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Bloomberg: Now is the best time to visit Cuba

Saturday, 21 July 2018News
A little over a year ago, things looked rosy for Cuban entrepreneurs in the flourishing tourist centers of Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Those with culinary skills were opening ambitious palates (restaurants) and employing large numbers of people to cut and sauté, wash and serve tables. Owners of classic cars polished their 1954 Chevys to start tour companies, and fashion designers, jewelers, painters and sculptors received commissions from Art enthusiasts eager to know a little explored market. 2017 was a record year for visits by foreigners to Cuba. According to government data, the Caribbean island received 4.7 million travelers in those 12 months, received revenues of three billion dollars from tourism and registered a 3% increase in the number of visitors compared to the previous year. With 619,000 of those visitors arriving from the United States, the spending power of Americans was becoming as evident as when the Andrews Sisters recorded their iconic calypso number about "working for the Yankee dollar" in 1945. But in June of last year, President Trump announced new travel regulations for Americans, and crowds mixing rum and cola cocktails in Havana declined. For the time that the US administration issued its travel policies updated in November, US tourism to Cuba had plummeted. "The market froze in a matter of a few weeks," says Chad Olin, founder and executive director of Cuba Candela, a business based on the island's luxury travel segment. "It's amazing how much confusion those headlines caused," he added. The positive thing is that travelers do not need to restructure their itineraries completely, not when they can have a little help from an agency like Olin. In fact, between reports of fewer crowds, improved infrastructure, and a wider variety of field experiences, now It may be the best time to visit Cuba, no matter where you come from. **Why all travelers can benefit** Travelers of all nationalities can have certain rewards when going to Cuba this year. "If you look at December 2016 (when there was a peak in tourism), there were too many people in Havana," says Olin. "The infrastructure was under pressure in terms of capacity." It took time to improve the pavement of the streets, organize the service in the restaurants, renovate old hotels, install functional Wi-Fi connections - the list goes on. Now Cubans are able to respond to higher levels of demand, but the crowds are not there. As a result, comments Olin, "getting reservations in restaurants is easier. The five best five-star hotels can be booked with less notice. We are not seeing overbooking as we used to see, when you arrived at a restaurant or a hotel and your table or your room were no longer available. " For specialized agencies such as Abercrombie & Kent, this translates into more authentic and intimate experiences. "If you go now, you will not have a bus tour after being in line to enjoy the same experience," says Stefanie Schmuddle, vice president for Product Development and Operations. "You can spend more time interacting with places where there is less churn-and-burn." The experiences themselves are also better and more varied, to the extent that Cubans have learned to anticipate the expectations and interests of travelers. For example, Schmudde sends his clients on catamaran trips with fishermen in Cienfuegos, while Oli is organizing private dinners in chefs' houses and visits with a vinyl record collector that can take them through the history of Cuban music. Meanwhile, the Cuban creative scene has expanded significantly, with new brands, including Rox950, a minimalist jeweler of semiprecious stones, and Clandestina, a screen printing company in pulóveres that recently opened the first independent design store in the country. Both are launching behind-the-scenes experiences for curious travelers. **Through the harsh travel rules of the United States** Since November, the most common way that Americans have been visiting Cuba is off the table. The trips "People-to-People" (Town to Town) are not today an option to go. There are 12 categories of licenses, from education and humanitarian trips to family visits. Cruises are an alternative solution, but groups of tour operators offer simplified approaches for those who want to plan a trip by land. Abercrombie & Kent, for example, is resuming the trips of 24 people to Cuba in October, after a long break of ten months that the company used to review the new regulations. "We wanted to make sure we understood what was changing and what was still possible," explains Schmudde. It turns out that his favorite excursions were still bookable, so his team combined them into a unique and epic itinerary. Despite the popular belief, traveling independently in Cuba is still possible, and that is the specialty of Cuba Candela de Olin. Generally, it exploits a legal vacuum that allows companies (not individuals) to apply for town-to-people licenses, or uses the so-called Support for the Cuban People licenses ("Support for the Cuban people"). Both, he says, require legal knowledge, particularly because Support for the Cuban People licenses involve vaguely exposed requirements. "We work with the best lawyers in the country on the rules of travel to Cuba, and our documentation is always reviewed and approved by our legal counsel," explains Olin. A turn that travelers would not have expected ?: the harsh limitations on places to stay. Almost 100 hotels have been added to the list of restricted entities for Americans in Cuba, including the standard hotel of reference in Havana, the Grand Hotel Manzana Kempinski. The beach resorts are categorically out of bounds, since for the North Americans traditional tourism to the island is prohibited. Do not try to pay under the table, or your luggage can be checked for cash at both ends of your trip, and the caution of the agents would put you at risk for carrying large amounts of US dollars with you. Instead, Olin uses "boutique hotels that are more intimate, or luxury villas that offer a more authentic experience." Schmudde reserves Meliá hotels not yet restricted throughout the country. In those places, availability is higher and prices have dropped, as a result of the fall in the influx of Americans. "Hotel prices have dropped considerably for the next months leading up to the peak season," says Charel van Dam, Marketing Director of Cuba Travel Network. "In Havana, the rooms in the central five-star Parque Central hotel have a 35% discount until the end of October," he adds. "In the iconic National Hotel, some rooms even have a 40% discount." **Big bets on the ground** "Tourism promotes a mindset of entrepreneurs among Cubans that was not possible before," says Schmudde. Who else would be buying the Clandestina t-shirts adorned with slogans like 'Oh, Havana', if not foreign visitors. " "Many Cubans in the tourism area have been affected," he adds. "The people behind the private restaurants, the business owners, the people who rent their homes ... They are the ones who have been hit by the new travel policy in the United States." Schmudde talks about a guide with whom he works (a "program director", in the language of Abercrombie & Kent) who used the tips that tourism gave him to buy his mother a house in Havana. "That's the kind of effect that changes lives that travelers have had in Cubans," he says. His company has already sold almost all of its 2018 trips, and has added another eight by 2019. (Taken from Bloomberg / Translation from Cubadebate)

