Cuba is the tall-ship of the Caribbean. Times are changing now it’s the 21st century, however. Surrounding this vessel is a world of motorboats and cruise liners ready to tow her back to port. But Cuba isn’t going anywhere yet. Rather, she powers through the currents with the vigour of youth, and although her paintwork is waterworn, she’s yet to spring a leak.

With tensions thawing with the USA, and a predicted tourist armada set to arrive within the year, Cuban holidays are on the agenda. The mosaicked façades may soon crumble in favour of West-centric promenades, and the increased tourism could raise prices. But authentic corner shops aren’t lodged between chain stores yet, so let’s not get carried away; Cuba’s charms won’t disappear completely.


Only half the Cuban charm lies in its landscapes.

Instead of travelling back in time, a holiday to Cuba sees you step sideways into a dimension of sun kissed shores, crumbly buildings, and vintage American cars puttering alongside horse-carts. Take the Spanish colonial façades and line them up beside dusty roads and vibrant markets. Throw in constant Carlos Santana serenades, fruit juice and cigars, and you’ve got a personality unique to the Caribbean. Cuba is not a place simply to admire; she needs to be absorbed. And once you’re back home on the British streets, she does; her dynamism is already part of you.

Regardless of the predicted tourist onslaught, walking through the streets of Havana will always be an attraction. An otherworldly essence drips from the fringes of the Almendares River to Havana’s heart. Afterwards, meander through the Paseo del Prado to lose yourself in a time largely forgotten. Lined with trees and authentic architecture, it’s a beautiful area to admire the Cuban way of life. Meet Jose Marti, or at least his statue at Plaza de la Revolución, and do it early in the day to avoid crowds. Definitely check out the Museum of the Revolution and the Capitol Building, which offer looks at Cuba’s turbulent 20th century history. Finally, the Malecón is where locals come to kick-back and party. It’s a great experience to take a beer along and join in. For retiring at night, Parque Central is a fantastic place to blend with Havana’s architecture, and it’s Kenwood Travel’s top pick for a Havana based hotel, giving you the authentic Cuba at your doorstep.

Cuba is the life of the Caribbean party, with shows and dances from the stage to the street.

Cuba is the life of the Caribbean party, with shows and dances from the stage to street.

But let’s put Havana aside and journey from the winding city streets towards the postcard-perfect side of Cuba. A two-hour taxi along the northern coast takes us to stretches of land where sea tickles each side of the Hicacos Peninsula. The area moves from rustic Cuban life to paradisal sun-washed splendour. Here we’ll find Varadero, a resort town catering for tourists. It’s for a good reason. Elbow-to elbow with the crystalline sands that exemplify a Caribbean holiday, Varadero has plopped itself not on, but amidst some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. The dusty roads swerve backstage here, letting the limelight shine on luxury and convenience instead. This is a town for indulgence with turquoise sea and magnificent beaches as the backdrop, so why not? Melia Varadero and Paradisus Varadero are amongst a fantastic choice of Varadero resorts that make luxurious base camps for exploring Cuba whilst letting you return to a world of comfort at the end of the day.

A holiday to Varadero sees you on one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world.

A holiday to Varadero sees you on the most beautiful archipelago in the world.

The rest of Cuba is yet another dimension. These lands sport carpets of rainforest, plains and mountains. You’ll find oodles of colourful houses riddled throughout tropical pastures, and even more colourful people. Viñales, to the West of Havana is home to the most jaw-dropping landscapes in the Caribbean, and a treat for any photographer wanting that perfect tropical-shot. It’s because it’s real. There’s no performances here, where tobacco farmers travel by horse-cart, and sleepy shop-owners aren’t stocked to the ceiling with cigar magnets and Che Guevara berets. This is what a Cuban holiday should be. Visit, sit back, relax, and take a photo of authentic Cuban country life before it too is taken by the wave of time.

A holiday to Cuba this year is boarding our tall-ship as she takes a voyage into new territories. Once harboured and refurbished, she’ll return as a cruise liner, a sparkling wonder with all the modern conveniences to keep up with her Caribbean counterparts. But we at Kenwood Travel know that a part of that unique authenticity will always remain.

And maybe.

Maybe that’s not so bad.



Nestled in a peaceful oasis of verdant tropical greenery, when you discover the fascinating historic charm of St Kitts’ Romney Manor you’ll feel you have uncovered a true hidden gem of the Caribbean. This is the perfect spot for one of those dreamy, lost afternoons, picnicking in the sleepy sunshine or gently ambling amongst the lovingly kept botanical gardens – bathed in a balmy breeze as the sapphire seas wink at you through softly stirred leaves.

A little trace of magic lingers around this delightful destination; there is a sense that the rich, diverse essences of the Caribbean have been blended and distilled down into a heady mixture of nature, culture and sheer, alluring tranquillity.


Youri Zoon, a name that most people probably won’t respond to very much. However, for those of you that have heard of him: I imagine that I now have your full attention, as opposed to Facebook or Reddit. Now Mr. Zoon isn’t what’s currently selling masses of Dominican Republic Holidays, no, it’s his profession that’s captured the world by storm and is motivating thousands to get out to this beautiful country in the Caribbean: kitesurfing.

As it stands, he is currently the number one freestyle kitesurfer with the PKRA (Professional kiteboard Riders Association) and that is no easy feat, I can tell you. Check out the video below to see Zoon in action at the 2010 PKRA World Cup Championships (unfortunately he only came third that year.)


Let’s be honest, there’s plenty of things that we love about holidays. The change of culture, the weather, the sights, the lazy days… and of course the many pre-holiday shopping trips that we all embark on. Everybody does it, splurges a little more cash than usual on new garments before a holiday. After buying yourself everything you could possibly need, it always turns to picking up the things that you merely want and since you’re already treating yourself to say a holiday in the Caribbean, where’s the harm in spending a little more? I don’t know what it is and I don’t think anybody ever truely will, but us Brits, especially, cannot go abroad without ensuring half of what we’re taking with us is brand new.


The geographical definition of an island is a relatively small extension of land surrounded by water. In literature, film and one’s own imagination – whether real or fictional – an island represents so much more than that. Would you like to know where to find some famous fictional islands?


Can’t think of a good idea for a Mother’s Day gift? Why not go all-out this year and book your mum a luxury spa retreat in an exotic location? And the good news is she will want a travel companion, so you can experience star treatment too! Here are our Top 5 handpicked spa hotels for pure pampering in 2012.


Believe it or not, there was a time when St Patrick’s Day wasn’t celebrated by downing pints of black beer and wearing ridiculous polyester hats, but rather with dance, drink (wherever it was available) and the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

March 17 has been a party day for the Irish for the last 1,000 years and, contrary to popular belief, Ireland’s best known festival actually commemorates the chap who introduced Christianity to Ireland and not the famous Dubliner brewery.

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