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Cuba ... where's the best place to go?

East Midlands UK
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Cuba ... where's the best place to go?

Any advice on really good places to stay in Cuba? We're looking at going in May for 2 weeks but

I'm really stuck with which part to stay in they all look so beautiful....

Any ideas?

halifax
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225 posts
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1. Re: Cuba ... where's the best place to go?

we like the Varadero area going in April for the third time and staying at the Barcelo Solymar our second time

hope this helps

Guelph, Canada
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2. Re: Cuba ... where's the best place to go?

We prefer the Holguin area...

To be honest just about any resort in Holguin interests us more then any resort in Varadero...

Varadero is a hotel strip, I am talking hotel after hotel sharing the same white beach albeit a beautiful beach. Now the benefit to Varadero is that you do have access to restaurants, bars, shops and places to go outside of the resort (keeping in mind this is still Cuba). Most importantly though the BEST thing about Varadero is its proximity to Havana!

Holguin is more Country...

Lush tropical countryside coupled with small white sandy beaches. Most of the resorts here are relatively isolated and situated one of the following beaches: Guardalavaca, Playa Esmerelda, Playa Pesquero or Playa Yuraguanal, our personal favorite being Esmeralda.

Besides a small tourist market and a few souvenir shops in Guardalavaca there really is no shopping, nightlife and/or entertainment off the resort (there is organized excursions).

For us Playa Esmeralda is quintessentially the most "tropical" Caribbean vacation spot we have visited. Lush foliage, swaying palm trees, white sand beach, horseback riding (not on the actual beach) amazing snorkeling and diving...

Two resorts situated on Playa Esmeralda; Paradisus Rio De Oro and the Sol Luna Y Mares.

The Cayo’s:

All the Cayo’s are beach retreats…

I only recommend the Cayo’s for people who really are beach aficionados. Think isolated sand dune in the middle of the ocean and that would be what the Cayos are like. No Cubans live here the only locals you’ll meet are the ones working at your hotel. No restaurants or nightlife, but most probably the best Caribbean virgin beaches you will find!

So I break it out like this:

Beach holiday = Cayo Coco, Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Guillarmo

Beach holiday/Culture = Varadero/Havana

Beach holiday/Cuban Countryside = Holguin

There are other areas of Cuba, but I believe for a first timer out of the UK, these are the best options…

Lincoln, United...
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3. Re: Cuba ... where's the best place to go?

I would add another one into the mix, because this was exactly the same position as we were in last year. We wanted to be near enough to Havana to visit, but wanted to avoid Varadero like the plague. Strip of Western hotels wasn't our idea of Cuba.

We opted for Jibacoa. Closer to Havana than Varadero. Good quality hotel in Superclub Breezes. Quiet and isolated in a lovely forested valley. Great snorkelling straight off the beach. The downside is that there is really very little outside the hotel complex.

East Midlands UK
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4. Re: Cuba ... where's the best place to go?

Thanks for all your messages guys its helped lots.

Tim H - We have exactly the same dilema as you.

I don't want to go to Cuba without going to Havana but also don't want to feel like I'm on a hotel strip.

I love the look of Guardalavaca with all the watersports available around there and swimming with Dolphins, day trips out etc. The main problem is the distance from Havana.

I'm trying to find out if I can stay for 10 days in one place and then maybe go to Havana for the remaining 4 ...has anyone done this (without paying a fortune!!)

Also one last question, has anyone been in May...is it really bad for rain. I've read that its the start of the rainy season but it doesn't properly kick in until June/ July???

Lincoln, United...
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5. Re: Cuba ... where's the best place to go?

We spent 12 nights in Jibacoa and 2 days (one night) in Jibacoa, because despite Jibacoa's proximity to Havana, we wanted to experience some of Havana's nightlife.

The way we did it was to book 14 nights all inclusive at Jibacoa (because our travel operator did not offer any less) and then arranged Havana ourselves through Jorge. If you are interested in this route, do a search for Jorge on this forum. He is a highly recommended guide, but also will arrange all sorts of travel and accomodation in Cuba.

Virgin offer some split packages between resorts and Havana, but didn't offer that for Jibacoa.

Yorkshire
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6. Re: Cuba ... where's the best place to go?

We stayed at PRDO recently (by the way it is a really great hotel) and met people who had travelled with First Choice on a 2 centre basis to Havana and PRDO. I believe they flew into Holguin and stayed one night at Play Pesquero and then took an internal flight to Havana for 3 nights returning to PRDO for the last 10 nights.

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: Cuba ... where's the best place to go?

We stayed at the Paradisus Princesa del Mar, which is near the end of Varadero - it combines all the best features of being in Varadero (beach, proximity to airport and Havana) but is almost at the end of the peninsula, so avoids the "hotel strip" feeling.

It is Adults Only though, which may not be what you are looking for.

Cole

Ottawa, Canada
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8. Re: Cuba ... where's the best place to go?

I am not a big fan of hotel strips, but Varadero I think is not a typical strip like that of Cancun or Acapulco in Mexico. The hotels in Varadero are more spread out and the buildings are not big/tall, so when you are at a hotel, you don't feel like at a strip. Keep in mind that the further out you go along the Varadero peninsular, the newer the hotels, but it also gets windier and the beaches are not as nice as closer to town.

Regarding Holguin, there is a disco at Guardalavaca beach, and there are also a few outdoor bars which play music and stay up late, so its definitely possible to have a night out outside of the resort.

In Cayo Coco, there is a cave bar which opens a couple times a week and often the entertainment teams from the hotels organize bus trips to this cave bar from the hotel for a small price, I highly recommend this, if you want a party off your resort in Cayo Coco. Keep in mind its a natural cave, there are bats!

East Midlands UK
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9. Re: Cuba ... where's the best place to go?

Hi everyone!

Thanks for all your help.

I've booked!

And I think we got what we wanted. We are staying in Varadero which was not my first choice but I've looked into it and there seems alot to do and the reviews on the place we are staying seemed really good and the pictures are fab.... I'm saving Guardalavaca for the next time!! I also chose it becuase we managed to get a twin centre deal so will be staying for our first 3 nights in Havana which is perfect and just what I wanted.

Just need to find someway of keeping the mozzy's away from me now!!!!

x

worcs
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10. Re: Cuba ... where's the best place to go?

Hi, I've spent just about all day on this forum, reading about Cuba as we want to go next year. Which company are you going with, as we also want to spend some time in Havana then go to a beach resort?