We decided to kick off our vacation with a few days of relaxation at a resort in Varadero, Cuba living the dream. After a long stint of working hard, I can’t imagine a better way to start off holidays other than sitting on the beach with a Cuban cigar, a cold beer, and the most beautiful scantily clad woman in the world.
Beautiful Carribean Beaches
Varadero is settled on the most skinny peninsula you can imagine (0.5km wide). One wave and I imagine the small piece of land getting swallowed up whole. From our room’s balcony we can see one side of the sea, and from the opposite hotel room you see the other.
The landscape is beautiful though, with the usual Caribbean turquoise waters and white sand beaches.
We spoiled ourselves by the beach and the pool…
And took siestas in nap cabanas.
The Magic Bracelet
As this year is our ten-year anniversary, we decided we would celebrate year round. This meant we arrived to a special white “honeymooners” bracelet. We had no idea what it did, but we noticed few other visitors shared the same, so we wore it with pride.
Our check-in welcomed us with an upgraded room with a view of the ocean, a complimentary bottle of special edition rum, and some chocolates that Sania would crave for the remainder of our stay.
We thought that was the end of our perks until we went to book a standard dinner out. The lady assisting us quickly spotted my white bracelet and excitedly informed me that there was a special “ball” that evening for those celebrating anniversaries.
That evening we got treated to a somewhat humorous production with an almost naked man prancing around as Cupid, introducing various singers and dancers performing to songs of love. It ended with appetizers and cake, and a lovely dinner where we were serenaded by a string quartet.
No home is complete without a token house pet. Our resort was home to husband-and-wife cats, which we took the liberty of naming Sellamo (see-yeah-moh) and Sellama (see-yeah-mah), derived from one of the few Spanish things we know how to say: What is your name?. They chilled every day on the stairs of the resort, waiting to be fed the Cuban version of Temptations treats and wishing us a nice day on the beach.
I know we have explained glamour shots before, but for those of you who still do not get it, this is the absolute best and most accurate description I can think of. We stumbled upon this somewhat amateur hour of photo-taking going on along the beach and couldn’t help but capture it for you as well.
Google Hates Cuba
Did you know we are locked out of all Gmail applications here? We therefore had to come to the most logical conclusion that Google hates Cuba.
We then learned that Google also hates (ie. “restricts access”) Syria, Crimea, Iran, Sudan and North Korea. Which left us to wonder, what kind of country are we in?
Don’t Waste Your Time on Cheap Cigars
There is an underground market of cigars here on the beach. The men dressed as lifeguards secretly stash backpacks full of “Cohibas” and “Monte Cristos” for backdoor exchanges in the secret depths of dark bathroom stalls. We initially questioned their legitimacy when we were offered one for free (and were quickly told how it was made by a friend who works at a cigar company with leftover tobacco leaves). Their scam became obvious when the tasteless cigar burnt itself out before it was done.
(Resort) Food Truly is Bland
We were warned repeatedly that food would be bland. Our first day at the buffet we dove into everything… unknown grilled meats, surprisingly elaborate charcuterie, pizzas made out of focaccia, pasta, you name it. Sadly no matter what we tried, everything seemed to have the same flavorless profile where for the first time in my life I asked, is there a point in going for lunch today?
We knew it was bad when we wandered from table to table, shaking empty pepper shakers (realizing maybe they’ve never been full in the first place) and dipping our pizza into a plates of oil and vinegar for more flavor.
Please keep in mind this is purely a resort observation in comparison to other Caribbean all-inclusive destinations, as we’ve heard varied opinions on authentic Cuban restaurants. We look forward to trying these as we venture away from resort life in a couple days.
As much as we’re sad to say goodbye to this relaxing few days, we are excited for the adventures to come in Peru and Bolivia!
We stayed at the Melia Las Americas resort in Varadero. It is about 40 min from the Varadero airport. Transportation is easy to get immediately outside of the airport. A taxi to the resort cost 30CUC.
By signing up for the rewards program that Melia offers we got a discount on each night of accommodation and a free night due to it being Sandra’s birthday (can be used anytime of year not just on the birthday).
I thought USD would be generally accepted but make sure to have CUC as most stores will require you to use this.