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Cuba’s Best-Kept Secrets: Must-Visit Villages and Colonial Wonders

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Of course, Havana is spectacular, but many other towns on the Isla Grande are just as photogenic. Among the most beautiful villages in Cuba, here are my favorites! In the Cuban hinterland, charming little towns outnumber your vacation days.

Cuba’s most beautiful villages

In the centre of the island is Remedios, a 16th-century beauty with bright stucco and a manicured square. If you visit during the holidays, stop by the bar El Louvre and order the ponche de la parroquía, the house rum punch that hits like an embargo.

There’s also Camajuani, with its cigar factory, and Santa Clara, famous for the monument and mausoleum dedicated to Che Guevara in Plaza de la Revolución. Bayamo, the “city of carriages”, is so romantic. And, of course, Cienfuegos, known for its manicured gardens and a touch of the French.

Head to the Sugar Valleys and Trinidad

Village de Trinidad, Cuba

On the Caribbean coast, Cienfuegos borders Trinidad, one of the country’s most beautiful colonial cities. And, to be honest, it’s my favourite after Havana.

Founded by a conquistador attracted by the gold in the nearby mountains, the city prospered in the 18th and 19th centuries thanks to the sugar cane and slave trade. The palaces of Brunet and Cantero, among other grand mansions, bear witness to this golden age. Then, due to economic crises and the collapse of the sugar infrastructure, Trinidad fell into oblivion, which helped preserve its authenticity.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villages in Cuba, its historic centre is curated like a museum piece. Traditions have also been preserved. A temple dedicated to Yemayá, a female figure sacred to the followers of Santería, is open to the public. If you want to better understand this Afro-Cuban religion inspired by voodoo and practised ardently by slaves, this is the place!

Have you ever heard of Camagüey?

Village de Camagüey, Cuba

Have you not? Well, it could be the revelation of your trip! Located about 500 kilometres east of Havana, Camagüey is another member of Cuba’s club of world treasures, particularly for its diverse architectural styles and unique, irregular urban layout. Its historic centre is a compact maze of alleys, squares and plazas, lined with buildings dripping with colourful stucco that make you feel like you’re in a giant pastry straight out of Alice in Wonderland!

Craft lovers take note: Camagüey is not only one of the most beautiful villages in Cuba, it’s also a stronghold of pottery. Its landmark is the large clay jar used in colonial times to store rainwater, grain and other provisions. Today these tinajones decorate every square and patio. A real marvel, this city, but don’t just take my word for it – go and see for yourself!

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