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all about Cuba

Reasons to visit Cuba

Cuba is a country in motion with a mecca of things to see and do for travellers. The island is an archetypal montage of revolutionary rhetoric, breath taking beaches, classic American cars whose population dance on an endless ribbon of salsa and rum.

The bold historic architecture all over the island peeks between the putrefying manors; unobtrusive art galleries are filled with stimulating contemporary art to rival the scenes of London, Los Angeles and New York; private restaurants hidden in backstreets throughout the country nudge Cuba towards the upper stratums of fine dining experiences; while a programme of arts festivals sees internationally acclaimed musicians and actors.

Step off a Cuba flight and relax and enjoy the Caribbean climate, take in the culture of towns such as Havana or Santiago de Cuba, discover the unspoiled interior and plantations, or just lie back at the pool of a five-star hotel with some local rum.

We love Cuba for

  • The Rum
  • The Cubans
  • Vintage cars
  • La Musica
  • Mountains
  • The Food
  • Dancing
  • Havana Nights
  • Sandy Beaches
  • Golf
  • Windsurfing
  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Diving

 

When to go to Cuba

The best time to visit Cuba is from mid-December to mid-May when temperatures are prime.

We recommend that you try travelling to Cuba at other times if you are not bound by school holidays, where you will find some great hotel and airfare deals. Check out our latest deals to Cuba with Virgin Atlantic.

Weather in Cuba

From June to November Cuba is typically hot, humid and wet. During the winter months of December and January, daytime temperatures can drop below 20 degrees centigrade whilst in the summer months of July and August temperatures soar, especially in Havana and Santiago de Cuba.

The hurricane season begins in June and in some years can continue through to November.

Planning your holiday

Places to stay in Cuba

Cuban accommodations run the gamut from quaint beach cabins to five-star resorts. Whether you're looking for a relaxing break with the family or a beach getaway with your partner, Cuba is well known for keeping everyone entertained, even after the sun goes down.

We have a range of specially selected hotels in Cuba for our customers including some of the best value for money all inclusive, so do let us know how we can help.

Cuba for weddings, anniversaries and special occasions

If you are looking for help organising a trip to Cuba for a group, whether it’s for a special family occasion such as an anniversary or wedding just get in touch. We have organised many types of trips, including music tours for some of the most well-known bands throughout the Caribbean.

Cuba for family holidays

Cuba’s past is well-known, but what of its present? Take the family and experience a jam-packed 12-day adventure that celebrates the island’s colonial past and vibrant modern-day culture. Learn to salsa in Havana, go swimming in Cueva de los Peces, explore colonial Trinidad and learn about the revolution in historic Santa Clara. Blessed with history, culture, and unspoiled natural splendour, Cuba is captivating, indoors and out.

Cuba for couples

Like many of the other Caribbean islands, Cuba is often seen as a romantic getaway and is a fabulous hot-spot for lovers to ‘spice’ up their love life!  It offers some great nightlife for couples celebrating their honeymoon or an anniversary and couple only hotels and resorts. 

 Beach holidays in Cuba

There is plenty of choice when it comes to sandy beaches and good places for snorkelling or water sports in Cuba.

Adventure holidays

There are many adventure holidays on offer in Cuba. Experience life as a local in a homestay, cruise along the Bay of Cienfuegos; experience hiking through the Cuban forests, walking among limestone peaks, visiting the crocodile farm, bird watching or enjoy cruising through Havana in a vintage automobile.

Cultural and educational holidays in Cuba

This Caribbean gem has captivated travellers since the days of Christopher Columbus. There is a wealth historical culture throughout the island and visitors can discover the culture, history and beauty of Cuba on a number of guided group tours.

 

Getting to Cuba

There are direct flights to Cuba from Gatwick with Virgin Atlantic and connecting flights with British Airways. Virgin Atlantic operate 2 flights a week to Cuba that take approximately 8 hours to get there and about 9 coming back.

Getting around

Renting a car in Cuba follows the predictable pattern of many destinations and is pretty straightforward. Although, be prepared to pay a little over the odds for a poorly maintained machine in some instances.

Public railways are also a great way to experience Cuba if you have the time and patience. The most useful routes for travellers are Havana–Santiago de Cuba and Havana–Santa Clara. 

