Cuba hosts Varadero Gourmet International Festival

The XI Varadero Gourmet International Festival, which seeks to position Cuba as a quality destination for bar and restaurant services, begins this Wednesday in this important Cuban seaside resort.

The gastronomic event runs through September 21 at its usual venue of the Plaza America Convention Center of Varadero, located on the north coast of the province of Matanzas and 140 kilometers east of Havana.

Innovative conferences by Cuban and Mexican specialists will feature under the titles: Current Food and Beverage Services; The Habano Cigar Ritual; Drinks with Chocolate from Santiago to Havana for its 500th Anniversary; and Participatory Gastronomy.

Mexico chose its leading beverage product and will offer the talk Speaking of Tequila, which will be presented by experts Norma Orozco Sanchez and sommelier Jesus Escobar Milano.

The event will bring together businessmen and specialists linked to the management and marketing of national and foreign beverages and food, academics, clients of the country's tourist destinations, and other professionals linked to the so-called leisure industry.

Varadero Gourmet-2019 is organized by the Ministry of Tourism, the Cubasol Higher Organization of Business Management, Palmares Company, Havanatur Travel Agency and Comercializadora ITH.

  • Published in Culture

Cuban president officially inaugurates new hotel in Varadero

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel officially inaugurated the new, five-star Hotel Meliá Internacional Varadero, located at Cuba's most famous beach resort.

The hotel has 946 rooms and will become a hotel of excellence, according to the president's official Twitter account -- @PresidenciaCuba.

Last month, the Cuban Minister of Tourism, Manuel Marrero, described the opening of the installation as successful, which has several restaurants, cafes and swimming pools.

At the end of June, Cuba had a total of 72,965 hotel rooms, of which 2,081 have been built in 2019.  At the end of this year, the incorporation of 4,197 new rooms is planned.

Marrero reported that during the last session of the parliament -- the National Assembly of People's Power -- it was announced that Cuba hopes to attract more than 4.3 million visitors in 2019.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban resort Varadero gets its biggest sand replenishment

Cuba's renowned sea resort Varadero, located some 140 km east of Havana, is undergoing its biggest sand replenishment operation to combat erosion.

Over 1.5 million cubic meters of sand are being laid on the beautiful beach, which extends for more than 22 km on the long and narrow Hicacos Peninsula.

From August to October, the first phase of the operation is planned to be carried out in Varadero's six major sections.

The sand replenishment "is done with the same sand that is accumulated at some points of the basin. We bring that sand to the eroded zones," director of environment management Yasiel Martinez said.

A study on sand compatibility was earlier conducted by specialists with Gamma Investments SA, a company under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment.

When hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean island country in September 2017, specialists monitored the evolution of Varadero and assessed its state.

Their study report revealed that successive beach nourishment works and continuous integrated management of the beach have proven effective, ensuring that Varadero has a volume of sand large enough to counter extreme weathers.

Moreover, the sand replenishment work at Varadero known also as "Blue Beach" facilitates the creation of sandbars, which causes waves to break long before reaching the coast and thus better protect the shoreline.

More than 80 percent of Cuban beaches have suffered coastline erosion that averages 1.2 meters per year, and is more serious than this level in some areas.

According to a government report last year, the sun area of Varadero is close to 950,000 square meters, which could receive nearly 95,000 visitors, complying with the international standard of 10 square meters for a swimmer. In the last three years, Varadero has received more than 1.5 million tourists each season.

Dr. Jose Luis Juanes with the Institute of Marine Sciences of Cuba said coastline erosion is closely associated with human activity.

Researchers from Cuba, the United States, France and Puerto Rico believe that the estimated rate of retreat of the coastline varied between 0.27 and 2.5 meters per year in the Caribbean.

"In 2050, that rate will be 0.29 meters, and 0.95 meters by 2100", Juanes said.

  • Published in Cuba

Travellers’ Choice 2018 names Varadero among the best beaches of the World

Varadero —Cuba’s prime beach resort— was elected the third best beach of the world according to a list revealed by the 2018 TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards.

