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My ABC of the coolest things to do in Cuba

I recently found out that in Belgium, nobody under 84 actually uses the word ‘cool’ anymore. I wasn’t in the know yet and unfashionably pronounced those 4 letters when in company of some teenagers who must have thought I was close to retirement. They looked at me as if they’d seen a unicorn sitting on a spaceship to Mars. They say ‘swag’ nowadays, or so it seems, and saying ‘cool’ isn’t ‘swag’. But this is an article about Cuba, and that, my friends, is beyond cool! Let me tell you why.

Here’s my list of ‘swaggest’ things to do in Cuba – all tested thoroughly by yours truly.
Except for [W], you’ll understand why!

[A] Almost get arrested because some waiter thinks you didn’t pay the check and calls the police, who promptly decide to stop every car in the area to find the ‘thieves’.

[B] Take a boat tour at Cueva del Indio in Viñales and drive through the mojotes afterwards.

The ABC of things to do in Cuba

[C] Stay with the locals in a casa particular, chill at one of the many casa de la musica and smoke hand made Cuban cigars.

The ABC of things to do in Cuba

[D] Go dirty dancing with the locals at the ‘Copacabana’ in Camaguey.

[E] Return to your room in Habana after a night out to discover it’s empty… Turned out the owner of the casa rented 3 rooms, while he was only allowed to rent 2 and an inspector passed by so he had to quickly put all our stuff in the wardrobe.

[F] Talk about Fidel Castro and socialism for hours with your taxi driver on the way from Trinidad to Santa Clara.

The ABC of things to do in Cuba

[G] Meet these lovely grandmothers in Trinidad, where they run a casa particular.

The ABC of things to do in Cuba

Directions: the casa particular is located at the intersection of Calle Alameda and Calle Amargura. It’s the house with the green doors. When you come from the Casa de la Trova, follow Calle Alameda – stop for a drink and some live music at Las Ruinas de Segarte on your right – and you’ll see it right in front of you.

[H] Wander through the streets of Habana Vieja.

[I] Visit one of the many iglesias.

Get your Lonely Planet guidebook!

[J] Discover how in Cuba, EVERYONE has a job. Even the guy sitting behind a closed entrance gate all day reading a magazine.

[K] Discover how kind and helpful the people are.

[L] Sleep at the ‘love shack’ in Habana – but only if you like shiny pink sheets and you’re not too difficult about hygiene… If you want to do something that’s actually cool – excuse me swag – go listen to live music at Plaza Mayor in Trinidad.

The ABC of things to do in Cuba

[M] Rent a motorbike and drive from Viñales to Cayo Jutias for some white sand and perfectly blue water.

[N] Get a ride in a car with nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine kilometers on the counter. Because that’s where it stopped turning…

The ABC of things to do in Cuba

[O] Get lucky when the owner of the most awesome turquoise oldtimer parks his car at the picture perfect spot by the beach.

The ABC of things to do in Cuba

[P] Go to a Peso store or eat at a paladar (‘restaurant’ in the home of the locals) for cheap local food.

[Q] Eat quesadillas – because there’s really not much else to find if you’re a vegetarian.

[R] Drink rhum. Do I need to explain why?

[S] Take salsa lessons and dance all night with the locals in Trinidad or Santiago de Cuba.

[T] Visit a tobacco barn in Viñales or go to the casa de la trova in Trinidad.

The ABC of things to do in Cuba

[U] Don’t forget your umbrella. In Cuba, when it rains, it pours and you’ll have water up to your ankles in no time. Not that an umbrella will do anything to solve that problem but ‘bring boots’ doesn’t start with a U.

The ABC of things to do in CubaTime to prepare an umbrella and a pair of boots in Trinidad…

[V] Take pictures of every ‘Hasta la Victoria siempre’ or other propaganda you see. You might want to consider extra storage.

The ABC of things to do in Cuba

[W] Get your money stolen by a girl that hits on you at a party but turns out to be a whore (I would have written prostitue but P was taken already – this happened to my friend who was travelling with me).

[X] Look for a relevant word that starts with an X for hours but don’t find a single one. Suggestions anyone?

[Y] Drink yummy fresh fruit juices.

[Z] Zigzag your way through the market stalls and troba singers in the cobbled streets of Trinidad.

The ABC of things to do in Cuba

Alright, now that you know all the coolest – excuse me swaggest – things to do in Cuba, it’s time for some practical stuff. Check out these Cuba Travel Tips from fellow blogger Raphael!

So is your plane ticket booked yet? Nope? Go ahead, I’ll wait here!


