palm trees thrive here and the scent of numerous tobacco plantations is in the air. The mountain ranges Sierra de los Organos and Sierra de Rosario with an altitude of 600 to 700 meters each determine the picture. Embedded in a hilly landscape of bizarre limestone cones - the so-called Mogotes - the Valle de Viñales spreads out. The best tobacco in the world grows here. The dreamy provincial capital of Pinar del Rio is characterized by low, brightly colored houses - here the clock ticks its own serene rhythm.
Absolutely worth seeing:
- Picturesque Pinar del Rio with its colorful charm and coziness.
- Visit one of the many tobacco factories, where you can watch the tobacco rollers at work.
- In the valley of Viñales, about 25km north of Pinar del Rio, you can marvel at fascinating rock paintings. Not far away is also the cave Cueva del Indio with its rock formations and milky green watercourses, on which a boat trip can be taken.
- The Los Jazmines viewpoint offers a wonderful view of the gorgeous Viñales Valley.
The Escambray Mountains south of Santa Clara characterize the central region of Cuba. The highest elevation is Mount San Juan with a height of 1,156 meters above sea level. In addition to pine forest and pasture land, an extremely species-rich tropical vegetation can be found here. In the lowlands also thrives much of the national tree of Cuba - the royal palm. The Hanabanilla reservoir serves as a popular destination for anglers, but mainly supplies the economic centers of Santa Clara, Cienfuegos and Trinidad with energy. The southern coast impresses with its original vegetation with numerous mangrove forests and swamplands. The Montemar Nature Park is the largest contiguous wetland in Cuba.
Absolutely worth seeing:
- Cienfuegos, founded in 1514, is located on Jagua Bay on the Caribbean Sea. The city's splendor can be traced back to its former wealth from the flourishing sugar industry, and many of the sugar barons' magnificent buildings can still be admired today. The view from the Palacio del Valle over the entire bay is magnificent. Other buildings worth seeing are the Teatro Tomás Terry, the Cathedral La Purísima Concepción, the Palacio del Valle and the Parque José Marti. The city is an ideal starting point for excursions to the surrounding area.
- Trinidad de Cuba is considered one of the best preserved colonial cities in the Americas. It was founded in 1514 and was an important center of the slave trade, the sugar industry and an influential cultural center. Historic mansions, ornate balconies, door grilles, window screens old cobblestone streets characterize the image. Trinidad de Cuba with its venerable colonial buildings is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Worth seeing are the central square Plaza Mayor, which is surrounded by numerous historic buildings, and the church Parroquial Mayor de la Santisíma Trinidad.
- Visit to the so-called "Valley of the Sugar Factories" Manaca Iznaga. Even today, the ruins and remains of some sugar factories from the end of the 18th century can be visited. The Manaca Iznaga tower, built in 1816, can also still be seen. From it the slaves were supervised at their work and a bell announced the beginning and the end of the working day. This area was once one of the most prosperous on the island.
- Camagüey has one of the best preserved historic centers on the island. Pretty alleys lead to beautiful town squares. Worth visiting are the Nuestra Señora de la Merced Church, the Ignacio Agramonte House - named after a champion of the independence movement of 1868 - and the Plaza del Carmen, one of the city's important squares.
This part of the island is scenically and culturally more pristine and thus more "Cuban" than the west and Havana. Havana may be the political capital of Cuba, but Santiago de Cuba, founded as early as 1514, is the undisputed capital of Cuban joie de vivre and music. The city is considered the cradle of Cuban Son music and rum. Several famous producers come from Santiago. And the city tells of the history of the Cuban Revolution, for example in the Revolution Museum in an old colonial building. Fidel Castro lived in an old wooden house as a law student. From the balcony of the town hall, he proclaimed the victory of the revolution on January 1, 1959.
Absolutely worth seeing:
- Santiago de Cuba: picturesque streets and alleys leading down to the harbor make the El Tivolí district with its colorful houses the most picturesque corner of Santiago. The Revolution Museum as well as the Emilio Bacardi carnival museum are certainly worth a visit. The Santa Ifigenia Cemetery with its national monuments is the burial place of revolutionary heroes as well as personalities such as Bacardi or the musician Compay Segundo of the Buena Vista Social Club. Fidel Castro's ashes were interred on December 4, 2016.
- The small island of Cayo Granma, located off Santiago's harbor entrance, is worth a visit. Perched on the island is the imposing Spanish fortress of El Morro, with gorgeous views of the Caribbean Sea and the mountains of the Sierra Maestra - the mountain range steeped in history where Fidel Castro and Che Guevara began their revolution....
- From the mountain village of Santo Domingo, tours lasting several days lead through the Turquino National Park to Cuba's highest mountain, Pico Turquino, at 1974 meters. A day hike leads to Fidel Castro's command center. In the dense jungle, local guides show the "Radio Rebelde" broadcasting station and the field hospital where Che Guevara treated injured guerrilla fighters. Fidel Castro's hut is also still standing - complete with bed and refrigerator with bullet holes.
- Visit to a coffee plantation on the way to Baracoa.
