Oct 13, 2011
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This March Mary and I decided to go to Cuba, I had never been but it certainly was the right time to leave Canada and go someplace warm.

In a word we LOVED it. Went to a 5 star hotel at the eastern end of Varadero. By World standards it would be considered a 3.5 to 4 star, with the f*cking embargo they are operating under their options are quite limited.

But in the end we had a great time and that's what a vacation is all about.

Strength of the country is it's people, they were very friendly and the hotel staff were amazing.....

for example....... third day in I locked myself out of our room :( went to the front desk said "I have a problem" their response? "no you don't" ...solved in a nano second and at no time did money change hands.

Continuing my saga of being a demented senior I lost my camera on day 5. Using my grey matter I deduced I must have left it in the gift shop. I went back and there it was at the front desk, I thanked them and they told me another customer (who was still in the store) found it on a shelf by the t-shirts (much cheaper than the supercharged amount I had to pay Colin :D ).
I went to the lady (from Newfoundland) thanked her and offered to pay for her purchase, she politely declined so I thanked her another 30 times and headed back to the front desk.

I gave the ladies there a big tip for keeping my camera safe and not selling it later that night at a bar (a practice that is very common in Ontario, ask me I know).

Weather was in low 20s for the first 2 days then headed up to 32c, no rain, just lots of beautiful sun.

Came back Monday morning at 1am to rain followed by a bit of snow when we finally work up.

Although I'm here, a small part of me is back in Cuba..

now the pictures......



Pool area in hotel

Cuba2.jpg




Our room with a view

Cuba3.jpg




Beach

Cuba1.jpg




Visit to Havana

Cuba6.jpg




LOTS of old cars everywhere

Cuba7.jpg




A white and red convertible, yes we did have to sit in it :D

Cuba4.jpg




And yes... this time money did change hands.

Cuba5.jpg


Last thoughts...... don't believe everything you read on Trip Advisor :)

OK, coffee on Thursday :seeya:
 
Looks like a great trip Wayne. My wife and I are planning a trip for December and can't decide between The Dominican or Cuba. What was the name of the resort and how was the food?
 
My wife and I LOVED Cuba and I couldn't agree more about the people!!! We are planning a trip this Christmas but alas now we have a "crew" and options for 2 Adultos and 3 Ninos are very limited in Cuba. I'd recommend Cuba to anyone based on the people alone.
 
Great pics Wayne! Reminds me of my sunny time in the Dominican...and now we wait for our own sunny summer. I would go back at the drop of a hat but would really like to try Cuba!
 
This March Mary and I decided to go to Cuba, I had never been but it certainly was the right time to leave Canada and go someplace warm.

In a word we LOVED it. Went to a 5 star hotel at the eastern end of Varadero. By World standards it would be considered a 3.5 to 4 star, with the f*cking embargo they are operating under their options are quite limited.

But in the end we had a great time and that's what a vacation is all about.

Strength of the country is it's people, they were very friendly and the hotel staff were amazing.....

for example....... third day in I locked myself out of our room :( went to the front desk said "I have a problem" their response? "no you don't" ...solved in a nano second and at no time did money change hands.

Continuing my saga of being a demented senior I lost my camera on day 5. Using my grey matter I deduced I must have left it in the gift shop. I went back and there it was at the front desk, I thanked them and they told me another customer (who was still in the store) found it on a shelf by the t-shirts (much cheaper than the supercharged amount I had to pay Colin :D ).
I went to the lady (from Newfoundland) thanked her and offered to pay for her purchase, she politely declined so I thanked her another 30 times and headed back to the front desk.

I gave the ladies there a big tip for keeping my camera safe and not selling it later that night at a bar (a practice that is very common in Ontario, ask me I know).

Weather was in low 20s for the first 2 days then headed up to 32c, no rain, just lots of beautiful sun.

Came back Monday morning at 1am to rain followed by a bit of snow when we finally work up.

Although I'm here, a small part of me is back in Cuba..

Last thoughts...... don't believe everything you read on Trip Advisor :)

OK, coffee on Thursday :seeya:

Pictures look good Wayne as the smiles do.......Kudos to Mary for looking so lovely.....You both look like you had a wonderful time.
Love the cars you found AND DROVE -- that's late '59 or '60 T-Bird unless I'm getting a little rusty......Beauty car for cruisin' Cuba.
Love that '59 Buick too....Very nostalgic......and a past favourite.

