I knew that Canadians love to visit Cuba and that Cuba is one of the most popular destinations for this country’s residents because it is cheaper, it is beautiful, and it is safe.
I visited Cuba in February of this year. It wasn’t my first visit to the Caribbean. I vacationed in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2011 and it was one of the most spectacular places I’ve seen in terms of culture, architecture, entertainment and beaches. See more about my trip to Puerto Rico here soon.
We flew to Varadero, Cuba from Toronto and the trip was only 3 hours and it was a direct flight. During the flight we were given the visas or so called tourist cards that you have to keep in a safe place because they are the documents that prove that you’ve entered the country. We booked our trip through SunWing and we did not have a tour agent to provide us with the cards before the trip. Therefore, we filled them out while on the plain. (Note, make sure you get a pen because the stewards do not distribute pens.)
We got off the plane and we lined up to get our tourist cards and passports check by the border officers. I was asked a few questions such as who I come with, for how long I am going to be staying there, am I married and what does my husband work. The border officer than took a picture of me with a mini Logitech camera and opened the door for me to go through security and scan my carry on. Once I did that I could take my main luggage. In front of the airport, there were SunWing reps who asked us from which city we came and they sent us to a designated shuttle bus to go to our hotel. There was a 40 minute ride to the hotel where we stayed and it was one of the first ones that were lined up along the Atlantic Ocean in Varadero. We stayed at Blau Varadero. See what the hotel looked like here soon.
Here are some photos from the bus.
We arrived around noon and they didn’t let us check in until it’s 4pm which is the normal procedure. However, we didn’t care that much because all we wanted to do it be on the beach. We changed our clothes in the bathroom, left our luggage by the reception and ran to the beach. You don’t even know how I felt when stepping on the warm soft sand after coming from -20 and snowy morning in Toronto. It felt like in paradise and it was a Carribbean paradise. Just take a look.
During our stay, there was one day of our stay that was cloudy and 20 degrees Celsius when we decided to hire a cab with a tour guide included and visit Havana. Havana is 1.5 hours away from Varadero and a whole day in Havana i just enough to see the old Havana and drive around the new Havana. However, it is not enough if you want to visit the many museums the Carribean communist country’s capital has. Read about my visit of Havana soon. For the rest of the time, we enjoyed all the animation entertainment at the hotel, the delicious Mojitos and Mai Tais, and morning cortados.
On the way back to Toronto, the shuttle bus picked us up and drove us to the airport where we went through a check in line, tourist card check out line (Before exiting the country you need to pay 20 cuban pesos at the airport for the tourist card. No other currency is accepted so make sure you have the money in your pocket.), border exit line, security line and boarding line. It was a lot of waiting overall but the memories we had to discuss while in line kept us busy.
Have you been to Varadero, Cuba? What stood out to you? What did you like and what did you not?