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Sport and Excursions

Some vacationers just wouldn't be happy if they didn't get up in the morning with healthy aching muscles – Cuba has paid particular attention to this group: trekking, cycling, playing golf, fishing, diving, snorkelling, sailing and surfing are amongst the activities that provide a holiday with that certain "kick".
The fun starts at the beach with all sorts of water sports; from diving that also beginners can learn at professionally-led diving schools, through sailing and windsurfing – hard on the reliable Passat wind – to jet ski, waterskiing and wave riding. The necessary equipment is available in the tourist centres, and boat and catamaran trips to rewarding snorkelling and diving grounds can be booked there. Varadero, Cayo Coco, Pinar del Rio, Guardalavaca and Isla de la Juventud are all starting points for excursions to uniquely beautiful coral reefs. Large fish can be hunted not only when deep-sea fishing but also in the catches in the La Redonda sea at Morón.

In a team or on your own
The list of activities at many beach hotels includes team sports like basketball and beach volleyball as well as squash and tennis; friends of the golf course will be delighted with the Varadero Golf Club, an 18-hole course with a wonderful view of the sea that is considered one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean. It becomes particularly interesting when your chosen sport leads you to nature and thereby combines physical activity with an insight into Cuba's rich animal and plant world. Lasting impressions of the wonderful nature of Cuba can be gathered when trekking or riding a mountain bike, from the back of a horse or simply on foot and "en passant" a bundle of experiences and insights that can be taken home as valuable little souvenirs.

Underway in the footsteps of Humboldt
The Alejandro de Humboldt national park right in the east of Cuba has become known as one of the best areas for lovers of nature. The park was named after the German explorer who travelled to Cuba at the beginning of the 19th century and was one of the first to recognise the biological importance of the endemic flora and fauna. The UNESCO-listed national park, around 70,000 hectares in size, is the last large, continuous tropical forest area in Cuba and the entire Caribbean and provides one of the last intact retreats for the unique flora and fauna of the island. Various ecological systems are found here, from mangroves to mountainous rain forests, in which around 1,300 types of plant, amongst them many endemic types, can be found. Only the region of Baracoa, with its extensive cocoa, coffee, coconut palm and banana plantations that are attractive for outdoor sports fans, is currently used for tourism.

Excursions in the hinterland
Special tour operators offer a wide range of trips with a sporty emphasis as well as trips of one or more days from various starting points around the island. These include, for example, a horseback trip from Trinidad into the Valle de los Ingenios, an accompanied bike trip from Havana to Viñales or a trek from Trinidad into the Sierra Escambray where enchanting waterfalls wait to be discovered. Ecological tourism is just starting in the region of Baracoa with wild water rafting, kayak trips and other activities. As a bonus for the more adventurous, you might enjoy not only terrific natural landscapes where delicately blooming orchids and – with a little luck – the smallest frog in the world the "rana iberia" can be seen, but also insights into the rural lifestyle in Cuba and warm-hearted encounters with the welcoming population.

It's crawling, tweeting and blooming
The flora and fauna of Cuba are composed of a unique variety of types and numerous endemic forms of life. Around 8,000 types of plant have been counted, 7,500 types of insect (of those, 850 butterflies), over 950 types of fish, 120 reptiles, 50 amphibians, 350 birds (c. 20 endemic) and 42 types of mammal. Orchid-lovers can see up to 300 local representatives of their favourite flower in Cuba and gasp at the more than 700 varieties in the orchid gardens of Soroa. With the exception of mosquitoes and occasional sand flies, the animal and plant world isn't interested in humans: crocodiles can only be found in some reserves and in breeding centres on the Zapata peninsula; the population of sharks is not known to be aggressive towards people – divers must only take the normal precautions towards maritime creatures.



Golf

You want to play golf? No problem; friends of the sport will by content in Cuba.

In Varadero there is a new 18-hole course. A 9-hole course can be found at the Diplo-Club in Havana.



Swimming with dolphins

Dolphins have always been loved by young and old alike - encounters with this trusting species are an unforgettable experience.
In Varadero and in the Bahia de Naranjo at Guardalavaca there are Dolphinariums where animal-lovers can swim with the dolphins and experience the cute creatures close up. In Bahia de Naranjo you must arrive punctually at 9:00am; a prior reservation is not necessary.
Entry currently costs 40 CUC, price alterations are possible.

The dolphin and sea lion show begins at 12:30. Here entry costs 12 CUC for adults, including the boat transfer.

And for lunch you can enjoy typical Cuban cooking with a magnificent view at the attached restaurant.