Genetic Project entitled "The Cubans"

Saturday, 01 August 2015News
Genetic Project entitled "The Cubans"
Cubans’ first sin was to have a disproportionate appreciation for the standard of living and progress. The second sin was that before 1959 its national currency was worth more than the dollar. The third sin was to create music for the world? But Cubans’ worst sin was to build a city from a former swamp in Florida and turn it into the United States' port to the Americas and an obligated center for world tourism. Whoever denies this sin to the industrious Cubans is hallucinating or an envious person. Then, are Cubans bad, so–so, or simply very good? Jesus Christ set a rule for human conduct when He said: “You will be able to know them by their fruits”. So you have here in Miami, a rule to measure the Cubans. I am not of Cuban heritage. I don’t believe Cubans are either, because the true Cubans were the Taino, the Siboney and the Guanahatabey natives that inhabited the beautiful island, and who were exterminated for those that later on, started the new Cuban people. I believe the term “Cuban” is something like a nobility title. You cannot even say that Cuban means a race. The Cuban people include everything: European White, Blacks, Mulattoes and even Asians. According to my understanding, being a Cuban is only a genetic project well conceived in a place called Cuba. I really believe Cubans are different to all other Latin Americans. Maybe the reason they are so special is because its geographic location or its Euro–African ancestry. Cubans talk loud, gesticulate with their hands, are overbearing and make fun of everybody, but also of themselves and of their disgraces. They extract art out of their pain and from their joys they make veritable zarzuelas (Spanish light operas). The Cuban is usually not a racist but he is class-conscious. "The good thing about Miami is that here all waters reach their own level”, a Cuban friend told me once, referring to the social classes, supposedly eliminated in Cuba so the rabble would mix with the high and educated stratum. Nevertheless, the Cuban freed the Black Cubans well before the American Blacks were freed. They were never called Afro-Cubans in Cuba, but simply, Cubans. A Cuban Black is as Cuban as a White or a Mixed one. Cubans however, especially those living in Miami, are one of the more vilified people in the world. I sincerely believe there is a lot of envy in these criticisms. Their extraordinary success annoy a lot, their five Congresspersons in the United States Congress, their enormous economic power, their political influence, their desire to work and progress, the imposition of their language and costumes and much more. The Cuban due to his intelligence and hard–working habits will never be able to escape his destiny. He will always have next to him his brother Cain and his friend Cain with all those races and ethnic groups that cannot stand the success of others and want to crush the winners. I lived in Miami during the 60s, when Cubans started to arrive in great numbers. They did not have anything, only a big pride and an immense sorrow for leaving their beautiful island behind. I soon realized these people did not come to the United States to look for a plate of food. They came with the soul of colonizers, looking for progress and freedom of expression and ideas; and they conquered these lands, so later on they could raise this great cosmopolitan city which is today’s Miami. What would have happened to the Island of Cuba if its people would have been allowed to use their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit? Probably it would truly be “The Pearl of the Antilles”, the envy of Latin America and many other countries. Cubans are comparable to the Jewish or Italian communities in the United States that lifted themselves triumphantly after years of ups and downs. What would happen to Miami if Cubans leave? No other nationality would be able to imprint such flavor and happiness to the City of Miami. That is why I like so much the lyrics of the song by Cuban singer Marisela Verena… “We the Cubans and the rest of humankind…” **Andy Bergen** A Proud American Who Admires the Cubans!

