Outdoor Excursions Around Baracoa

Baracoa's potential as an ecotourism destination has just begun to be exploited. The spectacular area around Baracoa offers excellent opportunities for treks and whitewater rafting. The region features patches of secondary rain forest, and abounds in banana, yuca, mango, coconut, and tall royal palm trees, and at least 10 flowing rivers. The earth here is rich in iron, which gives it a red tone. Distinctive El Yunque, described in Spanish chronicles as an anvil-shaped, high and square mountain,...

For Residents Of The United States

While it is not illegal for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba, most are prohibited from spending any money in Cuba. This, in effect, is the travel ban. The complicated prohibition, which allows for various exceptions, is governed by the U.S. Treasury Department and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. The Treasury Department grants certain licenses. Some of these licenses are implicit, like those for full-time journalists and government officials on official business. Other licenses must be...

The Top Attractions La Habana Vieja

In addition to the places mentioned below, there are scores of other interesting little museums and attractions. Moreover, many of the hotels and restaurants mentioned above (including El Floridita, Hotel Santa Isabel, and Hotel Ambos Mundos, to name just a few) are practically attractions in their own right, and worth a quick visit on any walking tour. One of the prime attractions in Habana Vieja is the expansive daily street market of arts and crafts open from 10am till around 6pm on Calle...

For Cuban Nationals

The Cuban government doesn't recognize the dual nationality of citizens who are Cuban-born or the children of Cuban parents, particularly those who chose exile in the United States. The Cuban government requires some individuals whom it considers to be Cuban to enter and depart Cuba using a Cuban passport. Using a Cuban passport for this purpose does not jeopardize one's foreign citizenship however, you will probably have to use your home country's passport to exit and enter that country. Other...

Some Typically Cuban Words Phrases

Babalao Afro-Cuban religious priest B rbaro Great, fabulous Bodega Store Boh o Traditional, palm-thatched rural or indigenous dwelling CADECA Acronym for casa de cambio (currency exchange office) Casa particular A private home with rooms for rent Compa ero compa era Literally, partner, most common form of an address, as opposed to se or or se ora, which are almost never used. Coppelia National ice-cream chain, almost synonymous with ice cream SOME TYPICALLY CUBAN WORDS & PHRASES 269...

El Oriente

With 944 rooms, the new Playa Pesquero (& 24 3-0530 www.gaviota-grupo.com) is Cuba's largest hotel. The Breezes Costa Verde is now called Playa Costa Verde (& 24 30520 www.gaviota-grupo.com), after Jamaica Superclubs chain relinquished its management contract. Hotel Escuela Tel grafo, Calle Jos Antonio Saco 108 (& 23 425510 www.ehtgr.co.cu), is a new training hotel (or hotel school, which provides good service at good prices) in downtown Bayamo. In downtown Baracoa, the Hostal La...

The Bar Scene

In addition to the bars listed below, La Bodeguita del Medio (p. 77) and El Floridita (p. 76) are two famous watering holes. I also enjoy the rooftop bar at the Hotel Ambos Mundos (p. 64). Bar Dos Hermanos This is a slightly seedy port bar, but well within the safety net of restored Habana Vieja. A few jineteras and a conjunto (small musical band) are usually in attendance. There are tables scattered across two rooms, and a long, wooden bar with a good selection of call liquors. This place is...

Allinclusive Resorts

There are literally scores of large, all-inclusive resorts in Varadero. I've tried to list my top choices. In addition to the places listed below, good options include the Barcelo Solymar (& 45 61-1086 www.barcelo.com), Brisas del Caribe (& 45 66-8030 www.cubanacan.cu), Coralia Club Playa de Oro (& 45 66-8566 www. accor.com), Royal Sandals Hicacos Resort & Spa (& 800 545-8283 in the U.S. or Canada, or 45 66-8844 www.sandalshicacos.com), Sol Palmeras (& 45 66-7009...

Tourist Apartheid Jineterismo

One of the most disconcerting aspects of contemporary Cuba is the government's creation of exclusive foreigner-only tourism zones where Cuban nationals aren't welcome. Effectively, there are two Cubas, a reality that reeks of something akin to tourism apartheid, as many observers have noted. One Cuba is the gritty and sometimes grim country where things don't always work and consumer goods are hard to come by. The other Cuba is tailor-made for tourists at beach resorts and tourist-friendly...

Essentials Getting There

BY PLANE The nearest airport is Varadero's Juan Gualberto Gomez International Airport (& 45 61-3016), located more or less midway between Varadero and Matanzas. See Varadero, below, for more information. BY BUS The bus station is located at Calzada de Esteban and the corner of Calle Terry. Viazul (& 7 881-1413 in Havana, or 45 91-6445 in Matanzas www.viazul.cu) has three buses daily for Varadero, stopping in Matanzas to drop off and pick up passengers. The buses depart Havana daily at...

Side Trip To Cayo Sabinal

Guarding the entrance to the Bay of Nuevitas, Cayo Sabinal is the easternmost of the cays belonging to the Archipi lago Sabana-Camag ey Jardines del Rey . Boasting 33km 20 miles of beaches on its north side, protected by stunning coral reefs offshore, it's one of the prettiest and most remote spots along the coast. Still a place of modest fishermen, marshlands, and wild animals, Cayo Sabinal extremely rich in native flora and fauna is of growing interest to eco-tourism groups. The cay is...

Parque Nacional Bahia De Naranjo

The Bah a de Naranjo, about 5km 3 miles west of Guardalavaca amp 24 3-0132 , is a 1,000-hectare 2,470-acre nature park of mangrove swamps and thickly wooded wilderness. Within the park, visitors can hike along trails and take boat rides. Plenty of man-made attractions round out the more ecologically oriented offerings. The aquarium at Cayo Naranjo, a sliver of an island reached by boat, isn't really a large-scale aquarium in the traditional sense it's part of a parque recreativo tourist complex...