New modality of lodging in Cuba

New modality of lodging in Cuba

The new Cuba

It is a certainty that Cuba is improving every day the services and the tourist offers. This has unleashed the creation of a new modality of accommodation, ideal for students or groups of friends interested in touring around the urban centers of the cities and their cultural heritage.

Nowadays, people is discovering the world using the hostels. This is because this type of accommodation is cheaper and more practical. We inform you that there are 12.000 hostels aprox. located and distributed in 165 nations. The target segment is the young people that want to share an experience with other people of different nationalities.

A good option to sleep

We recommend you to stay in Vedado Azul. It is located in a building from the 30s of the last century, which in the beginning was the home of a Havana family and since the 70s it has served as accommodation. The hostel has 20 air-conditioned rooms with 27 comfortable berths and nine beds, for a total of 63 pax. The tourists can use a television, wifi networks, a snack-bar and a terrace overlooking the city.

Another curiosity is that the hostel was built in 18 months at a cost of one million 800 thousand pesos. It is planned that this investment will be recover it in nine years with an efficient exploitation of this modality of city tourism.

In order to increase this type of tourism, Raciel Troval Rodríguez, president of the Islazul hotel business group, explained that they have to transmit the historical, cultural, social and heritage values of the capital, suggest places to visit, excursions, sports events, etc. and above all explain the benefits of this wonderful city.

Finally, she announced the opening of the new hostel. It is a part of the planned investments in greeting the anniversaries 500 of Havana and 25 of Islazul, and also the recently concluded International Tourism Fair, FitCuba 2019.

We hope this article has been useful to plan your trip to Cuba! Enjoy your holidays!

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Cuba, an essential place to visit

Cuba, essential place to visit

Cuba, is an essential place to visit due to is an island where the salsa still runs through the veins of every Cuban in this proud nation. In addition, the island has a breathtaking beaches, forest-covered mountains, colourful houses and cobbled-stone streets make an enlightening experience when you travel to Cuba.

In this article, we are going to give you some advices that will be useful if you are thinking to visit this beautiful country.

Places to visit in Cuba

Cuba has plenty of places to explore, from branded the birthplace of salsa to dream beaches. For example, Trinidad has a baroque architecture and sugar cane and tobacco plantations. In addition, it is deemed a UNESCO world heritage site.

Also, the archaeological capital of Cuba, Banes, is famous for its well-preserved artefacts from the indigenous Taino people, Then, Varadero is a beach town beside the 20 km stretch of white sands and turquoise waters.

When is the best time to travel?

We consider that the best time to travel to Cuba is between December and May.

Festival-wise, the best celebrations in Cuba take place from July 25th to 27th where the locals take to the streets to celebrate the success of the Cuban Revolution. The Cubans celebrate these days as the happiest days in Cuban history.

Itinerary example

We warn you that the transport in Cuba is unorganised. It is recommended to plan your trip beforehand rather than trying your luck with spontaneous trips to avoid unpleasant delays.

From day 1 to day 3: Havana

We recommend you to visit La Habana in the first time. It is the capital plenty of vintage cars, colourful colonial-style buildings, cigars and salsa. You have to head to La Habana Vieja, to eat churros and explore the streets where the decaying buildings are surprisingly pretty and charming. Also, you can enjoy a classic car tour in a vintage car. Do not forget to check out the Plaza de la Revolucion and the Havana Cathedral.

From day 3 to day 7: Jibacoa Beach and Varadero

Playa Jibacoa is the Cuba’s best-kept secret. This picturesque beach is postcard worthy for its soft white sands and clear emerald waters. You can relax, swim and dive the sunken shipwrecks for a few days and enjoy the Caribbean heat. Then, you can go to Varadero that offers the same gorgeous beaches but with more tourists and hotel chains.

In conclusion, Cuba is a wonderful country, for this reason you cannot miss any detail. Enjoy your trip!

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The best beaches, Cuba

What are the most wonderful beaches?

It is a fact that Cuba has the most spectacular beaches with hypnotic blue water and white sand. These beaches are a real paradise on earth. For this reason, we have listed some of the beaches below.

