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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Cuba Vacation

A Cuba Vacation by Suzanne Morrison

Taking time out from the everyday stresses and strains of life to visit an exotic place is something that everyone looks forward to. Cuba, with its notoriety brought upon by its government and the clamp down of the American government on its export and tourism, is a country known more for its cigar and its leader, rather than as a vacation destination. Despite this, every year more and more tourists from Canada and Europe are flocking to Cuba, enthralled by its natural beauty and its passionate and welcoming people. Tourism in Cuba is currently at an all time high.

Cuba is the largest of the Caribbean islands and is inhabited by people with a mixed race of Caribbean Indian, African and Spanish heritage. It has a contrasting landscape ranging from beautiful and mesmerizing beaches to sprawling and craggy mountain ranges. Limestone Mountains loom over the fields of tobacco, utilised for their famed cigars, providing a stunning scenic view. The natural beauty of Cuba and its history has shaped the country to what it is today. This is one Caribbean island that has been left unspoiled by technology and modern day living.

Like many of the Caribbean islands, Cuba's main source of tourism is the beach industry. The country is blessed with hundreds of miles of sprawling sandy beaches, with fine white sand and clear blue water. Tourists visiting Cuba have a multitude of choices for the location of their beach vacation. The major resorts of Varadero and Cayo Largo are the most renowned and here you'll find many 5 star all inclusive resorts. Despite this, there are also plenty of smaller, quieter beach resorts where you can truly get away from it all.

Aside from stunning beaches, Cuba also offers plenty of rustic towns and cities full of rich culture and heritage. A vacation to Cuba isn't complete without visiting at least one of the Cuban towns or cities and meeting the local Cuban people.

In the north-west of the country you'll find the capital city, Havana - the hub of everything that is Cuban. When you stroll around the city you'll feel the essence of the Cuban past - a rich legacy emanating from the Spanish colonial architecture that beholds the city. Parts of the city resemble the set of an old movie, reminiscent of a bygone era, with old American cars bustling by. A lot of work has been done in the past decade to restore old Havana, a UNESCO world heritage site, but much of the city has been left untouched and hundreds of crumbling buildings collapse each month.

Havana also has its fair share of museums, including the Museum of the Revolution, the Havana Club Museum of Rum, the Cigar Museum, the Ernest Hemingway Museum and the National Museum of Fine Arts.

Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city in Cuba and is located on the eastern end of the island. It has a beautiful setting at the foot of the Sierra Maestra Mountains and overlooks a magnificent bay. Unlike the other towns and cities in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba has a very Caribbean feel to it. This is as a result of the influence of the Haitian planters who settled here in the 19th century.

Trinidad, located in the heart of Cuba is one of the original towns and was founded in 1514. The city is filled with cobbled streets and old buildings with tiled roofs and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. It's a very pleasant city to spend a day or two, with many museums, churches and Plazas.

An ideal way to spend your vacation is to take a few days to do some sightseeing in Havana or one of Cuba's other cities and then follow that up with a relaxing week's stay in one of the luxurious all inclusive resorts by the beach.

About the Author

Suzanne is the webmaster of Travel Photographs and Journals You can read about her recent vacation to Cuba in her Cuba Blog. Here you'll find information and reviews of her stay in a Guardelavaca resort and her visits to Holguin and Havana.

More information about Cuba Travel readily available in this blog.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Travel Insurance

After reading this article by Donald Saunders, I thought I would share with my blog readers. He gives a little bit of food for thought on Travel Insurance. When travelling to Varadero Cuba I did get travel insurance just in case. You might get bad food, catch something down there and then you will have a large bill to pay on the way back. So sit back, read the article and comment on what you think about taking out Travel Insurance.

Travel Insurance For That Perfect Trip Rather Than The Holiday From Hell By Donald Saunders

If you have ever fallen ill while on holiday, or just prior to setting off on that cruise of a lifetime, then you will know only too well the true value of health insurance. Whether you are going to be away for just a few day or several weeks, the cost of medical care when you are away from home can be crippling and it is no good waiting until you are far from home and fall ill before you start thinking about how you will pay your medical expenses.

But just what does travel insurance cover and when do I really need it?

