09 JUL 2013: Cuba is packed with talent. Even hotel reps from this favourite sun spot have surprises. Neorvis Garcia is one example. The sales manager from the Hotel Club Amigo Carisol–Los Corales, a three-star all-inclusive, is like a pitcher of a national baseball team concentrating on his pitch. He never strayed from a presentation he gave to agents and media last week.

But why would he?

After all, he tells me he was Cuba’s power pitcher extraordinaire for six years.

Now he’s got his eye on another prize: the beauty of Santiago de Cuba.

Garcia was in town to showcase his property but also to reveal some of the gems waiting to be discovered around Santiago de Cuba.

Let’s look inside this treasure chest.

Capital talk

Sure Havana’s the capital, the cultural wonder of Cuba. But did you know Santiago de Cuba was the country’s first capital? And the city’s been pegged as the ‘Cultural Capital of the Caribbean.’

“We have music, culture, galleries, and many interesting places for the client to discover,” says Garcia. In fact, he says, jazz lovers have been flocking to a new bar in town called the Iris Bar. “We have one of the best jazz clubs in Cuba. You will see Chucho Valdes and many other great Cuban jazz artists perform.”

Sea, sand and sierra

Yes – Cuba’s got us when it comes to beach havens like Varadero and there are those who enjoy its other sun spots like Holguin but when I asked Garcia what was the difference between these popular sun destinations to Santiago de Cuba, guess what?

“In Santiago de Cuba when you swim you have good luck with your money and good luck with your health,” he candidly replies, basically you get good value with your dollar plus the health benefits in staying in a place surrounded by sea, sand and the stunning Sierra Maestra.

Hotels and Accessibility

Flying to Santiago de Cuba is easy with direct flights, Garcia explains and adds that with tour operators like Sunwing and Hola Sun Holidays, clients can depart YYZ and arrive to this southern part in “three hours and twenty.” Not bad.

Hotels meanwhile have their charm. During a slide presentation Garcia pointed out the variety of hotel products. Select from intimate small city properties like the eight-room Hotel E San Basilio or consider larger hotels such as the four-star 58-room Hotel Cubanacan Casa Granda.

Eco seekers head to the Villa Horizontes El Saltón. Tucked way up in the sierra surrounded by lush green forests and a towering waterfall, you can’t go wrong finding nature there. Then there are those luxe eco types who can’t get enough of the lush scenery at the four-star Hotel Brisas Los Galeones. Cuba’s highest peak El Pico Turquino is the ultimate money shot at this all-inclusive.

The Hotel Club Amigo Carisol–Los Corales, another all-inclusive is located in Boconao Park and that’s where you’ll find Garcia most likely mingling with guests, maybe even showing off his pitching style if you’re lucky.

The park itself is lauded as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and has plenty of diversions. Head to the mega-high Gran Piedra. Ascend the 459 steps to see a wondrous view. Many say on a dark night you can see the lights of Jamaica.

The three-star all-inclusive resort is also located near other significant sites. There’s the Castillo de El Morro, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Cayo Granma, a tiny picturesque isle popular for hiking and home to a charming fishing village.

And that’s just a sneak peek inside some of the treasures around Santiago de Cuba.

For more details visit Cubanacan Hotels http://www.hotelescubanacan.com

Top banner image: Nieves Ricardo and Neorvis_Garcia

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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