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At least for Americans in recent decades, travel to Cuba has been taboo and off-limits; however, loosened restrictions are making it the new hot spot for island travel. The tourism industry in Cuba has been growing rapidly, and there are tons of things to do and see in this once-forbidden land. It might be best known for cigars, Communism, and mojitos, but the country’s relative isolation has also preserved its rich culture and history.
You might feel like you’ve stepped back in time seeing the classic 1950s American cars that line the streets, with music on every corner, and art everywhere you look. Cuba is a wonderful place to lounge along the beach, explore historical sites, catch a baseball game, and savor the authentic cuisine at family-owned restaurants. These are some of the best luxury resorts in Cuba today.
The Royalton Cayo Santa Maria has gained lots of praise from once winning TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice “#1 All-Inclusive Resort in the World” and a feature on ABC News. This is an adults-only resort that’s located about 72 miles from Santa Clara International Airport. The vibe here is romantic and luxurious, with attentive room service, a la carte dining, and amenities. Enjoy local and international cuisines in the buffet-style and a la carte dining venues, then grab a signature cocktail at one of the on-site bars. Treat yourself to a dessert at the cafe or take advantage of the 24-hour room service.
Head to the Hicacos Peninsula to visit the resort town of Varadero and stay at the Royalton Hicacos Resort and Spa. This is a great place to settle in for a spa vacation, as there are several swimming pools, steam rooms, saunas, stylists, and treatments available that the wellness center. It’s another adults-only resort that highlights its stretch of white sand beach and honeymoon offers. When you stay here, you’ll be about 87 miles east of Havana and about 20 miles from Varadero’s International Airport.
The Hotel Tryp Habana Libre is in the middle of El Vedado and close to the University of Havana, Havanan Rampa institutions, and the Malecón. This is a great place to stay to get a feel for the authentic charm of Old Havana. This is one of the largest hotels in all of Cuba, with a huge lobby, 25 floors, spacious standard rooms, and views of the Caribbean. There are quite a few meeting and convention rooms, making this a popular and convenient pick for business travelers. You can dine at the multiple on-site restaurants or visit the bars, cafeteria, or poolside grill during your stay.
Nature lovers and eco-friendly travelers will enjoy the Hotel Playa Pesquero Resort, Suite & Spa, which is located next to Bahia de Naranjo National Park. This is the location where it’s believed that Christopher Columbus first landed in the islands. This hotel is considered to be an eco-village and is family-friendly. Stay here and you can enjoy multiple restaurant options, including buffets with international and seafood options. Some of the popular activities to do in the area include attending traditional folklore programs and artistic performances, taking an intro SCUBA lesson in the pool, playing around with non-motorized water sports, and relaxing with board games.
Another Paradisus resort worth mentioning is the Paradisus Princess del Mar Resort and Spa, which has luxury rooms and is a cozy retreat for adults 18 years and older. One of the best parts about this hotel is the Hill Top Hideaway, which is a special area on top of a gentle hill that only allows private access. There are multiple restaurants and bars on site, as well as a health and beauty spa, beauty parlor, and gym. Diving is especially popular in this area, and Paradisus Resorts offer initiation courses in the pool and immersion courses in the sea. There are more than 500 diving sites in Cuba and the opportunity to see over 500 miles of coral reef, crustaceans, sponges, fish, mollusks, and sunken ships.
The luxurious adults-only resort of Melia Cayo Coco is consistently a favorite among travelers to Cuba. It’s near the country’s Jardines del Rey archipelago, Las Coloradas Beach, and Ciego de Avila. Here you’ll find cute and comfy bungalows that are built on stilts over the lagoon, and it’s connected to the mainland by a causeway over the sea. Some of the modern rooms are also located on land near the beach. This is a great place for fishing, SCUBA diving, water sports, and lounging by the beach and pool. There are multiple specialty restaurants on-site and lively bars that offer traditional Cuban and international cocktail options.
Located in Playa Pesquero, Holguín, Hotel Playa Costa Verde is surrounded by tropical vegetation, peaceful gardens, and crystal clear Caribbean water. It’s part of eastern Cuba and about 34 miles from the Holguín’s city center. This is a family-friendly resort that has a Cuban souvenir shop, wellness area, gym, massage service, and rents out cars, motorbikes, and bicycles. The all-inclusive package includes meals, in-room mini bars, tennis courts, separate pools for adults and children, and equipment for water sports for kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and windsurfing. There are spacious rooms to choose here, and each of the rooms includes large balconies or terraces.
The luxurious and all-inclusive Iberostar Laguna Azul is located on the shore of Playa Varadero provides five-star accommodations and has luxurious guest rooms on site. There are also six pools, a theater, multiple restaurants, a nightclub and bars located here. If you stay here, you’ll be just 10 miles from the city center and 25 miles from the airport. Childcare is available upon request and there’s a kids club for young ones between four and seven.
The Paradisus Varadero Resort is a great place for families traveling with kids. It’s a family-friendly hotel that’s right along Varadero Beach and has lots of activities for kids under 12. Parents who need a break can even drop kids under four off at the on-site babysitting service. There are luxury rooms, multiple restaurants and bars at this resort, which is surrounded by the Varadero Ecological Reserve. It’s easy to play a game of golf or indulge in a spa treatment while staying here.