Varadero beach

Varadero Beach is one of the best beaches in Cuba. It is located in the peninsula of Hicacos, in the province of Matanzas. In it predominates the white sand. In addition, there is a clear and transparent waters that give you the possibility of practicing some sports.

Varadero beach

Esmeralda beach

This beach is located in Guardalavaca. It is considered the cradle of the first inhabitants of the island.

Ancon beach

The beach has a white sands, blue and green tones worthy of photography, and beautiful sunsets. This beach is close to Trinidad, one of the colonial architectural jewels that houses Cuba, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Paradise beach

This beach is the turquoise pearl of the Caribbean. It is famous for the transparency of the water. It is really extraordinary.

Paradise beah

Cayo Ensenachos

One of the longest and most spectacular beaches in Cuba is Megano Beach. It is a beach that is practically virgin, since it has very clean and crystalline waters.

Cayo Coco

The paradise of Cayo Coco and its beautiful Playa Larga is like a huge natural pool of turquoises, greens and electric blues.

Coco Cayo

Cayo Saetia

It is located in Holguín. This Cayo gives you the possibility to explore the exotic tropical nature in addition to practicing many aquatic sports. This is a perfect combination to enjoy the beautiful beaches, nature and an impressive natural landscape.

Cayo Largo

In this place there are the Sirena beach and the Tortuga beach. These are true natural swimming pools has a dozen privileged complexes that have been installed. Also, there are 20 km of white sand, turquoise waters and even iguanas.

Long Cayo

Iguana Island

It is very close to Cayo Largo del Sur, in the heart of the Caribbean. The Isla de las Iguanas is one of the most impressive areas of the Cuban Caribbean surrounded by crystal clear waters, reefs and natural pools.

Santa Lucía beach

It is located to the north of Camagüey, and in its almost 21 km of beach you will find a great variety of migratory ducks, flamingos, colorful tropical fish and other marine species, which makes it a main interest in the area. It is also an ideal place for lovers of diving and marine observation, as it is famous for having one of the most important coral reefs in the world.

We hope you have discovered new beaches and we wish you luck if you take a trip to Cuba.

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Beatriz Valdés returns to La Habana, Cuba

Beatriz Valdés returns to La Habana, Cuba

Beatriz visits Cuba to celebrate her birthday

Two days ago the actress announced through Instagram her visit to La Habana, Cuba. Beatriz Valdes returns to La Habana to celebrate her birthday.

Beatriz Valdés has returned to Cuba with these beautiful words: “I went to Habana to receive my birthday and reconnect with the city where I was born on a Mother’s Day Sunday. I went to the corners of my memory and lived the illusion of having the city, the sea and the Malecón all to myself, as if, together, they were waiting for me to celebrate. I went with my family of life and shared with them the landscape that saw me born. There are dreams that come true”.

Certainly, for a lot of people Beatriz is identified with the name of Rachel. It is due to was her character in the film La Bella del Alhambra in 1989. Anyway people are very happy with her visit.

Sharing photos and experiences

During her stay in Cuba, Beatriz shares with her followers several photos in charming places. For example, the wall of Malecón or the Gran Teatro de La Habana.

We would like to inform you that the Cuban actress moved from Habana to Caracas in the 1990s and for two decades she captivated Venezuelan audiences with her characters. For this reason, it is possible that some followers do not know that she is from Cuba. For instance, one follower says to her: “Wow, I had no idea you were Cuban!

In conclusion, she says that there are many Cubans who came to Venezuela and are remembered as ours and even on some occasions not even Cuban seem to have lost even the accent of the island.

We hope you have enjoyed this article discovering even more Cuba!

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The palates: the best places to eat in Cuba

The palates: the best places to eat in Cuba

The best places to eat

One of the concerns when you’re traveling is where to eat well. In this article, we are going to announce the best palates: the best places to eat in La Havana, Cuba.

In Cuba, the “palates” are options as diverse in their styles as in the delights they pose to the senses of the guest. The biggest difference between the palates is usually in the decoration of the place and the dishes, the location, the prices and the quality of the service.

