The beauty of booking a trekking tour in Cuba on your gap year is that you'll be able to discover the country's diverse nature and fascinating history all in one trip. There certainly is more to this small island nation than meets the eye.
Climbing Pico Turquino - the country's tallest peak - and discovering the wildlife in the Escambray Mountains will undoubtedly be highlights, but there are plenty of heritage sights to visit in between your walks. Here are just a few of the top monuments you shouldn't miss when visiting Havana, Trinidad and Santiago.
Havana is the capital city of Cuba and it has a fantastic blend of old and new. Begin your trip here and you can visit the first of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites to be found in the country. The historic centre of the city was given this status over 30 years ago to protect the 16th century buildings that were constructed when the Spanish founded the settlement.
One of the things that makes Havana's collection of Baroque and Neoclassical structures so special is that they were not damaged by conflicts, which has resulted in them being among the best preserved examples of Spanish architecture in the Americas. Plaza de la Catedral is a must-visit, as it is considered to be one of the prettiest squares in the city. As its name suggests, it is home to a cathedral - Catedral de San Cristobal de la Habana - which is instantly recognisable thanks to its impressive towers.
Nearby you'll discover Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the oldest remaining colonial fort in the Americas region. Look out for the artistic weathervane on its west tower and venture inside if you want to see examples of pottery art in the Museum of Ceramics.
Other notable landmarks include the Museum of the Revolution, San Carlos de la Cabana Fortress, Palacio de los Capitanes Generales and the Museum of Rum.
Trinidad also holds UNESCO World Heritage Site status, thanks to its colonial buildings, while the nearby Valley de los Ingenios is also recognised by the organisation due to its importance in the development of the country's sugar industry. It is well worth taking a trip into the valley to see the ruins of around 70 sugar mills and to get an idea of the sheer size of the former plantations.
Within Trinidad itself, you'll be treated to stunning buildings lining cobbled streets, with some of the most impressive located on the Plaza Mayor and the streets leading to it. The Palacio Brunet and the Palacio Cantero are two such examples, with the latter now housing a municipal history museum. The Yayabo Bridge and the Iglesia Parroquial Mayor (the country's oldest church) are also worth a visit.
Santiago, on the south-eastern tip of the island, has a real Caribbean feel to it, making it quite different from the other cities you'll have visited so far while walking in Cuba on your gap year trip. It's renowned for its music scene and colourful carnivals, so keep an eye out for any parades during your stay.
The San Pedro de la Roca Castle - another UNESCO World Heritage Site - is a must-visit while in Santiago. It was originally constructed in the late 16th century, before later being significantly expanded to bolster the protection of the city. As well as exploring the fort, you can also visit the Pirate Museum located in the building.
Cespedes Park, meanwhile, is the thriving centre of Santiago and it's here you'll find the city hall, cathedral and a 16th century mansion that was once owned by Diego Velazquez, the chief conquistador of Spain.