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Holidays in Cuba
Unspoilt and undisturbed, Cuba is home to salsa dancing, rum, and wonderful beaches with stunning white sands and warm, turquoise waters. Take time to visit characterful Havana, a unique city that's rich in culture. You’ll get to try lots of traditional local food and drink on your holiday to Cuba, too. Sip cocktails made from world-class Cuban rum, and enjoy a hit of intense Cuban coffee. You’ll be ready to indulge in a Caribbean getaway with a difference.
Average temperature around the pleasant 25°C mark.
There are 10 main airports in Cuba, but the main ones you’ll need are: José Martí International Airport, Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport, Frank Pais International Airport and Cayo Coco (Jardines del Rey) International Airport.
Book a Thomas Cook holiday to Turkey for lagoons, sandy beaches, and cities where Ottoman history meets 21st-century nightlife.
Cuba is a real treasure trove, and has plenty of sunken pirate ships off the coast to prove it. In the south-easterly Holguín province, the beaches of Guardalavaca or Playa Pesquero tempt you to explore their dive sites. Caya Coco is strung on a band of tiny islands off the north coast, called the Jardines del Rey (King’s Gardens). Ringed by powdery white sands, it’s great for watersports. Varadero, in the north-western Matanzas province, is famed for its 20km of beautiful white sands. Come here to swim with dolphins, or visit the only golf course in the country.
Cuba’s fabulous beaches stretch out as far as the eye can see. The colours vary from place to place, thanks to the island’s rich ecological makeup. Varadero Beach is one of the most popular places to go in Cuba, where you’ll feel soft golden sands between your toes. In Holguín’s Guardalavaca or Playa Pesquero, and Cayo Coco in the Jardines del Rey, the sand takes on a brighter white hue. An average of 330 days of sunshine smile down on Cuba, so find yourself a spot with plenty of sun (and shade) to enjoy a refreshing Daiquiri or Mojito.
The beaches are stunning, but there’s no shortage of marine attractions in Cuba for the adventurous. Perched on the peninsula in the province of Matanzas, Varadero is world-renowned for its beach, but caves and cliffs also await curious explorers. Featuring the finest diving activities in Cuba is Caya Coco. Keep an eye out for the pink flamingos along the causeway, and explore the massive coral reef off the north coast. Take to Holguín’s clear Atlantic shallows with your snorkel, grab your waterproof camera, and dive into its reefs to marvel at its colourful underwater world.
It’s impossible to go anywhere in Cuba without seeing historical monuments and cultural events, and the nation has an unparalleled love of cultural pursuits. Start your explorations early with a glug of high-powered Cuban coffee (the small cups really pack some power!) and you’ll be ready to take in the sights of Holguín City, which offers some of the most fascinating places to go in Cuba. It features host of city squares, museums, galleries and monuments. If you’re visiting during the summer months, make sure you don’t miss July’s carnival, the Santiago de Cuba.
Animal lovers: Swimming with dolphins could well be one of the highlights of your holiday.
Adventurers: Explore coral reefs on snorkelling stops. An open bar is included onboard.
Culture fans: See Cuba come to life through its events and monuments.
Language: The language spoken in Cuba is Spanish.
Currency: There are two currencies in Cuba: the Cuban Peso (CUP), and the Peso Convertible (CUC). Take sterling and exchange for the Peso Convertible when you get there.
Local time: Cuba is 5 hours behind GMT/UK time.
Fly to: There are 10 main airports in Cuba, but the main ones you’ll need are: José Martí International Airport, which is 15 km southwest of Havana; Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport, 10km from Varadero; Frank Pais International Airport, 13km southwest of Holguín, and Cayo Coco (Jardines del Rey) International Airport, directly on Cayo Coco island itself, and 10-15km from the hotels.
Flight time from UK: 9-10 hours
Tourist Information: Further Cuba tourist information can be found at www.travel2cuba.co.uk
Visa & Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cuba for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Cuba.
Temperature: Average temperature around the pleasant 25°C mark
Best time to visit Cuba: February and March
Cuba’s weather is warm all year round, with the humidity at around 78%. Moderately subtropical, it has two seasons: rainy (May-October) and dry (November-April). If you’re looking to hit the beaches, the best time to go to Cuba is in February and March – before the more humid and sticky rainy season kicks in, and definitely before temperatures reach their high-humidity, low-30°Cs peak in July and August.
By taxi: The best way to get around Cuba is in its state-run official taxis. They charge by distance rather than time, and a short trip will cost only a few dollars (make sure the driver has the meter running). Fees for longer trips are best negotiated up front.
By cocotaxi: A fun alternative to regular taxis are the state-run Cocotaxis, which are three-seat scooters. These aren’t metered, so ask the price before setting off.
Gone fishing: In May, the Hemingway Fishing Tournament takes place. It’s named after author and Havana resident Ernest Hemingway, who enjoyed plenty of fishing trips aboard his boat.
Carnivals: No visit to the Caribbean would be complete without the sights and sounds of a carnival, and the Santiago de Cuba (July) and Havana (August) carnivals never disappoint. The streets explode with colour, music, food and dance well into the sultry summer evenings.