The Guarida

Certainly, it is the most popular palate in Cuba. The Guarida is popular because it is an obligatory stop for every famous person who arrives in Havana. It’s a very attractive place, it’s not cheap, if you want different Cuban food, with a modern and gourmet touch, this is the adequate place.

Palate Coffee Laurent

Café Laurent has a bohemian chic aesthetic. The furniture and walls of the 1950s wallpapered with old newspaper clippings give it that retro atmosphere. In addition to its food, the most spectacular part of this site is its spectacular terrace.

Rio Mar Restaurant-Bar-Grill

The taste and the presentation of its culinary offer are exquisite and very original. The interior decoration is charming, but the most impressive are the views of the Almendares River. His cuisine is author.

The cook

The cook is a unique, dynamic, eclectic and multifunctional place. It is integrated by four spaces: the restaurant Terraza-Lounge, the Waiting Bar, the Havana Gourmet, and the fresh Terrace Garden.

The Cathedral

The Cathedral is a popular place with a quality-price value that makes it practically full every day.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

It is famous due to U.S. President Barack Obama chose it to dine with his family during his visit to Havana. It has an exotic collection of 50s memorabilia and its different touch to traditional Cuban dishes.

Doña Eutimia

This palate makes the best old clothes and the best sleeping black beans in Havana. It is located next to Havana Cathedral Square.

Cha cha cha cha

This is one of the new places that promise to become regulars for lovers of good food who also seek to have fun without looking at the time. Fusion style very fashionable, Cha cha chá flatters the palate, sight and ear with equal care.

In conclusion, if you are lucky enough to travel to Cuba you must discover the wonderful palates.

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Tope de Collantes: a natural paradise

Tope de Collantes a natural paradise

A natural wonder

The are many natural wonders in Cuba, but undoubtedly the Topes de Collantes is the best natural paradises. It is a protected natural area in the middle of the Sierra del Escambray. The location is great due to is very close to the tourist city of Trinidad, in Sancti Spíritus.

At an altitude of 800 meters above sea level and with Pico San Juan as the highest elevation with 1140 meters high, the Sierra del Escambray treasures 686 thousand species of insects and 8 thousand 600 of birds.

Certainly, this marvel is an ideal place if you are a lover of being in direct contact with nature. You can enjoy hiking and mountaineering, discovering strange species of birds, reptiles and plants.

Topes de Collantes gives you the possibility to get out of the stress of daily life and walk relaxed among its exuberant nature. A set of mountains, rivers and caves in their natural state formed the park.

Walks inside the nature

Among its trails you can find numerous species of endemic animals. Also, you can enjoy the beautiful waterfalls in the middle of a unique microclimate that favors the flowering of trees and fruits. This natural area is an ideal place to relax while enjoying pure air and its beautiful views. It is a good place to take the best pictures and feel nature.

The Carbuní trail ends in a magnificent waterfall with the same name. This is perhaps the most popular walk. In its two-and-a-half kilometer length it takes you between coffee plantations, traditional houses and cliffs to the waterfall.

In addtion, another walk is the Ecological Trail, also known as the Vegas Grandes, which ends at the Soroa Falls, an incredible pool of crystal clear water.

Finally, the path to La Batata takes you among beautiful views and gives you the chance to bathe in medicinal waters. The route of Hacienda Codina takes you to a ranch with medicinal mud baths, among bamboo forests and orchids. There you can also visit the Cueva del Altar, the Isla de los Enamorados and a natural viewpoint with a spectacular panoramic view of the Valle de los Ingenios.

Enjoy your visit to Cuba!

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Staying in private houses in Cuba

Stay in private houses in Cuba

Is it legal? Is it safe? What are the prices? How do I book?

As a consequence of the legalization of private property in Cuba, small family businesses began to proliferate, such as the one that offers the possibility of staying in private homes.

We would like to inform you that these ventures are fully controlled and operate under the parameters set by law. We cannot guarantee 100% that there is no one on the whole island who practices them clandestinely for us. In addition, because of the general functioning of the rest of the tourism-related businesses on the island, it is quite complicated for Cubans to break the rules for a long time. The fines and penalties are so high.

