Cuba in October – The Best Things to Do & See
By Mayté Solano Gómez
October in Cuba is part of the low season for tourism. This means lower prices, fewer domestic and foreign tourists and more availability for accommodation and transport. Popular tourist sites are also much less crowded. Another advantage is that the rainy season on the island ends and temperatures begin to drop slightly.
Therefore, October could also be a good time to visit Cuba. We’ll share with you our recommendations about where to go and what to do.
Cuba Weather in October
Traveling to Cuba can be exasperating for those not used to intense heat and high humidity. In Cuba the thermal sensation of heat is usually much higher than the real ambient temperature, so you may need to cool off and change your clothes many times a day since you will constantly sweat.
But in October temperatures begin to decrease slightly, oscillating between 27 and 30 ° C / 80-86 ° F. Besides, the hurricane season is still active.
October is part of the rainy season in Cuba. However, this doesn´t mean that it rains all day long. The weather this month is characterized by heat and a lot of sun during most of the day, and more or less intense but short duration rains during the afternoon.
Cuba Events in October
October is a month of historical relevance for Cubans. On the one hand, October 10 is the day the slaves were freed on a farm in Granma and the first war of independence began in Cuba, known as the “10-year war”.
Every year, between October 8 and 28, the Camilo-Che day is celebrated, in commemoration of 2 of the greatest heroes that the Cuban Revolution had in the last years of struggle, before reaching the revolutionary triumph.
Finally, on October 20 the National Culture day is celebrated, in commemoration of the date on which the Hymn of Bayamo, the anthem of Cuba, was sung for the first time, after the independence struggles began, in October 10, 1868.
What to Do & See in Cuba in October
So Cuba in October is a quiet place and not so hot, as in the summer months, to visit. Children are mostly in schools while adults work during the day. It is then a good time to enjoy calmly the best places in Cuba.
Culture in Santa Clara
Santa Clara is one of the provinces with intense cultural life. Various events take place in October, such as the Small Format Salon, a space for the promotion of young creators’ visual arts, the “Ciudad del Che” Literary Contest; the Performing Arts Season, and the Provincial Meeting of Concert Bands.
At the same time, you can enjoy the attractions of the city, such as the “Armored train” and the “Mausoleum of Che”.
Varied in Havana
Gran Fondo Tour Cuba is a cycling event that takes place in Havana, since 2015, in the month of October. Initially, with the aim of bringing together cyclists from Cuba and the USA, the event is divided into two parts, a 48-mile race called Criterium, in which a USAC or UCI license is required, and a race popular in which everyone who is registered can participate, with a route of 70 miles.
Also in Havana, in October, the Havana Theater Festival takes place every year, with proposals for various audiences and of various formats, and each time dedicated to a relevant figure in the performing arts.
Cuba Circuits for October
For those who prefer a quiet vacation, we recommend the Varadero- Viñales- Cienfuegos- Camagüey circuit.
To start, Varadero
It is the quintessential beach destination in Cuba. Although there are very beautiful beaches on the island, some of them virgin, immersing yourself in the waters of Varadero is really something to enjoy.
Located on the Hicacos Peninsula, in the province of Matanzas, Varadero is just 2 hours from the island’s capital. In any case, it has the Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport, which serves national and international flights, both regular and charter. This air terminal is an alternative to Havana, so it has the conditions required to guarantee airport security and the comfort of visitors.
From the airport, a good transportation to different destinations can be relatively easy in the low tourist months, such as October. Therefore, it is possible to get, once in Cuba, to the private houses that are so popular on the island. From the most luxurious to the simplest, staying in Casas particulares in Cuba gives you the opportunity to meet real Cubans and, either directly or indirectly, contribute to the economy of the population of the region.
Book your accommodation in Varadero and the airport pick-up service through Cuba Casa.
Casa Rosa BnB has the ideal facilities to enjoy a quiet stay in Varadero. It is located on the main street and a few meters from the beach. As an added attraction, it includes breakfast in the price of the room.
