HAVANA,CUBA - MARCH 13,2018 : Street scene with classic old cars and traditional colorful buildings in downtown Havana

Explore: Cuba

Preserved as a time capsule by the USA’s five-decade economic embargo, Cuba is fascinating and beautiful in equal measure.

Holidays to Cuba

Havana is the charismatic, charming capital – a must-visit for its elegant plazas abuzz with vibrant street life, vintage Cadillacs the colour of sweets, and gracefully crumbling colonial buildings.

In 2010, economic reforms by former President Raúl Castro boosted a number of private enterprises mainly in the form of casas particulares (homestays) and paladares (restaurants hosted in people’s homes). They offer more authentic accommodation than the rather staid hotel alternatives, and have boosted Cuba’s culinary scene.

However, if you’re looking for a luxurious way to see Cuba, a cruise holiday is best: its fledgling tourism industry simply can’t match the five-star dining, lavish suites and top-notch amenities offered at sea. The island is also notoriously tricky to navigate on land, with poor roads and long distances galore, so cruising is an excellent solution.

Havana is the charismatic, charming capital – a must-visit for its elegant plazas, vintage Cadillacs, and gracefully crumbling colonial buildings

Where to go

Havana is the Cuba you see on postcards – but unlike most travel icons, it’s even more beautiful in the flesh. Soak up the atmosphere with a stroll through its enchanting cobbled streets, and enjoy Cuban salsa music whilst sipping rum cocktails in a Plaza Vieja bar.

The quieter colonial city of Trinidad is a manicured mini-Havana: too groomed for some travellers, a relief for others. It’s a chance to see Cuba as it looked pre-Castro – and it’s minutes from one of the island’s best beaches, Playa Ancón.

When to go

The best time of year to visit Cuba is the dry season from mid-November to April. Visit in February and you’ll catch the Habanos Festival which celebrates Cuba’s famous coffee, rum and cigars. If you want to dodge the crowds, Cuba is quietest from May through to November, although this is also rainy season.

Read more about Cuba

Aurora Display
10 of the world’s most unforgettable trips
Looking a trip you'll never forget? Times Expert Traveller offers some of the world's most incredible experiences...
Street in Centro Habana, Havana, Cuba.
Best cultural holidays for 2019 and 2020
Looking for something more than a beach holiday? These cultural tours take you to some of the world's most interesting destinations...
Intihuatana in Machu Picchu, Peru
13 of the world’s best escorted tours
A local expert can bring out the best of a destination in a way no guide book can. Get straight to the heart of the matter on one of our exclusive guided tours.
Vintage car in Jose Marti square, Cienfuegos, Cuba
5 of the best ways to explore Cuba: Havana, Varadero and beyond
Beach holiday, city break... road trip? These Cuba holiday ideas will reveal the Caribbean as you've never seen it before
Paradise beach on a tropical island
How to see Cuba on a cruise
For top-quality dining, hassle-free journeys and exclusive access to the very best beaches, Cuba cruise holidays can't be beaten
Taj Mahal at Sunrise
November holidays: Latest offers
Save money on November holidays with these latest offers – exclusive to Times Expert Traveller and our preferred travel partners
Vintage taxis on street against historic buildings, Havana
How to explore Cuba
With no big brash resorts and a playful personality, Cuba is the Caribbean's most beguiling island. Here's how to see it for yourself
Havana is the capital city of Cuba with Spanish colonial architecture in its 16th-century.
The local’s guide to Havana, Cuba
Want to see the authentic side of Havana? Our local expert reveals her favourite things to see and do in the city