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General Information about Cuba Vacations:
By far the biggest island in the Caribbean, Cuba has a rich history of Spanish colonial prosperity, revolution, cultural diversity, and tourism. All-inclusive Cuba vacations offer a great variety of ways to experience Cuba, from the cultural and historical experience of the capital city of Havana, to the natural wonders, seclusion, and outstanding beaches of the coastal keys. For anyone who loves to explore culture and history, all-inclusive Cuba vacations set in Havana present an opportunity to mingle with over 400 years of western history, architecture, and culture.
As a tourist destination, Havana has a long history which dates back to the early 1900s. Cuba vacations in Havana have, at different times through the 20th century, represented the greatest opportunity to mingle with powerful gangsters, Hollywood stars, artists, and the western elite. But tourism throughout Cuba has changed in more recent years, and all-inclusive Cuba vacations have grown to suit a broad range of tastes.
Political tensions between Cuba and the United States, dating back to the Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961, have resulted in changes to Cuba's tourist population – American tourists are still not permitted to enter Cuba, and European investment has resulted in an expansion and improvement of Cuba's tourism infrastructure.
The early focus on tourism and American interest in Havana has gradually evolved over the years, greatly influenced by world politics, Fidel Castro's years in power, and the decline of Russia's economy following the end of the Cold War. Cuba's renewed investment in tourism, including the introduction of European investment in modern hotels throughout the island, has resulted in a better quality and broader range of all-inclusive Cuba vacations.
In recent years, all-inclusive Cuba packages cater to beach-lovers, culture and history enthusiasts, and eco-tourists alike. All-inclusive Cuba vacation packages provide tourists from Canada with a great opportunity to enjoy this island paradise in a safe and friendly environment, and good value is one of the main reasons why everyone should consider an all-inclusive Cuba package at least once in a lifetime.
The people of Cuba are generally considered to be very warm and friendly, representing a mix of primarily Spanish and African descendants – Spanish originating from the days of colonial settlement, and Africans descendant from the many African slaves that were brought to the island to work in Cuba's coffee, sugar cane and tobacco plantations that represent the majority of Cuba's agricultural trade to this day. The blending of Spanish and African culture has resulted in some of the wonderful music, dance, and food that can be experienced on an all-inclusive Cuba package holiday.
Spanish is the official language of Cuba, although English is spoken in most tourist areas, making communication with the locals fairly easy, and Cuban's are typically eager to engage in friendly conversation. In general, tourist mobility required to explore all that Cuba has to offer is not a problem in larger urban centres, although some of Cuba's more remote destinations tend to cater to those who are content to stick close to the resorts and take advantage of good all-inclusive value.
All-Inclusive Cuba Vacations
All-inclusive Cuba vacations can generally be divided into two categories of interest – those with a focus on Cuba's natural beauty, beaches, mountains, and ecotourism, and those that provide the greatest access to Cuban culture, history, and entertainment. For those who wish to find a good blend of everything, an all-inclusive Varadero package holiday would be the best way to experience Cuba, where outstanding beaches and scuba diving are accompanied by good cultural attractions – nightlife, entertainment, restaurants, shopping and more.
Things to do during Cuba vacations
For the avid golfer, a package holiday in Varadero is the only vacation option in Cuba worth looking at. For those who enjoy casinos, all-inclusive Cuba vacations are not a good option – there are no casinos in Cuba, and all gambling is illegal. However, considering Cuba's recent investment in tourist infrastructure and economy, casinos in Cuba may become a reality in the next few years, as they were in the years of American intervention.,/p>
For those in search of an all-inclusive Cuba vacation filled with nightlife, cultural, historical, and entertainment attractions, Havana is the place to be. Nightlife is big in Havana, and Havana package holidays are definitely well suited to those who appreciate great jazz and Latin music, as well as night clubs, theatre, ballet, and more. Havana has a huge music scene, and Havana vacations often attract musicians and music lovers who wish to explore Havana's great Latin and American-influenced music culture. As well, when it comes to daytime activities such as sightseeing, shopping, dining, and more, Havana leads the way in Cuba, with Varadero as a great alternative for those who also wish to enjoy outstanding beaches.
For great dining, the best restaurants can often be found in the best hotels, and selection is comparatively limited. International hotels tend to offer the best variety and quality of food for Cuba vacationers, in contrast to the limited selection of relatively bland local fare.
For those shopaholics, it should be noted that Cuba is not a great shopping destination. However, depending on the vacation destination in Cuba, there are some outdoor markets and local stores presenting opportunities to purchase crafts, cigars, and rum while on a Cuba package holiday. A word of caution to cigar buyers – be sure to purchase your cigars from a legitimate vendor, and keep your receipt so that you do not have your purchase confiscated at the airport. It should also be noted that banking in Cuba is somewhat limited, mainly available at the Airport and hotels.
There are many great sites and attractions scattered throughout Cuba, well-known for their cultural and historical value, and although Havana and Varadero offer the greatest opportunity for cultural tourism, all Cuba vacation destinations have something unique to offer. Old cars and buildings, steeped in history, will provide countless photo opportunities. There are many fortresses from the days of Spanish colonial occupation, as well as castles and churches, all with historical significance.
In Havana, the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña is one of the most impressive colonial Spanish fortresses ever constructed, and no all-inclusive Havana vacation would be complete without visiting this great historic site. Remnants from the revolution (war-scarred relics), tell of Havana's more recent revolutionary history, and destinations such as Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos and others present tourists with many great photo opportunities.
