The 15 best places to visit in Cuba

 

Conceived in 1924 and built in 1984 to the east of central Havana is the oldest relief of Communist leader Vladimir Lenin outside of the former Soviet Union. From it's high location it offers great views over Havana's harbour.

15. Colina Lenin

 

Completed in 1958 in the north of the capital, Havana, is the aptly named Christ Of Havana, a large sculpture representing Jesus of Nazareth. Built from blessed blocks of marble transported from Italy, the statue stands 20 metres (66 ft) high and weighs approximately 320 tons. Its hilltop location also gives visitors lovely panoramic views over Havana's bay.

14. Cristo De La Habana

 

Built in 1991 in the extreme southern centre of the country, in the pretty town of Santiago De Cuba is the Antonio Maceo Revolution Square, constructed in honour of Lt. General José Antonio de la Caridad Maceo y Grajales, the second in command of the Cuban Army of Independence and one of the most noteworthy guerrilla leaders in 19th century Latin America. The main structure of the square depicts 23 upright machetes beside the large statue of Antonio Maceo atop a horse. Standing 16 metres (52 ft) high, it is the second tallest statue in Cuba.

13. Antonio Maceo Revolucion Square

 

Located west from central Havana is the most well known of Cuba's Revolution Squares, dominated by the 109 metre (358 ft) tall Jose Marti Memorial Tower beside his 18 metre (59 ft) statue, it is the single largest city square in the world. Opposite the memorial are the office buildings of the ministries of interior and communications with matching steel memorial facades of Che Guevara and Camilo Cinfuegos, the two most important deceased heroes of the Cuban revolution.

 

Pictured is the Ministry Of Interior building with Che Guevara facade.

12. Plaza De La Revolucion

 

Completed in 1988 in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara is the Che Guevara Mausoleum, located in Plaza Che Guevara it houses the remains of the revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara and twenty nine of his fellow combatants killed in 1967 during the attempt to spur an armed uprising in Bolivia. Standing above the complex is the 6.7 metre (22 ft) statue memorial of Che Guevara.

11. Mausoleo Del Che Guevara

 

In the extreme southern centre of the country, covering an area of some 848 square kilometres (327 square miles) is Baconao National Park, a name derived from a little native who is said to have lived in the south of Cuba during the pre-Columbian period. Areas of interest in the park include the large volcanic mound known as the 'Great Rock', with 459 steps leading to the top it offers incredible panoramic views from 1,234 metres (4,048 ft) above sea level. Another attraction of the park is the pre-historic valley, an area of life sized stone sculpted dinosaurs made in a rather crude fashion. As part of the Bacanao Biosphere Reserve, the entire park has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

10. Parque Nacional De Baconao

 

Completed in 1700 AD in the extreme southern centre of the country is the Castle Of San Pedro De La Roca, located to the south west of the city of Santiago De Cuba. Considered one of the best preserved and most complete examples of Spanish-American military architecture to have survived, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

9. Castillo De San Pedro De La Roca

 

Completed in 1929 in the modern district of the countries capital, Havana, is the National Capitol Building, largely based on the United States Capitol Building in Washington DC. As well as being the most iconic building in Cuba, inside this large and impressive structure within the main hall under its 92 metre (302 ft) high dome is the Statue Of The Republic, inspired by Athena, the Greek Goddess of wisdom. Cast in bronze, covered in gold leaf, weighing a whopping 49 tons and standing at 15 metres (50 ft) high it is the third largest indoor statue in the world.

8. El Capitolio

 

Established in 1528 AD by Spanish colonizers is the central Cuban town of Camaguey, a place of European influenced architecture, colourful weaving streets and irregular urban pattern. Considered a large scale work of art, the historic centre of this Latin American colonial town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

7. Camaguey

 

First established by French settlers in 1819 AD, located to the east of the capital, Havana, close to the centre of the country is the colonial town of Cienfuegos. Wonderfully positioned within the bay of Cienfuegos, the buildings within the historic old centre are said to represent an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble in Latin America. Because of the high levels of historical value, the entire historic centre has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

6. Cienfuegos

 

Founded in the 16th century, in the centre of the country on the southern coast lies the city of Trinidad and the nearby famous Valley Of The Sugar Mills, a major site for the conquest of the American continent. Its 18th and 19th century buildings such as the Palacio Brunet and Palacio Cantero were built in the days of prosperity and still stand proud in Trinidad, though today what is left of the sugar mills in the valley lay mostly in ruin. Because of their unique historical value, the city along with the valley have been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Trinidad & Valle De Los Ingenios

 

In the extreme south west corner of the island, covering an area of some 262 square kilometres (101 square miles) is the Desembarco Del Granma National Park, a beautiful natural area of terraces and cliffs with many pristine waterfalls and jungle pools. With its karst features and impressive geomorphologic landscape the entire national park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. Parque Nacional Desembarco Del Granma

 

Along the countries extreme southern coast, covering some 229 square kilometres (88 square miles) is the Turquino National Park, located in the Sierra Maestra mountain range the park takes its name from Cuba's highest mountain, the 1,975 metre (6,480 ft) Pico Turquino. An area of high peaks, lush tropical forests and beautiful untouched coastline, the park provides one of the finest natural landscapes in the country.

3. Parque Nacional Turquino

 

In the far north west of the country is the beautiful Vinales Valley, encircled by mountains and interspersed with island like rocky limestone outcrops it makes for one of the most dramatic natural landscapes in Cuba. Certainly one of the countries most picturesque locations, the area which is still used for harvesting tobacco in the traditional way has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site of cultural importance.

2. Vinales Valley

 

Founded by the Spanish in 1519 AD is the Cuban capital, Habana, more commonly known as Havana, it is the largest city, province, major port and leading commercial center of Cuba. Within the old city walls and fortifications lies La Habana Vieja, or Old Havana, a place of narrow streets filled with historical and colourful buildings constructed in a baroque and neoclassical style, giving visitors a feeling as if they've stepped back in time. The incredible historical value has meant the entire core of Old Havana being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1. Habana

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