Caribbean Tourism

Cuba

Flora & Fauna

When the Spanish arrived at the end of the 15th century more than 90% of Cuba was covered with forest. However, clearance for cattle raising and sugar cane reduced this proportion: 75% of the land is now savannah or plains, 18% mountains and 4% swamps. A reforestation programme aims to increase Cuba’s forests to 27% of the total area by 2000. Besides semi-...

Festivals

July is a good time to visit Santiago if you want to catch the carnival, although New Year is also lively with parades and street parties (Havana’s carnival is in February, but it is not such an exciting affair). New Year is celebrated everywhere as the anniversary of the Revolution, so you can expect speeches as well as parties. Throughout the year there...

Entertainment - The Islands

Isla De La Juventud: El Patio, Calle 24 entre 37 y 39. Open 2100-0300, cabaret, 2 shows nightly at weekends, at 2200 and 0100, entry US$3, lots of Cubans and popular. La Movida disco, Calle 34 entre 18 y 20. Outdoors, US$3, Cubans pay in pesos, young student crowd, starts at 2200. Villa Gaviota disco. Thursday-Sunday, 2130-0400, entry US$1, cave-like...

Entertainment - Trinidad

Bars: Casa Fisher, Lino Pérez entre Cadahía y José Martí. In a nice old colonial house built in 1870, open 0900-0100. Bar Daiquirí, Lino Pérez entre Cadahía y José Martí. Open 24 hrs, also gallery of local art, kicks into life around 0200 when Las Cuevas nightclub closes. Unaccompanied Cuban women hanging around outside, beer US$1, mojito US$2, zombie US$4...

Entertainment - Santa Clara

Club Mejunje (mishmash), 2½ blocks west from Parque Vidal, Marta Abréu 107 entre Fabián y Juan Bruno Zayas, cultural centre and Casa de la Trova in a backyard full of artefacts and graffiti-covered walls, opens 1700, Wed-Sun, free, pay for rum in pesos, composers, singers, musicians and friends sing, play and drink together, friendly, welcoming, enjoyable....

Entertainment - Sancti Spíritus

The Casa de la Trova Miguel Companioni is at Máximo Gómez Sur 26, for music. Bar La Hermina, over Puente Yayabo on the left, on a boat on the river with tables on the grass. Bar La Quinta Helena, on the left just before Puente Yayabo. Large, pleasant terrace, garden, patio, live music and concerts. There is a Rumbos Bar on Independencia Norte 32. Most night...

Entertainment – Camagüey

Every Saturday night a Noche Camagueya is held along República, when the street is closed to traffic and there is music everywhere and traditional food. The Ballet de Camagüey, ranked 2nd in the country after Havana’s ballet company, often performs at the Teatro Principal, on Padre Valencia 64, T93048. Folk music is played at the Casa de la Trova, on the...

Entertainment - Varadero

Cinema: Cine Varadero, Av Playa entre 42 y 43. Discos: Most large hotels have one including: La Patana, Canal de Paso Malo, T667791, open 2200-0500, floating disco at entrance to the balneario; La Bamba, hottest in town at LTI-Tuxpán, biggest, most popular, T667560, open 2200-0400. Nightclubs: Cabaret Continental at Hotel Internacional. US$40 with dinner,...

Entertainment – Pinar Del Rio

The town is very lively on Sat nights, and to a lesser extent on Fri. There is live music everywhere, salsa, son, Mexican music, international stuff. During the day in Parque Roberto Amarán you can hear traditional music (Mambo, Rumba, Cha, Cha, Cha, Danzón) Wed and Sat 1400-1520, Sun 0900. The Casa de la Música on Gerardo Medina next to Coppelia has live...

Entertainment – Matanzas

The Plaza Vigía is the place to go in the evenings; locals congregate here to chat, play dominoes or draughts, or make music. The Casa de la Trova here, near the bridge, was where the Muñequitas de Matanzas, a famous rumba band, was formed. The Sala de Conciertos José White de Matanzas, on 79 entre 288 y 290, was formerly the Lyceum Club and is famous for...

Entertainment - Havana

Bars: Visitors find that ordinary bars not on the tourist circuit will charge them in dollars, if they let foreigners in at all. If it is a local bar and the Cubans are all paying in pesos, you will have to pay in US dollars. Even so, the prices in most places are not high by Caribbean standards. The bar not to miss in Old Havana for Hemingway fans is La...

Entertainment - Santiago de Cuba

Club Tropicana Santiago, local version of Havana show, on Autopista Nacional Km 1.5, T43036/43610, open 2000-0300, book direct or through a travel agent in any hotel, eg Rumbos US$50 including transport. Cabaret San Pedro del Mar, Carretera del Morro, Islazul-run, US$5 taxi, US$5 entrance, reasonable food. Casa de la Trova, Heredia 206 around the corner...

Entertainment – Holguín

Casa de la Trova, on Plaza Calixto García near La Begonia. Open daily except Monday, good music and dance. Cabaret El Nocturno, on road to Las Tunas. Show with different Latin American music followed by salsa and dance music disco.

Entertainment – Bayamo

Casa de la Trova on the corner of Maspote and José Martí has shows during the afternoon and every night, quite touristy in high season. Cabaret Bayamo opposite Hotel Sierra Maestra, on Carretera Central, T421698. Open 2100-0200. Every Sat there is a Noche Cubana, when the whole of General García fills with stalls, ad hoc bars, pigs on spits, and the...

Entertainment – Baracoa

Casa de la Trova, José Martí 149. Traditional music, Tue-Sun from 2100, US$1, good son and friendly atmosphere. Casa de la Cultura, Maceo 122. Live music in its patio. Nightly show of Afro-Cuban music by Yambú Akalé at Restaurante La Punta, highly recommended, US$4, very interesting to see all the costumes and instruments. Dancing Light on Maceo just before...