If you are ever planning to visit Cuba as a tourist, there are a few places that serve as a must, especially if this year is only the first time you will experience the country. While Cuba’s important tourist spots are not as popular as, say, Paris’ Eiffel Tower, they are still a must visit if you are interested in the country’s rich culture and history.
The Old Town in Havana
For people who are time-constrained, Havana’s Old Town is usually enough. You could while away your entire vacation happily strolling down the streets of La Habana Vieja, getting lost in the alleways and narrow streets gazing at the brightly colored buildings. This district is the prime destination if you want to see examples of colonial architecture, particularly the Cathedral of Havana and the Church of Angel Custodio.
Also referred to as Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro, this is a gigantic fortress that was originally built in order to protect the Spanish settlement of Havana from invaders. It is situated in a small hill at the mouth of the harbor, and serves both as a reminder of the country’s violent past and the Cubans’ remarkable skill with architecture. The fortress still stands strong, centuries after it was first constructed in 1589.
Most Westerners will recognize it by the name Bay of Pigs. The place is notable for the US-backed invasion of Cuba in 1961, which fortunately failed so now tourists can enjoy the spot untouched by the horrors of politics and warfare.
Che Guevara’s Mauseoleum
Regardless of your political beliefs, it cannot be denied that the revolutionary Che Guevara is one of the most important and famous political figures during the Cuban Revolution (even though Che was born in Argentina.) His remains were discovered in an unmarked grave in Bolivia, and has since been returned to Cuba and laid to rest in a beautiful serene mausoleum in Santa Clara. The place is designed to highlight Che Guevara’s respected status in Cuba, and a must-see for anyone who is even remotely interested in history.