Ask anyone the first three things they can think of when mentioning Cuba and you will most probably hear Cuban cigars, music and Castro. The first two not only are the reasons a lot of tourists visit Cuba every year. Even though a socialist country and in tensed relationship with the United States, Cuba seems to be one of the preferred Caribbean holiday destinations. With lots of places to visit and lots of things to do, most of them with very good prices, a holiday in Cuba can prove to be a great alternative to other Caribbean destinations and definitely a cheaper one. Access to the biggest Caribbean island is mainly done by air and very rarely by boat. The island is divided into three regions: Western Cuba, Central Cuba and Eastern Cuba and getting from one region to the other can be done by car, bus, plane or boat. In the cities you can get around by bus, bike or taxi. Renting a car is not always recommended and if you are alone or with a friend you can hitchhike.
The top tourist destinations in Cuba are Havana, the capital, Santa Clara which hosts the statue of Che Guevara, Pinar del Rio which is considered the capital of the cigar industry, Varadero, Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa for the beaches. Tourists who visit Cuba take day trips to Trinidad a Cuban city with colonial-era architecture, to Isla de la Juventud, a big island that is part of Cuba, or to Maria la Gorda, a small village at the sea where one can go diving or snorkeling. For nature lovers Cuba is the place that is not only surrounded by waters, but also has several national parks that can be visited and where different activities can be done during your holiday. In Pinar del Rio you can visit, Vinales National Park or La Guira National park which have a lot of caves and mountains. For scuba diving, beaches and bird watching as well as for visiting a historical site you can visit the Cienaga de Zapata National park situated in the Mantanzas region. A few of the places that you should visit and enjoy while in Cuba are the tobacco factories, the sea wall Malecon, the coral reefs from Cayo Coco, and many more.
As with most Caribbean destinations the best time to enjoy a holiday in Cuba is any period from December to April which is actually considered the tourist season. There are many things that make Cuba a destination to avoid, however once you get to find out details about the country, its regions and the ways that you can spend your holiday, you are most likely to return or extend your staying. If you are traveling for the first time to Cuba, make sure you find out if you need a visa and how you can obtain it. Most countries need visas which are not difficult to get but the period of time varies. Also take cash with you and choose one of the main currencies like the Euro, the Canadian Dollar, and the GBP. There are two kinds of money in Cuba, the Cuban Pesos (CUP) and the Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). The currency you want to use while there is the CUP. If you are not a smoker and you do not want to try the famous Cuban cigars, you can try the rum or the coffee or any of their popular rum based cocktails, the Cuba Libre or the Mojito. The thing that unites all of these is the music, salsa, son and Afro-Cubano.
In terms of accommodation if you really want to experience the Cuban way of life and culture, you should try the private rooms called casa particular. Since casa particulares are available in most of the towns, there is a network of casa particulares around the island and the owners will send you from one casa to another if you want them too. One thing to remember is that while prices are low compared to other tourist places, you are charged for everything and if you are not paying attention you can be overcharged. Most of the people have low wages, thus tipping is expected and encouraged everywhere. When you leave Cuba be careful about the things you want to take out of Cuba as there are restrictions to the amount of cigars, rum, coffee and other souvenirs.