Cuba is the largest of all the Caribbean islands and one of the most fascinating with a unique and eventful history. Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 Cuba remained a Spanish Colony until it gained independence in 1902. The Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castrol in the 1950s created a socialist state but the breakdown of trading relations with the USA has resulted in Cuba’s development being very different to the rest of the Caribbean. President Obama's announcement in December 2014 of a change in the USA attitude to Cuba opens a new chapter in its unique history and now is the time to go if you want to experience the island before it changes.
Cuba has extraordinary diversity with well preserved Spanish colonial cities, extraordinary scenery, lively people and great Salsa music. Walking around Havana today gives you a sense of being in a time-warp – it’s full of classic 1950’s-era American Buicks, Oldsmobile’s, Fords and Pontiacs – which have survived over half a century of continuous use. Music is at the heart of the city and can be enjoyed on streets as well as in the many bars, restaurants and hotels who offer live bands and dancing.
Adeona Travel can offer lots of different ways to see Cuba but perhaps the most rewarding is on a self drive tour with the flexibility to choose how far and how fast you want to go but without the hassle of finding places to stay. Cuba is a large island (about the same size as England) so unless you have lots of time it's impossible to see everything on one visit. Detailed below is our suggested itinerary for a 13 day trip.
Start with 2 nights in Havana. Explore the streets of La Habana Vieja with pastel-hued mansions, bustling street life, music and 1950's cars. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 the restoration of this part of town has transformed it into Latin America's finest colonial quarter and it is very different to the rambling, potholed streets and crumbling façades of the rest of Havana.
Drive to Viñales in western Cuba for 2 nights. This small town is tucked away in the Sierra de los Órganos. The Vinales Valley has a distinctive landscape, with dramatic limestone mountains, known as 'mogotes' where farmers still cultivate the land for fruit, vegetables and tobacco using oxen and carts.
Drive to the rural community project of Las Terrazas for 2 nights. This is Cuba's center for ecotourism and sits on an impressive mountain range of forest within the coffee-producing region of Pinar del Rio. The reserve is rich in flora and fauna and offers some the island's best bird-watching.
Drive through the central heartland of Cuba, and stay one night in Cienfuegos. The elegant city is the world's primary sugar port, founded by French settlers it has an architectural style distinct from the rest of the island with broad neoclassical boulevards and art deco façades.
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Drive on to the city of Trinidad for a 3 night stay. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, Trindidad has colonial charm and an unhurried atmosphere with terracotta-tiled roofs, cobbled streets and pastel-coloured buildings. Founded in 1514, the town boasts five main squares and four churches that date from the 18th and 19th centuries. The town has hardly changed in a century and in the evening it comes a live with local music and dancing.
Return to Havana your final night and then your return flight home or head to one of Cuba's beach resorts for a few days of rest and relaxtion.
All-inclusive beach holidays are now very popular in Cuba and we can offer some really great hotels. Varadero, located on the Hicacos peninsula on the North Western coast, is Cuba's premiere beach destination with 20 km of white sand and hotels, shops, banks and water activities. The food in some all inclusive hotels can be rather bland and unimaginative but because Cuba is mostly self-sufficient here you’ll enjoy authentic local food and drinks.
Cuba has a hot, sub-tropical climate all year with average temperatures around 27°C and plenty of sunshine. You can travel at any time of the year but we recommend December to June when it's dry and sunny. Most rain falls between May and October and the hurricane season officially runs from July to November, the cooler months are January to April when the least rain falls.
There are direct flights to Havana from London Gatwick and indirect flights from Manchester with Air France. Charter flights also operate from London and Manchester to the beach resorts. Flying time on direct services is around ten and a half hours. UK passport holders currently require a Tourist Visa at the cost of £15 in advance or approximately £30 on arrival.
The local currency is the Cuban Pesos, credit cards issued by US banks and US Dollar currency is not accepted and Pesos cannot be converted back into Sterling. Cuban authorities are now asking passengers to present a copy of their medical insurance policy when they arrive at immigration which must be fully comprehensive due to the escalated costs of medical treatment in Cuba.
Cuba offers a fantastic range of holidays and Adeona Travel can arrange, one centre, twin centre or multicentre trips plus a range of self drive or escorted tours. Talk to our experts and let us arrange your tailor-made Cuba itinerary.