Prior to 1959, Cuba used to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people would visit Cuba each year to enjoy its world class beaches, sample its excellent cuisine, and meet its friendly locals. The 1959 revolution changed things.
Fidel Castro and his communist regime effectively killed off Cuba’s tourist trade, and people stopped visiting the island.
Again things changed in the 1990’s. The Cuban government changed their policies and started accepting tourists from all over the world, including the US. Since then, the numbers of tourists visiting Cuba have risen steadily each year.
Today, Cuba is an interesting place filled with things to see and do. This adventure guide highlights the top 5 outdoor activities in Cuba that you can try on your next holiday.
Outdoor Activities in Cuba – Adventure Guide
Mountain Treks in Viñales
Cuba has some of the most stunning and unspoilt mountain scenery in the Caribbean, particularly in its national parks.
Of Cuba’s many national parks, Viñales, a national park in the Pinar del Rio province, is arguably the best park to visit as it has a number of tourist facilities set up to make it easier to get around the park.
Viñales is full of interesting things to see and do. Its mountains are perfect for trekking and its countryside is full of caves and tobacco plantations growing some of the finest tobacco in the world. Viñales’ locals are friendly and inviting, too, and they’re more than happy to tell their story to interested visitors.
A local guide is essential for seeing and experiencing all Viñales has to offer. As well as guiding you around the valley and its mountains, they’ll be able to take you to hidden hotspots that most visitors to the area will miss. Guides can be found near the main bus stations in Viñales.
Cuba’s eastern Guantanamo province is the best place to catch some waves, especially during the months between September and December. While Guantanamo’s waves won’t be big enough to satisfy expert surfers, novice and intermediate surfers will feel at home.
A number of surf schools and surf camps can be found in the Guantanamo province, complete with instructors that can teach the basics of the sport. Boards can also be rented from these schools and camps for a modest sum of money.
Scuba diving in Jardines de la Reina
With warm, clear waters, unspoilt underwater scenery, and a rich and varied marine life, Cuba is one of the best diving spots in the Caribbean.
Of Cuba’s many diving hotspots, Jardines de la Reina, a small archipelago and marine reserve located south of Cuba, has some of the best diving Cuba has to offer.
Jardines de la Reina is full of perfectly preserved coral reefs, vertical walls, underwater caverns, and more. The archipelago’s waters are also remarkably clear with perfect visibility up to 25m. Jardines de la Reina is also home to hundreds of different species of marine life, including dozens of species of fish, rays, eels, giant turtles, and more.
The waters surrounding Jardines de la Reina are also home to seven different species of sharks, including whale sharks and hammerhead sharks, making Jardines de la Reina one of the best places in the world to try shark diving.
Take a bike tour through Cuba
Cuba is one of the most beautiful countries on Earth.
Its colourful bird life is spectacular and varied, its mountains and national parks are stunningly beautiful, and its many towns and villages have rich and storied histories.
One of the best ways to explore Cuba’s natural beauty is to take a bike tour through the country. You’ll be able to see the best of what Cuba has to offer while travelling at your own pace.
Bikes can be rented from Havana, the capital of Cuba, at a relatively low cost. Local bike tour guides can be hired in Havana, too.
Explore Cuba’s many UNESCO world heritage sites
Cuba’s nine UNESCO heritage sites are some of the best places to visit in Cuba. Each is full of interesting sights to see and exciting things to do.
For lovers of architecture and history, the UNESCO Heritage Site of Old Havana is a must-see in Cuba. The old city is home to a number of architectural landmarks, including cathedrals, churches, and theatres built in the classical Baroque and Neoclassical styles. Every all inclusive holidays to Cuba should include a visit to this beautiful place.
Other recommended UNESCO Heritage sites in Cuba include the city of Trinidad, a historic city filled with cane sugar mills and tobacco plantations, San Pedro de la Roca Castle, a large and well preserved fort built to protect the port of Santiago de Cuba, and the Historic Centre of Camagüey, a small village built by the original Spanish settlers to Cuba.
Cuba is a beautiful country filled with lots of things to see and do. Make sure to try the best outdoor activities in Cuba when you are on your next travel adventure. You won’t be disappointed.
This is a featured article by Joey Ferrer, world traveller and lover of all things adventurous in Cuba.
Have you travelled to Cuba before? What are your favourite outdoor activities in Cuba?
Top 5 Historical Landmarks of Portugal
Top 5 Historical Landmarks of Portugal
Portugal is a hive of culture, history, and architecture and is home to fifteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you plan a holiday to Portugal to discover some of its glorious histories, look through our top five Portuguese historical landmarks.
