For Cuba without the crowds, Hola Sun Holidays in partnership with the Cubanacan Hotel Group is offering the all-inclusive Brisas Covarrubias in Las Tunas, a province in the eastern region of this island-nation.
Its secluded location — about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the Holguin airport — offers a tranquil getaway on the white-sand Playa Covarrubias, where guests can swim and snorkel directly from shore.
The 180-room resort is an ideal option for families, groups and nature lovers. Aside from its expansive beach — perfect for morning jogs or sunset walks — there’s a swimming pool with a kids’ area, El Dorado buffet restaurant, Vistamar beachfront a la carte restaurant, five bars (including two pool bars), tennis court, gym, spa, disco and souvenir shops.
Brisas Covarrubias is family friendly; kids under 12 stay and eat free, and Hola Sun offers a single-parent discount. With a mini-club for ages 4-12, along with a games room, mini golf and playground, kids will have plenty to keep them occupied.
Aside from nightly entertainment, adults can unwind in the disco from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., and during the day non-motorized water sports are on offer, including the use of kayaks and canoes (scuba diving is available for an additional fee). Car rentals, babysitting and laundry service can also be arranged for an additional fee.
For those who want star treatment, the VIP all-inclusive package includes a welcome cocktail, an upgraded room with ocean view, stocked mini-bar on arrival, gala dinner with lobster and wine, express check-in and late check-out.
But all guests can soak up Cuban culture along with some rays through activities such as cigar and rum tastings, learning how to make a mojito, taking Spanish lessons, learning to salsa or partaking in a weekly Cuban fiesta complete with a beach BBQ.
And just five kilometres away, guests can visit Puerto Padre, a port town known as Blue Village or the City of Mills, a pretty town with a centuries-old history — in fact, some believe it’s the first port where Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba.
At one time, the town was the most important sugar producer in the country. Wandering its charming streets, visitors can still see grand buildings from the start of the 20th century, attesting to this properous period. The town also played a major role in Cuba’s wars of independence; Fuerte de la Loma is a hilltop fortress used in the 1800s, which was declared a national monument in 1981.
Today Puerto Padre is still relatively untouched by tourism, and just outside of town are kilometres of white-sand beaches such as La Llanita, La Boca and La Herradura.
A day trip to Spanish-influenced city of Holguin is also recommended, with its museums, cathedrals and squares. Visitors can arrange to swim with dolphins, go on a jeep safari through the picturesque countryside, hike in the lush mountains or dive among intact coral reefs. Or, they can simply kick back and relax, with access to 41 beaches such as Esmeralda, Guardalavaca and Playa Pesquero.
As originally published in the Toronto Star.