There’s something about the fresh fruit in Cuba that is just so unique and delicious, so if you plan a trip to Cuba anytime soon, you should definitely try it.
The fertile soil and tropical climate mean that fruit grows abundantly in this Caribbean country so it shouldn’t be too hard to find.
So what makes the fruit here so special? Well, it’s super fresh because all the fruit is locally grown. And when I say local, I mean that it’s likely the fruit comes from the region that you are visiting – so there is no need for a whole lot of preservatives.
In fact, stay in a region such as Vianles and there’s a high likelihood that it was grown within mere meters of where you are sitting!
A fan of organic fruit? Then Cuba is the place for you. Ever since the descent of the Soviet Union Cuba does not receive insecticides or pesticides so there are no chemicals used to cultivate any of the delicious fruit.
We’ve spoken about what makes the fruit so delicious, but every silver lining has a cloud. As the fruit is always locally produced, you are a little at the mercy of the harvest season as to what will be available during your stay.
What does this mean? You’ll only be able to eat the fruit that’s in season at the time. However, fruit should never be difficult to get your hands on, in fact, it’ll be on pretty much any food menu that you read.
So whether you want to try it as a breakfast choice, as a fruit salad, or as an extra flavor to your favorite dessert, Cuba will have you covered.
Now, Cuba cultivates a rich and plentiful variation of many different fruits, but which are the tastiest? Here are my top ten picks for fruit that you should not skip out on during your trip.
‘Guayaba’ – Guava
Guava can be really delicious – and it’s certainly the case in Cuba. The flavor is one on its own, although with the seeds and the unusual texture it can be a little much for fussier tastebuds.
And it’s really the flavor that makes it stand out, so if you aren’t much for this fruit by itself, I would recommend sprinkling a little bit of sugar over your guava and then blending it up to make an out-of-this-world tasting smoothie – this is one of my ultimate picks for a healthy drink and it’s super tasty.
Guava can also be turned into something that the locals will refer to as ‘timba’ this is essentially a guava-flavored taste that gets used in loads of local sweet treats.
‘Mamey’ – Mamey Sapote
Mamey is cultivated in a whole host of different places, including the Caribbean, and Central America, as well as some areas of Florida, but none compare to the Mamey Sapote that is freshly grown in Cuba.
When you think of types of fruit, this one might not initially spring to mind, you may not actually have ever heard of it before, but you won’t forget it once you’ve given it a try.
It can be eaten as it is should you wish to, but it is much nicer when it is used in a delicious batidos (milkshake) or when you try a scoop of Mamey flavored ice cream.
‘Guanabana’ – Soursop
If you’re feeling a little under the weather you may want to give a nice glass of Soursop juice a taste, as it is well known for its medicinal properties.
It is believed that it can actually help relieve symptoms of a whole host of ailments. And if you’re not ill, no bother, it’s still an incredibly delicious juice drink that you’ll want to try.
‘Aguacate’ – Avocado
Everything follows tends and not even fruit is an exception, avocados have certainly become more popular recently, especially in diet culture. Who doesn’t enjoy avocados on toast?
Well, avocado is certainly worth a try while you’re visiting Cuba. The avocados tend to be much bigger than what you may be used to in your local grocery store and because of the much hotter climate, they don’t take half as long to ripen.
They will taste a little different from what you’re probably used to as they are more robust and have a lower content of fat.
Most often in Cuba, you’ll find that they are served as an accompaniment to the main meal as a little slice on the side, and unlike in Mexico, you won’t tend to find it served smashed like guacamole.
Avocado is only available June-December though, so if you visit outside of those months, don’t bother trying to find any – it won’t be available.
‘Platano’ – Banana
No matter when you travel to Cuba, you’ll always be able to snack on a delicious banana. They are cultivated year-round and come in many different sizes, but if you have a sweet tooth give the smaller bananas a try as these are known for being much sweeter than the rest.
If you want to live like the locals for the day, try cutting up your ‘platano’ into small slices and serve as a side with your main meal. Or of course, you can always find street vendors who will sell you a banana for just a mere cents if you want a healthy snack.
‘Platano’ – Plantain
It looks like a banana, it has the same name as a banana, but a banana it is not. This sister fruit is just as delicious but it needs to be eaten a little differently.
You won’t want to just chomp down on a plantain, it’ll need to be cooked in some way or another first. ‘Tostones’ is a side made from this fruit where it is fried, then crushed down and fried again.
Try at your own risk – taste this delicious snack and you may struggle ever stopping they’re so delicious!
‘Fruta Bomba’ – Papaya
You’ll notice if you visit Cuba that the Papaya sold there is huge in comparison to what you might find on more local grocery store’s shelves. And when I say huge, I really mean it.
Just one Papaya can easily feed at least 12 people. It’s a Cuban staple for breakfast time and goes perfectly in a fruit salad.
Just be careful to remember its native name ‘Fruta Bomba’ if you’re staying in Havana or any neighboring places, as the word papaya has a different connotation that might cause you a few stares and giggles from the native staff.
‘Melon’ – Watermelon
Who doesn’t love a nice slice of watermelon on a particularly hot day?
Watermelon is the perfect refreshing snack option, however, you’ll find in Cuba that they have a few more seeds than you’ll be used to finding so this can take some small adjustment but it’s worth it for that mouthwatering taste.
It can also be found as a delicious beverage and look in the right places and you may even find it incorporated into a yummy scoop of ice cream.
‘Pina’ – Pineapple
There’s not much of the pineapple that Cubans don’t eat. You’ll find that they will eat both the starchy core and the flesh of the fruit as it’s packed with nutrients and fiber.
It’s a bit tougher in texture and isn’t quite as sweet but it’s still delicious. Pineapple will feature heavily in quite a lot of the cocktails sold in Cuba, but if a cocktail isn’t quite your style then you can try it in a lot of the main course meals – give pineapple chicken a try!
‘Mango’ – Mango
Whether you’re only slightly peckish, or quite hungry, Cuba can offer you a mango that will hit the spot- they come in all sorts of sizes.
Your mango can be eaten as a healthy snack, but also goes perfectly in most juices, ice creams, or smoothies. Cuba also makes a really tasty mango jam called ‘mermelada de mango’ that you should give a try.
Not seen your favorite fruit on my list? Do not fret, this is just my personal top ten picks, but Cuba still has much more fruit to offer from delicious citrus fruits to plums – they’ve got it all.
But whether you decide to go with one of my picks, or you try a fruit off-list you are sure to not be disappointed!