The 10 Most Underrated Places to Visit in Cuba in 2017

El Nicho, central Cuba
El Nicho, central Cuba | © Justin Otto/ Flickr
Barbara Maseda

Cuba is full of must-see locations, whether they’re the more common stops on standard tours of the country, or off the beaten path due to a lack of decent transport links and accommodation. Some of these neighborhoods and even entire municipalities are off the radars of many tourists and rarely make the lists of popular Cuban destinations. If you want to get a unique view of the country, visit one of the following, less touristic areas.

Isla de la Juventud

The second largest of all the islands that comprise the Cuban territory, Isla de la Juventud is only accessible by plane (national flights) and boat services that are very limited – which sometimes may have an isolation effect or even discourage some people from visiting. The island is renowned for having served as a reclusion center for prisoners since the first half of the 20th century – like a Cuban Alcatraz – and the old Model Prison, now a museum, is one of the main attractions. Other places of interest are the Jones’ Jungle (a botanical garden), the Punta del Este caves, and Bibijagua Beach.

Isla de la Juventud, Cuba


Playa Giron

Playa Giron is the beach that lends its name to the 1961 C.I.A.-supported invasion of Cuba known as Bay of Pigs. Located in the province of Matanzas, Playa Giron features a museum that recounts how the invaders were defeated in less than 72 hours. In addition to the beaches and natural landscapes, one of the main attractions here is to understand the Cubans’ side of the story.

Cuba, Bay of Pigs, Museum Giron in Playa Giron


Explorers and train lovers will have the time of their lives discovering Hershey, a town built to the east of Havana by the founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company, Milton Hershey. Looking to have a direct supply of sugar coming from Cuba, Hershey founded his own sugar mill, and then added an electric train to transport cargo and passengers. To this day, the train remains operational as a true working relic, departing at different times of the day from Casablanca, in Havana.

Hershey train station


Not as popular as Santiago and Holguin, Granma is one of five provinces in eastern Cuba. Bayamo, one of the country’s first cities which recently turned 500 years old, is probably one of the most popular destinations in Granma, but the province has way more to offer, especially the landscapes of the Sierra Maestra mountain range. On the westernmost tip of the territory, there are numerous sites linked to the history of the country in the 1950s, including the place where Fidel Castro’s forces landed to resume the struggle to overthrow dictator Batista. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Santo Domingo Village, the Desembarco del Granma National Park, and of course, Manzanillo, the second most important city in the province.



Although this province is better known as home to the U.S. naval base, there are many other points of interest that remain less well-known, including the Stone Zoo in Yateras – a park featuring over 400 sculptures of animals – Baracoa, the first city founded in Cuba by the Spanish colonizers, and numerous aboriginal sites, and former coffee and cocoa plantations linked to the heritage of French and Haitian settlers.

Revolution Square in Guantanamo


Although included in tour guides of Cuba, Soroa does not get all the attention it deserves. A biosphere reserve, it is located in the province of Pinar del Rio, not too far away from Havana. In addition to a beautiful waterfall known as El Salto, Soroa features other attractions, like an orchid garden that includes over 200,000 specimens of 700 varieties of orchids from different parts of the world, an observation point at 820 feet (250m) over the sea that offers wonderful views of the Rosario mountain range, and the Castle in the Clouds, a construction resembling a medieval castle.

Soroa falls


Not a touristy area, but certainly an interesting industrial community, Regla is another picturesque neighborhood in Havana. Located across the Havana Bay, it can be reached through a short ferry trip. A humble local church consecrated to the Virgin of Regla welcomes visitors at the entrance of the town. This is one of the country’s main patron saints (Yemaya in the Yoruba religion), which is paid tribute to with a big procession which takes place every September 8. Also famous in Regla are the Colina Lenin Monument, the Municipal Museum, and the local carnival troupe, Guaracheros de Regla.



One of the oldest settlements in Cuba, Guanabacoa is an industrial area on the outskirts of Havana that today stands out as one of the main centers of African-Cuban culture in the country. Santerian religious ceremonies, dance, traditions and customs are common in local culture centers and museums. Local attractions include the Jewish Cemetery, the Municipal Museum, and the Wemilere African Roots Festival.

Jewish Cemetery in Guanabacoa


Visiting Caibarien is a good idea for those staying at the keys on the northern coast of Cuba, as this fishing village is a more realistic sample of Cuba as a country, and a very different place from what can be found in the isolation of tourist resorts. Needless to say, seafood is abundant and cheap at local restaurants, and there are other attractions, like a steam engine museum at one of the local sugar mills.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article