I arrived at 9:00am and was in my room by 9:30am even though check in was not until 11:00am. Had a king size bed, lots of covers and comfortable. The room was very clean but showing it’s age. The balcony doors were hard to open but otherwise I was very happy with the room, 1619 if I remember correctly.
Restaurants and Bars:
The food in all of the restaurants is much different than what we are used to. It is rather bland but I found breakfast excellent. the girls actually brought it to me every morning. Fresh orange juice,2 waffles with syrup, an omelette and a plate of fresh fruit and 3 hugs. They make their own bread which is excellent and the ice cream is amazing. They have a lot of chicken and fish and salads but as I said the food is bland but very edible. Many people complain about the food but I have stayed at 5 star hotels in Cuba and the is basically the same. We have to remember that this is a third world country and much different than what we are used to.
Varadero beach is beautiful but at this area the water drops off quickly but the sand is great for kids to collect small shells on and just a short walk up the water gets much shallower. There were lots of cots and umbrellas to lie on, but as on any beach anywhere don’t leave valuables lying around although I would suspect a tourist of stealing before a Cuban worker on the beach. Cubans are genually friendly and honest people.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There was always something going on at the hotel day and night. during the day there is tennis,pool,bingo etc and a show and the disco every night. In town there are a few shopping centers with the main one being Plaza America, lots of flea markets and some small restaurants. At Ranchero restaurant you could get surf and turf for 15 CUC. There are lots of taxis and horse drawn taxis and 3 wheeled taxix but the best deal is the double decker open top buses. For 5 CUC you could ride all day. I took the full route one day and saw a lot of cool things. The stop for the Puntarena is in front of Playa Caleta next door. There are lots of disco places and nightlife downtown as well. If you buy from a flea market or private enterprise, please tip the vendor, people in Cuba make an average salary of 20 pesos a month and are very poor.
The Cuban people are very diverse and very friendly. Don’t be surprised to get hugs and kisses from them. I even had 6 gifts given to me when I left including a package of 25 peso cigars from a flea market vendor which tourists can’t buy. Cubans are also very honest people. I could have left and sometimes did leave valuables out in my room, but my maid Madai would never touch anything and she always gave extra towels and soap to me. Please tip the people and take gifts for them. They appreciate everything but things like clothes, sewing kits,batteries, crayons, books for kids, shampoo or anything. Medical supplies like band aids, antiseptic aspirin etc and english dictionaries are really appreciated. Please remember how poor these people are and treat them the way you would would like to be treated. One warning>> Do not buy cigars from street vendors. They will be fake and possibly confiscated at the border. Most fakes are made from the shavings off the floor of real cigar factories with sawdust or something else added.
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