It’s one thing to know that travel agent associations are lobbying the government on agents’ behalf. It’s another to actually hear it and see it in action.
TORONTO — Varadero will reopen to international travellers starting Oct. 15, with a new ‘safe tourist corridor’ put in place to maximize safety for visitors and residents.
The corridor runs from K Street to Punta Hicacos at end of the peninsula. Within this area, visitors will have a choice of several four-star and five-star resorts plus a golf course, two marinas, Dolphin Park, two shopping plazas (Plaza America & Plaza Hicacos) and restaurants and services.
There will be tours and excursions available within the approved zone, including water sports, nautical activities offered by the two marinas and the dolphin park. Hop on-hop off double deck tourist bus, moped, bicycle tours and car rentals will also be available within the permitted area.
“Our first and foremost priority is the safety of our clients and staff, so in this initial stage, the mobility of the clients and the range of the excursions will be limited to the approved area. This means that tourists will not be allowed under any circumstances to leave the safe tourist zone, they cannot visit the rest of the island and the locals cannot enter the tourist zone,” says Lessner Gomez, Director of The Cuba Tourist Board.
Gomez adds that this means all clients traveling to Varadero “must bring a hotel reservation with them. No air-only passengers are accepted at this moment in Cuba.”
In order to avoid cash handling, all services will be paid by credit cards or debit-visa from Canadian banks, he adds. All hotels will have a medical team consisting of a doctor, a nurse and an epidemiologist specialist, who will monitor the clients health throughout their stay.
Cuban authorities say that Varadero International airport (Juan Gualberto Gomez) is ready to resume flights operations and all the safety protocols are in place.
Cuba’s free PCR test is available for clients upon arrival at the airport. Clients must travel with COVID-19 insurance, and if this is not possible, then they have to buy Cuban medical insurance coverage at the airport upon arrival at the cost of US$30.
“The situation is very fluid,” said Gomez. “I’m looking forward to the time when this safe zone is expanded to include more hotels and more services, but right now we are happy to open Varadero, one of Canadians’ favourite destinations.”