There's much more to Cuba than just cigars. With miles of beautiful beaches and clear waters it's a fantastic place to visit all year round. Learn more about Cuba holidays in our travel guide.
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The beautiful island of Cuba, in the Caribbean, has over seven hundred and fifty miles of mountains and plains. With almost three hundred beaches and two hundred coves and bays, it is a beach lover’s paradise. The waters around the island are warm and clear and offer numerous opportunities for water sports.
The architectural styles in the towns and cities range from neo-classical, through colonial and baroque, to art nouveau. There are many fine buildings in Havana, including the cathedral which is a good example of Cuban Baroque.
A Cuba holiday provides some of the best beaches in the Caribbean with soft sand and warm waters. There is wide provision of leisure pursuits including swimming with dolphins, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Cuba’s old towns and cities were not well maintained after the revolution in the fifties and many of its fine edifices were in a state of disrepair. Since the break up of the Soviet Union, Cuba has lost huge amounts of financial support. In an effort to capitalise on the increasing popularity of Cuba holidays, billions of dollars are being spent on restoration work and its old towns and cities are now filled with sightseers.
A Cuba holiday is popular with a wide variety of people. Families with small children enjoy the all-inclusive holiday packages knowing that it will cater for their every need. Couples of all ages will enjoy the romance of the island. Water sport enthusiasts will be amazed by the range of activities and golfers will find some fine courses.
All of Cuba enjoys a balmy, subtropical climate making this remarkable island a great place to visit at any time of the year. The annual average temperature is 25 degrees Celsius, with summer heat peaking around 30 degrees. Daytime temperatures in winter rarely dropping below 18 degrees C. Rain falls mostly in the summer and autumn, and while there can also be torrential downpours at any time. They are usually short lasting. The main hurricane season in Cuba is between August and October, so it's important to watch weather forecasts if you are booking your holiday in this period.
The number of people taking a Cuba holiday is increasing year on year as it becomes ever more popular. It is a lively place with its people displaying the exuberance that is such a feature of the Caribbean.
The choice of sandy beaches is enormous with Varadero being one of the most popular resorts. Situated on the island’s north coast, it has a water temperature of twenty-five degrees. Scuba diving and snorkelling are very popular in the coral reefs around the island where, apart from the magnificent corals, there is a huge diversity of marine life.
Apart from the provision of wonderful beaches, a Cuba holiday offers an eclectic mix of architecture in its captivating cities of Havana, Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba. It also provides a benevolent climate (if you avoid the hurricane season), a great natural beauty and a welcoming people,
Havana is a fascinating city, one that Earnest Hemingway ranked third in the world. Take a horse and carriage tour of the old town and visit the colonial palaces, churches and the fortress. One of the curious things about Havana, and Cuba in general, are the number of very old and very large American cars dating from the fifties.
Trinidad, with its Spanish colonial architecture is one of the countries greatest attractions. Its five hundred year old cobbled streets, pastel coloured houses, grand squares with majestic edifices make it one of the most visited towns.
The Havana and the Varadero golf clubs have excellent spacious courses.
The culture of Cuba has a mix of Spanish and African influences. It is renowned for its music, dance and theatre. It hosts the International Ballet Festival as well as the International Jazz festival each year.
Nightlife in Cuba is legendary. Those looking for lively spots to salsa the night away will not have far to look. Vibrant music beats out from every city, town and village.
Large hotels offer in house entertainment with cabaret and discos. In the cities, many world class musicians and dancers play live in bars and clubs.
In most resorts there are small shops called "Tiendas" which sell clothing, souvenirs and some basic items. However the Cuban economy is state controlled and the many years of the American embargo has led to a lack of quality goods in Cuba’s shops. Cosmetics, camera films and medicines are limited and it is best to take plenty with you including sun cream, an essential item in glorious Cuba. Cuba is renowned for its world famous cigars and rum.
As expected, fish is a major ingredient in Cuba eating. Food is simply cooked and not overly spicy or hot. Beans and rice are an essential part of the traditional diet.
Restaurants in the towns and cities, as well as the large hotels provide a range of international cuisine catering for most tastes. Cuba must be one of the few countries in the world that does not have any of the American fast food chains.
Although tourism is becoming a major source of income for Cuba, US dollars are no longer legal tender. A ten percent fee will be charged for exchanging them. US credit cards are also refused. There is no problem with European or British cards. Tipping is an important element in the standard of living of service workers.