Cuba prepares for foreign tourism

Wednesday, 15 July 2015News
Cuba prepares for foreign tourism
Just after US President Barack Obama relaxed the restrictions on travel just over seven months ago, about 88,900 Americans have arrived in Cuba. This represents a 54% increase over last year, a figure that could rise in December. Experts predict that by the end of 2015, the arrival of American visitors could increase by 70%, the Spanish agency EFE announced, as there are high chances that the ferries begin operating in September. In addition, the Appropriations Committee of the US Senate recently approved the lifting of the ban on travel to Cuba; this initiative has the bipartisan support needed to become a reality for the rest of the year. To take full advantage of this situation, the Gaviota State hotel group with the French chain Bouygues, announced the construction of three modern hotels in the historic center of Havana, with the aim of positioning the capital of Cuba as a more attractive Caribbean tourist destination. So far, Companies Havana Ferry Partners, Baja Ferries, United Caribbean Lines, Airline Brokers Co., International Port Corp, America Cruise Ferries from Puerto Rico and Balearia from Spain have US licenses to operate in Cuba.

New five-star hotel coming to Cuba

Friday, 04 July 2014News
New five-star hotel coming to Cuba
**London** -- British firm Esencia Group said on its Web site that an estimated $350 millions hotel and tourism project in Cuba is the product of a partnership between the British firm and Cuban firm Palmares S.A.Something that would be the first of its kind since Cuba enacted its new foreign investment law earlier this year. The five-star project is called **The Carbonera Club**, and it would be located near the island’s famous Varadero Beach. The property would be a combination hotel, spa, tennis club, golf course and residential development, among other features. The company said on its Web site that it had been working on plans with Palmares for three years. According to Esencia, the project was designed by architectural studios Rafael De La Hoz, Conran & Partners and One Works, along with golf course designer PGADC, among others. Cuba said it currently had 64 hotel management contracts with 20 international brands, with plans to expand that number to 70 by the end of 2014. Cuba’s Tourism Ministry said the island had received just under 1.3 million tourists in the first quarter, a 5 percent improvement over the same period in 2013.

A message from Total Caribbean Experience S.A

Friday, 27 December 2013News
Happy New Year - 2014

Cuba opens one of the largest Marinas in the Caribbean

Thursday, 15 August 2013News
Cuba opens one of the largest Marinas in the Caribbean
**VARADERO, Cuba** -- One of the Caribbean's largest marinas opens at Varadero, Cuba's most famous tourist destination. The [1337:$] Hotel, which has a tourist port of 1,200 berths for small, medium sized and large yachts, began operations at this beach resort, the most important in Cuba, located north of the western province of Matanzas. The beautiful facility opened its doors with 198 rooms occupied and 517 national tourists, while some 3,000 clients have confirmed their reservations until August 31, the Prensa Latina news agency reported. The five-star facility, with the All-Inclusive modality, has 423 rooms, 88 of them suites, and 126 apartments in condominiums. The hotel is the fruit of a joint venture between the local [695:Gaviota] Company and the Spanish [659:Meliá] hotel chain. With this hotel, Meliá accumulates the figure of 26 in Cuba, and for 2016 it plans to inaugurate another, this time in the city of Trinidad, in the central-southern region.

Caribbean welcomed more than 25 Million Tourists in 2012

Tuesday, 02 April 2013News
Caribbean welcomed more than 25 Million Tourists in 2012
The Caribbean region has grown considerably in recent years. According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization, in 2012 it saw an increase in the arrival of tourists from around the world – more than 25 million tourists visited the Caribbean. With more than four million visitors in 2012, the Dominican Republic tops the list of Caribbean destinations, leading the market with tourists from North America, followed closely by Europe and South America. 9.8% of U.S., Mexican and Canadian tourists elected the Dominican Republic as the top holiday destination; the South American region recorded an 11.6% growth. An attractive, varied cultural and natural offer, the preparation of the infrastructures in which millions have been invested in addition to the warm climate and hospitality, justifies the increase in the number of tourists visiting this destination. The list also mentions important destinations like Cuba and Jamaica, two countries that continue to grow despite a sharp decline in European tourist arrivals. According to what sources in the Cuba Tourist Office in Germany have explained, this is due to the economic crisis affecting the continent. In 2012, Cuba received 2.8 million tourists and aims to reach three million this year, taking advantage of the interest shown in this nation and improvements to basic needs such as security and preservation of old structures, which are relevant for the vacationer. In the Caribbean region, the peak season occurs between the months of November and April, a time when most of the countries that send tourists are hit by the winter. However, Jamaica in the months of July and August, receives a considerable amount of tourists encouraged by the reggae festival held during that time period. This island received 1.5 million cruise tourists that visited the place for one day only, adding to the 1.98 million who conducted longer visits. These tourists were mostly from the United States, Canada and the UK. According to statistics, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico received 1.26 and 1.11 million tourists, respectively, completing in this the main tourist destinations of the region.