This beautiful monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Monastery of Santa Maria de Alcobaça is a prime example of early Gothic architecture. The sanctuary is home to the ornate tombs of Ines de Castro and King Pedro I. There is a tragic love story associated with the burials. Ines de Castro was assassinated in 1355, and the king ordered his tomb to be placed next to hers so that he could face the woman he loved on the day of resurrection. They are considered to be the most beautiful medieval tombs in Portugal. There are also living quarters, including a refectory, dormitory, kitchen, and cloisters that have been inhabited by monks for 800 years.
Convent of Christ
The Convent of Christ is a beautiful roman catholic building located in Tomar. It was initially a stronghold for the Order of the Knights Templar. The building houses impressive art and examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance architecture. The walls inside are exquisitely decorated with paintings, carved stone sculptures, and a window depicting symbols and motifs. This site has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983.
Évora is a Portuguese city home to several historical sights, some over two thousand years old. The Cathedral of Évora is considered one of Portugal’s most important gothic monuments. Moorish palaces and courtyards, a renaissance fountain built-in 1559, and a one-of-a-kind Roman temple have become the city’s most famous landmarks. It is not surprising that Évorahas is classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Belém Tower was built to be a fortress in 1515 to guard the entrance to Lisbon’s harbor. The tower is constructed from lioz limestone that is local to Lisbon. It is considered one of the prominent examples of the late gothic Manueline style. There is a drawbridge, spaces for cannons, turrets, and arches that have been decorated with images of animals, plants, and royal coats of arms. Inside there are statues, pillars, and gargoyle facets. UNESCO has listed the tower as a World Heritage monument.
Jerónimos Monastery is considered one of the most beautiful monasteries in Portugal and Europe. Located in Lisbon, the monastery has various entrances that have been decorated with carved figures, gables, and pinnacles. There is a 16th Century Portuguese sculpture of Our Lady of Belém in the central doorway, a figure of Prince Henry the Navigator in the center of the monastery, and a statue of King Manuel I. The monastery has been classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
We hope this has inspired you to start planning your trip to Portugal today.
Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar
Find out why Sand boarding, Diving and Safaris through the desert are included in the Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar.
Qatar is a country of reinvention. Shimmering towerblocks rise against a desert horizon, and maze-like souks thrive next to 21st-century shopping palaces. It’s also one of the more accessible countries of the Arab Gulf, with a welcoming reputation towards visitors and plenty of attractions to keep them coming. Some of the best holiday activities you’ll find in Qatar are the adventurous kind. And these are the top 5 outdoor adventure activities in Qatar.
Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar
The Gulf Sea is famed for its crystal waters and the exuberant marine life which lurks just beneath the surface. Messaid is a good jumping-off point where you’ll find angelfish and barracuda, while those intrigued by underwater wrecks will love the Hall Island dive site at Al-Sharqi, where bright clownfish circle the abandoned boat.
Many of the sports here have been adapted from colder climates, so instead of skiing down a mountain piste, try Khor Al Adaid beach to glide down the impressive dunes on a sand-board. Alternatively, race your blo-kart along the sands of Al Wakrah, south of capital Doha, to experience the thrill of wind-sailing on dry land.
The ancient carvings of Al Jassasiya lie to the north near Al Shamal, amid a truly remote landscape of village ruins and limestone. Hire a 4×4 of your own and make the journey to see the 900 petroglyphs which riddle the rocks here. The carvings denote flowers, animals, fleets of shows, or traditional Arab boats, and to this day, their origins remain a mystery.
When the time comes for a more relaxed excursion, you can do no better than a sunset cruise onboard a wooden dhow as you drift past the super-modern Doha seafront of Al-Corniche and the old harbor at Al Khor. If you’re still hankering after some adventure, rent a smaller vessel and go for a fishing trip the following day.
Much of the inland desert in Qatar remains inaccessible on foot, but fortunately, that’s where a 4×4 comes in very handy for a safari trip you won’t easily forget. There are numerous options available from Doha, including day-long excursions, bumping, and rolling to the inland sea at Khor Al Adaid. Or make the trip at dusk for a spot of star-gazing before you settle in Bedouin-style tents for the night.
Most activities can be arranged via a tour company. Although cash has been the predominant payment method in Qatar, this is beginning to change, which is good news for tourists since HSBC offers protection against loss or theft. If you’re planning on taking part in several activities, it can be handy to have some plastic on you to avoid expensive traveler’s cheques, plus credit cards from HSBC and other familiar providers also enable easy access to money at the ATMs. However, it’s wise to exercise caution, using only official bank machines here and sticking with local currency at the market and in smaller shops.
There’s no doubt that Qatar offers some world-class cultural attractions beyond the more energetic highlights, and while you’re in the country, set aside some time for the historic Al Zubarah fort or browse the recreated 19th-century Souk-Waqif, in Doha.