From here you can also coordinate excursions and visit places of interest such as:
Josone Park: Excellent place to enjoy peace and nature, away from crowds. It has an amusement park for children and a swimming pool, as well as restaurants and bars. It’s a great spot to take pictures, have a picnic and go boating.
Varahicacos Ecological Reserve: Natural reserve opened in 1974, with caves containing 2500-year-old human remains and ancient pictographs. It includes an unguided tour, although documented, through trails and caves with different specimens of the native flora and fauna.
Varadero Golf Club: It was the first and is the only 18-hole golf course in Cuba. It has twice hosted the Grand Final of the European Challenge Tour and the AUDI Golf Cup of Spain. In addition, it has a beautiful beach and a clubhouse where you can enjoy good food and drinks and first-class service.
Varadero Dolphinarium: In operation since 1984, this place offers daily shows with dolphins, for the enjoyment of both children and adults. For an additional fee, you can photograph yourself with the animals or swim with them. Near the facility, there is a play area for children and shops to buy souvenirs.
There is also the possibility of organizing a day tour to Havana, so you do not miss this beautiful and historic city and the opportunity to visit its historic centre, a World Heritage Site.
For the evening hours, there are numerous cabarets, bars and clubs in the region, some of them located in the main hotels, as well as the Tropicana of Matanzas, 20 minutes from Varadero.
Next destination, Viñales
The area where the best cigar tobacco in Cuba is grown, Viñales offers outdoor options, for hiking, visiting caves and the coffee and tobacco crops in the area.
Declared a World Heritage Site, the Viñales Valley is also a National Park. Although the region does not have an international airport, it is easily accessible by car from Havana or Varadero.
The private houses where you can stay are a sample of the simplicity and great cordiality and friendly spirit of the people of Pinar del Río. Villa Fela y Marcelo is an example of this. From the rocking chairs of the porch of this casa particular, you can also enjoy the beautiful view of the mountains at sunset.
Among the main places of interest that will also allow you to relax and enjoy the peace and beauty of the region, are:
Viñales Valley: Ideal place for cycling, hiking and enjoying natural attractions. Among the main places to visit are the Cueva del Indio, with its underground river and the stalactites and stalagmites; the Mural of Prehistory, which includes a pictorial work on a vertical rock wall, open to the sky, 120 meters high and another 160 meters wide; as well as various farms where you can taste coffee and a good Cuban cigar while learning how both products are made.
Viewpoint Los Acuáticos: Located on the side of a mountain, from this site you can enjoy beautiful sunsets, together with natural juices made from delicious tropical fruits of the region. The path to reach the viewpoint covers a distance of between 1 and 4 km, depending on the route taken. The tour can be done on foot or on horseback, either on your own or with the help of a guide.
Viñales Botanical Garden: This is a small and simple garden that treasures specimens of the flora of the region. Created thanks to the locals’ own efforts, they offer visitors a guided tour, with detailed explanations from experts. Admission is free, but at the end of the tour, you can leave a contribution to help maintain and improve the place.
Orquideario and Waterfall of Soroa: Although not exactly in Viñales, these 2 places are very close, and they attest to the natural beauty of the island. The orchidarium is one of the 13 existing botanical gardens in Cuba and has more than 700 species and varieties of this beautiful plant (Orchid). In this place, you can also see other species of plants and animals. As for the Salto de Soroa (Soroa waterfall), it is 22 meters high and is considered one of the wonders of Cuban geography. It is recommended to visit it between May and October when the rains favour increases the flow of its waters. It has 279 steps that allow you to reach the top, enjoy the wonderful view, and then descend to immerse yourself in the refreshing waters.
From Viñales to Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos, also known as the Pearl of Cuba, is a small province in the central region of the island, which has a historic centre declared a World Heritage Site. It is one of the cleanest and best-preserved cities in the country, with incredible architectural wealth.
