Recreational tourism in Cuba

Tourism in Cuba

Tourism in Cuba attracts more than 2 million people annually, and is one of the main sources of income for the island nation. Among the factors influencing the popularity of Cuba as a holiday destination is the high attractiveness of its natural, historical and cultural recreational resources.

After the Cuban Revolution of 1959, interstate relations between Cuba and the United States deteriorated significantly. Since 1960, the United States has banned its citizens from visiting Liberty Island and imposed an embargo on trade with Cuba.

From 1960 to 1991, the Soviet Union provided significant economic support to Cuba. Free funds and resources were directed to the development of tourism infrastructure, which helped attract the necessary investments to the island from other countries. All this has led to the fact that tourism industry revenues have exceeded the traditional export industries of Cuba - sugar, rum, cigars, fruit and fishing.

Most of the tourists visiting Cuba come from Canada and Europe. The main tourist infrastructure (hotels, beaches, restaurants, etc.) is concentrated around Varadero, Cayo Coco, Holguin, as well as in the capital of the state - Havana.


History [edit]

Cuba has attracted tourists since the early 20th century. Between 1915 and 1930, Havana received more tourists than any other city in the Caribbean. Such a significant influx of tourists was associated with the proximity of the island to the United States, where at that time there was a "dry law". In Cuba, it was possible to spend leisure time without such restrictions.

However, the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Second World War reduced the number of visitors to the island, and with them financial receipts to the country's economy. It was only in the 1950s that Cuba began to rebuild its tourism potential. American organized crime seized the opportunity and took control of much of the Cuban leisure and entertainment industry. By the mid-1950s, Havana had become one of the main markets for drugs, as well as a transshipment base for drug trafficking in the United States. At the same time, the number of tourists increased annually by 5-8%. The capital of Cuba has received the unofficial nickname "Latin American Las Vegas".

Immediately after the inauguration of the newly elected President of Cuba, Manuel Urrutia in 1959, almost all casinos, bars and other entertainment establishments designed for tourists and vacationers, but also associated with the mafia, drugs and prostitution, were closed ... A special government body, the National Institute of Tourism (INTUR), was created in the country, the purpose of which was declared to be the activity to create more affordable hotels, clubs and beaches. In January 1961, relations between the United States and Cuba worsened - Americans, who accounted for up to 80% of holidaymakers, reduced their travel to the island, where Fidel Castro came to power. And the US State Department has declared tourism in Cuba contrary to US foreign policy and national interests. During the 1960-1980s, the industry was in decline, in addition, the collapse of the USSR also led to a crisis in the Cuban economy - the country lost its main foreign economic partner. The last event, together with the lack of economic efficiency, prompted the country's leadership to turn its attention to tourism as a means of increasing national income.

A special program has been developed to eliminate Cuba's dependence on the sugar industry. The tourist infrastructure began to re-focus on meeting the demand of holidaymakers from Canada and Europe. In 1994, the Ministry of Tourism was created, and the government invested heavily in supporting the industry. Between 1990 and 2000, more than $ 3.5 billion was spent on the development of recreation. The number of hotel rooms has increased from 12,000 to 35,000, while Cuban resorts have received about 10 million people. In 1995, tourism revenues exceeded those of the sugar factories.

Perhaps some still remember how they deciphered the name of this country 15 years ago: "Communism off the coast of America." All jokes, but Cuba really remains one of the few strongholds of a bright socialist ideology with such familiar attributes: the legendary Commander Che and his most alive follower, the external ideological enemy in the person of the States and the unprecedented patriotism of local residents. However, there are also radical differences from the USSR - a steady influx of tourists all year round, hotels with a high level of service and rich opportunities for entertainment: diving, snorkelling, yachting and so on. Plus, of course, let's not forget about the famous rum and cigars. The latter, by the way, secretly smoked (and smokes) the same ideologically enemy leadership, despite the embargo of the Island of Liberty.

10 interesting facts about Cuba that you most likely did not know.

Rich flora and fauna! Diving!

Regions and Resorts of Cuba

Almost all of Cuba is one continuous coastline with beach resorts. Closer to the center of the island, there are more authentic Cuban towns and villages with local flavor and historical sights. Cuba is a fairly compact country, and you can easily go around it all in a couple of weeks.


The capital of Cuba, Havana is one of the most beautiful cities in the New World. These are many eras in one city: colonial palaces, Cadillacs from the 50s and modern skyscrapers. Havana has more than 25 km of sandy beaches, and almost all of them are crowded. There are many Mediterranean restaurants on the beaches and streets of the city, everywhere they dance salsa, drink mojitos and lead an idle lifestyle in every possible way. In the same city, there is the famous El Floridita bar, where Ernest Hemingway loved to visit - there is a monument to the writer behind the bar.

The province of Matanzas and the capital of the same name (translated from Spanish - "massacre") is located east of Havana, before reaching Varadero. Once it became famous for the fact that it was here that the conquistadors suffered the bloodiest losses in the struggle against the natives for territory. Today it is a city of bridges, “Cuban Venice,” as the locals call it. A few kilometers from it are the famous Matansovian caves with ancient rock paintings, which are more than 40 thousand years old.

Ernest Hemingway once drank 12 double daiquiris at El Floridita in Havana. Since then, no one has broken this record, although there have been many attempts.

The city of Santa Clara is a city that is a monument to the revolution. It was here in 1959 that the end of the Cuban dictatorship came: Commander Che Guevara broke the rails and derailed the Fulgencio Batista armored train. The wreckage still lies in the same place, and today it is the main attraction of the city. There is also the mausoleum of Ernesto Che Guevara, and there are rumors that Americans are not allowed to enter there.

A good climate, the opportunity to swim all year round and luxury hotels are not all the reasons why Russians choose Cuba. We have collected interesting information about the Island of Freedom that you need to know about before you go there.

Why Cuba?

No wonder that Cuba is preferred by many other resorts. For Russians, a visa is not required, it is warm here all year round, you can always swim in the cleanest Caribbean Sea, the beaches are striking in their beauty, the locals are glad to tourists, and as a bonus - delicious rum and cigars.

Cuba is not too hot due to high humidity and sea breeze. During the summer season, it rains here, which surfers adore so much - after all, this is the ideal weather for conquering the waves. For those who are not fans of surfing, the ideal time to travel to Cuba is winter and early spring.

Cuba is not called the Island of Freedom for nothing - here you can fully enjoy life, eat delicious food and drink famous cocktails, walk among the colonial architecture and sunbathe on the beaches. And also to fish, take diving lessons, jump with a parachute and ride a yacht. Cuba is also wonderful for the opportunity to walk through a pineapple plantation, a tobacco factory and visit a crocodile farm.

Cuba offers entertainment for all tastes. Photo: unsplash. om

Fans of the all-inclusive system will appreciate its popularity in Cuba: hotels on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean offer unlimited food 24/7, which turns out to be much more profitable than eating in city restaurants and cafes.

Can I fly to Cuba now?

Despite the pandemic, it is now possible to fly to Cuba, but so far only to the islands of Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria. Of course, this does not mean that it is forbidden to travel within the country. For example, you can arrange a trip to the capital with a rented car. This is if you are ready to spend about six hours on the way.

So far, only two islands are open in Cuba - Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria. Photo: unsplash. om

As elsewhere in the world, Cuba has introduced tough security measures to combat the spread of coronavirus infection. You do not need to take a test to fly from Moscow, but all tourists are obliged to do it on the spot. There is a plus - at the airport in Cuba, a smear is taken free of charge, however, provided that you arrived on a voucher and bought insurance. You can pay for it immediately upon arrival, it will cost $ 30.

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