The idyllic Caribbean island of Cuba has plenty of pristine shores which are perfect for relaxing and forgetting about real life for a few weeks. If you're looking for these beautiful beaches during your Cuba holiday then head no further than the white sandy beaches of Varadero or the island of Cayo Largo del Sur. For an insight into Cuba's history pay a trip to Santa Clara - the home of Che Guevara's most successful battle during the revolution. And don't miss the opportunity to take a walk along the Malecon promenade in Havana for spectacular bay views. El Malecon is particularly atmospheric at dusk when you can mingle with local Havana residents.
Virgin Atlantic and Cubana offer direct flights to Cuba flying into Havana, Holguin and Varadero. Jose Martí International Airport is the main gateway into the country situated about 15 kilometres south-west of Havana. Official taxis can take you into the city centre for about 25 CUC - some taxis will offer to do it for less but be aware that they'll be illegal. Taxis are also available from Holguin and Varadero airports.
The cheapest way to explore the island is by taking advantage of the bus service. The best bus company is said to be the tourist friendly Viazul, not least because it offers buses with all important air-conditioning - it can be a god send in high season! Make sure that you book tickets in advance during peak times to ensure you get a seat. If you're on a budget stick to buses run by Astro Bus but it's worth keeping in mind that although they're cheaper, they're also less reliable and prone to breaking down.
Holidaying in the Caribbean doesn't have to be expensive and it's possible to get a cheap hotel in Cuba if you book it well in advance. Five star luxury hotels are possible too, but expect to pay more. Christmas, Easter, New Year and 26th July (the anniversary of the revolution) are all extremely popular dates for holidays in Cuba so try to book outside these peak times if you're after a bargain.
For a cheap authentic meal ask your hotel to recommend a Paladar for dinner. These restaurants are set in the homes of the locals so you can try a genuine Cuban dinner. Seating is often limited so make sure you arrive as soon as they open! One tip is to only eat in Paladares that have a printed menu with prices as you may be charged more just for being a tourist.
Updated 15th May 2013
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