Cuba Awarded in Russian Tourism Fair

Sunday, 24 March 2013News
Cuba Awarded in Russian Tourism Fair
The director of the Cuban Tourism Ministry Office in Russia, Estefania Escobar, considered a big surprise winning two of the most important awards at the MITT fair, which ended in this capital. During the gala at the Moscow International Travel and Tourism (MITT) Fair, one of the world's top five events in the sector, Cuba was acknowledged as the most hyped country and its stand was the best. Escobar made those statements to Prensa Latina in front of a poster with a photo of famous Cuban double bassist Jorge Reyes and the identifying text of campaign "Authentic Cuba". While the members of the Cuban delegation are negotiating with Russian airlines, travel agencies and tour operators at the stand, cigar rollers Jose Castelar (Cueto), who is holds the Guinness record for the longest Havana cigar, attracts a large audience with the magic of his hands. Referring to the presence for a first time of ten Latin American and Caribbean countries at the fair, Escobar explained that amid the global crisis, Russia is one of the tourist-sending markets that has continued growing.

Cuba to Host Montecristo Golf Cup 2013

Wednesday, 13 March 2013News
Cuba to Host Montecristo Golf Cup 2013
VARADERO, Cuba -- Cuba will host the 5th Montecristo Golf Cup from April 25 to 27 at the Caribbean resort of Varadero, 87 miles east of Havana, tourism authorities announced. The Cup will be held in its usual scenario of the Varadero Golf Club, a 18 holes course par 72 in a narrow beach strip of 2.17 miles and it is open to 120 players, professional or amateur, aged over 18, reports Xinhua. As part of the technical details of the event, the organizers said Sunday that the cup will be attended by men with certificated handicap equal to, or less than 24, and women at or below 30. The competition system will have two different formats: Medalplay first category for handicap men between zero and 12; Stableford second category for handicap men 13 to 24, and Stableford for handicap Ladies category from zero to 30. The schedule is composed by a practice round and two days of competition. Three awards will be given per category, another one for best Gross result, and other for skills. The previous edition of the Montecristo Cup was attended by golfers from 100 countries and regions.

Cuban Mojito is the Favorite Cocktail in France

Tuesday, 19 February 2013News
Cuban Mojito is the Favorite Cocktail in France
PARIS, France -- The mojito, a Cuban cocktail made with rum, sugar, lime and mint, is the most popular drink in French bars and restaurants, according to a study published Monday. According to Nielsen CGA society, market analysis specialist, nearly a third of consumers prefer the mojito, a figure that equates with the classic French appetizer kir, made from white wine and cassis liqueur. The survey was conducted in more than 2500 gastronomic establishments and 1000 persons between 18 and 60 years old. A company statement from Nielsen notes that "the mojito is so popular that almost becomes a beverage category in its own right." The study also highlights an increase in the consumption of cocktails at a general level, especially among young people, although the price, relatively high, between four and eight euros depending on location, is an obstacle for its popularization. According to tradition, the mojito was born in Cuba in the first half of the twentieth century and among those who helped to give greater international diffusion is the American writer and Nobel Prize in Literature Ernest Hemingway. While the formulas for its preparation have varied along its diffusion, and some prepare it adding tequila or champagne, the classic recipe requires a genuine Havana Club rum, say the experts.

H10 Hotels to increase its presence in the Cuban Market

Tuesday, 04 December 2012News
H10 Hotels to increase its presence in the Cuban Market
HAVANA, Cuba -- The [1233:**H10 Hotels**] group opened a facility in Varadero, which will operate under the name [1289:**Ocean Varadero El Patriarca**]. The five-star hotel, with more than 400 rooms, is added to the lodging capacities the group operates in Havana. The facility has two outdoor swimming pools, a children’s swimming pool, tennis courts, sports areas and four restaurants. Also included are a theater, a discotheque and two meeting rooms which can accommodate 70 people; tourists can also enjoy the practice of aquatic sports. The [1289:**Ocean Varadero El Patriarca**] has the Despacio Spa Center, a health and beauty facility with a water circuit, hydrothermal therapy, light and vapor therapy, a gym and a sauna. This new facility strengthens the presence of H10 Hotels in the Caribbean area where the company already has five hotels in the Maya Riviera, Punta Cana and Cuba.