How does it work?

It is totally legal and there is the following control:

  1. Not everyone can do it. The government opens a deadline for applications, enables a number of accommodations and closes the quota until further notice. In that previous inspection, it is analyzed that the house fulfills a series of conditions and depending on its size and if it is located in a province more or less tourist a quantity is fixed. This tax will have to be paid by the homeowners each month to the government regardless of whether they receive guests or not. Also, there are periodically inspections to verify that the house continues to maintain the same conditions.
  2. In addition to this amount, Cubans are obliged to report to the authorities the reception of guests and to pay a second tax consisting of a percentage based on the number of people they receive each month. In fact, the first thing they ask of you when you arrive at each house is the passports to be able to make that report. If you are caught hosting someone without warning you may lose your hosting license for life.

Why is it interesting to stay in private houses?

On the one hand, it’s a way of helping the people of the country. The staying in private homes is a help not only in terms of money contribution, also helps to continue entrepreneurial initiatives in many more sectors.

On the other hand, it is an enormous opportunity to get to know the country from the perspective of those who live there witnessing how a Cuban house works from the inside. Cubans are experts at making you feel like your family in less than an hour. They strive to help the experience of foreigners to be positive and demonstrate a generosity that manages to alleviate all the shortcomings that the country has at other levels. They are extremely educated and have a great vocation of service with the one who comes from outside.

What will you find? How much does it cost?

There is a fairly wide spectrum between the different types of accommodation: larger houses, villas in which you can have the property just for you. Prices vary and are always negotiable. Most of the time they don’t have wifi, although there are some exceptions.

Some accommodations also offer the option of breakfast, lunch and dinner with prior notice. Laundry is not a usual service. Sometimes you will manage to negotiate breakfast included and other times you will pay for it separately. Prices range from 3 to 5 CUCs.

The reservations can be made in a variety of ways:

Through airbnb. These reservations cannot be made via airbnb from within Cuba. You have two options: ask a relative or friend to make the reservation from outside with your user or contact the owners to formalize the reservation directly in person.

In the traditional way. As connections are complicated in Cuba, many of these particular accommodations are not published anywhere. Start walking, ask questions, call from a cabin, arrive by recommendation of an acquaintance, etc. This is the way to get better prices than there are on the Internet.

Normally it is paid in cash at the end of the stay.

Accommodation recommendations

All houses appear in Airbnb but are willing to make better prices if you contact them directly.

Havana

– Ignacio and Lora: 5 minutes from Old Havana. A very clean house with very full breakfasts. Contact: ignacio.santana2014@gmail.com / Mobile: 0053 5 827 24 49 / Fixed: 7 8660 188

– Lilli and Alberto: in the heart of Old Havana with its own wifi network. It’s a totally refurbished colonial apartment. They don’t make breakfasts but they’re next to a very good breakfast buffet. Contact: willglez59@gmail.com / 0053 5281 9726

-Los Cayos: Pulman Cayo Coco resort. According to the Cubans, the best in the area, although you can’t compare it with others.

Some details to keep in mind

Cubans love children. There are no restrictions on staying with a family. In fact, they found it is incredible that in Europe there were public spaces or celebrations that children are not allowed to go to.

The treatment of foreigners in Cuba in general is very good, which is why it is important that those of us who go from abroad treat them with the same reciprocity.

In conclusion, we hope you enjoy your experience in Cuba!

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Hostel Vedado Azul, Cuba

Hostel Vedado Azul, Cuba

A new modality in Cuba

On May 9th and in the context of the International Tourism Fair FITCuba 2019, the Hotel Group Islazul will inaugurate the Hostel Vedado Azul, Cuba.

The hostel is located in the central neighborhood of Vedado, Havana. In addition, the building is the first of its kind in Cuba, which combines the use of space and affordable prices.

