in the introduction, the area of interest is the corridor
between Havana and Matanza, in the northwest part of Cuba. More
often than not, visitors to this region of Cuba come through the
Varadero airport which is normally quite a bit cheaper to fly
into from Canada. This particularly true for Canadian charter
airlines and All Inclusive operators such as Sunwing, Air Tansat,
WestJet and Air Canada. Several maps are provided below to
better illustrate the location, proximity and size of the area
and associated towns and city.
The first of
these maps is of Cuba, and the location of the area under
northwestern part of Cuba, the specific corridor runs from just
to the right of Matanza (the Veradero airport is just 20
kilometers away from Mantaza) all the way to Havana. As
mentioned the distance between the Havana and Matanza is
approximately 105 KMs and the Varadero airport is approximately
15 kms further past Matanza . The highway between the two cities
is called the Via Blanca and is quite interesting in itself,
particularly if you are a first timer. The highway largely
follows the ocean (so if you can, try to get a bus or taxi seat
on the right hand side). Along the way you will see beautiful
ocean/beach views, the large, very real and fascinating Cuban
city of Mantaza, luscious mountains and deep, deep valleys,
small fishing towns and their marinas and much more.
The next few
maps are zoomable google-like URLs of Havana, Guanabo, Cojimar
and Matanza. These links allow users to navigate and assess each
bullets on each city follows:
Population: 2.1 Million
ocean, but no beaches
shopping, restaurants and bars.
city but must see is Habana Vieja.
colonial and some art deco architecture, museums, government
capitol buildings, lots pf hotels, lots casa particualara,
trees, parks and statues and of course related history.
tourist bus that you can jump on and off all day long
(distance from Havana approximately 5 KMs):
Population: NA but if I had to guess maybe 10,000
is somewhat separated in two. At the end closer to Havana is
Villa Pan-American which was the site of the 1991 Pan
American games and has much of the remaining infrastructure
such as a large stadium and type of main Games boulevard.
These games and this corner of Cojimar are very important
part of Cuban pride and history. At the other end of Cojimar,
the part I like, and that which is described throughout this
web-site is the sleepier and more traditional fishing
village made famous by Ernest Hemmingway.
ocean, no beaches
quaint village harbor with extremely old stone fortress. A
Malecon (large brick rock ocean retaining wall and walk way
that circumvents the ocean bay that the community converges
upon in the early evening) . Fishing boats coming in and out
of harbor throughout the day.
famously known to be the place where Ernest Hemmingway
docked his fishing boat, wrote books in a now famous Cojimar
Hotel/Bar on the bay and the real site location for the 1954
Hemingway movie called the Old Man and the Sea. Take a look
the following video URL which is a snippet of eth spencer
Tracy movie and which includes footage of Cojimar’s harbor,
old Spanish fortress, marina and malecon etc…
(distance from Havana approximately 15 KMs):
Population: Not available nor published. I would guess its
Many kilometers of open and public beaches
length of beach and proximity to Havana, Guanabo is a major
late spring, summer and early autumn destination for
thousands of Cubans from Havana.
Approximately 6 very, very good and low cost restaurants and
many other very low cost traditional Cuban restaurants.
Approximately 10 patio resto/bars on main street.
casa particulara and 4 to 5 Cuban hotels, two of which I am
familiar with (each 1 star) and am comfortable recommending.
great Cuban dancing/live music nightclubs that go to 2:30 in
(distance from Havana approximately 105 KMs):
very well known for its many bridges and envelops a very
large bay on the ocean.
at least one public beach in the city.
a long Rodeo Drive like streets in Matanza (not quite) that
is quite heavily frequented by townspeople on both Saturday
and Sunday that is quite interesting.
has a very entertaining and very high quality baseball (the
Croquodillas) team that plays in a fun and very cozy
downtown baseball stadium.
also a central park that is exactly downtown and acts almost
like the hub of the city on which is located a beautiful and
perfectly maintained colonial hotel. a very old and
traditional drug store. On Friday and Saturday nights the
whole town seems to converge at the square leading to a
great mingling of kids, families and teens. Also impressive
is the thousands of birds that leave in the morning and then
all come back towards evening. It’s much like a natural bird
commune or village with lots of bird excitement when they
return, chirping like crazy.