The tourism in Cuba is ever increasing and consequently, the crowd here is increasing too. So, plan your travel to Cuba soon if you want to experience the unexploited beauty of the country.
Few facts to know before you travel to Cuba
The main gateway to Cuba is the Jose Marti International Airport on the outskirt of Havana. There are regular flights from Canada, Europe, Mexico, some countries in Central and South America and other Caribbean islands. Cuba Travel Services offer non-stop flights from Miami and Los Angeles every day. Another way to reach Cuba is to hire cruise liners. The yachts generally anchor at public marinas. However, most of the ports are closed and tourists can’t walk around them.
There are some formalities and paperwork that must be done before you visit Cuba. Apart from the passport and onward ticket, one must have the tourist visa card to travel to Cuba. Basically, this is a small piece of paper that records your vital statistics. The cost of the card will vary between €15 and €20.
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The card can be purchased after arriving at the Airport in Cuba. However, some Airlines will require tourist visa card before you can board their flights. Apart from the Canadians, this card is valid for 30 days and another 30 days of extension is available. People of Canada get the validity for 90 days which can be extended to another 90 days. It is also important to know the place where you are going to stay in Cuba before you reach the immigration office.
The official language of Cuba is Spanish. However, the accent and style is different from the Spanish spoken in Spain, South America or Mexico. In fact, Spanish spoken in Cuba is much similar to that of Dominican Republic, Puerto Rica, and Canary Islands. Fair amount of English is also spoken, especially in the tourist spots in Cuba. Therefore, language should not be a bar for the English speaking tourists.
When to visit Cuba
The ideal time to visit Cuba in terms of weather is between December and April. Before that, you can encounter hurricanes and horrendous storms. Summer in Cuba is too sticky and hot to bear for many. Most of the tourists travel to Cuba in Easter, Christmas, and in July-August. Being peak seasons, over prices and overbooking are natural during this time. Festivals in Cuba take place almost round the year.
Important tourist spots in Cuba
If you travel to Cuba, you must visit Havana, the largest city in the Caribbean. The romantic atmosphere, the legends, colonial palaces juxtaposed against ration shops, revolutionary slogans – all these have made this city a one-off in the world. People of Havana love their city and it is very apparent to see why. The city has witnessed some most significant upheavals for the last 500 years and this has resulted in a unique culture. From pirates, mafias to revolutionists, the city has accommodated everything and adjusted itself accordingly.
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The beauty of Havana comes from its unconventionality. Apart from the colonial edifices or the serene coastline, the city has an essence that is all of its own. A little walk beyond the city boundary will make it apparent. The places like Vedado or Centro Habana will reveal the beauty of the country – the mysterious Santeria ritual, rumba music, and endless subtle and contradicting traditions – something that has made this country so distinct from others. Among the more traditional tourist spots in Havana, you can’t miss NH Parque Central, Tropicana, and Habana Vieja.
A striking contrast to the mystic beauty of Havana is Varadero. Many people visit this resort complex during their travel to Cuba to witness the growing modernity of Cuba. At any rate, you will be bedazzled by the beauty of the region. The 20km stretch of uninterrupted white sand beach on the Hicacos Peninsula is really amazing.
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The mixture of the sun, sand and sea along with the resorts, bars architecture has made Varadero a haven for the rich. However, a tourist visiting Cuba may find it a bit artificial and overcrowded. The Miramar River Cruise and nightlife are the chief attractions here.
Santiago de Cuba
No travel to Cuba can be complete without a visit to Santiago de Cuba, the cultural capital of Cuba. If you have even the slightest interest in the Cuban culture, art, literature, music, politics, ethnology and Cuban life, you have to visit this second largest city of Cuba. The culture of the city has been shaped by both the East and the West and this can be perceived easily when you visit Santiago de Cuba.
The city is rich with history. This is where Fidel Castro launched his nationalist revolution. On the other side, this is the place where Don Facundo Bacardi founded his first rum factory. The local museums and monuments have preserved the city’s history beautifully. Some of the most significant tourist spots in Santiago are Castillo del Morro, Basilica del Cobre, Padre Pico Stairs, Cementerio, Plaza de la Revolution, The Town Hall etc.
Trinidad is one of the most well recognized tourist spots in Cuba. So, if you travel to Cuba, you should visit this old city of Cuba. Valle de los Ingenios here is an enchanting Outdoor Museum of Cuba that is declared a World Heritage Site.
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The courtyards, restored houses, numerous museums in the backdrop of mountains, palms and beaches, and stupendously beautiful setting make this city an enchanting place. You can go for a daytrip to Cayo Blanco, or enjoy your day at Playa Anca to make your trip to Trinidad memorable.
Others places to see in your Cuba travel
There are so many places to see in this country that it is difficult to include them all in your itinerary for Cuba travel. Visiting and playing with dolphins at Holguin, the art and entertainment at Cienfuegos, the scenic beauty and legacy of Baracoa, the sculptures and architecture of Las Tunas are some of the highlights of the Cuban tour.