Vedado Azul Hostel is ideal for student travelers and groups of friends. In general, people interested in exploring the environment and learn about the town of San Cristobal de la Habana.  Also, it is close to: the Plaza de la revolución, the Malecón, the University of Havana and renowned cultural centers.

It has 20 air-conditioned rooms distributed on the first and second floors. Also, it has equipped with comfortable bunk beds. Also, it has a social area for the enjoyment of TV, snack bar, cafeteria and Internet access.

Finally, the opening of the Vedado Azul Hostel is part of the actions to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Islazul and the 500th anniversary of the foundation of  Havana.

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Havana: what you can’t miss?

Havana what you can't miss

A beautiful capital

Havana is one of the most charming multicultural cities in Latin America. The city has a cuisine recognized around the world and an enviable street rhythm.

The architectural style, music and culture make the Cuban capital one of the most attractive for travelers from all over the world. In addition, the most remarkable are the friendliness, good vibes and warmth of its people.

Havana will also conquer you with many of its unique plans and experiences. Take a look at the ten experiences you can’t miss if you travel to Havana, Cuba.

10 experiences to enjoy

  1. Walk through the colorful streets of downtown Havana. Don’t be afraid to get lost, because along the way you will surely find incredible corners with an indescribable charm that do not appear in travel guides.
  2. Discover the most avant-garde Cuba by partying at The Cuban Art Factory (FAC). It is an old oil factory reformed and reinvented as the scene of the different forms of Cuban art. it is an interactive cultural space (galleries, music rooms, dance floors, etc).
  3. Let some of the best known and hummed Cuban songs stick to you in the streets of Havana. ‘Black tears‘, ‘Guantanamera‘ or ‘El cuarto de Tula‘ will become the best soundtrack.
  4. One of the most overwhelming moments in Cuba is to watch the sunset from the Malecón. This is the most typical and characteristic landscape of Havana. In addition, you will be accompanied by fishermen, background music and children jumping from the rocks to the sea.
  5. There are a lot of history between the streets of Havana. Che Guevara, Fidel Castro or Camilo Cienfuegos are among the pages of the books of the revolution that you will be able to browse in the beautiful Plaza de Armas.
  6. You can lost in its streets on foot or using a bicycletaxi. Also, you can opt for one of its beautiful American cars from the 50’s.
  7. Also, it is almost unimaginable that you should leave Havana without having tried your luck with one of its dance floors with more or less dexterity.
  8. If you are a lover of architecture, the Cuban buildings will capture your snapshots: the Bacardi Building, the Gran Teatro, the Teatro América, etc.
  9. Of course, we must mention gastronomy. In La Havana you will enjoy the most delicious dishes: roasted suckling pig, yucca with mojo, congrí rice, picadillo, etc.
  10. Havana also hosts a lot of literature. Since 1997, the capital has been home to Cuba’s only poetry library.

We hope you will enjoy all these experiences when you visit Havana!

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What to see in Cienfuegos, Cuba?

What to see in Cienfuegos Cuba

Cienfuegos: the quiet city

Cienfuegos is one of those passing cities in Cuba. It is strategically located between Havana and Trinidad, which makes it a good place to make a stop on the way.

In addition, we recommend you to visit and sleep for two nights in Trinidad and dive in the Bay of Pigs.

If you have to choose between Trinity and Cienfuegos, the former is much more exuberant. It is a colonial jewel in every rule, but also a very tourist place with jineteros that will try to sell you constantly all kinds of services. Also, Trinidad had one of the best musical environments on the island.

Anyway, we are going to explain you the beautiful city of Cienfuegos.

What to see in Cienfuegos, Cuba: an everyday city

Cienfuegos does not have the splendor of Trinidad or the charm of Old Havana. It’s a bit of a passing city, so it will allow you to see a more real and less touristic Cuba.

It is known as the “Pearl of the South“. It was founded by French colonists and owes its name to the Spanish soldier José Cienfuegos Jovellanos.

It’s a city you can visit in a day. 

José Martí Park

It is the central park of the city and is located in the old Plaza de Armas. In the center you will find a monument to the Cuban politician José Martí.

