By Plane -- The gleaming Aeropuerto Internacional Frank País, Carretera Central Vía Bayamo Km 11.5 (tel. 24/47-4774; airport code HOG), is about 70km (43 miles) south of Guardalavaca, and 14km (8 3/4 miles) south of Holguín, the provincial capital. The airport is about an hour from hotels in and around Guardalavaca. Both national and direct international flights from Canada, the U.K., Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Finland, and Germany (via Air Canada and 5 other Canadian airlines, Condor, Thomas Cook, First Choice, Blue Panorama, and various package charters) arrive at the airport here. The main domestic carrier is AeroCaribbean (tel. 24/46-8556 in Holguín, or 7/879-7524 in Havana; www.aero-caribbean.com), which offers daily flights from Havana for CUC$105 each way.
The hotels all have airport pickup services (buses and minibuses) for clients. If you have not prearranged transportation to your hotel, there are usually a couple of state-owned taxis hanging about. Rates run between CUC$35 to CUC$45 to Guardalavaca, CUC$15 to Holguin, CUC$22 to Gibara, and CUC$60 to Bayamo.
By Bus -- Víazul (tel. 24/42-2111 in Holguín, or 7/881-1413 in Havana; www.viazul.com) travels to Holguín on its Havana-Santiago and Trinidad-Santiago lines. From Havana, the buses depart at 8:40am, 3:15pm, 6:15pm, 8:30pm, and 10pm, and the ride takes between 9 and 12 hours; the fare is CUC$44. From Varadero, the bus departs at 9:25pm and arrives at 8.35am, costing CUC$40. From Trinidad (tel. 41/99-4448), the bus leaves at 7:40pm and arrives in Holguín at 3:30am; the fare is CUC$26. From Santiago, departures are at 9am, 3:15pm, 7:30pm, 8pm, and 12:50pm, arriving at 1:10pm, 7:25pm, 11pm, 11:30pm, and 6:40pm, respectively; the fare is CUC$11.
The main bus station in Holguín is located on Carretera Central between 20 de Mayo and Independencia (tel. 24/42-2111), just west of downtown. No state taxis wait at the bus station.
During summer months, Transtur (tel. 24/43-0273) may run Saturday and Sunday return buses from La Begonia restaurant on Parque Calixto García between 8:30am and 5pm for CUC$5.
By Car/Taxi -- The easiest way to get to Guardalavaca, if you don't have a prearranged bus service to take you from the airport, is by rental car or state-owned Cubataxi (tel. 24/47-3155). Getting from the airport, through the city of Holguín, out onto the highway to Guardalavaca is quite confusing. One of the best ways to navigate it is to hire a local tout for a few CUCs to ride with you until you're on your way.
Note that if you arrive by Víazul and have not pre-booked a Cubataxi car you will be reliant on the green Lada that eagerly awaits visitors. This is not a legal way to travel but clearly the two guys that take people up to Guardalavaca -- and have been doing so for years -- are paying off the right people. They will quote a fare higher than the state cab fare of CUC$35 -- bargain them down.
Guardalavaca's beauty and proximity to areas of interest, including Baracoa, make it one of the better areas in Cuba to rent a car for some regional sightseeing. Car-rental agencies in Holguín include Cubacar (tel. 24/46-8559; www.transtur.cu), Transgaviota (tel. 24/42-1602), and Rex (tel. 24/46-4644). Almost all of these have desks at the airport, as well as at one or more beach resorts. Car rentals average from CUC$45 to CUC$60 per day for a standard economy car.
Day Trips to Guardalavaca
The relatively expensive all-inclusive hotels pretty much have a lock on the splendid beaches around Guardalavaca. If you would like to visit the beaches and spend the day there without paying for the privilege of sleeping at one of the hotels, you can design a day trip from Holguín if you have a rental car. (Note: If you don't have your own wheels and have to take a taxi, the cost could equal the cost of staying in one of the less-expensive all-inclusive hotels, and you'd have to travel 1 1/2 hr. back to your hotel in Holguín, making it hardly worth the effort.) The major hotels sell day passes, generally from CUC$15 to CUC$25, that allow you to use the facilities, including pool and beaches, and eat and drink all you wish.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.