Solo Travel in Cuba
Types of Girl about the Globe (GatG) – Beach GatG, Dancing GatG, History GatG, Literary GatG
Cuba is such a fascinating country to explore. If you are planning a trip to Cuba, below is our guide to how to travel solo in Cuba including things to do in Cuba, where to stay, which tour company to use and how to get around. Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place.
All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our solo female friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article to help you plan your solo trip to Cuba.
* N.b. If you’re travelling to Cuba, you may need to get a tourist card before you travel
- Solo Travel in Cuba
- Cuba Attractions
- Tours in Cuba
- Cuba Accommodation
- Best Time To Visit Cuba
- Getting Around Cuba
- Cuba Airports
- Travel Onwards
- FAQs About Cuba
- Map of Cuba
- Plan a Trip To Cuba
Solo Travel in Cuba
If you love dancing then Cuba is the island to visit. Cubans are friendly islanders and if you go to a salsa club by yourself, you will probably get asked to dance. Cuba is a bit behind so don’t expect things to run smoothly especially if you want to pay by debit or credit card (take cash). Why does Cuba only get 3 stars? Cuba is fine for women travelling solo but there are some things to look out for:
Plan everything you want to do before you get there. The internet is slow and expensive and there isn’t any mobile data. There are no toilet seats and some toilets have stable-style doors; also take some toilet paper with you just in case. It’s easier to buy food out then shop and cook it yourself here. Some people speak some English but knowing some basic Spanish phrases is an advantage.
Cubans are really friendly and helpful but there are some travel scams such as tuk tuk drivers telling you that places are closed as they get paid to take you to other establishments instead. In Havana people will try and sell you things but if you’re polite and say “No,” they get the message.
Some locals will ask you where you’re going and walk you there then ask for food or drink in return, or take you to a bar where you are expected to pay for the drinks at over the top prices. It’s also wise to carry a money belt or a fake purse.
Be aware that there is a sex tourism industry and being alone, you may get mistaken for a woman looking for a Cuban man. Saying this, it is a great country to explore, these are just things to be aware of when you are travelling to Cuba.
As Cuba opens itself up to the rest of the World, now is a great time to visit this Caribbean island. Simply put, this country in the Caribbean is like no other. American classic cars, horse and carts, cowboys smoking Cuban cigars and endless dancing makes this an unforgettable experience.
Known for its music, Cuba even has its own style of salsa which echoes from street corners everywhere and you’re never be short of live music here. So where’s good to go for solos?
Havana is the country’s capital. It’s been described as the “Cuban museum that no one is looking after,” due to its faded pastel coloured houses and crumbling 50’s style buildings. But its ‘chic derelict effect’ is what adds to its charm. Ernest Hemingway liked Havana so much that he once lived here. Literary girl about the globes can take a tour of this famous writer and learn more about the artist’s life in Cuba.
Cuba is known for its American classic cars and you can jump in a pink cadillac and cruise around the streets with the wind blowing in your hair (other convertibles are of course, available).
Old Havana is in an old Spanish style with timeless architecture and open-air hotel lobbies. Walk through the colourful streets tracing the steps of the city’s fascinating past, learn about Cuba’s customs, beliefs and folklore on the Afro-Cuban tour, or take the contemporary art tour to learn more about Cuban art and visit galleries connected to the main influences of this movement.
Things To Do in Cuba
For cubism, and abstract art in Havana, just wander through Callejon de Hamel to see bathtub sculptures and colourful paintings on the walls. This alleyway is one of the coolest areas in the city and if you go on a Sunday you'll see the locals dancing at their weekly rumba (Spanish for party).
The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is for the arty Girl about the Globe or if you prefer trying the cuisine. take a cooking class at Ajiaco Cafe. Don’t forget to stop at the Chocolate Museum either (which is more like a cafe), where you buy anything chocolate-shaped including a chocolate cigar.