The beautiful thing about this square are the colorful neocolonial buildings of pastel tone that surround it as the Palace of the Government of Cienfuegos and its great reddish dome well preserved.

It’s a pretty quiet part of town.

At one end of the park, you can see the Triumphal Arch erected by city workers in honor of the Republic.

Tomas Terry Music House and Theater

Currently, the music of Cienfuegos has its provincial choir, instrumental music bands, popular dance music orchestras and relevant music festivals such as Benny Moré and Alternative Music.

There is also a very famous dance club that takes its name from this musician.

The music centre in Cienfuegos is the House of Music. You will find one in each city and here we also recommend you to visit it to consult its programming.

The Tomás Terry Theatre is another cultural highlight and is located in the Plaza de José Martí.

Paseo del Prado: the wadis of Cienfuegos

The Paseo del Prado, which crosses the city to the Malecón and Punta Gorda, is the real heart of the city. It reminds a little of the typical wadis that exist in many Catalan villages.

There you will be able to see people all the time ramble: walking up and down, participating in lively debates on the promenade benches, taking wifi connection points, chatting in a group or playing ball.

Next to it you can see some buildings and emblematic places of the city like the Coppelia Ice Cream Store and several art galleries.

One of the most surprising curiosities about Cuba is the large number of artists’ workshops that you will be able to find in each city.

Royal Quay and alley in the surrounding area

The Royal Pier is a place to relax by the sea, listen to music and have a drink. We recommend it as a very Sunday afternoon plan. There are hardly any tourists.

We recommend you wander around a little before you get there. In Cienfuegos the streets are wide and there are many people who simply spend the afternoon sitting in the street.

They might come up to you for a little chat. In general, Cubans like to talk a lot and tourists always tell us what’s new.

Malecón and Punta gorda of Cienfuegos

The Malecón de Cienfuegos ends at an elongated end called Punta Gorda. It is an area with large buildings and hotels of neoclassical style.

You can walk from the center, it’ll take about 30-40 minutes. Another option is to get into the taxis or tuk tuk that run the walk.

One of the most significant buildings in the area is the Palacio del Valle, a historic town in Cienfuegos in Arabic style with a beautiful bar-terrace overlooking the sea.

If you decide to continue to Punta Gorda you will find a sought-after dining room practically on the sea.

It may be the most touristic area of Cienfuegos, but it is not overcrowded at all.

Eating at Los Complacientes

Los Complacientes is a home-cooked restaurant located in the center of Cienfuegos. It’s one of those places Cubans usually go to for dinner.

The food was simple based on meat, rice and fried banana. We liked it so much that we had dinner there two nights.

The price of this restaurant is well below that of the tourist establishments. A dinner can cost you between 4-6 CUC.

Another place with hardly any tourists is Pizza Pizza, a pizzeria very popular among the families of Cienfuegos. You can have a pizza for 5.50 CUC.

Reggaeton for teenagers at Benny Moré Club

You can go to celebrate something at Club Benny Moré, a popular party hall in Cienfuegos. If you ask yourselves what young people dance in Cuba I’ll tell you the same as in many places: reggaeton.

There is not much access to information from abroad, but the island sells USB with recorded commercial music videos that are played on televisions in bars and clubs.

The entrance to the disco costs 2CUC and you can drink a beer for 1CUC or order a whole bottle of alcohol for 9CUC.

Sleeping in a private house in Cienfuegos

Sleeping in Cuban houses made this trip something very special. We recommend it to you as an experience, since it will allow you to know them and listen to their advice and recommendations.

How to get to Cienfuegos

In general, in Cuba there are three ways to get anywhere.

  • By bus Víazul: There is a line that runs from Trinidad to Varadero and passes through Cienfuegos. The ticket from Havana to Cienfuegos costs 20USD and departs at 07:00 and 10:40 from the Havana bus station.
  • By collective: These are taxis shared by up to four people who will take you from door to door of your accommodation. You will pay 25CUC per person.
  • By rental car: Another very common option. It is convenient to consult prices since the rents in Cuba are quite expensive.

We recommend you to visit Cienfuegos if you are in Cuba!

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