Think of Varadero, Cuba, and it’s likely a vision of turquoise waters, tropical sunshine and sipping mojitos under a beach palapa that immediately springs to mind. But for those who prefer their vacation with tee time, the popular resort town is also home to the only 18-hole golf course in the whole country: Varadero Golf Club.
Located in the middle of the Hicacos Peninsula, the island’s largest green sits on what was once the private estate of French-American millionaire Irénée du Pont de Nemours, who purchased the property in 1927 as a post-retirement winter getaway. The current par 72 golf course dates back to 1999 and has a Canadian connection: It was designed by Canmore, Alberta-based architect Les Furber — a legend in the business — who has created more than 65 original golf courses around the world.
Making a shortlist of Havana’s architectural gems is no easy task: The city recently celebrated its 500th birthday, and there are more than 900 sites of historical significance just in its old quarter (Habana Vieja, a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Whether you’re fascinated by Baroque, Neoclassical, Art Deco or Modernist styling, it’s all here – the eclectic aesthetic reflecting Spanish, French, American and other influences. Consider the following sites just a few starting points.
Cuba has no shortage of destinations steeped in history, but among the most beautifully preserved (and skillfully restored) is Trinidad, a colonial gem in the province of Sancti Spíritus, near the country’s south-central coast. Founded in 1514 by Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, the town reaped a fortune as a major hub of the sugar trade in the 1800s.
That immense wealth enabled the architectural splendour you still see today, including opulent palaces and estates, plazas and churches. In fact, Trinidad’s cultural importance landed it on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Continue reading “What to see and do in Trinidad, Cuba’s open-air museum”
Havana has long been beloved for its time-capsule charms: Wander down the cobblestone streets, admiring the mix of colonial, baroque and art deco architecture, and the candy-coloured vintage cars (now wheeling around as cabs), and the past feels vividly present. As Cuba’s iconic capital celebrates its 500th anniversary, the sense of rich history endures — but there are glimmers of newness and change, too.
With Havana marking its 500th anniversary, Hola Sun Holidays is inviting Canadians to be part of the celebrations by reserving a spot in the historical Hotel Nacional de Cuba or Hotel Plaza Havana. The iconic Hotel Nacional de Cuba first opened its doors in the 1930s, playing host to international renowned actors, artists and politicians.