Cuba has an area of 110,860 km². The coast of Cuba is 3,736 km long. Kuba is also oblong with its crocodile shape, and at the longest point the “crocodile” is 1250 km long and 200 km wide. It’s really a big island and if you’re going here to relax with a little sightseeing, it’s crucial to choose the right location.
Most often, the scenario looks like this. You are buying relatively cheap holidays in a hotel in Cuba. A decent price with a charter flight and you think that by the way you will visit Kuba as part of a 1-day trip. Once you know that your hotel is where it once did not even reach the territory of Cuba, and to this day, Cubans believe that this is not Cuba, you realize that the organization of any trip outside the hotel will be expensive. So how do you choose a hotel in Cuba that suits your needs? Here are our tips.
IMPORTANT: All of the tips below are for people who are thinking of heading outside the hotel in Cuba. They do not apply to people who intend to spend their entire stay in Cuba in a hotel.
1. Do you want to go to a hotel or Cuba?
Let’s start with the fact that all-inclusive stays in Cuba have nothing to do with Kuba. The only typical resort where Cubans live, but those from outside the city do not have access to it, there is Varadero. Other resorts are hotel enclaves where the only Cubans are hotel staff and visiting artists for evening performances. So if you want to get to know Kuba, you certainly will not do it only from the perspective of the hotel. You will not get to know Kuba also during 1- or even 2-day trips outside the hotel.
2. Cuban hotels with directories versus reality
It is very difficult to find a really good hotel in Cuba. Many of them – especially those in Varadero – perfectly remember the years of their magnificence, that is the 70’s or 80’s of the last century. Still many refurbishment hotels are just in front of them, and unfortunately prices have so far gone up. Although the hotels in the catalogs look beautiful, unfortunately disappointing is waiting for tourists on the spot. A hotel with good food and the expected standard is best to choose by ordering from reliable sources (not necessarily internet reviews). If we choose well, we will be surprised by the high standard, the choice of food and the offer of bars. Land is a good choice.
3. Location of the hotel resort
If you really want to go on a hotel stay in Cuba, pay attention to the distance from the places you want to visit and the attractions that are interesting to you. Here are the distances between the most popular hotel enclaves and the most interesting attractions. We do not recommend domestic domestic flights in Cuba because of their dubious security, so hours are given in driving miles (without stops). The travel times are in ONE PAGE.
Distances to resorts from Havana:
- Havana – Varadero: 2.5 hours by car
- Havana – Cayo Santa Maria: 5h by car
- Havana – Cayo Coco: 6.5h by car
- Havana – Cayo Guillermo: 7h by car
- Havana – Holguin (Playa Pesquero etc.): 10h by car
Distances to the resorts from Trinidad:
- Trinidad – Varadero: 4h by car
- Trinidad – Cayo Santa Maria: 3h by car
- Trinidad – Cayo Coco: 4h by car
- Trinidad – Cayo Guillermo: 4.5h by car
- Trinidad – Holguin: 7h by car
Distances to popular places from Santiago de Cuba:
- Santiago de Cuba – Havana: 12h by car
- Santiago de Cuba – Trinidad: 9h by car
- Santiago de Cuba – Varadero: 11.5h by car
- Santiago de Cuba – Cayo Santa Maria: 9h by car
- Santiago de Cuba – Cayo Coco: 7.5h by car
- Santiago de Cuba – Cayo Guillermo 8h by car
- Santiago de Cuba – Holguin: 2.5 hours by car
4. Hotel optional trips in Cuba
Prices of optional trips in hotels, from popular resorts, are quite high. A 2-day trip to Havana (of which about 10 hours is waiting for us on the bus), it is about PLN 1000 for one person. A 1-day trip, where we spend 10 hours on the bus is only for very loving bus seats and air conditioning about PLN 600 per person. In this way, a relatively inexpensive hotel trip, during which we want to see even a tiny piece of Cuba, although for 2 evenings, it is getting a lot more expensive. It is worth being aware of this before buying your dream trip and adapting it to your needs.
Only Varadero gets better here because of its location. A one-day trip to Havana is about PLN 400 per person, similar to Trinidad, just over PLN 400 per person. However, the problem with Varadero is that the level of hotels is very uneven.
Remember that there are no private travel agencies in Cuba that can advertise in Cuba. You can choose between government offers with Cuban guides or the offer of a Polish travel agency. You can also take advantage of boutique office tours like Hola Cuba, with advance reservations only.
5. How to get to know the real Cuba
The key to getting to know the real Cuba is discovering places outside of resorts, ie the most recommended ways to ride, on any occasion, culture, taste – other than hotel – local area, dance with lokalsami, try a cigar on a rural tobacco plantation, and certainly enter in Caribbean, slow rhythm of joy of life. The final of such a tour – even a few days – let it be during the treatment.