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This unique Caribbean island is a must-see for anyone looking for something different to other holiday destinations. And with cheap Cuba flights readily available, it's an easy place to visit...
Situated with the Caribbean Sea to the south and the 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, was 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, 90 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 around 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 watersports on offer too, 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 14 miles. Combine this reef with ship wrecks, abundant marine life and clear waters and it is understandable why Cuba is a diving mecca.
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.
There are a number of non-stop charter flights direct from the UK to the Spanish speaking island of Cuba...
Flights to Cuba are available from London Gatwick (LGW) to Havana Jose Marti International Airport (HAV), ideally situated for the capital. Flights are also available from UK airports to Varadero International Airport (VRA) which offers easy access to the purpose-built resort areas that many choose to take their holidays in. Additionally, you can reach these destinations on flights via Madrid, Paris and Frankfurt with airlines such as Air France, Iberia and Condor.
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).
Santiago is served by Antonio Maceo Airport (SCU) with flights connecting it to Havana.
Once you land in Cuba, you'll want to get to your accommodation as easily as possible. What options are available?
There are shuttle buses available from Havana airport to the city, as well as buses, taxis and hire cars. All other airports have pre-bookable transfers available between the airport and the resort areas where the hotels are, as well as local taxis. Many find it easier to pre-arrange transfers and this is easy to organise from here in the UK.
From pristine white sand beaches draped with palm trees to the bustling capital of Havana, there are many places to lay your head at night after a day of fun and discovery...
Havana is a fantastic place to visit for a short break or as part of a longer trip to the country. Many hotels are located in old colonial buildings with rooftop terraces and cafes and restaurants within the hotels themselves. Large bedrooms are the norm.
Outside the capital, the biggest resort is Varadero which has a large range of hotels on offer, all squarely aimed at package holidaymakers. Whether you have a tight budget or want a five-star blow out in a private suite, you'll find a property to suit your tastes.
The other main resort areas are around Playa Guardalavaca, Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria, with a choice of tourist hotels.
Outside the main resorts, towns and cities such as Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, Vinales, Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, Holguin and Camaguey all offer accommodation to use as a base to explore the areas around them. However, don't expect the range and quality of hotels you would find in the capital or Varadero.