- A serpentine pass road leads through dense mountain jungle over the Sierra Maestra to the coastal town of Baracoa. Due to this natural isolation, Cuba's oldest town has preserved its colonial heritage to this day. It was in the bay of Baracoa that Christopher Columbus first set foot on the island in 1492. The wooden cross he erected stands today in Baracoa's church. Baracoa was officially founded in 1511 by the Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez. Horse-drawn carriages bump through the narrow streets lined with brightly painted colonial houses. Baracoa is an ideal base for exploring the varied beautiful surroundings.
- Hiking in the Alexander von Humboldt National Park is a unique natural experience. The 70,000-hectare protected area has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011 and was named after the German naturalist who explored the area in the 1800s. Almost 70% of all plant and animal species on the island exist exclusively in this natural region. With up to 2000 animal and plant species, the park is considered the most important biological reserve in the entire Caribbean. Jungle giants, pineapple plants, magnificent ferns and fragrant orchids can be found in the jungle of Cuba. The endemic Monte Iberia frog, which measures no more than one centimeter, and the miniature hummingbird called Zunzuncito can also be found in the forest.
- A boat trip in a traditional Cayuca wooden boat on the Río Toa can be taken in the Alexander von Humboldt National Park. When the canopy opens in between, it reveals views of the 575-meter-high Yunque Table Mountain.
- Cuba's most beautiful beaches in the eastern region are in Guardalavaca. Snow-white sand and hammocks under palm trees await at Playa Esmeraldaand Playa Pesquero.
- Fidel and Raúl Castro were born on the former finca Mañacas near Birán in the province of Holguín, close to the Parque Nacional la Mensura. Today the place is a kind of open-air museum with family photos, children's clothes, etc.
Beaches of Cuba:
Cuba's beaches are among the most beautiful in the entire Caribbean: white, fine sand, tropical palm trees, turquoise sea and a bright blue sky make the dreamed paradise perfect. Not only on the main island Isla de Cuba, but especially on the many smaller, often uninhabited islands, the so-called Cayos, you will find true gems. Here are some of the most beautiful ones.
Absolutely worth seeing:
- Playa Ancon is located near Trinidad on Cuba's southern coast. Over four kilometers, snow-white sand stretches along the turquoise sea with colorful fish cavorting around more colorful corals. A place ideal for divers and snorkelers.
- South of Havana is the offshore island of Isla de la Juventud. At Punta Francés in the Parque Nacional Marino de Punta Frances a fantastic underwater world awaits divers and snorkelers. Many of the beaches are also beautiful.
- In the middle north of Cuba lies the island Cayo Coco. It is named after a rare ibis - the Coco, as the Cubans call it. The island is also ideal for children, as you can walk several hundred meters into the water on the dream beaches and still stand. The ground under water slopes only very shallowly. On the island itself, in addition to the cocos that give the island its name, many flamingos can be observed, and even a particularly beautiful beach is named after them: Playa Flamencos. Cayo Guillermo is actually also a part of Cayo Coco. Here there are sand dunes over 15 meters high, which are among the largest in Cuba.
- On Cayo Jutias and Cayo Levisa you are almost alone with yourself and the hermit crabs. The small offshore islands are located in the northwest of Cuba and can be reached via Viñales.
- At the westernmost tip of Cuba in the province of Pinar del Río is Maria La Gorda, a small stretch of extremely fine sand, tropical palm forests in the hinterland and a crystal clear sea.
Facts and figures Cuba:
Land area: about 110,000 sq. km.
Population: 11.45 million - about 65% white, 10% Afro-Cuban and 25% mulatto or mestizo
Capital: Havana with about 3 million inhabitants
Highest mountain: Pico Turquino (1.974m)
Form of government: Socialist Republic
History: Since the revolution of 1961, Cuba is a Socialist Republic with one-party rule by the Communist Party of Cuba. Occupied by the Spanish since the beginning of the 16th century and by the USA from 1898. The island state has been independent since 1902.
Economy: Planned economy with some free-market elements. Tourism is the main source of income. The main exports are sugar and tobacco.
Currency: There are two currencies in Cuba: 1. the convertible peso (CUC=Peso convertible), 2. the Cuban peso (Moneda Nacional or Peso cubano).
The peso cubano may neither be imported nor exported, foreign currencies are not subject to any restrictions. It is mainly foreigners who use the CUC to pay for products and services during their vacation. The Cuba currency CUC is pegged to the US dollar with a fixed exchange rate. The Cuban Peso (Moneda Nacional or Peso cubano) is a currency for Cubans and it is subsidized by the state. Meanwhile, many Cubans pay with the CUC because they are supported by their families in the USA. Of course, foreigners are also allowed to pay with Moneda Nacional, for example when going to markets, local snack bars or even in local restaurants and bars.
Festivals: Cultura Caribeña festival every June and July, Carnival from July 18 to 27, Day of Lazarus or Babalu Ayé on December 17
Travel in Cuba:
Entry requirement: Passport must be valid for 6 months upon entry. A return or onward ticket must be presented. Sufficient funds or a credit card must be shown.
Vaccinations: No vaccinations are required. Travelers must provide proof of private travel health insurance coverage valid for Cuba (details through the embassy).
Climate & Travel Time: Cuba has an alternating humid marginal tropical climate. There are two seasons: the hot and humid summer from May to October is the main rainy season with an average of 27°C. The humidity reaches almost 100%. Winter averages from November to April are 20°C and 77% humidity. The time of hurricanes in Cuba is from July to the end of October.
Best time to visit: November to April
Local time: -6 h