With warm weather year-round, Cuba opens itself up to showing its fascinating island: historical cities, natural beauty, culture, tropical drinks, dance and music, as well as delicious traditional dishes served by charming, happy, courteous people.
Specially designed programs present a labyrinth of pleasure and discovery that promise to satisfy every traveller wanting to live the adventure this exciting island has to offer. A trip from Havana to the Island´s center is one of those options.
Havana surprises all those who visit it. History lines its streets; ancient colonial mansions, villas and balustrades from the 17th century that distinguished San Cristóbal de la Habana City today make up its Historical Center, a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The city also offers visitors the romantic Malecón (its historic seawall), unique Havana Club rum, and a hypnotizing nightlife.
Full of boisterous entertainment, Havana´s nightlife is exhilarating: cabarets, night clubs and discotheques full of attractive music sure to get everyone moving.
Varadero, the most beautiful beach resort in Cuba, is very close to Havana, about 140 kms east of the city. Varadero´s white sand and calm, crystal waters incite all beach lovers wanting to rest and sunbathe in the Caribbean. Here one finds not only beauty and rest but also good food and entertainment.
These two cities are only the beginning of a series of treasures to discover. Villa Clara, a province with an admirable history, is home to the Ernesto Che Guevara Square, with his museum and mausoleum where lay his remains as well as those of his fellow Guerrilleros. Closeby is Remedios, eighth town founded by the Spanish in 1578 and declared a National Monument in 1980, preserving genuine colonial buildings with important relics such as the Mayor Parish and the Buen Viaje Church.
A few kilometers from Remedios are the Caibarién keys, belonging to the Buenavista Biosphere Reserve: Cayo Las Burujas, Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Ensenachos. These three inviting islets have quiet beaches with delicate sands, clear waters and a diversity of marine life which includes dolphins, turtles and minnows. Also found here are iguanas and flamencos. These present a seductive paradise that harmonically combines nature and modernity, giving the visitor a lasting memory.
The discoveries do not end here. The trip continues towards two other impressive localities: Cienfuegos and Trinidad.
Known as the Pearl of the South, Cienfuegos has interesting attractions with colonial French influence. An architectural jewel, this city has beautiful hereditary constructions, exhibiting a preserved historical center declared as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. For those who prefer the sea, the beach to the south of the city offers a variety of nautical sports. Tunnels, natural channels and spectacular coral formations are great for scuba-diving, sports fishing, and more.
Next comes Trinidad, Cuba´s Museum City. With an abundance of sugar cane and aguardiente (firewater), Santísima Trinidad was the wealthiest Cuban town during the 18th century with over 60 sugar mills spread across a magnificent valley (Valle de los Ingenios) which in 1988 was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The metropolis, with cobbled streets that lead to quaint squares surrounded by magnificent buildings that have become museums, is a like taking a walk through history.
On to Ciego de Ávila , just before the end of the trip, another natural surprise appears: parts of the Jardines del Rey (King´s Gardens in Engish) Archipelago, exhibiting its overflowing, tropical natural beauty. The oldest recorded history of these keys gets lost in the Corsican era and it is said that Cayo Romano as well as Cayo Coco once served as refuge for famous seamen.
The keys of Jardines del Rey, close to the old Bahamas channel, seduce visitors with white sandy beaches, transparent blue waters, the smell of the ocean and soft breezes.
After having enjoyed the kindness of nature with modern serviceability of Jardines del Rey, vacationers can make a final stop at the city of Morón, another interesting colonial metropolis connected to the keys since 1989 via a highway of 34 kilometers, 17 of which span the sea.
In these types of trips nothing is forgotten (with expert guides, comfortable transportation, a great hotel network, etc.) so that the visitor can take full advantage of the variety of attractions the island has to offer: a mix of history, culture, music, passion, adventure and amazing natural beauty.
Come discover the real, authentic Cuba where pleasant and memorable experiences are sure to be had.
As we get closer to the metropolis´ half millenium, the Santiagueros (natives of the city) will have the privilege of celebrating the city´s anniversary while being hosts to the main celebration of the Moncada attack´s 62 years.
This was an initiative introduced by President Raúl Castro to the villagers last July 23rd from the Municipal Town Hall in whose balconies the victory of the Revolution was proclaimed on January 1st, 1959. Santiagueros enthusiastically accepted the idea.
Cradle of the Revolution
No other Cuban city is comparable to Santiago de Cuba. While many others boast and identify themselves with abundant parks and bridges, the stamp of a river or the beauty of its sea, this city prides itself on carrying its country´s name as part of its own. Heroine of the Republic since January, 1984, it has been named the Cradle of the Revolution.
Among the challenges that touch Santiago is a peculiar topography marked by irregularities and three natural spaces that make the city into a lookout, along with the particular idiosyncrasies of its people: happy, extroverted and rebellious.
As stated by Dr. Olga Portuondo, the city´s Historian, “During the first half of the 15th century, the history of Santiago de Cuba was that of the whole Island”. From its port and wellsheltered bay expeditions, explorers left for the conquest of new territories and commerce was activated with neighboring areas.
The town was forged by an ancestral legacy marked by European and African influence, as well as the mark of those who fled towards its coasts pushed by the Haitian Revolution at the end of the 18th century.
Today an intense bustle marks the historical center, with work being done in emblematic places such as the Metropolitan Cathedral, an ancient house where it is presumed Velázquez lived, the Emilio Bacardí Museum and the Museum of Decorative Arts. Within this urban plot stands out the remodeling of the Imperial Hotel, which will become a symbol of tourism for the city. Santiago de Cuba wants to promote its heriditary and cultural values, among which stand out its unique attributes as the cradle of son, trova and bolero.
The city is home to more that 20 national monuments, among them the Saint Efigenia cemetery where lies the grave of the National Hero José Martí, a sacred altar for Cubans.
The Fort of San Pedro de la Roca del Morro, the archaeological site of the French coffee plantations and the French grave ´La Caridad de Oriente´ all keep the Haitian influence alive. They are Cultural Heritage of Humanity and summarize what has happened here in the past five centuries, as described in the poetic definition of ´cuna y pan´ (cradle and bread) by the Cuban troubadour Pedro Luis Ferrer.