The tourism industry in Cuba has come a long way in the last couple of decades and currently draws more than a million visitors each year. As the largest island within the Caribbean, a visit offers a wide array of destinations, historic locations and UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Cubans themselves have been described as ‘the friendliest people in the world’.
If you need any more reasons to visit, the differences between the Caribbean’s largest island and those of nearby Jamaica or Trinidad & Tobago are immediately apparent; visiting Cuba is like taking a step back in time. Beautifully preserved buildings set the scene for days of exploration and nights of live music and dancing in the cafes, restaurants and bars, while colourful classic cars drive along the streets.
Spend your afternoon fishing among the cays or Scuba diving at one of the remarkable, biodiverse dive sites. Take part in exclusive events and festivals, then host your own party on board your charter yacht at Hemmingway Marina in Havana.
Read on to find out more what Cuba has to offer on a luxury charter.
Havana is the best place to visit and experience the music, cigars and culture the country is famous for. Soft sandy beaches, exclusive resorts and a roaring social scene will keep guests busy from morning through to the early hours.
Luxury goods are on the rise in Havana, so those looking to spend their time browsing for the perfect gift or a treat for themselves will have high-quality international brands as well as locally crafted goods to choose from.
Old Havana – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is the perfect place to exercise sea legs and satisfy wanderlust with a walk around the baroque architecture of the old squares: Vibrant buildings stand beside ruins being reclaimed by nature and every street offers a photo opportunity.
Further afield, visit the home and of Ernest Hemingway half an hour out of the city and stroll the grounds where his boat is on display.
Time your visit to coincide with festivals and celebrations to get the most out of your stay in Cuban waters: The upcoming festival Habanos Cigar Festival runs from Feb 26 – March 2nd and showcases the latest trends in Cuban cigars while guests socialise and network with worldwide names. A high-quality selection of coffee and rum will also be on the menu for an additional memento of your luxury charter.
East of Havana, Varadero and the nearby cays attract visitors with an abundance of natural beauty both on the beaches, in the water and within the caves. Scuba dive at one of Cuba’s most impressive dive sites at Ojo del Mégano – a blue hole that was once a sea cave and now home to lobster, red grouper and snapper as well as many other species.
Back on dry land, shop in the local boutiques or peruse the street markets and the art galleries of Varadero then sample local cuisine in the bars and restaurants before dancing the night away.
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba offers a more tranquil vibe than the capital city and many a day could be spent within the museums and historic buildings of the region while street musicians come together to improvise a tune outside the eateries. Watch the changing of the guard at the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery where Fidel Castro was laid to rest or explore the old landmarks of this centuries-old settlement.
The south-east stretch of coastline has three very different UNESCO World Heritage Sites and within the walls of Santiago de Cuba is the amazing San Pedro de la Roca Castle, a 17th Century fort built to protect the port and the extensive battlements will impress adults and children alike.
For naturalists in the group the wonders of Alejandro de Humboldt National Park and Desembarco del Granma National Park are not to be missed: Alejandro de Humboldt National Park has evolved unique ecosystems and has a great diversity of species, whereas Desembarco del Granma National Park is characterised by towering waterfalls cascading over verdant karst cliffs that form part of an extensive coastal terrace system.
Trinidad and Cienfuegos
Take a break from modern life and walk the cobblestone streets of Trinidad, exploring the winding streets lined with 18th and 19th Century houses. Horseback ride through the country, take a Russian truck to the waterfalls or snorkel along the beach.
Farther west, Cienfuegos is a romantic city nestled next to Cienfuegos Bay which connects to the sea through a narrow channel. Marvel at the beautiful architecture of such sights as the Palacio de Valle and Ferrer Palace, then stroll along the pier ‘Punta Gorda’ and watch the sunset. Once the city of the sugar barons, their presence still lingers in the magnificent mansions and the Jardin Botanico Soledad is one of the largest botanical gardens in Latin America.
Guests looking for a holiday of discovery and sports will have a satisfying trip around the islands of Cuba: there are some incredible diving spots for all ages and abilities, fishing is a common pastime with plenty of variety on offer and water sports lovers will have an exceptional choice of uninhabited beaches to play along.
Choose one of the amazing superyachts below for your charter: expert crew, fantastic onboard facilities and comfortable beds to ensure that you’re well rested for your next day exploring this vibrant region.
The exceptional 50m/164ft motor yacht HANIKON from Feadship was refitted in 2017 and her gorgeous contemporary interiors are equally suited to relaxing as large social events, hosting up to 80 guests while dockside. Her chef won 3rd place in the Yachts 160ft+ category at the Antigua Yacht Show and her amenities include a cinema screen, Jacuzzi and a massage room that converts into a twin cabin to sleep a maximum of 12 guests.
83m/272ft superyacht HERE COMES THE SUN was built in 2017 and her incredible modern interiors are the work of renowned designer Andrew Winch, setting the scene for a party worthy of Cuban reputation. There is a massive private deck for the Master suite occupants, plus facilities including a steam room, sauna, swimming pool and status as a PADI Certified Dive Centre that will ensure that a charter aboard M/Y HERE COMES THE SUN will be as unforgettable as the sights you visit.
Sail in style aboard 27m/89ft luxury yacht TENACIOUS and relish in the warm and personal environment ideal for close charters between family and friends. Plush bright salons and cabins are the perfect places to put your feet up after a day along the silky beaches making use of the excellent variety of water toys.
35m/115ft motor yacht SIETE from Benetti is an excellent quality vessel with a bargain price. The classic interiors have an ageless appeal to accompany the broad outdoor recreational spaces, and the shallow draft of 2m/7ft allows superyacht SIETE to approach close to the shoreline. The Jacuzzi on the sundeck will be a favourite place for guests to cool off together and there is ample room for up to 10 guests to find a place to spend some time to themselves.
With greater interest being shown by the outside world, this ‘pause in time’ won’t last forever – plan your charter in Cuba during 2018 and take a cruise in paradise while looking through an ever-shrinking window into the past.