Cuba direct!

We have long been waiting for a new destination out of Kelowna and it looks like our wishes have been granted!

Direct non-stop flights from Kelowna to Varadero, Cuba start December 18th! Sunwing/Signature Vacations are re-establishing our long lost Cuba connection! We actually had this service for a season over 10 years ago with Transat but it only lasted a year.

Flight times have yet to be loaded but the flying time should be approximately seven hours in duration.

So? What is the lure of Cuba?? Beautiful long expanses of gorgeous white sand. Crystal clear turquoise blue waters. A touristic culture that has to date escaped the “Americanism” of the Mayan Riviera or the Bahamas. A unique and creative flow to the music, dance and the arts of the country’s artistic communities.

Varadero beach had long been a favorite getaway destination. Originally the site of the summer mansions of wealthy Cubans pre-1960, Varadero is now one of the largest tourist destinations in all of the Caribbean. Many European chains such as Barceló, Melia and Tryp to name but a few are well represented along its 20kms of powder-soft white sand beach. US sanctions against the Castro government had kept the waves of American tourists away however recent changes to those policies look like a US “travel invasion” is coming in the near future. To date, Canadians ranked as the number one tourist to Cuba followed closely by the Germans and Dutch.

Cuba is located only 80 miles off the Florida coast and therefore is subject to cooler weather than the more southern islands of the Caribbean. December and January can often be in the low 20s Celsius so those of you looking for that truly “hot” destination may wish to wait until late January or February to book your winter holiday. Although Sunwing/Signature do offer a number of very low priced 2* & 3* resorts in Varadero, I would expressly encourage travellers to settle for nothing less than a 4* in any part of Cuba. Unlike the more American sensibilities of Mexico, Cuba rates their hotels’ with a much more lenient ruler when assigning “stars” to their resorts!! Sadly one of the biggest complaints in regards to Cuba as a destination is the food. Odd in that Cuban food is some of the best in the world however the bland, unappetizing buffets of many of the all-inclusive resorts consistently receive notorious reviews on travel sites. Be sure to research your resort well before booking.

Every visit to Varadero must include at least one day trip to the heart of Cuban culture – Havana. Located only 140kms away, Havana is home to the original architecture of Colonial Cuba. Visit famous sites such as Hemmingway’s Bar Floridita, the National Museum of the Arts and Morro Castle. Walk along the famous Malecon and later in the evening take in one of the local shows featuring world class musicians and dancers. Sunwing/Signature offer 2 Center packages as well which allow you to split your holiday between the two areas if you prefer.

Out of country medical insurance is required to enter Cuba and proof of coverage (actual policy) may be requested by immigration staff. Credit cards drawn against American banks are not accepted (Citibank) and the currency allocated tourists (Cuban peso) can only be purchased upon arrival. A passport with more than three months validity is also required documentation.

So Cuba? Home to cigars and rum and so much more!

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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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