Or have you already been to Cuba? What’s the ‘swaggest’ thing YOU did over there? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

26 Best things to do in Cuba 26 Best things to do in Cuba

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The ABC of things to do in Cuba

Leave a Comment

  • victoria@celebratetheweekend 19th February 2016, 5:01 pm

    My son uses that word “swag” and now i know what it means thanks to you:) swag details on Cuba here:)

    Reply
  • Nadeen 19th February 2016, 5:02 pm

    Very funny!! I’m heading there in March! Looks like you had a great time. I will keep these places and adventures in mind!

    Reply
  • Marc 19th February 2016, 5:03 pm

    Awesome abc list and thanks a bunch this will surely help me prepaid my trip to Cuba. Thanks a lot and love how you mention everyone has a job in cuba

    Reply
  • Manjulika Pramod 11th March 2016, 3:15 pm

    This was a very interesting read. Cuba looks super and you had a great trip.
    Quesadillas for vegetarians… I will keep in mind.

    Reply
  • Paul 12th March 2016, 8:57 pm

    The “swaggest” 2 things I ever did in Cuba, gave a little boy sitting outside is house in the countryside in Jibacoa a “matchbook” toy car. The expression on his face was the highlight of my first trip to Cuba. Number 2 was sipping beer at the brewpub in Plaza Vieja with Anna our tour guide and Ridell the driver/owner of an awesome ’57 Pontiac. It was our second visit to Habana with them and it was like we were out with old friends. Beautiful people.

    Reply
    • Liesbeth - Lili's travel plans 13th March 2016, 12:32 pm

      I love reading things like this 🙂 You’re right, the people are so awesome and beautiful they just automatically become the highlight of your visit. Glad you had a great experience!!

      Reply
    • Patty 21st December 2016, 9:10 pm

      How did you find your driver and tour person? Going next month, would like a recommendation. Thank you.

      Reply
  • Claire 4th April 2016, 10:34 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I keep on forgetting about Cuba and now I’m just about ready to go and pack my bag! Are they still very tight on not being able to travel to the USA after as that’s something that has put me of… My mum lives is NYC… But the thought of salsa is making me thing maybe my mum doesn’t need a visit haha

    Reply
  • Andi 10th April 2016, 3:01 am

    Is it “swaggest” or “swaggiest”? Just wondering so I can quit saying “cool”. Cuba looks amazing and I really hope to get there soon, once I can find an affordable flight. But once airfares drop, everyone will go. Hmmmm. Any tips on that?

    Reply
  • Corinne 3rd May 2016, 4:17 pm

    I really want to go to Cuba! I don’t know how or when, but when I do, I’m going to check this list again and make sure I’m covering my ABCs.

    Reply
  • Lance 7th May 2016, 6:18 pm

    Great list!:)
    I went to Cuba this February. It’s a very unique destination.

    Reply
  • Anouk 25th May 2016, 7:10 pm

    Interesting read! Considering visiting Havana shortly 🙂

    Reply
  • Natascha 1st July 2016, 9:48 am

    Cuba is has been on our list for years! Right now we fear it is a bit overrun by tourists. When did you go?

    Reply
    • lilistravelplans 1st July 2016, 11:30 pm

      I’ve been all around the country: Havana, Vinales, Santa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Camaguey, Santiago de Cuba, etc. It was amazing but it was also 8 or 9 years ago so I have no idea how touristy it has become in the mean time… However if it’s anything like it was then, I would totally recommend it, it was one of my best trips ever!!

      Reply
  • Absolute Wanderlust 31st July 2016, 8:40 am

    Love this, thanks for the tips Lili! We’ll be in Cuba for a short time later in the year, really looking forward to it 🙂

    Reply
  • Emily 14th December 2016, 10:47 pm

    Absolutely Brilliant Content — love this post !! 🙂

    Reply
  • Lori 18th December 2016, 9:04 pm

    Most people are kind because they want money in return and are not afraid to ask for it. But, it is nice when they are being kind just because. Should have had under T say “watch out for taxi drivers they will hose you”.

    Reply
  • Simon - SiDash Travels 7th March 2017, 2:41 am

    Hi, great post and very funny 🙂 love some of the suggestions! they sound exciting! Can’t wait to visit Cuba soon. Thanks

    Reply
  • Alex Datsev 10th May 2017, 3:51 pm

    We have been seriously considering going to Cuba, so your list of tips comes in super handy and right on time!

    Reply
  • Alura 12th July 2017, 3:26 am

    Don’t worry I’m a teen that still uses cool, must depend on the country. Cuba sounds fascinating, I would love to visit one day-though as a vegetarian I’ll probably have to bring my own food

    Reply