Cuba
Cuba is unlike any other country on earth. It is situated 90 miles south of the Florida Keys and is the largest island in the Caribbean. Although tourism is growing, Cuba is largely unspoilt providing something for every traveller from the peaceful resorts of Guardalavaca, Playa Pesquero or Cayo Coco, to the bustling Holguin and the ever popular holiday hot spot of Varadero.
People are drawn to this fascinating Caribbean island for its rich culture, unique political history and continued economic hardship. Life on the island moves to its own unique beat. Its rich history is nowhere more apparent than in the diversity of its people – a warm eclectic mix of European, Asian and African roots. All of this plus its beaches, sun, and cheap drinks, make it one of the most eye-opening countries for travellers to discover.  
If you venture away from the stunning beaches, you will discover towns and cities boasting Spanish colonial architecture and grand plazas.  To experience the history of the country why not visit the Jose Marti Square, Museo de la Revolucion or Habana Vieja (the historical heart of Havana). If you prefer art, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes may be more for you.
The stunning landscape of Cuba has something for everyone. You can also explore the mountainous countryside with sugar cane and rice fields and a fantastic coral reef, second only in length to the Great Barrier Reef. You can also venture underground and explore the famous natural beauty of Gran Caverna de Santo Tomas, Cuba’s largest cave system.
There is no doubt that the Cubans will ensure you will not only have a fantastic time, but that you leave with fond memories and a little piece of Cuba in your heart.
The currency in Cuba is the Convertible Peso (CUC). US Dollars are no longer accepted in Cuba. Money can be exchanged at state-run CADECAs or international air and seaports. All currency must be exchanged before leaving the country.
MasterCard and Visa are increasingly accepted (as long as they are not issued by a US bank or a bank with links to the US), but a hefty fee is often applied. ATMs are rare but cash can be obtained from banks with a non-US Visa credit or debit card. Cirrus and Maestro are not accepted.
If you are taking traveller’s cheques, make sure they are in a currency other than US Dollars.
 
Cayo Coco
Introduction
Cayo Coco is on Cuba’s Atlantic coast and boasts 15 miles of untouched beaches and stunning turquoise seas. It also has the second largest coral reef which is over 10km long and home to numerous marine species.
After Varadero, Cayo Coco is the biggest beach resort with miles of beautiful sands and crystal clear ocean. A Cayo Coco hotel offers the perfect retreat from everyday life.
Although the resort is home to several large hotels, it remains a relatively undiscovered pearl. With only a small domestic airport, Cayo Coco holidays are ideal when combined with a stay in Havana to give a real flavour of what Cuba has to offer.  
Cayo Coco can offer you superb scuba diving and excellent local hotel facilities. If you prefer to remain on dry land there is always the stunning and dramatic landscape to explore on bicycle or horseback.
Therefore if beaches, scuba diving, fishing and exploration are for you, then you’d be hard pushed to find a better location that Cayo Coco, Cuba.

See & Do

Cayo Coco is a wonderful location to simply sit back, relax and unwind. Its main attractions are:

·         Beautiful lagoons and beaches

·         Barrier reef

·         Wonderful snorkelling

·         Flamingo reserve

·         Crocodile Farm

·         Wind surfing

·         Water skiing

·         Kayaking

·         Aqua bike riding

·         Diving


One of the most wondrous attractions in Cayo Coco is the largest lake in the area, the Languna de Leche or the Lake of Milk. Its name comes from its white, milky appearance caused by underwater lime deposits.

 

Shopping

There are a few shops located at the resort with souvenir items such as T-shirts, towels, hats, mugs, etc., but this isn’t a shopper’s paradise.


The Cuban Convertible Peso is the local currency, although Canadian dollars are recommended. Most hotels have a money exchange office on site, although not all will exchange Canadian travel cheques. Visa and MasterCard credit cards are widely accepted. But American Express credit cards are not commonly accepted. ATM's are not available in Cuba.

Food & Drink

There are many sea food restaurants often located near the beaches and are open at all hours of the day. There are a range of night clubs where visitors can dance and dine. Snack bar hotels are everywhere in Cayo Coco.  

Most hotels are all-inclusive so all food and drinks are included in your hotel bill so you probably won't need to look elsewhere for meals while staying on the cays.  

Entertainment

The hotels in Cayo Coco put on some amazing entertainment every night. There is something for everyone from nightclubs and discos to live bands and floor shows.

For something a bit different there is a glittery, loud cabaret followed by a disco at the Cueva del Jabalí, a natural cave 5km inland from the hotel strip which takes its name from the wild boar evicted to make way for the venue, now housing a community of bats as well as disco dancers.

Excursions

Despite the beauty of the area, you may want to branch out and explore more of what Cuba and Cayo Coco has to offer. Here are just a few of the excursions that are available to tourists:

·         Fishing and boat trips

·         Jungle Tours

·         Glass-bottomed boat trips

·         Horse-drawn carriage tours

·         Horse-trekking

·         Sugar Mill visit

·         Crocodile farm visit

·         Steam train ride through the cane fields

·         Deep sea fishing

Health & Safety

Cayo Coco is a very safe environment to holiday in, however there are one or two things to consider when planning your holiday.

  • Jelly fish – these are a common sight in the area so it is advisable to keep beach shoes on when venturing out into the sea.
  • Land crabs – don’t get too close or you may get a nasty nip.
  • Mosquitoes – take plenty of repellent.

 

Holguin

Introduction

Holguin Province is Cuba's fourth largest.  Holguin City lies 760km/495 miles southeast of Havana and has about 300,000 residents. The city has a long cultural tradition which includes lyrical theatre, symphonic orchestra, modern ballet and thriving visual arts.

To the west of Holguin is a vantage point, Loma de la Cruz, which offers wonderful views over the city and across the province. This is the best known place in the city and perhaps the most representative. On May 3rd 1790, the Fray Francisco Antonio de Alegría placed a wooden cross at the very top of the hill. For years it was the site of pilgrimages and more recently it has been the site for the Romerías de Mayo, a popular festival that brings together tradition and modernity. You can get to the top by car, but the best way is to climb up the 458 steps from the base.

To the southeast of the city there is a second elevation called Mayabe Lookout (Mirador de Mayabe). The view of the city is not as close as the one from the Hill of the Cross but it is a wonderful place to enjoy a quiet and romantic day. At the top there is a motel with some wooden cabins, a restaurant, several private open cabins from where you can order lunch, dinner or snacks and different kinds of drinks. But the main attraction is a donkey called Pancho who loves to drink beer. You will find him at the Bar El Burro (Donkey Bar).

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