As the largest Caribbean Island, Cuba is a popular destination. In its largest city, Havana, the unique lifestyle of 1950s American history mingles with beautiful Spanish colonial buildings, beaches and rumba.
Situated with the Caribbean Sea to the south and Atlantic to the north, Cuba offers the opportunity to laze on beautiful sandy beaches in year round sun.
During the 1950s, Havana was one of the places to be seen and offered the opportunity to indulge in a hedonistic lifestyle. The 'Rat Pack', including Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin alongside many other rich and famous people were frequently found enjoying the nightlife in the Riviera and Hilton.
In 1959, Fidel Castro was sworn in as Prime Minister after a seven year campaign against the reign of the dictator Fulgeneio Batista. Che Guevara rose alongside Castro and today he remains a key icon of class struggle across the world. In 1961, US-backed Cuban exiles attempted to overthrow the government by landing at Bahía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs). By the end of the fighting, ninety exiles were dead and the rest were taken prisoner by Castro.
Today, Cuba is slowly recovering from decades of economic fallout and communist rule, yet Havana still retains an incredibly unique way of life that is difficult to find anywhere else in the world. As the author Graham Greene said 'Anything is possible in Havana'.
Trinidad is a colonial city, recognised by UNESCO as an outstanding historical example. Located in Sancti Spiritus, a region offering stunning mountain, river and beach landscapes, the town is well-preserved, remaining unchanged in round 500 years. There are also many plantations that can be explored around Cuba, including tobacco and sugar, used to produce the famous Cuban rum and Cuban cigars.
There are plenty of water sports on offer, such as snorkelling and diving. St Lucia, on the Atlantic north coast is a popular destination, with one of the world's biggest unbroken coral reefs that stretches for over fourteen miles. Combine this reef with ship wrecks, abundant marine life and clear waters and it is understandable why Cuba is a diving mecca.
Flights to Cuba are available from London airports (LHR, LGW), Birmingham (BHX) and Manchester (MAN) to Havana Jose Marti International Airport (HAV), ideally situated for the capital. Flights are also available from UK airports to Varadero International Airport (VRA) that offers easy access to the purpose built resort area. There are shuttle buses available from the airport to the city, as well as buses and hire cars. There are also transfers available between the airport and the resort area.
There are also Cuba flights available to Jardines del Rey International Airport (CCC) that serves Cayo Coco, providing access to many all-inclusive resorts and white sandy beaches. The province of Holguin contains a popular tourist area and is served by the Frank País International Airport (HOG). Flights are available to Holguin from all London airports (LHR, LGW) and Manchester (MAN).
Camaguey is the third largest city in Cuba and much of this old city is like a maze. This dates back to the 17th century when the city streets were designed to prevent armies from moving around easily. The Ignacio Agramonte International Airport (CMW) is near Camaguey and also serves the popular resort of St Lucia located around 68 miles from the airport on the northern coast beaches.
Santiago de Cuba is another city rich in colonial history, first settled by Europeans in the 16th century. It is also home to an incredibly diverse population and much of the music that expresses the soul of Cuba. This city is served by Antonio Maceo Airport (SCU) where domestic flights are available from Port-au-Prince (PAP), Kingston (KIN) or Montego Bay (MBJ).
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