This portal revealed that such award is based on the opinion of millions users from different nationalities during the last twelve months.

Varadero was the third place among the top 25 beaches of the world just behind Grace Bay (Turks and Caicos), and Baia Do Sancho (Brazil).

Tours on catamaran, sport fishing, diving, and excursions, are some other options visitors may enjoy in Varadero, about 120 km east of Havana.

The so-called spa town treasures 52 hotels according to data released in November by the delegation of the Ministry of Tourism in the province of Matanzas.

Cuba welcomed 4.7 million tourists last year and expectations are 5 million foreign visitors for the first time in history in 2018.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz // CubaSi Translation Staff

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban Tourism Industry Targets Golfers

“These golf tournaments seek to attract a new kind of tourist,” Jose Tobar, general manager of Varadero Golf Club, told Oncuba during the celebration of the seventh Cuba Golf Grand Tournament held in Varadero, Matanzas, some 80 miles east of Havana.

This year the tournament was attended by 72 golfers from eight countries, which is a new record of participation.

“Although the tournament was held after Easter, many people came, proving that golf does attract tourists. Both Cubans and foreigners have a growing interest in this sport,” said Tobar.

The event was attended mainly by golfers from Canada and Cuba, but there were also players from Uruguay, Colombia, Belgium, Chile, Puerto Rico and three Americans who live in Cuba.

This time the winner was Cuban Sergio Curbelo, while Alexei Castellanos, another Cuban player, was the revelation of the tournament. Although Castellanos had the lowest handicap of all the players, he was able to achieve the best gross score (total score without adjustments) in the competition.

“I hadn’t practiced for over a year, but things went well,” Castellanos told the press at the Varadero Golf Club, the only 18-hole course in the country.

This young man, who has been playing golf since he was twelve, thinks it would be important to found a Cuban federation to represent the country in international competitions.

Among the women the winner was Cuban Annia Blanco. Canadian Ken Clark won in Category Two.

Tobar said that many of these golfers have participated in the tournament more than once. “The event is part of their vacation scheme. Some of them come back later in the year to play here,” he added.

The Varadero Golf Club course includes plenty of obstacles which can be a challenge for competitors of all categories, as demonstrated by the five previous Montecristo Cups, which anteceded the Cuba Golf Grand Tournament.

The facility gained international recognition in 1999, when it hosted the Grand Final of the European Challenge Tour, one of the major tournaments in the world.

Golf is an integral part of high level tourism, and Cuba has therefore been working on a development strategy for this sport for several years. For many tourists, access to a high quality golf course is a determining factor when choosing a holiday destination.

Unlike many other Caribbean countries, Cuba only has one quality golf course at the time. In this connection, the general manager of the Varadero Golf Club noted that an investment program is currently underway to build more of these facilities.

The newly created La Carbonera Construction Company will take on the development of golf courses. La Carbonera is a joint venture between the Palmares Group and UK’s Esencia Hotels & Resorts.

“The Carbonera Golf & Country Club will be the first Golf Resorts in Cuba,” said Andrew Macdonald, CEO of Esencia Hotels & Resorts and Havana Holdings, a few months ago, “and we believe there is potential to develop many 6-star resorts throughout the island.”

  Photo by Duber Luis Piñeiro González

  • Published in Sports

Cuba to Host 11th Latin American Skydiving Championship

The 11th Latin American Skydiving League and the 1st Skydiving Friendship Cup will take place in Varadero resort from July 14 to 20 with representatives from 10 nations, organizers said.

The International Centre will be the headquarters of the event while athletes will be accommodated at the Villa Tortuga Hotel, both facilities located in this tourist resort, 140 kilometers east of Havana.

Rolando Alfonso, president of this sport in the western province of Matanzas, told Prensa Latina that athletes from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela, Russia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Qatar and the hosting country confirmed their participation.

Alfonso said the event will include the qualifying rounds, semifinals and finals, and they will compete in the categories of individual and team Accuracy Landing.

  • Published in Sports
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