You can’t visit Cuba without learning about the Cuban Revolution that happened in the country between 1953 and 1959. Led by Fidel Castro, the revolution was against President Fulgencio Batista to overthrow his regime. Castro won and established a new Cuban government in 1959. He ruled until 2008. Read about the history here
Inside the palatial building of the Museum of the Revolution – which was once the Presidential Palace of the Cuban presidents – you can learn more about the prelude to the Revolution and the country’s history beginning in the 15th century.
See the bullet holes that are still evident near the entrance, as well as the eternal flame, a tribute to the country’s heroes. The museum is open every day except Thursdays but you will need to be able to understand Spanish to read the information.
Revolution Square is also a good place to visit. It’s one of the world’s largest city squares and Cuba’s historic symbol, where many important speeches have taken place.
See the giant face of Che Guevara on the facade of the Ministry of Interior building (as well as on numerous t-shirts and souvenirs in Havana), and Camilo Cienfuegos, a Cuban revolutionary on the Telecommunications building. As well as its government buildings you can also get a good view of the city from the tower of the Jose Marti Memorial.
If you plan to see the Che Guevara memorial, head to Santa Clara to see the museum dedicated to his life and the eternal flame in honour of his memory. To reach Santa Clara you can take a day trip from Cienfuegos.
Havana is also the place to experience a rooftop or two. Where better to enjoy a Cuba Libre (a rum and coke) than with a view of the city. Enjoy a mojito at Hotel Ambos Mundos, or guess the famous guests at La Bodeguita del Medio from the celebrity photos on the wall.
It’s been said that Beyonce and Jay Z even stayed at The Saratoga Hotel. You can find out the history of Cuban rub at the Havana Club Museum and get a free rum at the end (bonus!)
If you need something to do at night after your rooftop bar, Casa de la Musica is one of the place to go. Listen to live music and dance to the beats if the mood takes you, or watch a performance at Gran Teatro de La Habana (the Ballet Theatre) where you can also take a tour inside this beautiful theatre during the day.
To the west of the capital are the Tobacco fields. You can take a bus through the tobacco fields but they aren’t that frequent so if you do want to visit this area it’s worth taking a tour or staying overnight. You don't have to go far to watch how the famous Cuban cigars are made as Partagas Cigar Factory in Havana is open for tours.
Havana is great place to stay but if you are a nature Girl about the Globe you may want to head west from Havana to Viñales for a sunrise hike to escape the city vibes. Depending on whether you prefer honey, coffee or tobacco, you can also visit one of the farms on a tour (or all three!)
Smell the orchids at Casa de Caridad Botanical Gardens: or take a boat ride to the Cuevas del Indio, a cave that was once a refuge for the indigenous people with stalactites, stalagmites and cave paintings.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can go caving in the Gran Caverna de Santo Tomas, rent a motorbike to see the surrounding areas, or hop on a horse to horse ride in the national park instead.
To the east of Havana is Varadero, one of the island’s best beaches which is perfect for some major relaxing. There is more to this beach resort than just the beach though. Located on the Hicacos Peninsula, you can explore a Nature reserve, spend time in Josone Park strolling along the boating lake or the marina, or see ancient art at Ambrosio Cave.
Varadero can be a bit commercial with bars but it is a pretty destination. From here you can take a cruise to the island of Cayo Blanco and snorkel with dolphins whilst marvelling at the coral gardens.
One hour away from Varadero is a place for wellness Girls about the Globe. Elguea spa has thermal springs that are said to relieve your aliments. Get covered in a mud treatment and leave feeling rejuvenated. It's a great location to pamper yourself.
Continue east and if one island isn’t enough for you, Cayo Coco is Cuba’s smaller tropical island. It has the same beautiful beaches with white-powered sand but also comes with lagoons. If you’re an avid bird-watcher you can spot pink flamingos and white ibis in its marshes.
If you desire nothing more than a resort which serves you food and drink whilst you soak up some rays, this is smaller island for you. There’s even a cave to party in. You can reach Cayo Coco by plane from Havana, drive the 6.5 hour journey, or take the train to Ciego de Avila then take a taxi.
Further southeast is the colourful town of Trinidad where you can transport yourself back in time with horses and carts, rickshaws, cobbled streets, colourful houses, and the sounds of salsa gently playing in the background.