I'll charge the Twin Turbo amount next time, and that's a lot more than the s/charged toonie extra you gave me this time. .:rofl:

LOL, ok how do you know about missing cams in Ontario? -- Was it that you found one and got mucho dinero for it or lost another which got sold?:rofl: (you asked).:D

You say you left a small part of you in Cuba -- I hope it wasn't something too important.....:rofl:

See you Thursday -- in white I hope , I'll bring my 'boosted ride' (no not stolen) with me tho I fear I'll be banished to the lonely section for doing so--

And also have my cam in hand with an extra long tether pending a further discussion about camera adventures. ;) --- Should that tether fail tho please give me first dibs on buying it back -- I feel naked without it. (and that is not a pretty picture).

Cajoling aside, Wayne--- Welcome home. Let's hope Mother Nature allows us an overdue get together Thursday for a pleasant, supercharged chat.

C.
 
Oh ,I hope someday I can go to Cuba .Canadians are fortunate .

You can--as an American, you just need to enter and exit Cuba through another country (Mexico, Canada, or somewhere else). If you go, be careful--Cuba charges an extra 10% to exchange American money.

I was there around the same time as you! Stayed at the Melia Las Americas becaus of their free golf deal. The golf course is a little run-down, but the ocean is in view for many of the holes, and I still hit every club in the bag, so it's good enough!!!

Everyone else's comments are spot-on as well. The Cuban people are delightful! This was my second trip to Varedero, and while I didn't exactly go for the food, some of the seafood you have there is delicious. I have to admit, I have a soft-spot for their cigars as well...............:rofl:. The next time I go, I think I'd like to explore the country-side a little bit.

I'll see if I can get some pics posted too! One of the more interesting things I did was to rent a scooter ($25 for 24 hours) and go into the town of Varedero. interesting shopping and a little culture as well--although nothing like heading to "La Habana".

Glad you had a great time! For me, the decision between Cuba and Dominican is Cuba all the way. some of the higher-end Dominican resorts are nicer, but at that price point you should start looking at at other middle-end destinations in the Carribbean Jamaica, Bahamas, etc). On a side note, I met many great Domicans, but as a whole, they are more agressive towards the tourists than then Cubans.

Next stop, Turks and Caicos for 8 days starting on April 19th! Anyone been?
 
We stayed at Paradisus Princesa Del Mar Resort and Spa, adult only but a good cross section from late 20's to "I think he's a stroke survivor".

This resort has a collection of 3 story buildings so you don't feel as though you are lodged in an apartment. Large grounds if you want to do a lot of walking jogging without leaving the property. Double deck buses feature a one price and hop-on hop-off all day.

If you want top notch meals I wouldn't go there, the food was good at most places, I'd recommend the small grilling restaurant down by the beach. You can book into theme restaurants up to 4 times a week. We choose The Hilltop (beautiful ambiance, violiin and acoustic guitar to help digest the food). Also went out for Chinese, Italian and Japanese which was the best. At the Japanese restaurant the food was prepared/cooked at the table right infront of you, very entertaining!

The buffet was quite good, very large so you didn't have to wait to get seated.

From the resort you have many options to get to Havana. We took the day tour, leave around 8am, get back around 7pm. Our guide was fantastic, entertaining and knowledgeable.

Then there is a tour which also includes a nightclub show at the Tropicana, gets back at 2am, or you can go for the gusto and stay overnight in Havana.

My wife is more of a foodie than I am (I'm not at all) so she was a bit more critical of the food, however we both recognized that they are doing the best with somewhat limited resources. Once again I have to say the Cuban people are fantastic!

I'd much rather go there than to the RIU on Paradise Island Bahamas, all they had was a beach/pool and an apartment style building. The Paradisus is a much larger complex, much more variety. Far less aggressive "salespeople" on the beach.

On the bus from the airport it was a 50/50 mix of families and couples, Cuba felt very safe, was a lot of fun.

I believe it's been years since Americans were fined for visiting Cuba, they don't stamp your passport so it would never show up. It would make sense to bring CDN $ to convert to Cuban pesos (CUC) so you don't get hit with the surcharge on US funds. I think about 80% of the people visiting are from Canada so even the tourists are very polite :D

If anyone needs any more info PM me your phone number and I'll give you a call.

Damn you guys after writing this I feel like jumping back on a plane.

I'll post a few more pics later today, at 7am I'm off to make my Nissan service department richer.
 
Absolutely everything I couldn't agree with more. Myself, the food was fine. The fruit and veggies are world class and I LOVE. A simple tomato salad with oil and vinegar and some bread. We get used to our AAA beef and salt water filled chicken breasts so we may not like the meat but the fish is outstanding. I stay away from anything with a colored sauce and I've never had an issue and I think the food is fine. Have some mohitos and you will be golden :)
 
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