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Cayo Santa Maria, a natural resort

Cayo Santa Maria, a natural resort

Cayo Santa Maria

In the north coast of Villa Clara province (Central Cuba) a natural paradise is welcomes you promising an unforgettable experience. Just few years since the first hotel was constructed, still barely touched by man’s hands. Exotic nature and breathtaking landscapes are waiting after almost 50 kilometres of causeway; seagulls and pristine turquoise clear waters will leave you in paradise, literally!

When talking about Cuba or just fantasizing a trip, gorgeous beaches and white sands cannot be missed; and it is, indeed, a must when visiting the island. The North Cays of Villa Clara are getting exciting places to go seeking peace, rest and also top quality services.  Top hotelier brands as Melia, Royalton and H10 are managing the main properties. You can say is kind of a perfect “S” combination: sea, sun, seagulls and service.

Beaches

Good beaches in Cuba, there are many of them; but being in a cay is a different experience: is like feeling in the middle of nowhere but surrounded by virginal lands, nice people around and enough comfort to not complain about it.

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Beach line of Warwick Cayo Santa Maria.

More than 10 kilometres of white sands in the north coast made this cay a perfect “Sun and Beach” destination. Although the width of sand area isn’t that massive like in Varadero for example, is good enough for a total relaxation. Running on this shoreline is a wonderful experience: feeling the breeze on your face in the early morning and admiring the incredible blue colour of the sea is just priceless. Is not that populous as other destinations which make it very desirable for tourists and locals.

Flora and Fauna

Orquid

Photo of an Orchid taken few miles from Cayo Santa Maria.

Cayo Santa Maria is home of mid-size flamingo and seagull’s colonies. The first ones are a bit more complicated to watch but seagulls, they are not shy at all. Sit or lay down on a sun lounger watching the dusk, either at the beach or a swimming pool, and you guaranteed yourself a quite spectacular show. The sound, the sight and emotion attached are hard to describe. You can also find iguana and mollusk’s colonies; different bird species like carpenter, falcon and tocororo birds live in this piece of land. Tocororo is Cuban national bird and they are many reasons for it; it’s a tricolored bird: blue, red and white just like our national flag plus this peculiar animal cannot live in captivity, if so it will die; representing Cubans sovereignty. As the fauna, the flora is quite outstanding here: more than 248 species including 91 medicinal, 72 timber-yielding, 41 decorative species.

A long way from Havana

If you are going from Havana, then the road trip is more or less 6 hours, but they can be more fun than you might expect. To get into the Cay you must go through several small towns of Central Cuba; all of them full of history and good vibes. People around is really kind, a bit different from Havana or perhaps Eastern Cuba. This region of the country is being the best one in agricultural business: the best fruits and vegetables are produced in these lands. A tip! Try the pineapple, its sweetness and smell is unique, and right now is the top of the season. For photography lovers it’s a show just passing by this tiny and full of life towns, so don’t get just the beach and hotel experience, the whole package is the real deal. If you fancy a trip to Cayo Santa Maria or just knowing a bit more about it, contact us at www.scuktravel.com we'll be more than pleased to help you! 

Trendy bars for an unforgettable night in Havana

Trendy bars for an unforgettable night in Havana

Bars

In the last three to four years Havana’s night-out has recovered a bit of that craziness and late night vibe she was so famous back in the 50’s. From university’s students looking for nice drinks to the “cool kids” hanging out with famous artists and singers, more than a few bars had successfully grow up around the city. Main locations still being Vedado town, Old Havana and Miramar. Where to go for real fun? Just keep reading!

Cool places to hang out, good food, nice environment and even better music are today’s top priorities to pick the bar of the night. Despite there aren’t that many, if you compare it with some other big capital cities, private locations to seriously think about it, are getting more and more competitive. Few years ago, and we are talking less than five years, where to go for fun at night was a tricky one. Nowadays things may be changing…for good! From French style Cafés to have quiet chat and good cocktails with friends to those trendy and posh discos for a literally wild night, Havana is becoming a very interesting city to go around in late hours.

Bolabana Bar

Bolabana
Placed at 39 and 50 streets in Playa municipality, it’s quite a trendy place even for local people. A contemporary and minimalist style, white colour and playing one of the best DJ’s in Havana. Bolabana Bar opens its doors to a wide variety of customers. You can go early night for some tapas: sushi and Cuban “tostones” (fried plantain) are famous here while listen nice music with gorgeous cocktails (a gin & tonic highly recommended) in a quiet atmosphere. But if you go after mid-night then you’ll getting yourself into a serious dancing experience. “Cool kids” from Havana will arrived, those wearing seasonal clothes and spending tons of money on their drinks, but also good fun and dancing. Is not for everyone, but if you like having these memories, you will love it.

