Cuba continues to be a hot destination for Americans this year, so where exactly is everyone going?
It’s not a perfect science, but TripAdvisor this week looked at searches for Cuban destinations on its website between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 to come up with these five top spots. This could come in handy if you’re planning a trip to Cuba and want some insight on places to go.
1. Varadero, two hours east of Havana, is everything a beach resort should be. The upside: 12 miles of golden sand beaches. The downside: It’s crammed with resorts and restaurants. Head to Saturno Cave to find cool rock formations too.
2. Havana, the capital, is where everyone goes. It has the allure of being frozen in time with old cars, Colonial architecture and a laid-back pace of life that’s bound to change as more tourists flood in. Old Havana, the Plaza de la Catedral and nearby Guanabo are must-sees.
3. Cayo Santa Maria, a small island to the north of Cuba’s central coast. TripAdvisor recommends checking out the pretty coastline. It also suggests visiting the nearby town of Sancti Spiritus, where there are parks and a Colonial art museum.
4. Cayo Coco, not far from Cayo Santa Maria, has white-sand beaches and a cool town called Trinidad de Cuba where you’ll find colorful buildings and authentically made crafts.
5. Holguin, the fourth-largest city in Cuba, is known for its Colonial look and feel set in a mountainous area in the eastern part of the country.
“Travelers looking to break a sweat can make the 860-foot trek up the Hill of the Cross, which offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding landscape,” TripAdvisor says in a statement.
The thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations, opening of respective embassies and anticipated commercial airline flights between the two countries means tourism may continue to spiral upward.
This month, The Times reported that by fall there could be 20 daily scheduled round-trip flights between the U.S. and Havana, and 10 flights to nine other airports around the island nation.
But bear in mind that not all restrictions for Americans who want to visit Cuba have been lifted. Check out the U.S. Treasury FAQs to learn about economic and travel rules that remain in place — and follow them.