the 5 Things Besides Cigars and Rum That Have Made Cuba Famous

When you think of Cuba, cigars and rum are probably two of the first things that spring to mind. But this Caribbean island boasts a diverse history and vibrant culture with so much more to offer than just these famous exports. If you fancy learning a little more about Cuba, here are five of the best things about travel to Cuba and what really makes Cuba famous.

Cuban Coffee

coffe beans, cuban coffee

Image by olle svensson used under Creative Commons license CC by 2.0

Coffee production in Cuba is huge, and some of the country’s oldest coffee plantations are UNESCO World Heritage sites. For Cubans, coffee drinking is as embedded in their culture as tea is for the British.

Coffee is a social drink in Cuba, where people gather around to chat over steaming cups of espresso. Cubans like their coffees dark and strong – you won’t find caramel lattes and mochas in abundance here.

Salsa Dancing

Salas Dancing in Cuba with founders of Casino Salsa

Salsa Dancing with founders of Casino Salsa – image by Joan Christel

Cubans love to dance, and salsa dancing existed here even before it arrived in the United States. Dancing in Cuba is all about energy, enthusiasm, and losing yourself in the music. To experience this dance culture at its best, visit Havana at the weekend for the ‘Saturday Rumba.’ Dancing takes place on Calzada Street, in the Vedado area, and everyone is highly encouraged to join in! Locals and visitors alike love this tradition, and flock back week after week.


After being introduced by American sailors in the 1860s, baseball rapidly became one of Cuba’s most popular sports. Nowadays, the country can boast some incredibly talented baseball players, and there is a national baseball program for kids to learn and make their way to the top. Numerous MLB plaers started for the Cuban national team before coming to the US.

Pristine Beaches

the beaches of Cuba may be the best beaches in the Caribbean

The pristine beaches of Cuba, Image by Phil Bartle

Surrounded by clear Caribbean waters and fringed with golden sands, it will come as no surprise that Cuba contains gorgeous beaches. If you want to have your own Cuban beach experience, Varadero is the ideal destination. This resort on the Hicacos Peninsula is home to a 20km stretch of sand, and it is arguably one of the best beaches not just in Cuba, but maybe the entire Caribbean.


the streets and cars of Havana, Cuba

On the streets of Havana, image by Joan Christel

Cuba’s capital city is known by name around the world, but many travelers don’t quite know what to expect before they get there. The truth is, you should expect the unexpected.

On Havana’s streets, a colorful blend of architectural styles will let you glimpse different parts of the city’s rich history around every corner. Havana is full of life, the locals are friendly, and it won’t take long for you to fall in love.

Anything else? What other places and things do you think of as distinctly Cuban? Share your thoughts.

Photo Credits: All marked by photographer and given permission, the beach and coffee images were used under Creative Commons license CC by 2.0


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  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Craig,

    Those beaches look gorgeous. Amazing. First thing that pops up at me, before the cigars or classic cars, is those eye-popping, pristine, not spoiled by throngs or tourists yet beaches. If things keep opening up between the US and Cuba – we’ll see with Trump – this place can become a hot bed for American tourists. A hop, skip, jump away from the mainland.

    Awesome post!


    • craig zabransky

      Cuba will always have its history, its future and its tourism future will be interesting to monitor. But agreed, it is so close with plenty of items that seem to be So “Cuban”
      stay Cubano, Craig