For the real jazz lover, an all-inclusive Cuba package holiday in December is worth considering, when the Havana International Jazz Festival is on. Other Havana festivals include The International Havana Ballet Festival, Havana's International Film Festival, and the Habanos Cigar Festival, all world-class festivals worth investigating – Havana is undoubtedly the cultural capital of Cuba.
For the sporting activities enthusiast, all-inclusive Cuba vacations offer a unique focus on baseball, a big part of Cuban sports culture. For scuba diving and snorkelling enthusiasts, all of Cuba's major vacation destinations have something unique to offer, and the diving in Cuba is generally considered to be some of the best in the western hemisphere.
Cuba Vacations ~ Sand and Sun
Cuba vacations have so much to offer for the beach lover, with some of the most remarkable beaches featured in the keys and Varadero. Despite the fact that Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Largo, and Cayo Coco can not compete with Havana or Varadero when it comes to cultural, historical, and entertainment options, they do offer the best all-inclusive Cuba vacations when it comes to beaches. White sand beaches, turquoise waters and breathtaking aquatic life inhabiting nearby coral reefs are responsible for the great tourist interest in these destinations – some of the best beaches in the world. Likewise, Varadero also offers outstanding beaches, but also provides great access to all of the urban entertainment that many all-inclusive Cuba package holiday tourists are looking for. Other destinations throughout Cuba also feature good beaches – Havana is the only vacation destination in Cuba that truly lacks when it comes to beaches.
In Cuba the weather is typically very good, although it varies throughout this large Caribbean island. The north-west coast of Cuba features temperatures similar to Florida, cooler in the winter months when a jacket may be required for comfort. However, the south-east of Cuba tends to maintain warm temperatures all year round. Refer to the specific Cuba vacation destination pages for more weather information, and speak with one of travel agents to ensure that your all-inclusive is booked for a time and place that offers you the best possibility of enjoying vacation temperatures that suit your needs.
Hurricane season, with its unpredictability of storm events, typically lasts from July through November, peaking from mid-August to mid-November. Although Cuba vacations are rarely impacted by hurricanes, the possibility remains. However, when booking Cuba vacation packages, you can rest assured that tour operators will not fly you into a hurricane and will act fast to get you out in the event of any development. You can find great Cuba vacation package deals during hurricane season, and the economic advantage is well worth considering. We recommend that you speak with one of our tripcentral agents to fully understand the great value benefit vs. limited risk associated with travel to this region during hurricane season.
All-Inclusive Cuba Packages: What to Know Before You Go
Before you go on your all-inclusive Cuba vacation, it's good to know some basic information to ensure that your time away is hassle-free. Before you can enter Cuba for your all-inclusive Cuba vacation, you will need to ensure that you have a valid passport. Although no shots are required, medical insurance is mandatory for all Cuba package holiday tourists. To limit any exposure to illness, we recommend that all tourists in Cuba drink only bottled water.
It should also be noted that a mandatory departure tax of 25 convertible pesos, paid upon departure, is mandatory for all visitors to Cuba. We recommend that tourists do not bring convertible pesos home, other than as souvenirs, since they cannot be exchanged outside of Cuba. A Tourist Card is also required, and is included in an all-inclusive Cuba package, provided to tourists on the aircraft.
On an all-inclusive Cuba vacation, convertible pesos are the accepted currency. Convertible pesos cannot be purchased in Canada – foreign currency must be exchanged in Cuba, and an administrative fee must be paid for the exchange of American currency. However, for tipping, which is expected in Cuba, U.S. dollars come in handy, and small amounts can go a long way to ensuring the best service in Cuba. Canadian coins and bills are not recommended for tipping in Cuba, as these are of little use to the Cuban locals.
It should also be noted that no AMEX cards or other cards hosted by American providers or travellers' cheques are accepted in Cuba. For those tourists who plan to bring electronic appliances along on a Cuba package holiday, an adaptor will be required to work with Cuba's 220 volt standard.
Cuba package weddings are very popular with Canadians in search of their dream wedding in the sun, but proper planning and awareness of all requirements is critical to ensuring a positive experience. Weddings in Cuba require that all documents be translated into Spanish, and this may complicate the process for those who are not prepared – extra costs may also be involved. However, with the help of one of our tripcentral agents, the perfect all-inclusive Cuba package wedding can be planned well in advance, with as little hassle as possible.
All-inclusive Cuba packages are available to Canadians year round via scheduled flights into Havana and Holguin from Toronto. Seasonal charters into Varadero from Toronto and Montreal are also available, as well as from the east Coast of Canada into Holguin and Varadero. All-inclusive Cuba packages offer great value and variety, featuring the best of culture, history, and natural beauty to suit all tastes. Speak with one of our tripcentral agents to find out which of the wonderful destinations in Cuba best suits your needs.
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"Your advice was great: Playa Costa Verde was a good choice. I think the number of people who return (note those pink bracelets!) is a valid indication of how popular the reort it. We spoke to people who had been back 12 -15 times! The staff are extrememly friendly and kept asking if we will come back. It certainly was good value for the cost."
Lee (Ottawa, ON)
"Melia Buenavista was AMAZING. The resort was so beautiful and modern looking. Very small, you can walk from one end to the other in 5 minutes, but we loved that. We loved having royal butler service; our butlers were so helpful. The beaches are very beautiful but are kept quite natural and not perfectly groomed, so for a fussy beach person they may not be a first choice. We would love to go again next year!
~Steph (Wolfville, NS)
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