This is where it's at for nightlife and you won't be short of a partner if you're standing alone at the salsa club (or you can just sit on the steps and marvel at everyone else dancing like professionals instead).
Las Ayalas is the best place here as you can mingle with locals and may even find another solo traveller to try out your Cuban salsa with. During the day walk around the town, learn more about the history at the Municipal History Museum and then climb the Belltower for fab views of this central Cuban town.
This is the real Cuba, where cowboys ride horseback, and musicians gather in the streets to play music just because they can. You can also do day trips to Playa Ancon from here, a gorgeous sandy beach where you can rest your weary feet after an evening of dancing. A trip to Cuba just isn’t complete without experiencing Trinidad.
Much further away in the southeast of the country – but with an international airport that you can fly into – is Holguin. One for the beach Girl about the Globe, Holguin is where you’ll find your all-inclusive resorts and Canadians on Spring Break.
When you feel the need to leave your beach resort you can take the hour ride past green landscapes into the town to explore colourful pedestrian streets, stroll past the water fountain and statue of a girl holding an umbrella, and Spanish-style tavernas with music blaring out.
See the flower sellers at Parque de las Flores and join the queue of locals buying ice-cream in the square before taking the 15 minute hike to the top of the steps for a view of this colourful town. Then head back to your beach paradise to escape the calls of “Hola” (hello), and “Linda” (meaning beautiful) from the local men.
Santiago de Cuba
Further southeast is Santiago de Cuba. Founded in 1515 this city is the second largest in Cuba and is one for the architecture Girl about the Globe and history lover, having played an important part in the Cuban revolution. The city is walkable and also danceable, as it’s known for live music that you can hear in the streets near La Casa de Trova (which you can go into for indigenous music).
If you missed the Rum Museum in Havana, there is also one here called Museo del Ron where you can learn about the rum-making process. This is also the resting place of Fidel Castro, whose tomb you can see at Cementerio de Santa Ifigenia along with other famous Cubans.
See the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, and spend time at Parque Cespedes, one of the main squares, and Plaza de Marte, If you have time, visit the Castillo de San Pedro de la Rica which is 10km from the city but offers fantastic views from the fortress.
Come to Santiago de Cuba in July and you’ll find yourself dancing to the beat of the drums and joining in with the festivities at the carnival.
Other Places To Visit in Cuba
Other places to visit in Cuba are: Cienfuegos a quiet, windy town on the south side of Cuba which you can see on a day trip from Havana: El Nicho, an invigorating place of natural pools and waterfalls just an hour's drive from Cienfuegos, the UNESCO historic centre of Camaguey: and Baracoa, a hidden gem and one of Cuba’s oldest towns.
Whatever place you decide to visit in Cuba, whether it’s the cobbled stones of Trinidad, the turquoise waters and white-powder beaches of Holguin, or the derelict chic old town of Havana, as the largest country in the Caribbean Cuba is definitely unique.
Tours in Cuba
G Adventures Cuba – If you feel more comfortable in a group for either part of your trip or the whole duration, G Adventures is a responsible tour company which mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most tours have an average of 12 people and there is no upper age limit.
Adventures range from a 6 day Cuba Libre tour where you experience the nature and culture and visit a tobacco farm to see where the famous Cuban cigars come from, to a 16 day Cuba: salsa and snorkelling trip. a two week adventure dancing salsa in Santiago de Cuba, and exploring the underwater world in the Bay of Pigs.
There are also sailing, biking and multi-sport adventures you can do too. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
Intrepid Travel – Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each tour. Over 50% of people who book their trips are solo travellers. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels for their tours and have a more comfortable style of accommodation hence the trips can appear a bit more than G Adventures.
Intrepid Travel Cuba tours range from a 6 day Western Cuba trip travelling through Havana, Soroa, and Vinales before returning back to Havana, to a 15 day Best of Cuba, visiting Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Camaguey, Santiago de Cuba, and Baracoa. You can also combine Cuba with Mexico on a three week Best of Mexico & Cuba tour or their Epic adventure. Read our Intrepid Travel Reviews
With both tour companies you share a room with someone of the same gender or you can pay extra for your own room.
