Best time for visiting the place:
Cuban beaches open to public around the year nevertheless how the skies are. The best time to visit though is the hotter months of the calendar, i.e., April, May, and June because during this time the weather will be perfect for all the activities done in this place. As the water turns warm at this period, these dry months, considered to be the best time for snorkeling, swimming in the sea and a nice sun bath. Avoid the wet period as the sea turns turbulent.
History, Culture of this place:
The name “Guardalavaca” is originated from the local language of the Cubans, Spanish. This word when translated into English gives the meaning “guard the cow.” This name has an interesting history, thereby reflects the background and culture of the people residing here. There is another assumption that the name of this place is a morphed form of the original word “Guardalabaca” which is again Spanish word when translated “Guard the ship.” Pirates infest this region in the earlier days who are people who loot ships and belongings of the people who travel to the coast. As this place is a shallow bay connected to the sea using a narrow inlet, the ships can be safely placed on the radar of pirates by anchoring in this bay. Thus the name Guardalabaca, coined for this reason. The cattle must also need protection from pirates so the name “Guardalavaca.”
Geography, beauty and specialty of this place:
This paradise located on the northern coast of the Caribbean island of Cuba. The country is well known for its cigars and beautiful beaches and colonial towns. This place, surrounded by the orange bay (bahia de naranjo) and comes under the municipality of banes. This place, referred as one of the best places to visit in the province of Holguin under which this place comes. This town has turned to be a well-known tourist location due to the pleasant feeling waters and white lined beaches. There are several options to enjoy the coastal eloquence in this place, including beaches like Guardalavaca beach, Playa Esmeralda, Don Lino and Bahia de Naranjo. The nearest city from this place is Holguin, which is the 4th most populous city in Cuba.
The best thing about this place is one can experience the Caribbean lifestyle at its best in this town. The city goes on a partying mood on the weekends, and you can enjoy with them. The people in this city are very sociable, and their hospitality is very satisfying, you can feel a home like atmosphere over there. The coastline is best for snorkeling as the resorts present here provide snorkeling equipment free of cost and also arranges snorkeling activities on the beach. The city of Holguin has very historical churches and a nice layout of streets, giving you a feeling of living a century back ago. Thus this a good place to spend your vacation.
Things to do and places to see:
There are many exciting places in and around the town that one can relish upon. Given below are few places that are worth visiting:
- Flea Market: The flea market is a market set up by the locals who sell their handicrafts and things that are available in that place, in short, local things. Here the flea market is very popular among the tourists; it is regarded as one of the must visit places in this town. The local ethnic products and the exciting atmosphere make this place very special. Here the sellers speak English, and they are very hospitable so that you can do a comfortable The flea market, reached from the beach and the standard products available here are Cuban cigars, local ornaments, and musical instruments.
- Bahia de Naranjo Nature Park: A thick vegetation of about 1000 acres forms this nature park. The sea shore borders this nature park at one end and lush forests at the other end. The forests extend to a distance of 31 km in this park. One can enjoy the nature and also can enjoy several activities other than the natural views. Things that are done here visit the aquarium for dolphin and seal shows, go around nature trails, relish a scrumptious meal that includes exotic seafood dishes and enjoy a good game of golf in the golf course located here.
- Eagle Ray Scuba Diving Centre: This is one amongst the best way to make your trip to this place a memorable one. Off the shores of Guaradalavaca, a divine world, located underwater which can be seen through the guided trip arranged by Eagle Ray Scuba Diving Centre. No matter how your experience in diving is, the well experienced PADI-certified team will make sure that you experience this marvel to the fullest. Located at the western end of the beach, this place can be easily accessed anywhere from the town. The unique factor of this center is they cover almost 14 spots in the Bahamas Canal.
- Horseback Ride around the town: It is too mainstream to go around the city using car. To make your stroll around the town an adventurous yet amazing experience, do travel on Contact your resort management and they will arrange you a horse according to your needs, and you can go around the resort, town or out of the town depending upon your wish and they will provide accordingly.