International Tourism Fair - FITCuba '2012

Tuesday, 01 May 2012Events
International Tourism Fair - FITCuba '2012
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 to Friday, 11 May 2012
The 32nd International Tourism Fair of Cuba, FITCuba '2012, will be host at the keys of Villa Clara, from 8 to May 11 this year. This idyllic location, is the country's youngest destination and which will focus the next edition of the main local tourist market. Such primacy will be shared by that polo with family tourism and Argentina, as the guest nation. The northern coast of Villa Clara is called to become one of the most important tourist sites in Cuba. Cays of Villa Clara-Santa Maria-Ensenachos and Las Brujas are ideal sites for the enjoyment of sun, beach, water sports and more than 30 options that allow tourists to enjoy family. Form a new conception of tourist destination for Cuba, based on the complete satisfaction of expectations and desires of customers with the best services in their hotels and a varied program of recreational activities. Ideal for relaxation away from the bustle of the cities, in full communion with nature, allowing full enjoyment of beautiful beaches, water sports, exotic landscapes, hiking, and a myriad of options for leisure and fun. They have a solid infrastructure of hotels and other infrastructure, linked to the mainland by a road over the sea of 48 kilometers. This constantly growing destination soon will reach more than 10,000 accommodation capacities. There are currently in operation more than 5000 rooms managed by renowned companies, including: [615:Meliá Hotels International], [715:Iberostar Hotels & Resorts], [603:Barceló Hotels & Resorts] and [1249:Blue Diamond Hotels & Resorts]. The travel agency Gaviota Tours S.A has been designated as the official host of the event. With the professionalism that characterizes their workers, they have designed a program of recognized quality, geared to accomplish a respectful encounter with the nature, culture and history of Cuba. With the possibility of arriving thru the airports in Havana and Santa Clara, the participants of FITCuba '2012 can enjoy modern comfort, both for the accommodation and for the air and land transportation. Among the facilities that Gaviota Tours S.A will make available to the participants are: guide service, assistance in the Jose Martí International Airport, collective transfer from the hotel chosen in [98:Havana] to the chosen hotel in Cayo Santa Maria (aerial or land), welcome drink and accommodation (5 nights - All Inclusive), transfers according to program and individual or group transfer back to the hotel chosen in [98: Havana]. Those wishing to arrive at the event by the Santa Clara airport will enjoy guide service, airport assistance, collective transfer from the airport to the chosen hotel in Cayo Santa Maria, welcome cocktail at the hotel, hotel accommodations (5 nights - All Inclusive), transfers according to program and collective transfer back to the airport of Santa Clara. The hotels located in the key and included in the package are the [1189:Cayo Santa Maria Beach & Colonial Resort], the [1257:Memories Paraiso Beach Resort] and [1255:Memories Azul Beach Resort], both five-star. In [98:Havana] will be available hotels [997:Nacional de Cuba] and [1185:Quinta Avenida Habana], both five stars, the [1215:H10 Habana Panorama], four stars, and hotels Kohly-Bosque and [827:Copacabana], three stars.

