Simon Calder addresses Cuban queries

Posted: 05-Aug-16 13:40

The Independent's travel correspondent, Simon Calder, recently dedicated an edition of his online Q&A column to tackling the question of how to get the most out of visiting Cuba. Having been asked the best way to use internal flights to travel between Holguin and Havana, his answer was strikingly simple - don't, because there's plenty to see right where you are.

Simon Calder addresses Cuban queries

Being an expert on all things travel, Simon Calder is the Independent’s go-to guy when it comes to readers’ questions about holidaying abroad – and if there’s one thing he’s been asked about a lot recently, it’s how to get the most out of visiting Cuba before the place is overrun with new tourism.

In a recent edition of his column for the British newspaper, Calder was asked by reader Susan Morgan how she should go about booking internal flights from Holguin to Havana so she could see the Cuban capital during her stay. His answer was as simple as it was surprising, however, when he told her not to bother – not because it’s difficult, but because there’s so much to see in Holguin.

Calder’s reply began:

“I am happy to advise, but you might not like it, I recommend that you don’t go near Havana. That’s because there is so much of great interest in the area you will be staying in, including a great city, Santiago de Cuba, that, trust me, is like a gentler version of the Cuban capital.”

Back-up plans

Although Calder went on to extol the virtues of Holguin, including its views of the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, its historic towns of Bayamo and Baracoa and the colonial splendour of Santiago de Cuba itself, he did also offer Ms Morgan some advice in case he couldn’t persuade her to stay put.

Calder explained:

“You could of course book flights from Holguin to Havana on the national airline, Cubana, either yourself at cubana.cu or through a decent specialist agent. The carrier is more reliable than it used to be and has some really quite modern aircraft, but for a trip of a couple of days, it’s a bit of a faff. In addition, the lowest fare I can find is $244 each – currently over £180.”

Calder pointed out that for that price, Ms Morgan could easily rent a car and enough fuel to explore everything that Holguin has to offer, while things like food, drink and entertainment would also be significantly less expensive than in the Cuban capital. As such, Calder concluded that while it’s possible to book internal flights during your Cuban trip, sometimes it’s better to keep things local.


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