Cuba Connection Tours – A group of professional chauffeurs and tour guides who allow you to create your own Cuban experience whilst showing the customs and traditions of Cuba. They offer day tours all over Cuba from Zapata Swamp, Trinidad, Vinales, as well as long packages for 7-12 days.
Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities and day tours in worldwide destinations including Cuba. Choose from a classic America car tour with a cocktail, a catamaran cruise to see dolphins at Cayo Blanco, or a private Havana tour with a local. There are several to choose from and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online.
When looking for accommodation in Cuba, the main types of accommodation are casa particulars. These are guesthouses and bed and breakfasts that were created as a way of allowing locals to rent out their rooms or whole accommodation to travellers. The aim was to provide a cultural interaction with visitors and to show them a glimpse into the Cuban way of life.
Casa particulars are generally all the same price depending on which city you stay in and in which season. Expect to pay between 25 and 45 CUC per night. If you can’t find many of these guesthouses on Booking.com then you can definitely find them on sites such as Casa Particular.
In beach areas like Varadero, you’ll find all inclusive resorts offering half or full-board options. You can also find International hotels in the capital. For budget options there are a few hostels especially in Havana.
It is wise to prebook accommodation as you will be approached by accommodation touts when you arrive at the bus stations (especially in Trinidad). If you are arriving by bus see if your accommodation will collect you from the station to avoid the touts.
All of the accommodation below have my own personal endorsement or have been recommended by solo female travellers from our Girls about the Globe community as solo female-friendly.
Havana – Casa Romero
In the centre of Havana is Casa Romero, a small property in Havana centre ran by Yanet and her sister who really look after you. As it is a small property it offers you the opportunity to meet the guests who are staying in the other room. One room has a double bed and the other twin beds. There is air-conditioning if it gets too hot and also a terrace.
Although the apartment isn’t in old Havana, it is walking distance, and Yanet can organise transfers to the airport and to other cities. Breakfast isn’t included but you can order it for an additional cost as well as lunch and dinner. There is Wifi available to purchase (and you get one hour free!)
- Prices from £35 per night (excludes breakfast)
- To book, check prices or availability for Casa Romero
Holguin – Sol Rio de Luna y Mares
Sometimes you just need to relax and be in one place without having to think about where you are going to eat that evening. If you are looking for an all-inclusive hotel situated right on the beach, this 4 star resort is ideal. There are two swimming pools if you prefer to hang by the pool instead of on the sand. You can relax in a jacuzzi, take a yoga class or splash out on a body treatment.
There are nine restaurants and snack bars and eight bars as well as live entertainment. You really don’t have to go anywhere else. You will find couples here but if you need some relaxation with everything that you need including crystal-clear water then it’s a great choice even if just for a few days. Choose from a standard room with a garden view, a standard or superior sea view room or a suite.
- Prices from £110 per night for a standard room
- To book, check prices or availability for Sol Rio de Luna y Mares
Trinidad – Guesthouse Hostal Casa Mia
If you are looking for somewhere welcoming and friendly in Trinidad. This local guest-house fits the bill. The rooms are modest with private bathrooms, a TV, fridge, wardrobe, and minibar. There is a balcony for relaxing on after a night at the local salsa club and air conditioning for those warm nights.
The property has a garden and a terrace for even more space and because the guesthouse isn’t that big, you can mingle with the other guests. It is only a short walk to the centre too. I stayed here and my host even cooked up the local catch of the day; some freshly-caught fish for the evening meal. I definitely recommend it.
- Prices from £25 per night for a twin room
- To book, check prices or availability for Guesthouse Hostal Casa Mia
Best Time To Visit Cuba
You can’t visit Cuba without seeing the sunshine, especially if you’re coming here for a beach holiday. The best time for blue skies is between December to May where there are six months of mainly sunny days. Holiday periods such as Christmas and Easter are the island’s peak times where you could find yourself queuing for Cuba’s attractions.
