I did something new. Well a lot of new things happened but I’ll only share the things that are appropriate. First off, I went to Cuba. I’ve been to the Carribean 3 times before but always to stay with family, I’m no stranger to the heat and beaches but staying in a resort was a completely new experience for me. Let me tell you, an all inclusive is amazing but a dangerous thing. Being able to walk up to the bar at any time of day and have any drink under the sun made for you, no change, no hassle and usually only tipping at the end of the day. I didn’t spend much on my trip, 90% was spent on tips.
I can’t decide if I liked being in an all inclusive or not, if I would do it again or if it is even really considered traveling. I’m no stranger to travel, though it has been 2 years since my European escapades, I felt sheltered in the resort. I went off resort twice. Once for a club called the Cave and once to see the town of Varadero. I would’ve loved to go to Havana or a new beach but most of my days were spent drunk in the sun.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about an endless supply of drinks by the pool or ocean, especially since this was my first real vacation in two years. Sure the food was nothing special but I can’t say I expected much, the resort was run down but that’s what you get for having a bachelorette booked by a 30 year old mom. If people asked me about Cuban food or culture or anything really, I’d tell you I only know a limited amount, and what I did learn was commercialized for the audience.
Something I did love love love? No offense America, but no Americans. The demographic was Canadian with the odd German couple here and there. Maybe other people wouldn’t notice it as much but Americans are just…different. You can tell from one sentence where they’re from, and I don’t really mean that in a good way. Maybe working front desk has made me judgemental.
I am glad I got to experience Cuba as it is, or how it was, as Americans are finally being allowed entry and everything will start to change. A tip I wish someone had told me before going: bring all the money you need with you, once you’re there, ATMs don’t exist. Cash is the only form of payment in the majority of hotels and restaurants, there are banks but the charging fee and card fee and exchange rate are not wonderful. And a Cuban Peso is not the same as a Mexican Peso. You can only exchange them in Cuba and they are WAY lower than a Canadian dollar. Another thing? Don’t forget the basics. Again this might change with the US gaining access but as it stands, you can’t find a toothbrush, a razor or condoms at the corner store. And if you do be prepared to pay 3 times the average price at home.
If you have anything extra, give it to the maids, or the pizza lady who put up with your drunk pizza request every day at 4pm. The maids receive everything anyone leaves behind, but everyone needs the essentials.