Escaping the cold once winter hits, I would say is a necessity of life when you live in 6 month of winter. Mel and I decided that last year we were not going to spend new years in the cold at some party somewhere in Toronto. We waited for last minute deals only to realize that there are none between Dec 25-31. We hopped on to a popular online travel site and booked a one week stay at the Grand Memories in Cuba.
I haven’t been to Cuba in roughly 10 years (Damn I feel old saying that lol). A lot has changed since my last visit, most notably the introduction of the CUC (Convertible Peso). This is one of the very few complaints I have to visiting Cuba, the other being how short staffed the resort was.
The CUC is a currency invented by Cuba solely for the purpose of tourists, and as such is nothing more than a CRAZY cash grab! It’s currently worth more than most currencies in the world including CAD and USD. That being said your money doesn’t go as far as most other caribbean islands. That aside, there is one rule to live by when I travel ~Make the most of it. Otherwise you will have a terrible time!
So we did, Enjoying as much time in the Cuban sun as humanly possible. The Beaches in Varadero are some of the best in the Caribbean, with almost snow like white sand and beautiful turquoise clear water. There is nothing like enjoying a refreshing ice cold Cubata (Dark rum, coke, and a splash of lemon juice) while enjoying the hot sun and ocean.
The resort overall was nice, well kept, and had a good variety of activity areas and things do to during the day as well as night. If staying on the resort isn’t your type of thing, a $5 bus ride into Varadero city will have you mingling at some wonderful bars and clubs with live music dancing the night away. They are have some great places to eat as well as some local artisan markets where you can buy some great souvenirs.
As far as excursions, there is one in particular that if it’s available i always recommend and take during my stay to any island. THE CATAMARAN excursion is a full day affair, taking you out with roughly 50-60 other people for a day out on the ocean. Stopping for a stint of snorkeling on a secluded reef, followed by a stay at Cayo Blanco which has beaches generally found on postcards and ads for Cuba. All with a wonderful lobster buffet lunch. A word of caution that if you don’t understand or speak any spanish you may find yourself eating horse meat if you’re not paying attention to what the chefs are saying (which is actually quite delicious). Some people opted to leave the “steak” line once I informed them of what was being served (it’s not for everyone I guess). All in all it was one of the best days while I was there.
So my advice for those that want to get away somewhere warm. If you haven’t been to Cuba, go check it out but do your research beforehand and be prepared for issues that may arise. Other than that, Cuba is really a beautiful country. So if you’ve been or are thinking of going let me know!
What is your favourite sun destination?