Things to do and see in Cuba

Diving

Cuba has over 30 dive sites with plenty reefs scattered around the island. Dive into the deep and enjoy the spectacular views ‘under the sea’.

Cuban Music

Join some of Cuba’s best musicians and dancers hard at work in Santiago de Cuba

Torre de Manca Iznaga

Climb Torre de Manca Iznaga – a former watch tower turned restaurant. The food is amazing, as are the outstanding views of the Valley of Sugar Mills.

Crocodile Farm

The crocodile farm is definitely part of the unique Cuban experience

Bird Watching

Cuba is home to some 358 species of birds. If you’re an avid bird watcher or not, get involved, you’ll be sure to enjoy it.

Capitolio

Take a tour of the Capitolio in Havana's centre.

Hemingway's Haunts

Follow in Hemingway's footsteps with a pub crawl to his favourite haunts.

Colonial Trinidad

Locals ride horses down cobbled streets past houses painted in pastel colours - Join them and feel the history in colonial Trinidad.

Events & Holidays

Jan - Triumph of the Revolution, Cuballet de Invierno, Cabildos Festival
1 Jan - Liberation Day
2 Jan - Victory of Armed Forces Day
Feb - National Theatre Festival
Mar - International Festival of Electroacoustic Music
Apr - La Huella de Espana
May - May Day / Labour Day (Dia de los Trabajadores)
1 May - May Day
20 May - Independence Day
Jun - International Hemingway Fishing Tournament
Jul - Havana Carnival
25 July - National Rebellion Day
Aug - Cubadanza, International Hip Hop Festival
Oct - Independence Day (Dia de la Independencia)
10 Oct - Anniversary of the Beginning of the War of Independence in 1868
Nov - International Jazz Festival
Dec - Festival of New Latin American Cinema
25 Dec - Christmas Day

Useful Information

Language -Spanish is the official language.

Currency - Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC; symbol CUC$)
Notes are in Multi-coloured bills: $1, $3, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100
Coins are in denominations of 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢ and $1

Emergencies - Dial 106 for the Police (Policia), Dial 105 for Fire emergency (Bomberos), Dial 104 for medical emergencies (Ambulancia)

Local Customs - Casual is the way the Cubans do it. However, visitors who enjoy elegant dining, theatre and other sophisticated entertainment tend to dress more formally for those occasions.

Social conventions - While handshakes are used in more formal settings, in almost all other situations, the typical greeting in Cuba is one kiss on the right cheek. So don’t be alarmed when the locals pull you in for a quick peck.

Tipping - The typical tip is 10%, but in many cases it is less.

Voltage - 110v and 220v with various style outlets

Time Difference - GMT -4 hours 

Country dialling code is +53

Departure tax - approx. £15 - per person will be payable locally in local currency. However nowadays departure tax is now mostly included in your airfare.

Security in Cuba – Cuba generally has a reputation as a safe location for tourists and there are usually police on every block. However, in the past several years, increasing economic and social hardships on the Cuban people have made it more dangerous to walk the streets, but the most any traveller in Havana will have to worry about is pickpockets. We recommend that you do not walk about in downtown Kingston at night and exercise extreme caution at all times.

Other Risks – It is against the law in Cuba to take photographs of military, police, airport or other transportation facilities, although enforcement of this law is understandably erratic. If you do not wish to draw unpleasant government attention to yourself, avoid taking photographs in any of these locations! 

Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor (ideally, 4-6 weeks) before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Travellers are also advised to bring prescription medicines sufficient for their length of stay. 

Useful Links

Cuban Embassy in London
167 High Holborn
London WC1V 6PA.
Tel: 020 7240 2488 - Fax: 020 7836 2602
Nearest Tube: Holborn

Cuban Consulate in London
Address as above.
Tel: 020 7240 7463

Insider tips

Torre De Manaca Iznaga

Manaca Iznaga, Cuba

The tower stood as a lookout for the Iznaga family,  from where sugarcane plantations could be seen and some 15 of the valley's 57 mills.

The Iznaga Tower also has a good dose of legend and visitors are able to climb the watchtower - an excellent place to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the valley. 

“Have been booking holiday tickets with travel shop for the past four years. They are Customer friendly, very reliable and offers the best deals for a holiday. Will highly recommend to other customers.”

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