Miramar is some 16 km due west of the capital, and easily reached by bus. To get a good idea of the layout of the city, and its suburbs, visit the Maqueta de la Ciudad (scale model of Havana) on Calle 28 113 entre 1 y 3. Open Tues-Sat 10:00 am - 6:00 pm, $3 USD. Opened in 1995, this is fast becoming a great attraction. The model covers Havana and its suburbs as far out as Cojìmar and the airport. Colonial buildings are in red, post-colonial pre-Revolution buildings in yellow and post-Revolution buildings in white. Some of the model is difficult to see, especially in the middle, however, there is an upper viewing gallery with two telescopes. Good fun, every building is represented, recommended for the end of your stay in Havana so that you can pick out the places you visited.
Playas del Este
Located 18 km from the capital, the East Havana beaches have a long strip of white sand along a good area of Havana's northern coast. Easily reached by way of the Via Blanca highway, it's just a few minutes to the beaches at Bacuranao, Megano, Santa Maria del Mar, Boca Ciega, Guanabo, Jibacoa and Tropico. Comfortable hotels such as the Tropicoco, Itabo and Villa Atlantico make for a pleasant stay.
Home of Gregorio Fuentes (Calle Pesuela 209) model for the fisherman in Hemingway's novel "The Old Man And The Sea". A quaint fishing village with a bust of Hemingway. Also see Jimmy Buffett's novel "Tales of Margaritaville" pages 197 - 206. A very pleasurable visit, in late 1999, with a very active and lively Gregorio who just happens to be 102 years old and still loves the ladies!
Pinar Del Rio
Cuba's westernmost province is famous for its vast tobacco plantations, where the leaves used in making Havana Cigars are cultivated, Vinales Valley and Soroa, along with their surrounding mountains, are exuberant in their display of flora.
This is the home of the huge earthenware jugs used for collecting rainwater. The cattle-raising province is one of Cuba's most prosperous. The city of Camaguey is 750 km from Havana, located in the middle of an extensive plain. The charming Santa Lucia beach is north of it. The city has an international airport. There are new resorts in Cayo Coco, beside Cayo Guillermo. There are international airports in the city of Ciego de Avila and also in Cayo Coco.
Set among the mountains and close to the sea, this city is something of a living museum. Its architecture has remained virtually untouched over the years. Cobblestone streets, balconies, churches and stately mansions display the baroque and neoclassical styles of the colonial period. There are many caves with the remains of old Indian settlements, and near the city is Ancon Beach, covered with 10 kilometers of white sand and clear waters, as well as keys and sea beds rich in corals and other species of Cuba fauna. Founded in 1514, by Don Diego Velazquez, Trinidad today is a World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Valle de los Ingenios, where the ruins of old sugar refineries are preserved a true national jewel.
Cienfuegos Located 336 km from Havana, and next to the country’s third largest bay, lies the city of Cienfuegos, which is currently enjoying significant economic growth. It features a number of tourist attractions, such as the Jagua Castle, a colonial era military installations, the Rancho Luna beach, the Botanical Gardens and the Valle Palace. It is near the Escambray mountains, a setting of great natural beauty and historical importance.
Cienaga de Zapata & Playa Larga
The Zapata Peninsula is on the southern coast of Matanzas; an extraordinary natural park perfect for bird watching. A major tourist attraction is Guama, a settlement built on a lake similar to those of the Taino Indians in the pre-Columbian period. At Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs), site of historic events, the Playa Larga and Giron tourist villas are going up, each with pool and natural beach.
South of Havana, set right in the Caribbean Sea, is the most attractive key of the Canarreos archipelago. Its entire southern coast is skirted by 25 km of fine white sand beaches.
Cayo Largo is an oasis protected from environmental pollution. Its coral beds are among the most beautiful in the Caribbean. Cayo Largo is a free port where travelers can arrive directly by air or sea without visa or passport requirements.
Santiago de Cuba
Founded in 1514, and located 967 km from Havana, Santiago is the country’s second largest city. It lies next to the Caribbean Sea and is flanked by the Sierra Maestra mountains, scene of the guerrilla war against the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship. Santiago de Cuba is famous for its carnivals, mountains and architectural treasures. The Metropolitan Cathedral, the Municipal Palace, the Bacardi Museum and the Don Diego Velazquez House, are the oldest in the country. Other points of interest for visitors include the San Pedro del Mar Cabaret, yacht excursions along the coast, the climb up to the Gran Piedra, El Cobre Basilica, the historical museum at the Moncada garrison and Siboney Farm.
At 132 km from Havana, this is one the country’s leading tourist resorts. Its beach forms a long narrow strip, 23 km, of fine white sand lapped by clear warm waters. It is a complete tourist complex with a number of recreation options. There are more than 3,000 rooms at Varadero. The best known hotels and villas are the International, Melia Varadero, Sol Palmeras, Bella Costa, Melia Las Americas, Bella Mar, Las Palmas, Paradiso, Kawama, Siboney, Solimar, Tortuga, Arenas Blancas and Punta Blanca. The rapid development of tourism in Cuba is giving rise to a steady increase in hotel capacity. Excursions offered at Varadero are outings on yachts and motorboats, fishing, skin diving and practically all water sports. Nights are equally enjoyable at the cabarets, bars, nightclubs and other entertainment spots. Varadero is linked to Havana by the Via Blanca highway, along the north coast, and to locations abroad by its airport and port. There is telephone direct communications with all countries of the world, 24 hours a day, and good rental car services.