It has a small international airport, although it is easy to reach it through the collective taxis, so popular in Cuba for tourists’ transfers. The private houses in which you can stay when visiting the city offer comfort as well as personal attention from the owners. Hostal Bahía can arrange outings to all the nearby places of interest. From the terrace of this accommodation, you can enjoy the relaxing view of the bay of Cienfuegos.
Among the places of interest that will allow you to relax and enjoy your vacation in peace are:
Botanical Garden of Cienfuegos: It currently has more than 1500 species of plants. Founded in 1901, today it holds the Prize for Conservation of Monuments and the category of National Monument of the Republic of Cuba. It offers visitors guided tours of the live- plant collections, as well as other research and gardening services for the community.
Bay and Castle of Jagua: Whether with the residents of the city or booked through the Marina Marlin, to take a boat ride through the calm waters of Jagua Bay will not only allow you to relax but also contemplate the beautiful city from another perspective. The visit to the Fortress, Castle of Jagua, or Castle of Our Lady of the Angels of Jagua, is something that any visitor should not miss. It has been located at the entrance of the Bay of Cienfuegos since the 1740s, to protect the city from the pirates and corsairs that roamed the Caribbean coasts and used to take refuge there, in search of water, food and other provisions.
Guaranoca Lagoon: It is a protected area that includes the Laberintos de Los Naturales, Cayo Ocampo and other minor keys within the bay. It has great biological diversity and natural beauty. Its name is linked to an aboriginal legend about a beautiful woman named Guanaroca, whose first child was killed because of paternal jealousy. That was the cause of the pain of the Indian, who cried so much that the tears were enough to form the rivers, the bay and the lagoon according to local folklore.
Malecón of Cienfuegos: A place to walk with the locals, enjoy a sunset and the incredible view of the bay. Much cleaner, quieter, safer and less crowded than the Malecón in Havana.
And finally, Camagüey
It is the first province in eastern Cuba, the city’s historic centre was declared a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It is also known as the City of the Tinajones as, in times of drought, since the Spanish colonization, these huge containers in the shape of a globe and made of baked clay are used to store rainwater for long periods of time. Today these vessels can be seen everywhere in the city, adorning its streets, patios and terraces.
Camagüey has the Ignacio Agramonte International Airport, which serves flights to this province itself and to the tourist centre of Santa Lucía, so you can finish your circuit for the month of October in Cuba by returning again to Varadero or from here.
The houses of Camagüey invite you to enjoy peace and quiet. These colonial mansions, as is the case of Casa Los Vitrales, have large patios and “tinajones”, ideal for resting, reading and meditation. Many of them located very close to the historic centre, they are a good starting point to visit the main places of interest.
Among these sites are:
Squares, parks and churches in the historic centre: Camagüey is the Cuban city with the most churches, and in terms of squares, it is not far behind. In the historic centre it is possible to visit the Plaza San Juan de Dios; the Plaza del Carmen, with its sculptures of “Las Chismosas”; the Candelaria church, which has a viewpoint that offers a fantastic view of the city; the church of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, probably the most important in the city; and the Plaza and the church of La Merced. Here, under the altar, ancient catacombs are preserved.
The Ballet at the Municipal Theater: the Camagüey Ballet is the second company of Cuba. It was founded in 1967 and its repertoire goes from the most traditional classical works to the most daring avant-garde dancers. Enjoying a performance by this company, in the magnificent centenary building that is the Municipal Theater, can be a truly enriching experience.
Santa Lucia Beach: It is located on the key that bears the same name. You can really appreciate its beauty relaxing on the fine white sands and enjoying the peace of the environment.
Cuba in October in Summary
Despite October being a month of cyclones in Cuba, it can be a good time to visit the island and benefit from the advantages offered by the low tourist season. Whether alone or with the family… it’s really worth it.
If you’re interested in making this circuit in Cuba, check out our accommodations in the recommended locations:
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