- Excursion to Holguin: The capital city of Holguin province and Cuba’s 4th largest city, the city of Holguin is located 60 km from the town which makes a one-day excursion to this city possible one. Referred as “City of Parks” and amazed by Christopher Columbus as the Best city ever seen, this town is full of colonial buildings and posh shopping complexes, thus making this city a shopper’s stop. This city is the best place to get a Cuban cigar as many factories that produce cigars are located You can go on a ride on a historic locomotive at the old sugar factory and relish a hearty Cuban lunch.
How to Reach Guardalavaca and how much it costs:
Given here are the directions to reach this town from the capital city Havana. From Havana, you can come here in any of the following ways:
The nearest airport to this city is Holguin (60 km). The journey time from Havana using air is about 2 hours and 45 min which includes a ride by cab from Holguin. It costs almost $110 to $460 for the air ticket and $40 for the cab ride. The flights run by Cubana de aviation, Blue Panorama, and Neos Air. This is the fastest mode of transportation.
The nearest railhead to this town is Holguin. The train from Havana takes about 12 hrs and operated by the Cuban Railways (Ferrocarriles de Cuba), and the service is 6 days a week. The estimated price is about $36, and when included with the cab fare to the town, it costs about $65 and takes about 13 hrs on the whole. This is the most economical way to travel.
The bus stand for buses to Holguin from Havana is at La Habana. Buses operated 5 days a week and they charge about $40 to $60 depending on the availability. Buses take about 12 hrs 30 min to cover this stretch. When including the taxi transit, the total cost sums up to $66 to $90 depending upon the inflow of tourists.
Hotels/Resorts in this place:
Sol Rio de Luna y Mares: The best place to stay in this town. Situated in the alluring Playa Esmeralda, which is an hour drive from the airport. Very clean rooms and respectful management. Food is awesome, and the services are excellent. Rates starting from $235 per day.
Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort and Spa: One of the best places to stay in Holguin in case you want luxurious kind of accommodation. A very relaxing ambiance added to several resort activities to make your stay an enjoyable one. They provide a very hearty buffet for lunch and dinner which includes exotic Cuban dishes. Impeccable rooms and a very good service by the staff. Rates starting from $395 per day.
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca: One of the best 4-star hotels in this town. Situated very near to the beach. Famous for newly married couples for their honeymoon trip. Excellent service by the hotel team. A 24 hr snack bar is present in this hotel, and 6 restaurants are available. Thus you can relish on a variety of cuisine served here. Rates starting from $73 onwards.
Blau Costa Verde Beach Resort: An economical resort in Holguin. Located adjacent to the coastline, ensuring you some fantastic view of the sea from the resort. Well known for their night entertainment as the restaurant and bar, open round the clock and provide some real food and drinks to enjoy upon. Rates starting from $130 per day.
Hotel Playa Costa Verde: A good hotel to stay to view the town in the Cuban style. Nice looking resort and friendly staff. The food is good here, and buffet system is maintained. Dolphin swimming is arranged and the excursion through the town done using old fashioned cars. Rates starting from $153 per night.
Food and restaurant in this place:
Eat in independently owned restaurants named as ‘paladar’ which offers cheap but very authentic and fantastic food provided locally. Enjoy some local music as you relish upon kiwi flavored cocktails and maragato (a type of stew that is the local dish in Cuba) for lunch. Given below are some good restaurants in and around the town for a good gastronomic experience:
- La Maison Restaurant: Centrally located in the city, this hotel offers some excellent views apart from the scrumptious food served here.
- Restaurant el Uvero: an excellent restaurant which serves delicious The ambiance is good, and the travelers highly recommend it.
- Lind luna Restaurant: This hotel serves different varieties of Cuban cuisine in an economical
- Miremar Restaurant
- Pizza nova
- Villa Parasio
- Conuco de Monga Vina
Tips for Tourists:
- Though Cuban people understand English and they are very helpful, it is necessary to know few basic phrases in their native language, Spanish. So before planning a trip to Cuba, do learn some pleasantries and some basic sentences in Spanish.
- Since this country is now only opening up its tourism sector after a long time, the visa procedures turn out complicated depending upon your country. So get to know the procedures well and plan way in advance.
- Get an idea about that place from well-known tour operators before going as you might become a victim of cheating.