Pope Benedict XVI will visit Cuba in next march

Tuesday, 03 January 2012News
Pope Benedict XVI will visit Cuba in next march
Pope Benedict XVI approved the itinerary for the trip he will make on March 26-28 to Cuba, where he will be received by President Raul Castro, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Cuba, or COCC, said Sunday. The pontiff will travel from Mexico to the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, 944 kilometers (585 miles) from Havana, on March 26, arriving in the early afternoon and “will be officially received by President Raul Castro Ruz, by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Cuba and by the archbishop of this city,” Dionisio Garcia, the COCC said in a statement. The program established for his stay on the communist-ruled island was presented to the pope by the officials in charge of his travels after the preparatory meetings they held with Cuban government and COCC authorities during the visit they made to Havana in mid-December. The 84-year-old Benedict XVI will travel to Mexico and then to Cuba on his second visit to Latin America - he was in Brazil in 2007 - and his first to Spanish-speaking countries in the region. The pope’s trip will coincide with the celebration on the island of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the image of the [1243:Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint]. The pontiff will be transported in an open vehicle from the airport to the archbishopric in Santiago de Cuba and on the afternoon of his arrival he will celebrate an open-air Mass on the Plaza de la Revolucion Antonio Maceo for the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the COCC said. Later, he will travel to the nearby provincial town of El Cobre, where he will be housed in the priests’ residence and the next day he will make a private visit to the sanctuary of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre there to “pray for several minutes” before the saint’s venerated image. In August 2010, the image of the Virgin of Charity, accompanied by church authorities, began an unprecedented tour of the island, traveling some 30,000 kilometers (18,600 miles) to churches, schools, hospitals, prisons and public squares all over the country, a pilgrimage that concluded last Dec. 30 with a farewell Mass in Havana. The pope’s visit to Cuba will conclude in Havana, where upon his arrival in the capital at midday on March 27, he will be welcomed at Jose Marti airport by Cardinal Jaime Ortega, auxiliary bishops, religious and civil officials. On that day, Benedict XVI will officially meet with Castro and also with Cuban Catholic authorities at the Apostolic Nunciature, where he will be staying. Rounding out his agenda, the pope is scheduled on March 28 to celebrate a Mass on Havana’s emblematic Plaza de la Revolución José Martí. The pontiff’s visit will be the second by a pope to Cuba, after John Paul II’s “historic” 1998 trip to the island.

A postcard for You from Total Caribbean Experience

Wednesday, 28 December 2011News
TCE wishes you a Happy 2012!

U.S. citizens enjoy the Jazz Plaza '2011

Thursday, 15 December 2011News
U.S. citizens enjoy the Jazz Plaza '2011
HAVANA, Cuba -- The 27th International Festival Jazz Plaza 2011, the most important such gathering in Cuba, opened last night with a gala featuring jazz musicians Arturo O'Farrill from the US and Cuba’s Gonzalo Rubalcaba, along with the National Symphony Orchestra. Until December 18th musicians from various countries are participating at the Jazz Place 2011, presided over by Cuba’s Chucho Valdés. The Jazz Plaza 2011 includes concerts and jam sessions in theaters, music halls and Havana hotels. The United States is also bringing guitarist Kash Killion and sax player Neil Leonard, who is accompanied by artists from the Berklee College of Music, the academic institution where he is a professor. Fans authorized by the US government to travel to Havana also came from the United States to attend the festival. The group of US citizens traveled to Havana thanks to the permission granted to the Jazz Times magazine and the US tourism agency Insight Cuba which focuses on cultural tours. Foreign guests also include Laberinto del Caos from Mexico, Naad Braahnam from India, the Nori Brothers from Japan, the Triple Ace Trio from Austria, and musicians Everton Pablo Paul from Canada and Mateuz Kolakowsky from Poland. The 7th Jazz Plaza Theoretical Colloquium is running parallel to the event during which master lectures, classes, video screenings and other activities will take place.

More than 500 diving places to enjoy in Cuba

Thursday, 04 August 2011News
More than 500 diving places to enjoy in Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba -- In all Cuba they are reported more than 500 well studied diving areas, in submarine exotic landscapes, caves, vertical walls, tunnels, cliffs and channels, which offer infinite options for the activities of day and night immersion. The Cuban holiday industry, aware of this gentile nature that blesses the island of Cuba, has developed diving centers that allow the tourist-diver to enjoy natural submerged scenarios, of an impressive beauty. The coralline formations that are located just few meters from its coasts and provide several advantages, among them the protection of their beaches, become attractive scenarios for such sessions and the sure practice of different nautical sports, without ignoring that they constitute an important habitat for the marine flora and the fauna, integrated by diverse species of fishes, almost a jungle of corals, sponges, gorgonians, algae and other animals and plants that extend throughout the whole border of the insular platform and included in the richest and varied Caribbean. Cuba is highly considered by the lovers of the oceanic depths by counting with an extensive platform, in which beautiful landscapes, jetsam, well conserved coralline reefs and historical and archaeological relics are plentiful. The island counts with dozens of centers of recreational diving, most of them located in sun and beach hotels, which propose the holidaymaker a wide range of tourist products and services. Among the more recommended areas to dive there are the Isla de la Juventud (Youth's Island), Cayo Largo, Maria La Gorda in Pinar del Rio; Havana's north coast; Varadero and its artificial submarine park; the Zapata Peninsula; the coastal areas of Cienfuegos that exhibits among its marvels the Notre Dame coral of six meters high; and that of Santiago de Cuba, this with important sunken ships in its depths; as well as the northern coast of Camagüey, Holguin and the promissory holiday destination of Jardines del Rey (King's Gardens) in the northern keys of Ciego de Avila. Countless are the Cuban holiday places where diving lovers could enjoy a unique experience in this blessed island of the Caribbean.