Espacios Bar

Espacios
One of the favorites of many youngers in Havana, Espacios is a very busy one. Always with a queue if you go late, but fun is guaranteed. Also in Playa town, on 10th Street and Fifth Avenue, Espacios has a nice environment to try; a small location but different spaces: a nice terrace plus indoors wood tables showing a free style deco and stunning bars. Always a good vibe and nice people, usually those really down to earth and aiming a good dance. A tip! If you get “stuck” late at night, and feel like eating an elephant to keep going on drinks, try their homemade Pizza, you can smell it from the oven. Go there for an epic time in Cuba.

King Bar

king bar
This one is a must for those seeking a wild dancing! In the middle of 23rd Avenue in Vedado, King Bar is the right place to free your body by a local DJ. You pay a 7 cuc cover entry to spend it on drinks. It’s a local favorite these days. Huge screens, great music from Billboards Top Hits to Cuban reggeaton and of course, nice bartenders. A tip! Is you wait until midnight, then you’ll get free shots of Havana Club rum. Why not?

Sarao’s Bar

sarao
A very modern architecture, you won’t feel you are in Cuba. Spotless tables, a genuinely impressive bar, white walls and black curtains make this place a very trendy one. Visited by locals and foreigners, get ready to see high heels and chic girls going around. A bit pricey, but you can enjoy 4 cuc stunning cocktails though. Live music, young spirit, a bit posh sometimes, but well…is part of the fun! On 17 and E streets, in Vedado, Sarao will definitely show you a different perspective of Havana.

The Magic Flute

A magic location, without hesitation. A top floor bar, in front of the Malecon and the American Embassy in Vedado, the view is just breathtaking. Nice service, smart deco (even a swimming pool!) and live shows make this place a very interesting spot. Watch the twilight while enjoying a Cuban Mojito…that must be a priceless experience!

Havana, why a wonder one?

Havana, why a wonder one?

Havana

In just few hours, on June 7th Havana will be officially claimed as a World Wonder City. The vintage town founded in the XVI century by the Spaniards, the most wanted spot by Americans in the beginning of 1900’ and witness of Fidel Castro’s Revolution since 1959 is now a wonder city. Also the capital of all Cubans this Havana: a mixed, flavoured, confused, ruined, renewed and sexy place is being selected by the New 7 Wonders Foundation as one of the Seven Wonders of the World Cities.

Despite some negative criticisms since the new went out on December 7, 2014 during the third contest organized by the prestigious institution, tomorrow Cuba’s capital will be honoured with this amazing title. A total of 1200 cities from 220 countries were fighting in the contest, but only seven could made it: Beirut (Lebanon), Doha (Qatar), Durban (South Africa), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), La Paz (Bolivia), Vigan (Philippines) and Havana (Cuba).

How they did it? The vote was totally popular with a worldwide representation. Millions of people around the globe voted by internet or their mobile phones through sms (including Cubans by the way)! The final result recognizes not only the historic value of the cities but their culture and people. Bernard Weber, president of the foundation said: “Havana received this distinction because it represents the global diversity of urban society”.

Nice Havana

This contest recognizes the architectural and idiosyncrasies values as main ones. But well…I can bet lot of cities around the world have majestic constructions and a richer culture than Havana. What is that keep people trapped in Cuban atmosphere? To answer this, I may have to go to our clients and friend’s experiences; it doesn’t feel right saying why from a Cuban born point of view. Is the good quality of the music on the streets, the natural Cuban heat compared with the cold laws of socialism, a superb dancing in any corner, the histories of Afro-Cubans religion trapped in stunning walls of former Spanish palaces, is the unique way Cubans approach to you offering any kind of experiences: from cigars to exciting excursions in hidden places around Cuba.

One a day I heard from a foreigner friend: you can read tons of books about Cuba’s history but nothing gets closer to the reality, you must come here and live it; otherwise you’ll be foolish yourself. That sounds a bit rude, but he might be right. I can’t explain how an “habanero” (Havana born person) feels when he returns to the city from abroad. It is true Havana is a hard one to live, really hard. But yet, it has a special scent. Spicy and forbidden perhaps, but nothing compares the moment while walking by the seaside on Malecon Avenue and watching the sunset you can instantly feel how that massive sun still burns, how people goes and quietly sit at the wall staring the horizon like looking for answers; how kids from rough areas are taking a bath in the dangerous coast but they can’t stop enjoying it or a couple trying to solve any kind of personal issues when in that right moment, an old lady with a big smile approach trying to sell a flower to the gentleman playing Romeo role. Havana is heat and cold, is devil dressed as a beautiful “mulata” sometimes, is the excitement of discover that. Called the non-sleeping city, you can never be prepared for what can happen in the next minute. Is feeling the uncertain all the time in a sexy island.

Paradise for photographers!

Photo

It is also a must for photography lovers. The blue sea, the Old Havana’s architecture, the kids playing in a corner with home-made toys, the colorful shirts of bici-taxis’s drivers or a stunning Daiquiri prepared in…well, almost everywhere here! From the 1200 in the contest, Havana ranked among the 25 most photographed places in the world and was ranked number 21 in the ranking. Don’t wait to see this place. You must come, and we can help you! Contact us: www.scuktravel.com will be honoured!