When tourists think of Cuba, most of them think of lazing around in the beach resorts of Varadero. But the real Cuba, outside of the all-inclusive hotels, is full of exciting adventures. With plenty of activities both on land and in the water, getting active is a wonderful way to experience the natural beauty of the country. Here are 5 ways to do just that:
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Cuba
The coastal regions of Cuba offers plenty of snorkeling and scuba diving options for both beginners and experts. The water is pristine, the corals are well preserved, and the Cuban coast is home to more than 50 species of corals, 200 species of sponges, and a myriad of other underwater creatures. For those who want to stay close to the hotels, Playa Coral in Varadero offers a fun snorkeling experience complete with beautiful corals and playful tropical fish.
Swimming in a cave
Sure, you can swim on the stretch of beach by your resort, but swimming in a cave with fresh (read: non-salty) water is a whole other experience. You won’t even have to go far to enjoy the experience. Bellamar Caves and Saturno Cave are two popular caves, both located within an hour of the Varadero resorts. You’ll be mesmerized by the crystalline formations in the caves. Remember to bring your snorkeling gear for an even better underwater experience.
Hiking through a national park in Cuba
No matter what type of hiker you are, Cuba’s seven national parks has something to satisfy your outdoor desires. For an easy hike, the Varahicacos Ecological Reserve located at the tip of the Varadero peninsula offers a 1-hour self-guided trek through large cactus, small caves, and even a 2,500 year-old aboriginal burial site. Those serious hikers, Parque Nacional Pico Turquino in Santiago de Cuba offers a two day climb to Cuba’s highest mountain peak in the Sierra Maestra mountains.
Horseback riding through the valley
Horseback riding through the natural beauties of Cuba is a magical experience. While it is possible to participate in horseback riding on the beach, for an even more stunning experience, book a ride in Vinales Valley or Trinidad where you can enjoy the scenic Cuban countryside from the comfort of a horseback.
Kayaking along the coast of Cuba
The main island of Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and a large island means a lot of coast. That fact, combined with pristine turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and royal palms make Cuba a beautiful kayaking spot. Many resorts even provide kayaking activities for guests free of charge. As you paddle out into the water, leaving the resort behind, enjoy the calming waters of Cuba and explore the country’s numerous little cayes.
Written by Tracy Zhang of Just in Time Travels