Paradisus Rio de Oro, number one among TUI UK customers

Thursday, 24 February 2011News
[907:**Paradisus Rio de Oro**] is the hotel preferred by customers of the leading tour operator **TUI UK & Ireland** (First Choice Holidays & Thomson Holidays) as their holiday destination in Cuba, based on TUI UK polls conducted during the current 2010-2011 winter season with clients who expressed a predilection for the hotel and on comments which considered Paradisus Rio de Oro a first-class resort to which they wanted to return. Customers particularly highlighted the excellence of its Royal Service, fabulous location, exquisite cuisine and attentive friendly workers. TUI UK polls also indicated that the hotel in general as well as the quality and variety of the food, excellent service in restaurants and bars, location, comfortable rooms and entertainment facilities were the aspects most valued by guests. According to the survey, Paradisus Rio de Oro tops the list of the five leading hotels in Cuba together with [905:**Paradisus Princesa del Mar**] and [909:**Paradisus Varadero**]. Thus, Sol Melia Cuba's [663:**Paradisus Resorts**] continue to merit the recognition of prestigious international tour operators and customers, due to the culture created by the company which favors high levels of quality and service considered its hallmarks. According to TripAdvisor, the largest travel community on the web , Paradisus Rio de Oro also ranks first among the hotels in Cuba, based on more than a thousand comments lauding its excellence. This Five Star Plus Ultra All Inclusive hotel is located on the north coast of the eastern province of Holguin, about 800 km from [98:**Havana**].

Venezuelan airline schedules flights to Cuba

Tuesday, 22 February 2011News
HAVANA, Cuba -- The Venezuelan airline Conviasa began on Tuesday operations to Cuba with a frequency of six flights per week, which will serve to strengthen relations between these two member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of the Americas (ALBA). According to Cuban television, the Executive vice-president of Conviasa, Eduardo Legaspi, announced that this is an opportunity to strengthen brotherhood ties with Cuba as well as social, commercial and tourist exchanges. According to Prensa Latina agency news, Legaspi noted that Conviasa —founded in 2004, with headquarters in the Simon Bolivar International Airport of Maiquetia, in the Venezuelan state of Vargas— is expanding towards Latin America and the Caribbean. Conviasa announced that the route Caracas-Havana-Caracas is scheduled from Monday through Friday and Sunday using a Boeing 737 for 120 passengers.

Saratoga Hotel one of the best in America

Wednesday, 15 September 2010News
HAVANA, Cuba -- The specialized British magazine **Condé Nast Traveller UK** included again the [773:**Saratoga Hotel**], located in Old Havana, as one of the best 100 in its kind in the Americas and the Caribbean. Executives from the British magazine released its traditional Readers’ Travel Awards, where the Saratoga ranked 16, among the over 7,000 in the region that were evaluated by the readers, using different criteria, which includes region, design, facilities, food, services, location and rooms. This is the fourth time the Cuban hotel has been included in this exclusive list, and last year placed 10th in the same category. Tourism industry experts, journalists and professionals have shown their admiration for the Saratoga, and included it among the top 60 hotels in the world in The Hot List of 2006. Also, the Saratoga won the **Best for Ambience & Design** in the 2008 Gold List gathered by the Condé Nast Traveller UK, one of the leading magazines for this sector in the world. Belonging to the [703:**Habaguanex S.A.**] tourist company, the Saratoga is a five-star hotel with over 90 rooms, including seven suites, and a wide range of services aimed at providing comfort to its guests. One of the most attractive aspects is the centric location of the Hotel in Paseo del Prado and Dragones. Very close to places of social, historic and cultural interest like the National Capitol, the Fraternity Park, Partagas' Tobacco Factory and the Great Theather of Havana.

Final touches to a new Hotel in the Old Havana

Tuesday, 14 September 2010News
HAVANA, Cuba -- A new hotel in the City's Historical Center, the [783:**Palacio de Marqués de San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal**] will open its doors in November 2010 with 27 rooms, as announced by the Office of the Historian of the City. According to the note, these capabilities will increase to 560 the rooms available for tourism in that area. The Historian's Office reported that the new Palace will be managed by the tourism company [703:**Habaguanex S.A.**]. Orlando Castellanos, head of the work told the press that this "is coming to an end" and currently are reviewing the details of the termination. ### Palacio Marqués de San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal ### The hotel was described by Castellanos as an attractive building with distinctive elements, such as the singular lamp that illuminates the lobby, the bar's patio, where we found the crystal and the statue of Neptune stands as a symbol of the precinct. The property is at the junction of _Oficios_ and _Amargura_ streets, and in front of the San Francisco de Asís square. Three of the rooms are suites, "in which combines the building's history and environment, with modern technologies installed and other requirements necessary for travelers of these times and also added the best attributes for future guests stays", he said. Also added that "Interior has a minimalist style that contrasts with the Baroque ornamentation of the façade". The building was owned by Don Sebastian de Peñalver late seventeenth century, and of the successors of the fourth Marquis of San Felipe and Santiago, at the beginning of the next century. The management said that the four-star hotel if perfect for "Romance and Honeymoons". He added that after the opening "substancial discounts" will be offered.

