Havana

Havana is located on the northwest coast of Cuba, just 90 mi/145 km south of Key West, Florida. Most tourist attractions are in Old Havana (Habana Vieja), the colonial city laid out in a grid on the west bank of Bahia de la Habana. Old Havana extends west from the bay to the Prado, a broad, tree-lined esplanade beyond which lies the residential area of Centro Habana, inland of the seafront boulevard called the Malecon.

Old Havana is an amalgam of historic structures, cobbled plazas, castles, cathedrals and classical mansions that date to the height of Spanish international power. In fact, Havana's core is unrivaled in the Americas for its legacy of historic buildings, although many of those buildings are now such attractions as museums, hotels and restaurants.

Beyond the old city core in Havana, the 20th-century enclave of Vedado teems with hotels and nightclubs that still maintain their 1950s atmosphere. They are set alongside gracious, century-old mansions of the long-departed well-to-do of Havana. Plaza de la Revolution hosts Cuba's government buildings. Farther afield, visitors to Havana will find the Museo Hemingway and the glorious beaches of Playas del Este.

Although Havana attractions are reason enough to visit, travelers often go to Havana to experience the unique, almost surreal, amalgam of socialism and sensuality unique to Cuba. Five decades of communism have not been kind to the city of Havana, much of which is dilapidated. At times, the lives of Havana's inhabitants can be truly depressing. But the graciousness and joie de vivre of the Havana's shine through—especially their vivacious love of music and dance, which adds to the city's enigmatic travel appeal.

Varadero

Varadero is considered by many, the most beautiful beach in the world. It is part of a peninsula that extends far into the calm waters of the Atlantic ocean. Twenty-one kilometers of fine white sand for a great vacation for sun lovers, swimming water sports and even golf!

This white sand beach and turquoise water are not the only attraction in the province of Matanzas. The proximity of the cities of Cardenas and Matanzas know for its art, history and culture. The tourist center of Varadero is the largest most developed in Cuba. The town of Varadero has a population of about 8,000. Varadero began its development as a summer resort in the 1940's. Its main attraction is undoubtedly its wonderful long beach, but that is not all! You can explore caves and cliffs, and a well preserved natural landscape located at the northern tip of the peninsula.

Holguin

Holguin is located in the eastern part of Cuba. It is home of the famous Cuban music. Holguin is a charming place with lush vegetation and nice beaches. It is known for its wide variety of ecotourism excursions.

It is the third largest city in Cuba after Havana and Santiago de Cuba. Christopher Columbus landed in what is believed today as the province of Holguin on October 27, 1492. He said he was in the eyes of the most beautiful country that man has ever seen.

 

 

 

Santa Clara/Santa Maria

The large industrial and university town of Santa Clara, which is 176 mi/276 km (about a three-hour drive) east of Havana, played a pivotal part in the war to topple the Batista dictatorship. In December 1958, a guerrilla army led by Che Guevara defeated Batista's troops there, causing the dictator to flee Cuba. Guevara was killed and his remains are interred, along with those of fellow revolutionaries, in a huge mausoleum in the Plaza de la Revolution. A splendid museum tells of Guevara's life and is a staple of many packaged tours.

Although the city has few other sites of touristic appeal, the nearby colonial town of Remedios is a great place to be in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, when the local population indulges in a crazed fireworks fest. Several villages around Remedios also celebrate in similar fashion. The area is known for its quality tobacco.

A few miles/kilometers beyond Remedios, a 48 km causeway leads to Cayo Santa Maria, the largest of a series of small offshore isles lined with talcum-white beaches. Santa Maria is 16 km long and 2 km wide. The cays are being developed for tourism; three all-inclusive resorts operated by the Sol Melia group have opened, and there is a smaller, more intimate lodge. Fishing, diving and boat trips are added attractions.


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