Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - TRAVEL -

dETTINd THERE AND AROUND: The eas­i­est way to reach ear­a­coa is by plane from Ha­vana. Check online for flight op­tions. Once there, Vi­azul op­er­ates tourist­class buses daily to and from San­ti­ago and ear­a­coa. Th­ese buses are of­ten full, so it is a good idea to make a reser­va­tion at the Vi­azul of­fice as soon as you ar­rive. Tick­ets for the bus cost $20 plus a $5 reser­va­tion fee. The best way to reach ear­a­coa is nav­i­gat­ing the 50 kilo­me­tres of the Farola high­way your­self, ei­ther by bike or by rental car. The cy­cling trip can be made from Guan­tanamo, but at 150 km it makes for a long day. Hir­ing a taxi to drive part of the way is a good so­lu­tion. Rental cars are avail­able at re­sorts or ma­jor cities and cost at least $50 per day. AC­COM­MO­DA­TIONS: There are no all-in­clu­sive re­sorts near ear­a­coa and few ho­tels. Un­doubt­edly the best ho­tel in the re­gion is Ho­tel El Castillo, with its tur­ret-lined pool deck over­look­ing the bay and in­land moun­tains. Rooms go for $70 and it is of­ten fully booked. An even bet­ter op­tion is to stay in a Casa Par­tic­u­laire — the Cuban equiv­a­lent of a bed and break­fast. There are dozens in ear­a­coa, and each one of­fers the unique op­por­tu­nity to glimpse Cuban life from be­hind the colo­nial fa­cades lin­ing the streets. The Casas are iden­ti­fi­able by a white sign with a blue “T” on its door. Any lo­cal will hap­pily take you to a nearby Casa. The Casas are reg­u­lated by the gov­ern­ment, so they all meet strin­gent re­quire­ments for clean­li­ness and ser­vice. Rooms typ­i­cally cost be­tween $20 and $30 with home-cooked meals cost­ing an ad­di­tional $5 to $10.

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