A few years back I headed down to Cuba in January for a wedding of a family member; my sister Teresa.
Props to her for suggesting it because quite honestly, it was a great time.
We stayed a the Rui in Veradero which was a brand new facility and had me with high hopes. The challenge was that they seemed to be in the process of sorting out some of their growing pains.
- Great beach
- Great coffee
- All you can eat
- Price (under $800, all-in.. it’s hard to spend less than that in a week in Canada :s)
- The unlimited beer and hard liquor – no shortage on this trip, I literally couldn’t look at another drink by the time we were ready to leave
- Limited food selection and many things were just gross.. particularly the shrimp I accidentally ate with both eyeballs and antennas still in tact. yuck!
- Cleanliness – Every trip to the cafeteria began with sorting through the first 10 plates on the pile to find a clean one.. be sure to check the bottom!
- Expected tips – It seems that Cuban service workers have come to expect tips on every drink sold. They stop just short of holding out their hand every time they serve a drink.
- a little bit cold (highs of 26 on the hottest day we were there)
Overall, great experience once we got passed the food issue but there are a couple things you should be aware of: Firstly, five start in Cuba does NOT mean five star. Most cubans have never left the country so their level of quality standard is naturally bound to be a bit different compared to what most Canadians would prefer. Second, Cuba is COMPLETELY safe in MY EXPERIENCE. It seems that the Cuban government has established strict penalties for harming a tourist which makes this country a natural choice for Canadians over other spots like Mexico and the Dominican. Third, there is an exit fee to leave the country which you will need Cuban Currency (CUC) to pay. My suggestion would be to take roughly $100 worth of Cuban currency down because there really isn’t much need for currency beyond that.. there just isn’t much available to buy!! :)
If I were to go again, I would simply try a different five star resort and do a bit of research beforehand. I also would not go in January if I could avoid it. I just found some great reviews on Sandals Veradero and am thinking of booking there for the next trip. I’ll keep you posted!
To summarize, it’s tough to beat the deal you get when you go to Cuba. Say what you will about the food… but the people are nice, and the beaches are beautiful!