Cuba will authorize the sale of real state to foreigners

Wednesday, 11 August 2010News
HAVANA, Cuba -- Negotiations with foreign investors about construction of up to 16 golf courses and condominium communities will begin in January, Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero told reporters at the National Assembly on Sunday. Marrerro’s announcement, based on a decision by the Council of Ministers at a meeting July 16-17, reverts the freeze on foreign real estate buying and selling imposed by the government in 2000, after a short-lived experiment with condominium construction in Havana. Specific regulations for the purchase and sale of real estate by foreigners will be published before the end of the year, Marrero said. The immigration status of foreign buyers, as well as the types of contracts and statutes regulating the joint ventures between foreign investors and state companies are “being analyzed,” he added. The 16 projects “have already been approved by the Council of Ministers, are in the process of implementation, and it’s being concluded,” Marrero told reporters, according to AFP. Cuban development projects go through three stages — identifying a Cuban partner, obtaining approval of the foreign investment and tourism ministries, and finally getting the go-ahead from the Council of State. Marrero said of the 16 golf course projects approved by the Council of Ministers, negotiations on four are “very advanced.” They include one project in the province of Holguín, one in Pinar del Río, and two located between Havana and the beach resort of Varadero. This would be the government’s second run at residential real estate construction for foreigners, after it aborted a first run in the late 1990s.

Increase tourist arrivals to Cuba in the first half of 2010

Tuesday, 10 August 2010News
HAVANA, Cuba -- The arrival of tourists to Cuba from different countries reached 1,389,712 people, according to figures published on the website of the [National Statistics Office](http://www.one.cu/mensualllegadavisitantes.htm "National Statistics Office"), which meant a slight increase of 3,519 holidaymakers compared to the same period of 2009, though in June there was a decline of 0.6 percent. These results demonstrate the high level of quality that the entertainment industry reached in the Greater Antilles, that is still on the preference of tourists, despite the economic crisis of global scope. Among the most popular destinations for sun and beach keeps highlighting the resort of Varadero, in Matanzas province, which has a wide network of hotels and infrastructure necessary to provide careful attention to the visitors. International tourism is one of the major source of income for the Cuban state. Despite the global economic crisis, Cuba in 2009 reported a record in visitors arrivals of 2.4 million people, 3.5 percent more than last year. Cuba ranks ninth among tourists destinations in the American continent. ### This year is expected to outperform 2009 ### María Elena López, deputy minister of Tourism on the island, said during the recent International Tourism Studies Convention held in Havana, that they hope to close the year with better results than those of 2009 in terms of visitor arrivals. The deputy minister stressed that to achieve this goal, there are already new operations started with the opening of direct flights from Argentina and Brazil, and announced a similar operation with an airline in Japan.

New Website Announcement - Cubazul Tour & Travel

Sunday, 08 August 2010News
### Dear Colleagues: ### **Cubazul Tour & Travel** is pleased to announce the release of our new website [http://cubazul.net/][CTnT] Our new site has been entirely redesigned with a more attractive and fresh looking. Counting with a much stronger infrastructure that in the long term will let you stay up to date with what is going on in the controversial world of Tourism. We believe that the use of new technologies and the gradual introduction of new features will allow us to get closer to all the people interested in knowing or enjoying this wonderful point in the Universe - [150:**Cuba**]. A long road is ahead of us, and the challenge is even bigger. As an starting point we are releasing this website with only two [Hotels][A], willing to make you a witness of its dynamic nature. While we roll up our sleeves, and put our hands to work, we invite you to visit the [Provinces of Cuba][P] or to check the vast amount of [Offers][O] at your disposal. Please, [747:contact us] if you experience any problems with the new website or if you have any suggestion. And, keep in touch! If we ensure your satisfaction, the effort would not be in vain.
Truly yours,
Webmaster **Cubazul Tour & Travel**
[CTnT]: http://cubazul.net/ [A]: /accommodations [P]: /provinces [O]: /offers

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