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FITCuba 2024: new hotels attractions, and updated travel regulations

By Kateryna Ivchenko


The annual Cuban Tourism Fair, FITCuba, took place in early May in one of the new tourism hotspots, Jardines del Rey (Gardens of the King) at the Hotel Gran Marena (now Melia Cayo Rey).


Cuba has brought together numerous delegates and media representatives from across the globe to highlight the country's tourism opportunities and introduce new offerings such as hotels, attractions, sustainable initiatives, and updated travel regulations. 

During the event, the Minister of Tourism of Cuba, Juan Carlos García Granda, shared Cuba's vision of evolving into a distinctive, exceptional, and easily accessible travel destination.



Minister of Tourism of Cuba, Juan Carlos García Granda at FITCuba 2024


“Jardines del Rey is a true paradise of beaches, natural greenery, and biodiversity,” says Juan Carlos. “The archipelago includes the Coco, Guillermo, and Paredón keys and offers a total of 1,867 rooms. Jardines del Rey is a unique space which is linked to the big island from the Ciego de Avila city of Morón through a 17 km causeway built over the sea; it is the first engineering work of its kind in Cuba.”

In Ciego de Ávila province, there are a total of 13,300 rooms, with 68% under the management of international companies such as Meliá Hotels International, Blue Diamond Resorts, MGM Muthu Hotels & Resorts, Iberostar Cuba Hotels & Resorts, Kempinski Hotels, Archipelago International, Swandor Hotels & Resorts, and the newly added Vila Galé.



Meliá Hotels International, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts and Blue Diamond Resorts accept a special recognition award at FITCuba 2024


“The ideal conditions of these keys, together with the access through the International Airport in Cayo Coco, the marinas, nautical points, a wide road network, and accommodation possibilities, make this place a unique, accessible destination, ideal for lovers of nature and active tourism,” says the Minister.

The resilience and adaptability of Jardines del Rey enabled the destination to restore tourism to levels seen before the pandemic. By 2023, the destination experienced a growth rate of 1.8% in visitor numbers compared to 2019.


What’s new?

Electronic Visa

Commencing on May 6 and progressively focusing on the primary markets of the destination, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba will introduce a new electronic visa system to replace the current tourist card distributed to travellers onboard. The application process can be easily accessed from any device.


New Hotels

The star of the show was the latest hotel in the area, the Vila Galé Cayo Paredón Grande, an all-inclusive hotel with 638 rooms. It is the first hotel on the island from the Portuguese brand Vila Galé. The resort offers 4 pools, 7 restaurants, free WiFi, a separate section for families with a kids’ club, wedding venues, a nautical center, and more.

The other surprise was waiting for attendees during the opening of FITCuba 2024. The hotel hosting the Tourism Fair, Hotel Gran Marena, is now operated by Melia and has a new name, Melia Cayo Rey (previously Pullman Cayo Coco) as of May 1, 2024.





New in the area is AquaRey Park, which includes Cayo Guillermo Dolphinarium, the Boat Adventure, and the training range of the Sky Cable. The project is in its early stages, and more details will follow soon.


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Cayo Guillermo Dolphinarium


For adventure seekers, the destination offers a Climbing Park in the Rocarena Recreation Center, which will be fully redesigned.

Cayo Guillermo Marina is currently undergoing some improvements and will soon have a boulevard and local shops.

To explore the nature of Ciego de Ávila, travellers can visit Laguna La Redonda. It’s a freshwater lake of 5 km2. The activities include speed boat rides and fishing excursions.


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Laguna La Redonda


The Crocodile Breeding Centre is located near the city of Morón and is easily accessible from the Jardines del Rey. The center is a project created by the government to prevent the “American Crocodile” breed from extinction. Here, the crocodiles breed in special incubators to ensure an even male-to-female population, and when the crocodiles reach 3rd generation, they will be released into the wilderness. To ensure a balanced population of crocodiles, they need to have a certain temperature, and because of global warming, it cannot be done in the wilderness. Currently, the farm has over 1,000 crocodiles.


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Crocodile Breeding Centre


Marlin Marinas & Nautica offers half-day catamaran exclusions where travellers have a chance to explore the beautiful coral reefs and swim in the crystal-clear waters of Playa Pilar beach in Cayo Guillermo, one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Included in the trip is a lobster lunch with an open bar on Medina Luna Island. The total cost of the excursion is 80 USD.


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Canada continues to hold the top position as the primary market for Cuban tourism, prompting the destination to focus on enhancing the supply chain and elevating the quality of the products available.

In the next few months, the Minister of Tourism of Cuba will be visiting Canadian Travel Agents to present a roadmap designed to solve the issues Canadian travel professionals are facing. 

“Thank you, Canadian market, for all the support that you give to us every day. We know it’s a difficult time, but we will do everything in our power to fix our problems and become the number one destination in the Caribbean,” says Juan Carlos. 



Canadian media and tourism partners in Cayo Coco International Airport



Sharon Arghittu Product/System Director Hola Sun Holidays, and Lessner Gomez Director of the Cuba Tourist Board at FITCuba 2024


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