Even Dictator Fidel
Dives Cuba!

The recent United States Congress vote to lift the ban on Americans traveling to Cuba will open the flood gates for hundreds of thousands of individuals eager to take advantage of what is becoming increasingly known as the "forbidden paradise", where the Cohiba Lanceros Cigar and the much vaunted Havana Club rum, vie for popularity against a backdrop of some of the greatest architectural masterpieces of the New World. (Editor's note: The boycott was never lifted, but increased under the Bush administration.)

These historical buildings are not only of immense importance to the Cubans, but they are recognized as one of the greatest attractions in the Communist led nation, apart from miles and miles of pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and a warm and friendly people. Despite the ban on American citizens going to Cuba, an estimated 200,000 circumvented the prohibition in 1999 by traveling via Canada, Cancun, The Bahamas and Montego Bay, and although the figures for 2000 are not yet out, it will certainly be higher than the previous year.

Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said it was important to make "this incremental move" to lift the travel ban, imposed 40 years ago on the Communist ruled Island. The measure has to pass the Senate, which is not assured at this particular time. The measure to lift the travel ban passed the House 240-186, with 67 Republicans and 173 Democrats backing it. As expected, the move was met by an immediate rejection by the Bush administration. A White House announcement that it would not accept any easing of sanctions. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said President George W. Bush will not support the new proposal, even though there is growing sentiment in Congress to offer Americans a chance to see Cuba for themselves, while some conservative Republicans argue that the ban amounts to an infringement on the right of U.S. citizens. Conservative Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona, who sponsored the travel ban repeal in the House, said Americans should be free to travel wherever they want. "What we've done is to erect our own Berlin Wall, preventing the free travel of Americans. It's time to tear it down," said Rep. William Delahunt. Cuba's Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque described the vote as "constituting a symbol, a proof of the majority feeling in U.S. society."

They consider the current policy irrational, unfair and senseless, and added "President Bush should understand he has been betting on a losing horse since the start of his administration."

The tourism industry, sensing the influx, which will follow the lifting of the ban, has already started a countrywide upgrading of present hotel and resort facilities, constructing new ones and providing additional rooms.

SuperClubs is among those Resorts, which already has a number of facilities and has announced plans to build new ones.

"The sky is the limit in Cuba as far as tourism is concerned," says Kees Aerts, General Manager of Breezes Costa Verde, the new SuperClubs Super-Inclusive Hotel located at Playa Pesquero, in the province of Holguin, and is jointly owned by the Government of Cuba and the Italian Gaviota Group. The resort was opened on February 1, 2001. Catering for couples, families and singles, the resort has 480 rooms divided into 31 two-story buildings.

Situated on the N.E. coast of Cuba, 50 miles from the Frank Pais International Airport in Holguin, Costa Verde is surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside, set in 35,000 square meters of exuberant vegetation. Food and beverages outlets are on an around-the-clock basis. Costa Verde has a buffet restaurant, Italian and Japanese a la carte restaurants, a pool restaurant, and a grill. In addition, there is room service for continental breakfast and seven bars with international brand cocktails. There are three fresh water swimming pools and Jacuzzis, land based sports, and water sports, including scuba diving. There is also a Kids Club, a fitness center, and facilities for groups, live entertainment and a nightclub.

The Japanese Restaurant, Manahana, is the first in Cuba, offering Teppanyaki. The Japanese Chef, Mareiano Takinami is proud of the excellent reviews he has received, being the first Japanese restaurant with sushi and Teppan-Yaki tables. The staff comprises professionals from Germany, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Spain, the Philippines, Peru and Cuba.

Playo Pesquero, with its beautiful beach stretching for more than two kilometers, is located on one of the most untouched areas of the region. Holguin is also known for its natural parks, waterfalls and dams, natural springs and mud baths, fishing, water and hunting zones, caves and bays, 41 white sand beaches, beautiful underwater sites and 60 places of cultural interest. SuperClubs in Cuba also manages the hotels Breezes Varadero, (formerly Club Varadero), SuperClubs Puntarena, in Varadero, and Breezes Jibacoa, between Havana and Varadero.

Other Projects In Cuba

The opening of another Breezes Hotel in Cayo Coco and a Grand Lido in Varadero, which will make a total of 2,232 rooms by the year 2002. Aerts said SuperClubs Costa Verde is working with 85 percent Canadian and 10 percent European guests, many of whom are repeat guests. He expects an increase in Canadian visitors by next winter, as well as about 25 percent increase in European visitors.

