Cuba is an amazing honeymoon destination if you’re looking to create memories around one of the most special moments in your life with your partner. The biggest island in the Caribbean has become much easier to travel to, and its wealth of culture, history and music is the perfect way to celebrate romance. Here’s how to honeymoon in Cuba.
If Christina and I were to get married again, Cuba would the place we’d choose for our honeymoon. It’s such a beautiful country, full of mystery and romance.
Though I should also say if you’re looking for a holiday just relaxing by the beach or five-star service while you lounge by the pool of your resort, Cuba might not be the place for you. Even the most luxurious place in Cuba isn’t going to match more developed destinations. And we’d recommend perhaps following up this adventurous itinerary with a relaxing week in Tulum in Mexico.
However, everything Cuba is famous for – its music, its architecture, its enigmatic history and culture – all make a fascinating travel destination.
Add to that scenery that leaves you breathless and a coastline girt by the crystal blue of the Caribbean, and you have a truly remarkable place to celebrate with your new spouse.
There’s so much to see in Cuba it’s hard to know where to start and what to do.
From the times we’ve been there, we’ve put together an itinerary of the most romantic and interesting parts to help you plan the best holiday you should ever have.
How to honeymoon in Cuba – the perfect itinerary
Days 1-3: Havana
Exploring Havana has to be one of the best things you can do in Cuba. Simply getting lost in the old part of city is an adventure and a thrill.
Wonder at the crumbling beauty of the city and its amazing blend of architecture. Walk the Malecon – the ancient sea wall of the city – at sunset and see the locals fishing and meeting up. Enjoy a cubata or a mojito in the grounds of the Hotel Nacionale, where royalty and dignitaries have stayed.
Walking tour of Havana Viejo
Booking a walking tour of Old Havana really helps to get a sense of the city and of Cuba as a whole. The local guide leads you through the most important parts of town, including Hemingway’s favourite hotel, the cathedral square and the Capital Building.
Make sure you return to Hemingway’s hotel – the Hotel Ambos Mundos – for a drink on the rooftop. It’s iconic.
Days 4-6: Vinales
Vinales has changed a fair bit since our first trip here in 2014, but it’s still a beautiful rustic country town in the most important tobacco-growing region in Cuba. Its backdrop of the Organos Mountains and the national park to the west is stunning.
The town of Vinales has grown to a lively main street full of restaurants and bars, though it’s common to see an old horse-drawn cart trundle down the road or the occasional chicken peck its way across.
Horse ride and tobacco field tour
Visiting the tobacco fields of this region is a must and the best way to do so is on horseback. You can trek through the national park to meet the tobacco growers, but this is better.
Meeting the farmers, seeing the tobacco growing and learning about the process it goes through before being crafted into fine cigars, perhaps trying a ‘farmer cigar’ as you ride through the fields… it’s a very special experience.
180km southwest of Havana, the best way to Vinales is by car. You should be able to book a taxi there through your accommodation.
Days 7-9: Cayo Levisa
From Vinales, it’s a bumpy windy drive from Vinales to Palma Rubia on the north coast of Cuba where you catch the ferry across to Cayo Levisa. And you have to time it right, with ferries not leaving that regularly.
But once there, you realise the effort’s worth it.
Cayo Levisa – a pearl of an island in the Caribbean – is simply beautiful. Clean, white sandy beaches lead to the lapping warm waters. This is the real relaxation time for your honeymoon. This is 100% romance.
There is only one place to stay on the island – Hotel Cayo Levisa – but the rooms are surprisingly big. Stand-alone villas with verandas, the rooms are all connected via a long boardwalk that also takes you down to the private beach.
Day-trippers come onto the island, but they are only allowed access to certain parts of the island, which means hotel’s beach is quite quiet.
Meals, as with most hotels in Cuba, is buffet style, which is a little disappointing, but no one comes to Cuba for the food.
Days 10-12: Vedado
Back in Havana – it’s another long bumpy drive east to the capital – the neighbourhood of Vedado is more modern than the beautiful living ruins of Old Havana.
It’s interesting to see how different this less tourist-driven district is, though it borders Central Havana to the east. Visiting local bars, cafés and restaurants in Vedado gives you a little insight into what the real Havana is like.
The Cigar Trail experience
Cuba’s cigars are iconic, but not many people know the details of this luxury good that has deep roots in the native Cuban history. The Cigar Trail private tour, which you can book through Cuban Adventures Cuba Tours, is fascinating.
You get to see inside a working cigar factory, you get a lesson with a cigar sommelier on the art of ‘maridaje’ – marrying Cuban rum and coffee with a fine cigar – and shown a speciality cigar store, and you also get access to a little-known cigar museum in the middle of Old Havana.
Where to stay in Cuba
Accommodation in Cuba is a funny thing. There are plenty of big hotels you think would be reasonably-priced, beautiful (especially from exterior appearances) and popular.
However, the opposite is generally true. And we do not recommend them.
Big hotels are owned by the Cuban military or foreign chains. Not only does this mean American visitors are generally not allowed to stay there, but also the money spent in them never gets back to the local people.
Instead, the casa particular system – a kind of homestay/bed and breakfast is the best option in Cuba. Each property is clean, well-run and very safe. You get your own room, bathroom and front door key. And breakfast of course!
Here are our recommendations for casa particulares:
Havana Boutique Hotels offers amazing prices on specialist casas that are more like boutique hotels than home-stays. They offer wholesale rates with no booking or credit card fees, you get real-time availability and instant booking online, and you can pay upfront with a credit card.
We recommend them and the properties highly when you’re looking for where to stay in Havana. We stayed in La Gargola (Havana) and Casa Naty (Vedado) most recently.
Again, it’s important to remember that these are not 5-star hotels. They’re locally owned boutiques that offer simple yet comfortable accommodation for adventurous travellers.
Other casas you’ll find are BnBs and homestays at best. They’re a wonderful way to experience Cuba, but they’re not particularly romantic or luxurious in the conventional sense.
Extending your trip further around Cuba
If you have time, we highly recommend extending your trip so you can see more of this extraordinary country.
Through Cuban Adventures Cuba Tours in 2014, we explored further east to Cienfuegos, the Bay of Pigs, Santa Clara and the beautiful UNESCO Heritage town of Trinidad de Cuba.
If you’re looking for a honeymoon you’ll never forget, Cuba is the place for you.