This country has been undervalued in the past but is now coming to the world’s attention. With its desert adventures, ancient sites, and thriving culture, this attention is thoroughly deserved.
This is a travel feature by world traveler, Jose Capelo. He loves exploring the top 5 outdoor adventure activities in Qatar and has spent many trips exploring the wild deserts of Qatar.
8 Things to do in Bondi in Winter
8 Things to do in Bondi in Winter
Bondi is well known for sun, surf, and fun, but what can you do if you find yourself there in the colder months from June to August? Here are a few suggestions for things to do in Sydney’s most popular suburb when the temperature drops.
8 Things to do in Bondi in Winter
1. Go on an art tour
If the weather doesn’t allow for the typical outdoorsy activities Bondi is known for, a tour of some of its first-rate art galleries can be a great way to spend an afternoon. Don’t miss the Cooee Aboriginal Art Gallery, dedicated to promoting Indigenous art, and the Bondi Art Lounge, where you can view works from local artists or even take a beginner class and create a masterpiece of your own.
2. Take a hike
In crisp cool temperatures, a hike along the coastal cliffs with a view of the gorgeous Pacific Ocean below can’t be beaten. One of the most popular hikes is the Bondi to Coogee Walk, which is 6 km and takes you through Sydney’s eastern suburbs and past plenty of cafes, restaurants, and kiosks where you can stop to rest and take in the sights.
3. Head to Bondi Icebergs for some winter swimming
Even during winter, swimming is not entirely out of the question in Bondi. The Oceanside pool at Bondi Icebergs Club is open year-round, and the winter swims every Sunday from May to September have become a time-honored tradition. Although club members must complete at least three winter swims a year to retain their lofty membership title, non-members who are up for the challenge can pay a one-time fee to use the pool and sauna.
4. Strap on your skates and visit the only beachside skating rink in Australia
If winter swimming is a step too far for you, why not skate instead? Bondi has Australia’s only beachside ice rink, and the ocean view in the background makes for a striking contrast. The ice rink is open from June 27 to July 13, and aside from hosting skating sessions that are open to the public, it also features spectacular ice shows from Stars On Ice.
5. Settle in for brunch at one of Bondi’s decadent cafes
Winter wouldn’t be the same without a few indulgences, and after all your skating and hiking, you’ve probably earned a hearty brunch anyway. Fortunately, Bondi is full of great brunch options, from Trio Café with delicacies like poached eggs with truffle oil and char-grilled halloumi; to the rustic Brown Sugar, where you can indulge in classic comfort food like buttermilk pancakes and English muffins with bacon.
6. Join a cooking class, dodge ball game, or salsa lesson
During the winter, it may seem like most people have gone off to hibernate, but if you know where to look, you can still find plenty of social things to do. Start by checking out the Bondi community page on Gumtree. You can find like-minded individuals to explore the area with or even join a group for fun activities like hiking, biking, or cooking.
7. Score some vintage fashion at Bondi Markets
The Bondi Markets, held every Sunday on Bondi Beach, are known in Sydney for being the best place to shop for vintage clothing and accessories and hip new fashions from emerging designers. Aside from style, you can also shop for art, furniture, flowers, books, local produce, and delicious street eats. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s a great place to do some people-watching and see the Bondi locals in their element.
8. Stop by the Bondi Pavilion
The Bondi Pavilion is one of the suburb’s oldest landmarks dating back to 1928 when it first opened, featuring grand dining rooms, a lounge, a ballroom, and the Turkish and Hot Sea Water Baths. Today, it’s used as an art and cultural center and is home to a theatre group, recording studio, and art gallery. There’s always something going on here, from pottery classes to festivals to open-air cinemas, so check it out if you have a chance.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
New on Four Jandals
- Adventurer’s Manual: How to Successfully Explore Germany September 12, 2023
- 12 Pieces of Useful Advice for First-Time Travellers to Singapore August 1, 2023
- 7 Tips for Levelling up Your London Business Trip July 15, 2023
What Are You Looking For?
See Our Favorite Topics
Adventure Travel2 months ago
A Beginner’s Guide to Yacht Charters: How to Choose the Right Yacht and Plan the Perfect Trip
Business2 months ago
7 Tips for Levelling up Your London Business Trip
Travel Tips2 months ago
The Benefits of Bundling Car Rentals with Hotel Stays in Orlando
Entertainment2 months ago
7 Tips for Organising an Amazing NYC Bachelor Party
Travel Tips3 months ago
The Essential Guide to Exploring Cancun’s Nightlife
Asia2 months ago
12 Pieces of Useful Advice for First-Time Travellers to Singapore
Travel Tips2 weeks ago
Adventurer’s Manual: How to Successfully Explore Germany