The Best Active Adventures in Cuba from 7 of the Best Active Adventures in Cuba

7 of the Best Active Adventures in Cuba

The Best Active Adventures in Cuba

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Most Americans know Cuba only as a forbidden land of rum, cigars and communism—after all, most forms of travel to Cuba have been banned for more than 50 years, but the Obama administration has been repairing the relationship and slowly easing travel restrictions. After the press conference last week announcing further progress in repairing the relationship, tour operators, airlines and travelers are excited about what’s ahead for the future of American travel to Cuba.

In preparation, we’ve compiled some of the best active adventures that can be found on the island of Cuba. From hiking to the highest point in the country to diving deep in caves, there’s plenty to do in Cuba, should you have the opportunity to visit.

Cave Diving

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Many islands in the Caribbean promise crystal clear water, but very few offer the experience to dive and explore the depths of a cave that reaches 70-feet deep. Cueva de Saturno, pictured left, is one such diving spot that’s not far off the beaten path—and it’s certainly not the only cave in Cuba worth a visit. Travelers truly interested in cave diving should get to Gran Caverna de Santo Tomas, one of the largest and most complex cave systems in the Western Hemisphere (headlamps required). Those slightly less adventurous might opt for the well-lit Cuevas de Bellamar, which some say is Cuba’s oldest tourist attraction.

Rock Climbing

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For the bold, adventurous and skilled climber, western Cuba offers some of the most magnificent climbs in the Caribbean. A quick two-hour ride from Havana will put climbers at the base of 1,000-foot-tall limestone crags in the Vinales Valley National Park. Should you make it to the top, the view of old Cuban houses, gigantic palm trees and mountainous outlines in the distance is just as amazing as the climb itself.

Dancing

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The birthplace of many dance forms celebrated throughout Latin America, Cuba is the place to be when you feel like dancing. Whether you make your way down to Callejon de Hamel on a Sunday afternoon for some live Afro-Cuban rumba or you wander into a Salsa club late at night, there’s plenty of music waiting for you in Cuba.

Scuba Diving

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Cuba offers many opportunities for underwater adventure in the crystal clear waters surrounding the island. Top diving spots include Jardines de la Reina (the Queen’s Gardens), a remote well-preserved marine park known for shark sightings and Ojo del Mégano, a wide crevasse that acts as a refuge for marine life.

Hiking

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Though Cuba may not be a country known for epic peaks and steep climbs there are many worthwhile treks with plenty to see. Those looking for a longer trek should head to Pico Turquino (pictured left), the highest point in the country, which offers stunning views. There are also many nature reserves with trails that allow travelers to get an up-close look at wildlife like the endangered Cuban crane.

Biking

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Cycling is a great way to see Cuba and tour operators have realized that, many offer two-wheeled trips around the country. Whether you’re hoping to see the whole country by bike or just take a ride for a few hours, cycling is a great option in Cuba. You can cycle just about anywhere, but the Vinales Valley in Pinar del Río is a scenic spot that is especially popular. For some urban riding, Havana is a top option.

Zip Lining

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Zip lining is a thrilling way to catch a glimpse of Cuba from above and Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve is one of the best spots in the country. For around $30 you can get hooked up to the line and then afterward spend some time in the nearby eco-village.