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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)



Cuba Holidays

Forever linked with cigars and Castro, Cuba holidays are more of a revelation than a revolution these days. The large Caribbean island enjoys a split personality between the glorious beach resorts of the Cays and the classic city life in Havana.

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Suspended in time

Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 Cuba is a big island that is bursting with character. The socialist revolution of 1959 and sixty years of Castro's communist rule has trapped Cuba in a time warp, but that is an intentional freeze in time which makes the surroundings so interesting.

In Havana, in stark contrast to the preconceived image of grey, concrete communist blocks, you'll be welcomed with open arms into a vibrant, lively and fun city. Despite its strict rule, Cuba remains the heart and soul of Latin America. Step back in time and see the Spanish colonial architecture and classic American cars that lend a unique charm to this beautiful, enigmatic island.

Further down the coast you can become a pariah in paradise on one of the many phenomenal beach resorts. Some of the best are known as the Cays on the Jardine del Rey islands, which in English means the King's Gardens. The archipelago has only developed as a tourist destination in the last thirty years thanks to the construction of a 27km causeway which links the Cays to mainland Cuba.

Where to stay in Cuba

Cayo Coco
Cayo CocoView on Map

Tropical beaches and phenomenal all-inclusive hotels help make Cayo Coco a lover's paradise.

This honeymoon hotspot is found among a group of islands known as the Cayos off the north coast of Cuba. The beaches hold a distinct Caribbean atmosphere with palm trees standing over the soft white sands that line the resort.

The area is surrounded by magnificent wildlife and tourists are invited to explore the environment. Scuba trips let you discover the beauty of the surrounding coral reef and tour operators take you into the forest of the Bagá Nature Park.

Cayo Guillermo
Cayo GuillermoView on Map

The setting of Hemmingway's Islands in the Stream, the serene beaches and stunning surroundings of Cayo Guillermo are the works of fiction brought to life.

A kitesurfing school and the Green Moray International Diving Centre let you make the most of the idyllic Caribbean Sea hugging the beaches.

Most of the evenings in this resort are comfortably calm but those in search for some excitement will want to check out the cave nightclub at La Cueva Del Jabali.

This resort is perfect for those in search of calm surroundings to forget about the hustle and bustle of everyday life back in the UK.

Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Santa MariaView on Map

This resort island is a popular family destination that lies off the north coast of Cuba. Many of the all-inclusive hotels offer Kids Clubs while the beach has calm shallow waves which is perfect for paddling.

Cayo Santa Maria is home to the largest dolphinarium in Latin America giving kids and big kids the chance to swim with the friendly creatures.

This resort is also livelier than its brothers along the Jardines del Rey region. There is an inland town built especially for tourists with a number of shops, restaurants and fun night spots.


Quick Tips

  • Roman Catholic
  • Peso
  • Spanish
  • 11 million
  • GMT -5

Beaches, jungles and swamps

While Havana does have some relaxing beaches very close to the city, it is just about the only resort in Cuba that doesn't promise sand and sea on your doorstep.

The rest of the resorts featured on Holiday Hypermarket present a splendid array of Caribbean beaches blessed with a tropical climate and quiet environments. Many of the resorts are home to luxurious all-inclusive hotels which face right out onto the ocean.

Adventures inland will allow you to explore the natural terrain of Cuba. Forests, jungles or even swamps are never too far from your resort and the intriguing wildlife within is sure to entertain.

Cuban nights

Nowhere on the island can compete with the amount of excitement offered in Havana come nightfall. The capital city is filled with a countless amount of venues that play live Cuban music, luring you in to enjoy a rum cocktail. The cafes let you chill in the evening and the discos let you shake it into the early hours of the morning.

The beach resorts present a quieter fare with most of the entertainment coming from hotels and beachside bars; just the relaxing environment you want to accompany your laidback break. Those staying in the Cays will want to check out La Cueva Del Jabali, a cave turned nightclub.

Spices and rum

Cuban cuisine is simple, but tasty, and often spicy. Expect to see a lot of rice and beans. In the cities, fast foods are sold from windows, stands, baskets and even wheelbarrows. The smell of Cuban pizza mixes with that of peanuts and fresh fruit. If you're feeling peckish, chow down on some sugary churros – they're a favourite with locals.

Nicknamed "Rum Island", you can probably guess what Cuba holidays are famous for. Local drinks are made with Havana Club Rum which is great news for British holidaymakers as Havana is a premium spirit back home.

Local markets

Cuba is not renowned for its shopping facilities but you'll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase for Cuban keepsakes. Stores tempt you in by selling Cuban cigars but be careful when purchasing from street vendors as they can often be fake.

In the majority of resorts you'll come across street markets which are very popular with locals and tourists alike. Locals go for the home grown produce of exotic fruit while visitors enjoy purchasing handmade ornaments or artwork.

Getting there

Flying into one of Cuba's many airports from the UK will take approximately ten hours but transfer times once you land are forgivingly short. Most journeys to your resort from an airport takes around thirty minutes with Guardalavaca being the only exception, taking one hour.

Once you've arrived in your chosen Cuban resort, holiday necessities are often conveniently within walking distance negating the need for a car hire. If you would like to explore further, taxis are usually cheap and taking a public bus service is cheap and enjoyable too.

Tour operators are always on hand too to take you to all of the major sights that may be surrounding your resort.