When thinking about Cuba and visiting the Caribbean island for the first time, most people have sun and sand on their mind, but there are many things to do in Cuba apart from enjoying the spectacular soft, sandy beaches.

Some of our suggestions for the first timer who is looking for a chance to take a peek at the real Cuba, are the following:

Visit a city
If you are staying in one of Cuba's beach resorts, why not head to the nearest city and enjoy a different side to Cuba's tourism for the day. Consider having a day out and travel in local style using public transport, or make an overnight stop and stay in one of uncountable casas particulares (Cuban private homes).

Meet the locals
The population of Cuba is close to 8.5 million, so there are plenty of people with whom you can practise the Spanish you´ve learnt in Cuba. At the same, this provides a unique opportunity to learn about Cuban culture. Many people describe Cubans as being friendly, helpful, and proud.

Discover the wildlife and national parks
Cuba is a unique country in that it has travelled from one continent through to another over millions of years. Because of this Cuban wildlife is unparalleled with many one-of-a-kind species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.


Once you've had an hour or so of rest and relaxation on Cuba's beaches why not head for the sea and get some exercise? Swimming or paddling aside, there are a range of watersports in Cuba which you can practise. Whether you want to explore beneath the briny into the waterworld paradise of the fish, or stay dry on one of the many boating options, there are many different things you can do in Cuba when at the beach and feel that it is time to leave the golden sands behind for a while.

Watch live sport
Professional sport was made illegal in Cuba following the revolution, but due to investment in sport with 'free sport for the Cuban people', amateur levels are exceptionally higher than you will find back at home. Different Cuban sports can be found in different areas and different times of year and any Cuban will be happy to tell you what is available locally to watch, particularly if your preference is one of Cuba's favourite sports.


Cuba is not known for its shopping, but when on holiday most of us enjoy some time wandering around town, browsing for souvenirs or spending those last few pesos on a nick-nack to remember the holiday with. Cuban shopping tends to be limited to typical tourist shops, or those selling rum and cigars, but there are some markets where you can practise your Spanish as you haggle over prices.

There is a lot to learn about Cuba that for many is not appreciated until you take the opportunity to explore the beautiful country and its many islands.

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