Cuba Holidays 2013 / 2014
A holiday in Cuba is like no other you will have experienced. Being the biggest island in the Caribbean, Cuba offers everything you’d associate with this gorgeous little corner of the world: sea, sun, sand and a laid back vibe. However, there’s something very different about Cuba, something that sets it apart. Maybe it’s the island’s extraordinary history, its political system, its decades of self-sufficiency in the face of global controversy, its unique Afro-Latin culture - whatever it is, it certainly makes Cuba one of the most intriguing holiday destinations in the world.
Cuba holidays are certain to make you see things from a different perspective. You’ll find yourself asking questions like: how do those ancient 1950s American cars still run? How is it that the corner shop that was empty of stock yesterday is full today? Daily life in Cuba has an unsettling randomness about it that is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. The key to a great holiday is to embrace the Cubans’ nonchalant attitude, fire up a genuine Havana cigar, order another rum cocktail and let the relaxed atmosphere wash over you.
One of the most impressive features of a Cuban holiday is the fantastic historic architecture you’ll find tucked away in neighbourhoods and villages all over the island. From beautiful colonial buildings to the haunting, faded splendour of the capital city of Havana, holidays in Cuba offer the opportunity to see some of the best Spanish colonial architecture anywhere - much of it has remained untouched since it was built! Take a stroll down Havana’s Calle Obispo and marvel at the old-fashioned shop windows and quaint cafes. Keep going until you reach Plaza de Armas, which features many fine old buildings. Be sure to visit Castillo de la Punta and Cuba’s oldest building, Castillo de la Real Fuerza.
Cuba is the birthplace of salsa – you are sure to have heard of it even if you haven’t tried it. Salsa music is a huge part of Cuban culture, and the island is alive with its vibrant spirit. Sample it all, whether you’re listening to an ancient valve radio in a sidewalk cafe or enjoying the music firsthand at a live performance, immerse yourself and live ‘la vida dulce’!
After so much cultural stimulation, you will definitely need a break. There’s no better place to rest your tired feet than at Varadero, Cuba’s most famous seaside destination. Here you’ll find pristine white sands and perfectly clear water. A quick trip to the untouched island of Cayo Santa Maria offers a more peaceful beach experience. If diving and snorkelling are on your holiday agenda, head out to the coral reefs just off Guardalavaca.
All-inclusive holiday packages are very popular in Cuba, and you’ll find some really great resorts on the island. An increasing number of resorts are now offering all-inclusive packages...with a twist. Because Cuba is mostly self-sufficient, you’ll enjoy authentic local food and drink in place of the rather unimaginative international brands we’re used to elsewhere.
Read on for more information about our 2013 / 2014 Cuba holiday packages and Havana city breaks.
• Historic Havanal
• Vintage 1950s cars
• Imposing fortresses
• Rum distilleries and cigar factories
• Amazing beaches
• Fantastic water sports
• Perfect diving and snorkelling
• Swimming with dolphins
Havana Book Fair
April 2013 -
June 2013 -
Cuban Rock Festival
Varadero Golf Tournament also International Salsa Festival
August 2013 -
Hemingway International Fishing Tournament
November 2013 -
Havana Ballet Festival
December 2013 -
International Jazz Festival
all events listed are for helpful information only and many are subject to entrance fees and/or prior reservation, and may be cancelled at any time. Please check with the relevant tourist office if you need further information on these or any of the other events in this region.
Postcards from... Top ideas from our travel experts
Our Top 5 hotels
Set on one of the finest locations on Varadero Beach, this resort is simply beautiful. Rest assured that you will experience an astonishing array of activities, including a great range of land and water sports.
This lovely property sits on 19 acres of land and is nestled between lush mountains and the picturesque Arroyo Bermejo Beach. Designed for couples and singles alike, there is a huge range of activities on offer, from Spanish classes to volleyball competitions! There are 4 different restaurants to choose from and 5 bars — including the nightclub where you can dance the night away.
This resort offers a great combination of extensive facilities, friendly service and superb location making it a popular choice with families and couples. The kids' club keeps the little ones entertained all day, while you get down to the serious business of enjoying the water sports, or simply getting into that bestseller you've been meaning to open all year!...
