Cuba is setting its sights on an expansion of nautical tourism as it prepares to receive more recreational boaters by expanding and improving its marinas and related services. Two of its most important marinas are the historic Marlin Marina Hemingway and the Marina Gaviota Varadero.
Cuba currently has fewer than 1,000 transient slips, but its new marina, Gaviota Varadero, will have 1,200 slips, including docks for megayachts and a full-service yard.
Currently, the marina offers docking, repair and other services for yachtsmen, and work is well underway to create the largest and most complete tourist port in Cuba, featuring 1,200 slips for small and large boats, a deluxe hotel, a number of condominiums, technical services, shopping malls and other facilities.
Work that has been completed and is now operational include a new administration building, new piers and wharves, maritime repair shops, an ice factory and warehouses and storage for gear. A state-of-the-art Travel Lift, which can hoist up to 100 tons, is another new feature.
The Kike-Kcho, the only restaurant of its kind in Cuba, is now open for business, featuring a diverse arrange of seafood, including fresh catch, shellfish and lobster that can be personally picked out by the customer. With expanded capacities for maintenance and repairs, Marina Gaviota Varadero has a new service line for its own fleet, direct customers and third parties.
Boaters will find lots of options for enjoying their stay: scuba diving, onboard activities, and full-fledged enjoyment of maritime life, with an exclusive SunCruise tour on Tahiti 75 and 80 catamarans, which are French-built (by Fountaine Pajot) on a fabulous day-long ride featuring open bar, snorkelling around the coral reefs, a swim with the dolphins, a seafood lunch, and beach time at the paradise-like Cayo Blanco, along with many other attractions.
The Marina Gaviota Varadero, which is operated by the Gaviota Group, is located on the north shore of Matanzas province on the internationally-celebrated Varadero Beach, about 89 miles from Havana (coordinates: 23° 11.244 N - 81° 08.069 W). It is right on the tip of the Hicacos Peninsula, and very close to the best hotels.
The Marina Hemingway (Coordinates: 23° 05.3N - 82° 30.5W) is usually the first stop for yachters when they sail to Cuba. Located in Santa Fé, about nine miles west of Havana, this marina is operated by Nautica Marlin.
It has 400 berths, including 170 for medium and large-sized craft, such as mega-yachts, and services include water, electricity, security, ship chandlery, minor repairs and others. Visitors can also book taxis or rent autos, and can enjoy excursions, diving and fishing options.
The marina's other services include a restaurant, snack bar, pharmacy, medical services, nautical supply center, grocery, telephone, Internet, crew rental, garbage collection, accommodations and cable TV.
The Club Nautico Internacional de La Habana, which sits at the beginning of the marina's Canal 2, is a beautifully decorated yacht club overlooking the canal, yachts and power cruisers. A nonprofit organization, the club has more than 2,000 members from 60 countries, and it promotes pleasure boating, nautical sports and nautical tourism in the form of competitions, regattas and other events. The Marina Hemingway is the venue for the annual Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament, and the 63rd annual tournament is set for May 20-25 this year.
Address: 5ta Ave. y 248, Santa Fé, Playa, Havana, Cuba
Tel.: (+53-7) 204-5088, 209-7928, 204-6848
Address: Autopista Sur y Final, Punta Hicacos, Varadero, Matanzas, Cuba
Tel.: (+53-4) 566-4131, 566-4115
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