Cigars, Caddies and Che
Cuba is one of the world’s most distinctive countries. Thumb-thick cigars, Ernest Hemingway, rum, salsa, Che Guevara in his black beret, and Cadillacs that sag on their suspension in the streets are just a few of the icons of this emblematic place.
The Pearl of the Antilles
Roll out a map of the Americas, and you’ll have no trouble spotting Cuba. It’s the largest island in the Caribbean, anchored just south of Miami in the Antilles group of islands. The country’s tropical location means you can expect balmy temperatures throughout the year.
The City of Columns
Cuba’s capital, Havana, is an all-consuming city. It’s possible to lose days in the historical Habana Vieja part of town, alone. The cathedral here has been described as ‘music set in stone’ and, just a few steps away, you’ll find the Bodeguita del Medio, where Hemingway and Nat King Cole used to drink.
Two hours’ drive east of Havana, there’s Varadero. The first tourists arrived in this beach resort in 1870, so it’s had more than a century to fine tune its offerings. And it shows. Most of the hotels here fall into the 4 or 5-star categories, and their extra-mile attitude has rubbed off on other services in the area. Don’t be surprised to find candle-lit restaurants in caves, and cocktail bars overlooking the sea.
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Cayo Santa Maria
Anchored 100 miles off the north coast of Cuba, Cayo Santa Maria has all the castaway credentials. It’s part of the Jardines del Rey archipelago, which is formed of hundreds of keys and islets. Although it feels a million miles away, getting there is really easy – a manmade causeway links the resort to mainland Cuba.
Varadero has a lot going for it. Jutting into the Atlantic Ocean on the north coast of Cuba, the resort comes with a fantastic 20 kilometres of white sandy beach. The country’s elite built extravagant mansions here back in the Thirties, so they’ve always been onto a good thing, but since the hotels joined them this place has become Cuba’s Number 1 beach resort. Oh, and it has the island’s only 18-hole golf course – with seaside views, of course.