Cuba is a dream location when it comes to a holiday in the sun...
It has everything on offer, from a rich cultural history to thrilling water sports and relaxing spas. If you are looking to explore, take a tour of the country's tobacco plantations. Or just laze on the beautiful beaches with a mojito or daiquiri if you'd rather not lift a finger. The islands benefit from year-round sun so Cuba is worth a visit at any time of the year. But for avid party goers, the Havana Carnaval and Santiago de Cuba festival take place in July, so don't miss out on the chance to let your hair down.
In the capital, Havana, you will find an array of beautiful historic Spanish colonial buildings, as well as evidence of the 'Rat Pack' history of the 1950s with its hedonism and bright nightlife. Take a walk down the same streets Fidel Castro and Che Guevara once trod and rediscover the Bay of Pigs and its part in the Cold War.
There is much to do to keep you occupied in Cuba, from taking in the sights and sounds of Sancti Spiritus to following the Hemingway trail across the island.
Read our guide to decide where you will lay your holiday hat in sunny Cuba...
Havana has a variety of hotels aimed at city breakers or those visiting for just a few days. The most famous is the Hotel Nacional on the Malecon, which boasts a seafront location and luxury facilities.
Varadero is a purpose-built resort area with lots of all-inclusive Cuba hotels from well-known brands. Here you will find Iberostar, Sol Melia, Riu, Sandals, Tryp, Be Live, Mercure and others. In addition, there are a variety of Cuban joint ventures such as Cubanacan and Cayo Coco. Cayo Coco is renowned for its tropical-island beaches and high-end resorts. Alternatively, choose Holguin and Camaguey for northern coast beaches. For the urban explorer, Santiago is a city that's famed for its music and colonial history.
Hotels in Cuban resorts are often all-inclusive, offering a full range of facilities from water sports to spas and kids' clubs as well as entertainment and restaurants. It's ideal if you don't want the extra pressure of cooking and organising activities while you are away. City hotels tend to be sold on a room-and-breakfast basis.
Make the most of Cuba - a place with something to see around every corner...
Cuba has a style and pace all of its own and there's plenty to see and do.
Top five attractions
Cuevas de Bellamar
While many of Cuba's main sites are clustered around Havana, one of the country's oldest wonders can be found near Varadero. The Bellamar Caves - said to have been discovered by a shepherd looking for a lost sheep in the 19th century - are a spectacular series of impressive caverns including the cathedral-like main cave.
Castillo de la Real Fuerza
This mighty 16th century fortification (translated as the Castle of the Royal Force) is a dominating feature of the Havana skyline. Originally built by the Spanish to repel pirates and other invaders, it is now a charming museum with a café.
“The Pier”, as it is often called, is one of the most iconic attractions in Cuba. It is a picturesque coastal walkway forming a four-mile boulevard between Vedado and old Havana. The tree-lined causeway makes for a delightful evening stroll as you take in the sights and sounds of Cuba.
The imposing former government building stands as a monument to Cuban history. It was modelled on the US White House after being commissioned in the 1920s by Cuban dictator Gerado Merchado. Interestingly, the building also houses the Estatua de la Republica (Statue of the Republic), which is the third largest indoor sculpture in the world.
Museo de la Revolution
It would be impossible to visit Cuba without being reminded of its turbulent times and images of icons like Che Guevara. The Museum of the Revolution, housed in what was once the palace of dictator Fulgencio Batista, pays homage to the legendary figures of Cuban history and charts the rise and fall of the country. Serious stuff, but a worthy day out.
Cubans know how to throw a party no matter what the event. Make sure you join in the fun...
Cuban air is thick with cigar smoke and the heady aroma of exotic cooking as a distant band carries an addictive tune. Don't miss a beat from the many wondrous events that take place here every year.
International Cigar Festival; February: Synonymous with cigars, Cuba pays homage to one of its greatest exports with a festival dedicated to the art of cigar enjoyment. It's not all about smoking though. There are several concerts, fairs, seminars and feasts spread across a couple of days near the Karl Marx Theatre in Havana.
May Day; May: One of the biggest celebrations in the Cuban calendar, May Day is a time when the country lets its collective hair down and throws parties everywhere. Each town will see workers marching to the town centre ahead of a series of public speeches before the feasting and drinking begins.
Festival del Caribe; July: Every form of music and dance from the Caribbean is celebrated at this week-long festival in Santiago de Cuba. Also known as the Festival del Fuego (Festival of Fire), it brings together all the cultural elements that make up this distinct part of the world. Concerts, parades, feasting, drinking and a procession of Cuba's iconic old vehicles make this quite a spectacle.