Published on November 29th, 2015 | by Mark Chesnut
18 Things To Do in Cuba You Can’t Do Anywhere Else
In a recent post on LatinFlyer.com, I highlighted how a Cuba vacation is a very different experience from anywhere else on earth, especially for U.S. travelers — and we also addressed whether you should ditch your Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic vacation plans and go to Cuba instead.
Now it’s time for some specific examples of things to do in Cuba that you can’t do anywhere else. Cuba’s government, social structure and long-standing isolation from the United States makes it very different from other destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America — from the historic city of Havana, part of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to other culturally rich cities, small towns and beautiful natural areas around the Caribbean’s largest island. And that means it’s a great place to enjoy experiences you likely won’t easily find elsewhere — but if you’re a U.S. citizen, you need to follow guidelines and go with a licensed tour operator and/or travel agent. But that’s gotten easier, as publicity grows about the thawing relations between the U.S. and Cuban governments, and more companies pile on to attract your attention with enticing Cuba tours and travel experiences.
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Tour operators have gotten good at creating vacation activities and itineraries that adhere to U.S. government restrictions while also taking in the uniqueness of the Cuba travel experience. Here are samples of 18 things do to and where to go in Cuba, as offered by a variety of tour operators and travel companies.
• Take a salsa dance lesson from a local expert in Havana.
• Visit the Thomas Terry theater, a late 19th-century architectural gem in Cienfuegos where stars like Sarah Bernhard and Enrico Caruso once performed.
• Enjoy a live concert of Afro-Cuban music.
• Sample authentic cuisine at private homes called paladares.
• Meet local teachers and administrators to learn about the nation’s educational system
• Visit an elementary school and take part in the morning’s lessons.
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• Visit a farmers market and supermarket, to learn about local food traditions and the workings of a two-currency country.
• Attend a performance by a Chorus of Cienfuegos and spend time talking with the singers.
• Visit local artists and home studios in the city of Trinidad.
Globus and Cosmos
• Meet with members of the American Car Club to learn how they maintain Cuba’s impressive array of vintage automobiles.
• Converse with Cuban baseball players about the history and importance of this popular sport on the island.
• Visit a print shop that still uses traditional printing and binding techniques.
• Meet residents of the semi-indigenous Guirito community.
• Wander San Juan Hill, which Teddy Roosevelt helped make famous.
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• Meet with local doctors, artists and volunteers to learn how typical Cubans live.
• Visit La Casa de Africa, which has a collection of artifacts and items from more than 30 African countries and recounts the strong link between Cuban and African cultures.
• Learn about the history of legendary Cuban cigars at the Conde Villanueva cigar lounge.
• Sip equally famous Cuban rum at the Havana Club Museum of Rum, which showcases the traditional rum-making process.