You may want to avoid August to October when there is a chance of hurricanes. Tourism has increased on the island especially in Trinidad and Varadero so you may find these areas busier during peak times. Visit in June and you'll experience a few showers when it rains but there will be less tourists and it will cost less money too.
Below is an annual weather forecast of the maximum temperatures in Havana from January to December. For all other destinations in Cuba click here.
Getting Around Cuba
Cuba is quite a large country so travelling from place to place can take some time. There are internal flights such as Havana to Santiago de Cuba if you have limited time and want to cover distances quicker.
The Viazul bus system operate several routes and it’s recommended to book your ticket online as soon as you know when and where you want to go. You can take the bus from Trinidad to Havana which takes approximately 7 hours and stops in a restaurant en-route.
Havana’s bus station does seem to close when the last bus arrives and you may find that there are no taxis after this time. Buses also run from Santiago de Cuba. There is generally a toilet on the bus but you may find that the air-conditioning is a bit cold so take a fleece and some socks with you just in case.
Some of the bus stations have a VIP room where you can wait. There are other bus companies as well as tourist minibuses which although cost more they can also be quicker and easier. When you arrive at the bus station in Trinidad there are many people touting for business for accommodation as you leave the building.
Taxis are the easiest way to get around cities and you can hire them for longer distances but they come with a price tag. In Trinidad and Havana you can jump aboard a Cuban tuk tuk and coco-taxi which is definitely an adventure.
Cuba also has a train line that runs between Havana and Santiago de Cuba. There are other trains but you may prefer alternative transport which is more reliable. (except for the main train line),
You can hire a car if you don’t mind driving distances alone. Take photos of the car before you hire it to cover yourself for any damage claims when you return it. You can also rent a motorbike with your driving license and passport. Rome2Rio is a good website to help you plan your journey.
Cuba has several international airports and even more domestic ones. The main airport is Jose Marti Airport in Havana, but you may also be flying into Santiago de Cuba, Varadero, or Holguin depending on where you are planning to be on your visit.
There is a departure tax of $25 CUC so check if it’s included in your air ticket price. If not, keep enough cash on you for when you depart. Below is a list of the main international airports. Rome2Rio is a great resource to help you plan how to get to and from each one depending on where you are travelling from.
- Camaguey – Ignacio Agramonte International Airport
- Cayo Coco – Cayo Coco Airport
- Havana – José Martí International Airport
- Holguin – Frank Pais Airport
- Santa Clara – Abel Santa Maria Airport
- Varadero – Juan Gualberto Gomez Airport
From Holguin Airport if you’re not staying at an all-inclusive resort with a coach transfer waiting for you, you can have the chance to hop in an old American classic car to your accommodation.
Feel more confident with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solo females.
Travel Onwards (check visas before you travel)
You can only fly to other countries at present as passenger ferries don’t operate from the country. Make sure you have a ticket out of the country before trying to enter as you won’t be allowed entry without one.
FAQs About Cuba
- Can I drink the water? No.
- Is tipping expected? With wages being low in Cuba, tipping at 10-15% is appreciated in restaurants. Tipping anyone in the service industry whether it is taxi drivers or tour guides when you have a good experience is appreciated.
- Fixed price or barter? Generally fixed price.
- Any ATMs? In Havana yes, and at the airport. You can also find them in other locations but make sure you have enough cash or an additional card in case you run into problems. Don’t change money on the streets.
- Which side of the road do they drive? The right-hand side.
- Good for vegetarians? There are options for vegetarians but don’t expect too much.
- Any seven wonders of the world? Cuba.
Map of Cuba
Plan a Trip To Cuba
If you are planning a trip to Cuba here are some useful links to help you plan your trip including airlines which fly there, vaccinations required and currency.
Current time in Havana
Capital – Havana
Population – 11.27 million
Language spoken – Spanish
Local Currency – Two currencies: Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) = tourist one, Cuban Peso (CUP) = local one.
Flying time to Cuba from UK – 10 hrs
The Best Time to Go – To Havana is April, May and October