- Round trip airfare to Cayo Santa Maria (direct or via Toronto, Cayo Coco or Varadero)
- 7 nights all-inclusive hotel
- Round trip transfers from airport to hotel and hotel to airport
Air, 7 nights all-inclusive hotel and transfers
Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton
Dec 25: $1495 + $430 tax (Melia Las Dunas; 4-star) Kids 2-12 $825, teens 13-17 $1295 + $400 tax
Jan 1-Feb 5: $775-$895 + $430 tax (Melia Las Dunas; 4-star)
Jan 1-29: $985-$1055 + $430 tax (Iberostar Ensenachos; 4-star)
Jan 8,15,22: $735 + $430 tax (Ocean Casa Del Mar; 3.5-star)
Jan 8,29: $1295-$1385 + $430 tax (Royalton; 5-star) Adults Only!
Feb 5-Mar 4: $985 + $430 tax (Ocean Casa Del Mar; 3.5-star)
Mar 11,18,25: $1275 + $430 tax (Melia Las Dunas; 4-star) Kids 2-12 $805, teens 13-17 $1215 + $400 tax
Mar 11,18,25: $1775 + $430 tax (Royalton; 5-star) Adults Only!
Apr 1,8,15: $995 + $430 tax (Ocean Casa Del Mar; 3.5-star)
Apr 1,8,15: $1065 + $430 tax (Melia Las Dunas; 4-star)
Apr 1,8,15: $1235 + $430 tax (Iberostar Ensenachos; 4-star)
Victoria, Kelowna from $300 more
14 night packages from $600-$1100 more
Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba
The province of Villa Clara is a traditional sugar, cattle and mineral producer. Excellent coffee grows on its southern mountain slopes, as does one of Cuba’s important tobacco crops. Hence Santa Clara has always been an important commercial center and today houses one of Cuba’s largest universities.
A recently built causeway linking the mainland to the keys of Cayo Santa Maria has helped open the beautiful virgin beaches to tourism. This location is perfect for water aquatic lovers.
The temperature varies between 25 and 27C. Coral reefs create a barrier producing gentle waves and breezes. Sunny days and pleasant tropical climate allow the beach season to extend throughout the year.
The city of Santa Clara holds most of the tourist attractions of the area. It is best known as the place where the dictator Batista surrendered to Che Guevara in 1958. The Ernesto Che Guevara Memorial and Museum contains bodies of Che and his troops, who died in battle in Bolivia. The Tren Blindado monument commemorates the attack on an American armoured train by Che Guevara. Visit the Decorative Arts and Provincial History museums. Take a stroll on the double sidewalks of Parque Vidal and view the Teatro La Caridad. The town square has two churches and an image of a pregnant Immaculada Concepción.
Remedios, founded in 1514, is a well preserved town with large colonial houses and a church. It is famous for its parrandas (street festivals), and known for its museum, where artifacts relating to music, dancing and fireworks are on display.
The Elguea spa, a bit further west on the northern coast, is noted for its mineral springs and mud baths.
Cuba has two official currencies: the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) and the national peso (moneda nacional or MN). Transactions involving foreigners almost always take place in CUC. However, visitors should familiarize themselves with the moneda nacional, since it is a common scam for merchants to give change in moneda nacional instead of CUC. CUC is worth substantially more than the MN.
Most foreign currencies can be exchanged at Cadeca exchange houses, found in Cuba’s international airports and in urban areas, as well as in banks and major hotels. Canadian currency (cash and traveller’s cheques) may be exchanged for CUC without fees. American Express Travelers Cheques are accepted at certain banks. Keep receipts for traveller’s cheques separate. Australian dollars cannot be exchanged anywhere on the island.
Exchange of U.S. currency is possible, but subject to an additional fee. CUCs can be exchanged for U.S. dollars (and Canadian dollars, if available) at international airports before leaving the country. It is not possible to exchange CUCs outside of Cuba.
Debit cards and Canadian money transfers are not accepted in Cuba. Credit cards are not widely accepted. Credit cards issued by American financial institutions, such as American Express cards, and some credit cards issued by certain Canadian financial institutions, are not accepted. Other credit cards are generally accepted at major establishments such as state-run hotels and restaurants, and international resort chains. Private restaurants (paladares) and private guest houses (casas particulares) do not accept credit cards of any kind. Credit card cash advances (in CUCs) may be obtained at banks, hotels, or Cadeca exchange houses.
ABMs are few and do not always work in Cuba. In Havana, cash advances in CUCs from Visa cards can be obtained from the ABM machines located in the Miramar Trade Centre and in some hotels. In Varadero, ABMs are located in the Plaza America and at banks. If you use an ABM, do so during business hours at a location inside a bank or large commercial building. Leave copies of your card numbers with a family member in case of emergency.