Travel insurance is an insurance plan which you can buy prior to your departure which will cover you for various things, whether medical or not, in the run-up to your trip and while you are away. This type of insurance can be expensive so you need to take a few things into consideration before you buy it.

For example, if you are going on a short trip to a destination with good low cost health facilities that only requires one round-trip airline ticket of $200 then travel health insurance might be overkill. Your financial losses if you are forced to cancel the trip may be relatively low and the cost of medical care while you are away, or of getting you back home, may again not be too great. You will need to look at this carefully and decide whether or not the risk is sufficient to justify the cost of travel insurance. On the other hand, if you have booked a $5,000 once-in-a-lifetime cruise well in advance, then travel health insurance will almost certainly make sense.

A good travel health insurance policy should offer a range of coverage, possibly for the period prior to your trip and certainly throughout the time that you are traveling and whilst you are at your destination. It should cover you for personal injury or death and should cover the costs of all medical-related expenses you incur while on your trip. Travel health insurance plans can also cover you for the cost of being brought home should this prove necessary following an accident or illness.

If you are visiting a country where medical facilities and experience are limited then you should also make sure that your policy covers you for transportation to a third country where you can receive proper medical care.

Before purchasing a specific health insurance plan for your trip you should first check the coverage provided by your regular health insurance plan. It may be possible to extend the cover on your regular policy for your trip or you may already have some cover and only require a additional top-up policy.

Once you know exactly what you need, you can purchase travel health insurance from your tour operator, a travel agent, or an independent insurance agent. Whichever you choose you should bear in mind that, while the independent insurance agents may be a little bit more expensive, you will not have to worry about your tour operator going out of business and failing to honor your travel insurance policy.

Although we never imagine that anything is going to happen to us and that our vacation will be just fine, unfortunately evidence shows all too clearly that many people set off on a trip without adequate cover and in next to no time find themselves is a terrible mess.

So, before you set off on your next trip sit down and think carefully about whether or not you need travel health insurance. It may well be money that you don't want to spend, but it could also be the best investment you've ever made.

If you are looking for any form of health insurance from low cost health insurance to expat health insurance plans then start your search right here on the internet where you have a wealth of information right at you fingertips.

Return to Cuba Travel Blog and learn about the wonderful Varadero Cuba.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Arenas Blancas Resort Pictures

Here are a few shots of the Varadero Cuba resort of Arenas Blancas:

Hope you enjoy your trip to a Varadero Cuba Resort like I did!

Regards MK - Diabetes Diet controller of 10 years plus.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Cuba Resorts teach Merengue

At the resort I stayed at, Arenas Blancas, during the day they would always have entertainment. One of their favorite types of entertainment they would perform is dancing for the crowd.

The Cuban dancers would then call up people from the crowd: adults, children and anyone who wanted to come up. They would then begin to show the steps of how to dance Merengue.

They would teach the merengue lessons to the visitors and all in all was very exciting. The performers at Arenas Blancas were always happy, and always full of energy for their time teaching.

Learn to dance the Merengue while your Cuba All Inclusive Vacation runs on.

Michael Kralj
Grab some lowcost web hosting, and have your own Cuba Resort web site!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Pictures of Cuba

Within this section you will find pictures I have personally taken of memorabilia from Cuba, and pictures of the beach in Varadero that I stayed. The Resort was named Arenas Blancas.

Here are pages with Pictures of Cuba:

Arenas Blancas Resort Pictures
Map of Cuba
Cuba Cars
Cuban Cigars
Cuban Beer Souveneir

Michael Kralj

Monday, June 19, 2006

Cuba Cars

In my trip to Cuba, I learnt that Cuba keeps many old classic American cars in Cuba and drives them around. When I took my excursion to Havana, Cuba, I was taken on a tour in an old American Car.