"We have a lot of advantages for the traveler. We are a family hotel; kids under 14 years are free. In addition there is a big promotion for honeymooners, and our rate is the best, one third the rate of other resorts abroad," he said. Aerts, who is from Holland, has more than eight years experience working in Cuba. He noted that "Cuba has changed over the years. It opened its borders and has invited the world to seLet's Book Your Cuba Hotel Now!e the Cuban Cultural Revolution, see the political system and the human potential as a result of free education, free health, free housing and a system that has made Cuba one of the most secure countries in Latin America, North America and Europe."

In addition, Aerts noted that Cuba has a fine infrastructure, good telecommunications, fine highways, Internet services and 16 international airports, as well as 2,300 kilometers of virgin beaches.

In addition, he pointed out that there is no crime at the level found in other countries; therefore one is safe during a vacation in Cuba. Breezes Costa Verde has a staff at peak season of over 500, and between 350 and 380 during the low period. Sales Manager, Karina Mabrich Watanabe noted that since it's opening, Costa Verde has been attracting visitors from different parts of the world. Canada Preview has fulfilled a commitment to use special flights from Canada to transport guests to the hotel.

She was happy with the progress being made but noted that much more can be achieved if there was more airlift, something which she hopes would be resolved in the coming months as the season gets busier.

Tropical Gear From Around The EquatorSuperClubs also manages Breezes Varadero, located on Cuba's north coast. It is situated on one of the world's finest beaches and nestled on 26 scenic acres of rich tropical gardens. With 270 comfortable air conditioned suites, Breezes Varadero is considered to be located in one of the true jewels of the region, just 90 miles east of Havana along the Island's north coast, easily reached by private car, tour bus or commercial aircraft.

Varadero's almost 20 mile long beach, stretching along a narrow peninsula has earned a reputation as one of the Caribbean's most popular vacation spots, and daily there is an increasing number of tourists taking advantage of what is being offered, especially at the Club Varadero, which was opened up in 1990.

Club Varadero is a world class, all-inclusive resort with three restaurants, five bars, a discothèque, and a gigantic pool - recently refurbished, a full array of water sports, nightly entertainment, and a fully equipped gym.

Director of Operations of SuperClubs, Abe Moore, has put into place a highly professional staff at all SuperClubs operations and has maintained the availability of excellent cuisine and coffee for guests.

Breezes Jibacoa is another attraction that is making raves in the tourism sector. It is situated on 19 acres on Cuba's north coast, with 300 meters of the virgin Arroyo Bermejo Beach, in the municipality of Santa Cruz del Norte, Havana Province. Surrounded by sloping hills and a scenic countrywide, the four star Breezes Jibacoa is located 70 kilometers from the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana and 60 kilometers from the Juan Gualberto Gomez International Airport

The Breezes Jibacoa has 250 newly constructed rooms and they are elegantly provided in 18, two-story buildings, 240 of which are standard rooms, ten are Tropical Suites, and ten have connecting doors. Of the 250 rooms, 84 have an ocean view, 85 have a garden view and 91 have a pool view.

The hotel has five bars, two restaurants, a café and a grill. One of the restaurants offers international buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The other offers Mediterranean cuisine, dinner only, by reservation.

The other property managed by SuperClubs is SuperClub Puntarena, located on its own peninsula. It is situated at the entrance of the larger, famous Varadero Peninsula on Cuba's north coast. Its unique location provides virtual privacy for guests on its 1,000-meter long beach. One hundred and fifty kilometers from the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, the property is spread out on 40 acres, with twin towers, Paradiso and Puntarena. Both towers are linked by shared facilities, with the largest free form pool in Varadero.

Offering 532 rooms with either an ocean or marina view, Puntarena is ideally located for honeymooners and young couples. and offers six dining options, seven bars and an ice cream parlor. Among the restaurants are two buffets, one in each tower, with a Mediterranean and an Oriental a la carte theme.

The tourism industry has come far from the 90's, and given the entrepreneurship and professionalism by those involved in the many aspects of operations - the industry seems headed for a bright future. Many of the staff at the various resorts are fluent in German, Italian, French, English, and of course. Spanish.

The Cuba today is not what it was reported to be years ago. It is becoming a vibrant society, with world-class hotels, highly trained individuals, ample transportation and communications, and an affable society.

— By Edwin Ali, Caribbean Editor, Jetsettrs Magazine.

Jetsetters' Notebook:
The Jamaican Sandals resort hotel chain is also planning to build properties in Cuba.

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The Rough Guide Map Cuba

The Rough Guide Map Cuba

In partnership with a consortium of European cartographers, Rough Guides have developed a series of country and regional maps. As with the city map series, these maps are printed on waterproof and "rip-proof" Polyart paper and offer a combination of practicality and clarity of design.



Rough Guide Cuba: Rip-Proof Waterproof Plastic

Rough Guide Cuba: Rip-Proof Waterproof Plastic

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