What an amazing resort this is! It really is a world of fun, and much more than a mere hotel. Located in the Punta de Hicacos Natural Park, the Melia Peninsula integrates harmoniously with its natural environment of colourful gardens and beautiful beaches. Well maintained, it is a wonderful place to stay, whether you want complete relaxation or are mad on activities!...
Set on one of Cuba's most beautiful beaches, the Blue Beach of Varadero, this is a great complex with a fantastic range of amenities. There are several restaurants to choose from, serving a range of dishes, and the bars are open 24 hours a day, premium brands included, so there's no need to watch the clock for last orders!...
White Sands and Sea Life
Varadero is Cuba's premier beach destination whilst Jibacoa lies between Varadero and Havana and is a quieter, more secluded beach resort. Dive amongst exquisite coral reefs, swim with the dolphins or take a glass-bottom boat ride!
The cigar and rum factories in Havana and Pinar Del Rio are well worth a visit with Cuba's Viazul Bus - a terrific way to travel round. Hemingway's Villa 'Finca Vigia', a few miles southeast of Havana, is also recommended.
Ideal for a city break or day trip away from the beach, in Havana you can pay homage to Hemingway, visit museums, shop at La Rampa and relax with a mojito in one of the author?s favourite bars, El Bodegita del Media.
Music and dance are very important to the Cubans, so make like the natives and learn to salsa! After a few lessons join the locals in one of the many lively venues in Havana and Varadero.
Tailor-make your ideal Caribbean holiday by combining hotels we feature in different destinations. Why not try a twin- or triple-centre holiday across different islands. How about Panama in Central America.
Different destinations have different magic touches so make sure to check them out to see what makes your holiday with us so special.
Flight details - You can fly twice weekly on Monday's and Thursday's, non-stop from London Gatwick to Havana on Virgin Atlantic's award-winning service. An extra flight is availble on a Saturday for departures 01 Jan '13 to 30 Mar '13. Local departure tax is currently Convertible Pesos 25 per person, and needs to be paid in cash at the airport on departure.
Flight time - 9 hours 40 min.
Havana Airport to Havana Hotel - For packages: 1-2 persons £20, 3-6 persons £40, 7-12 persons £80. Tailormade Itineraries: 1-2 persons £40, 3-6 persons £60, 7-12 persons £120.
Havana to Jibacoa - For packages: 1-2 persons £65, 3-6 persons £100, 7-12 persons £110.
Havana to Varadero - For packages: 1-2 persons £90, 3-6 persons £ 160, 7-12 persons £ 160.
Credit cards issued by US banks and US Dollar currency is not accepted in Cuba.
UK passport holders currently require a Tourist Visa (£15). These can be obtained from Virgin Holidays at the time of booking or at the airport prior to departure. Non-UK passport holders should contact the consulate for entry requirements: Cuban Consulate, 167 High Holborn, London WC1V 6PA. Tel 020 7240 2488. You need to exchange Sterling for Cuban Pesos locally and these cannot be converted back into Sterling.
Infants require a Tourist Visa (£15) to travel to Cuba, unfortunately Infant Visas cannot be booked online, please call our Customer Care department at 0844 573 0088 to book.
Please note: Cuban authorities are now asking passengers to present a copy of their medical insurance policy when they arrive at immigration.
All non Cuban nationals need to make sure that their medical insurance policy is fully comprehensive due to the escalated costs of medical treatment in Cuba. If a policy is not comprehensive, passengers will be asked to purchase additional cover on arrival.
Small beer - £1.00
Can of coke - £1.00
Loaf of bread - £1.50
Bottle of wine - £7.50
The above are approx local supermarket costs.
Time difference - GMT -5 hours.
Language - Spanish.
Currency - Convertible Peso (CUC).
Check In Chill Out is our fantastic service that allows you to soak up the sun right until the last minute.
This service is available at selected hotels in Barbados, Antigua, Tobago, Grenada and St Lucia. Check with your rep in resort if you aren’t staying at one of the participating hotels as you may be able to use a location nearby. Simply look for the Check In Chill Out icon on participating hotel pages.
Read more about our Check In Chill Out Service...