Here is the Car I was taken around in:

Cuba Travel Old American Car

Christopher P. Baker has made an excellent book featuring pictures of many of these Classic American Cars in Cuba. It is titled Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles. This book has received many great reviews:

"Yes, we've all seen great photos of classic cars in Cuba--but this book will make you swoon. Your knees will buckle, and you will become feverish with desire to get yourself to Cuba as soon as possible. Magnificent."
James OReilly "baboone"

"Chris Baker is the preeminent travel writer covering Cuba today. His guidebooks for National Geographic Traveler and Moon Publishing are biblical Baedekers for anyone traveling to the island. "Mi Moto Fidel," his book-length journey around the island on a BMW motorcycle, reads like a Hemingwayan novel -- and has garnered prestigious writing awards. Now, with "Cuba Classics," Baker has taken his already impressive act to a new level, displaying his skill as a photographer, which is nothing short of artistry. His stunning photographs of vintage American autos -- so plentiful in Cuba -- are not only wonderful depictions of cars not seen in the U.S. for decades, but are the subjects of photos that demonstrate a photographer's instinctively artistic command of format, color, tone, and lighting. Settings for the autos often speak to the greater issue of the Cuban landscape, both urban and rural. It's a must book for car buffs, for anyone interested in photographic artistry, for anyone enamoured of beautiful writing. As a long-time fan of Baker's journalism, I have found myself asking what else could he possibly do to present another aspect of this island country he knows and loves? "Cuba Classics" is the latest answer to that question. Kudos."
Tony Tedeschi "editor,"

Michael Kralj
Get up to Date Cuba Weather here. You might also be interested in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Monday, June 12, 2006

US Travel to Cuba - A Guide for American Travel to Cuba

US Travel to Cuba - A Guide for American Travel to Cuba by Sarah White

Are you an American wondering how or if you can legally visit Cuba? Join the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have experienced the thrills of visiting this exciting and exotic destination legally.

Americans can travel to Cuba legally if they are a Cuban American, politician, journalist or if you have a research project that is about Cuba. Others including students, religious groups and humanitarians can apply for a license from the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

However, having said this, did you know that...

Between 100 000 and 200 000 Americans visit Cuba every year while only some 6000 licenses are being issued in a 1-2 year period! That means there are a lot of Americans who are going without the government's permission.

If you are someone who wants to exercise their right to travel freely, and have been dying to see why the Canadians call this destination their #1 hot vacation spot; here is a guide that I've put together to help you get that Cuba vacation!

1. There are no travel restrictions for Americans to travel in Cuba and know that as an American, you are completely safe there. In fact, Cuba has one of the lowest crime rates around and is the safest country in the Caribbean. You will however, have to travel to Cuba from Canada or Mexico.

2. You will need a valid passport and a Cuban tourist card to enter Cuba. The price of a Cuban tourist card is approximately $20 CAD and your passport needs to have been valid for at least a full 6 months prior to your travel.

3. It is recommended that you also take a copy of your birth certificate and a valid photo ID. You should also be aware that with an American passport, it can not be stamped in Cuba; therefore having these additional identifications can come in handy in case it is accidentally stamped. I would also recommend having 2 photocopies of your passport as there are no American embassies in Cuba, so should you lose your passport, you may use these copies to exit the country.

4. During the flight to Canada or Mexico, you will be asked to fill out a declaration form. This will be collected by the customs officials in that country and from there, you will proceed to your carrier's ticket booth where you can pick up your travel package that contains your Cuban tourist card. You are now ready to check in for your flight.

5. Arriving in Cuba will be much like any other airport, Cuban customs will x-ray your carry on baggage, as well as frisking you. This is really informal and low key. There are female security officers to check the females and male security officers who check the male traveller's.

6. You may now collect your luggage but make sure to keep your passport and tourist card handy, as you will have to show them to another agent before you leave the baggage claim area. They will check to make sure that you have your tourist card, look at your passport and ask you if this is your first time visiting Cuba, how many days you'll be there for and the name or address of your hotel (keep that info handy just in case!)

7. Transportation from the airport will have been included with your travel package, follow everyone else outside and look for your tour staff who will guide you to your proper bus or taxi driver.

8. When you return, you've got the same steps only in reverse, also you need to keep $25 American (this is very important!) as you have to pay a departure tax of this amount when leaving Cuba airports.

Organizing your US travel to Cuba will be easier than you ever imagined! Your travel agent should be able to help you arrange everything you need for your trip. There are also many companies online that can help you with this as well.

For more information on Cuba US travel, I recommend that you visit this site.

About the Author
Tropical Beach Destinations specializes in giving you an exhilarating tropical vacation for travel destinations around the world. We are experienced travelers who have lived across the globe and our dream is to provide you with everything you need in order to have the ultimate dream vacation. Learn how to travel with Sarah and Jason, your tropical adventure couple!
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