Wed, January 27th, 2010 - By

Spotlight – Cuba Holidays


Cuba is a beautiful and diverse country with a proud cultural heritage; it lies 145km (90 miles) south of Florida and is made up of one large island and over 1,500 smaller ones.

Latin America meets the Caribbean – Cuba mixes idyllic beaches, tropical weather, historical sites (including the vintage cars), rum cocktails, fat cigars and a little bit of salsa, all adding up to make the perfect holiday destination.

Where to stay & what to do

Havana

Whether staying for a few nights or a few hours, a visit to Cuba is not complete without seeing its capital, Havana. During the day enjoy one of the many historical sites throughout the city, while after dark Havana offers a vast choice of evening entertainment with a range of restaurants, nightclubs, salsa bars and cabaret shows.

  • Take a guided tour of Old Havana and enjoy the cobbled streets, colonial churches and palaces of this captivating capital.
  • Stroll along the famous Malecon, running along the waterfront this pedestrian walkway runs for just over four miles and is a popular meeting point with locals and the perfect place to watch the sun go down.
  • Visit the Museo de la Revolucion and learn about Cuba’s interesting history and the rise of Fidel Castro.
  • Try rolling a cigar at one of Cuba’s tobacco factories
El Capitolio in Havana’s centre, built to mimic Washington DC’s Capitol

El Capitolio in Havana’s centre, built to mimic Washington DC’s Capitol

Varadero

Two hours drive from Havana, Varadero is the largest beach resort in Cuba and with fine white sands stretching for some 20km it’s not hard to see why. With over 30 dive sites, a choice of water and land sporting activities including a golf course, not to mention the numerous bars, restaurants and nightclubs there’s plenty to keep you busy if required.

  • Visit the Ambrosio Cave which contains 72 rupestrian drawings, one of the largest collection of Indian pictographs in the Caribbean islands
  • Take a trip to Matanzas, the regions capital, founded in 1693 the city offers cultural and historic and buildings
  • Swim with the dolphins at El Delfinario Aquarium
Varadero Beach

Varadero Beach

Guardalavaca

Situated at the eastern end of Cuba, about 35minutes from Holguin, Guardalavaca is well suited to those looking for a tranquil resort with access to fabulous beaches, lush tropical vegetation and countryside.

  • Relax on one of the three beaches or enjoy the range of water sports on offer from pedalos to jet-skiing and sailing to catamaran cruises
  • Scuba dive amongst the amazing coral reef which stretches for 900m and home to a number of dive sites including caves and shipwrecks.
  • Visit the Cayo Naranjo Aquarium and enjoy the shows or even swim with the dolphins

Cayo Coco

An island in the middle of the north coast of Cuba, holidays in Cayo Coco are ideal for sun worshippers, scuba divers, bird watchers and nature lovers. This paradise island offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy some 10km of fantastic beaches as well as the world’s second largest coral reef and the El Bago Nature Park with its amazing variety of tropical plants and 150 species of birds which includes 30,000 pink flamingos.

  • Take to the beach and try one of the many watersport activities on offer from windsurfing to waterskiing and kayaking to aqua bike riding
  • Various tours are offered including yacht cruises, glass-bottomed boat trips, trout fishing and jeep safaris
Cayo Coco is home to around 30,000 pink flamingos

Cayo Coco is home to around 30,000 pink flamingos

Santiago de Cuba

The second largest city in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba is located on the South West coast of Cuba. Rich in history and the natural surroundings make this an ideal choice for those wanting more than just a beach holiday.

  • Take a hike to the Sierra Maestra Mountains, there are many organised walking and hiking trips available, particularly to the tallest peak on the island, the Pico Turquino
  • Visit Baconao Park, a World Heritage Biosphere Reserve, which covers a large part of the city and encompasses a lagoon, botanical gardens and coffee plantations
  • Celebrate with the locals at the Fiesta del Fuego, a week-long street party which takes place in July

Getting around

Cuba is the only Caribbean country with a public railway system; its rail network runs the length of the island, linking the main cities and towns offering a much more reliable and hassle-free way of getting around Cuba than the buses.

For local transportation it’s easy to get a taxi, horse drawn buggy or a Coco-taxi (a bright yellow motorised tricycle). Taxis can be flagged down in the street or found outside main hotels.

Anybody who owns a car in Cuba is willing to act as a taxi, but these are unofficial and often end up costing more than a tourist taxi.

A typical Cuban taxi

A typical Cuban taxi

Weather

The annual average temperature is 25ºC, with summer heat peaking around 30 degrees, and daytime temperatures in winter (Dec, Jan) rarely dropping below 18 degrees.

Dry season – November to April

Rainy season – May to October

Hurricane season – August to October

Need to know

The official language is Spanish

All British nationals require a visa to enter Cuba and your passport must be valid for six months after your departure from Cuba

The tourist currency is the convertible pesos (CUC) and is only available in Cuba

US dollars as well as credit cards and travellers cheques associated with the US are not accepted in Cuba

Departure tax of 25 Convertible Pesos (CUCs) per person is payable locally

Posted : Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 at 09:21
Category : Spotlight
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