So, I’m back to reality after an unplanned and totally spontaneous trip to Cuba this past week. Being back in reality sure sucks but a quick getaway refreshes one’s soul. Here’s a slide show video of my Cuba trip:
** Click the ‘HQ’ button below to view the video in higher quality **
I’ve heard many stories about Cuba about what to expect, and frankly, a lot of them were untrue. Here are a few things I was told I’d soon find out for myself:
1. The food is really bland and not very good. – The resort we stayed in actually had decent food and wasn’t too bland. We did bring our own ketchup which was a good call for the wonderful omelettes they made for breakfast. The only ketchup they have is from Brazil and let me tell you… ketchup made in Brazil is horrendous. Ask anyone who’s been to Brazil: Brazilian ketchup is basically sugar, water and some food coloring. It was void of any tomato flavour. I survived on fish and rice mostly on this trip which is great cause I love fish (not that other variety though ;) and I don’t get to have it as much as I’d like when I’m home.
2. Cubans are very poor and they will steal from you. – Inside the resort was actually very safe. Mind you, I did carry my passport and the very few electronics that I did bring with me at all times: better be safe than sorry! Other than that, our other belongings were safe. Even in Havana, I didn’t feel unsafe in terms of pickpockets and thieves.
3. The hotels are gross and disgusting. – We opted to go the frugal route and went with a 3-4 star resort (Aguas Azules formerly Club Amigo), which ended up to be a good choice. The rooms were very clean and so were the bathrooms. I didn’t need it to be super posh since we were barely in the hotel rooms. We would get up at around 9am, have breakfast, and head to the beach all day until about 5 PM. So we really were only in our rooms to sleep and take a shower.
Top 5 things to do in Cuba:
1. Get drunk during the day on free alcohol and pass out on a lounge chair on the beach- don’t forget to put sunscreen on!
2. Enjoy Cuban coffee, Rum & Boys (you need to get out of the resort to actually see the beautiful Cuban men)
3. I would recommend staying in Varadero (Havana beaches aren’t as nice as Varadero’s) & doing a daytrip into Havana (do a private tour instead of a group tour, you get to see what you want and when you want to)
4. Try a real Pina Colada (made with real pineapple & coconut)
5. Repeat above
The best part of the trip was the beaches… the sand was so white and very fine… almost like powder, and the turquoise waters contrasted by the blue skies and fluffy white clouds was amazing. Although we weren’t in a gay resort we felt safe… everyone was there to have a good time, relax and soak up the sun. Anyway, my gaydar (according to Patrick’s post) does not exist, so I would not have known if there were any other gays in the resort. Being gay is not illegal in Cuba but gay public display of affection is questionable. Mind you, I’m not one to be PDA to begin with, so I had no issues with it.
On our last day, we decided to take a tour of Havana which was about an hour and a half away from Varadero where our resort was. For those that don’t know, Havana is typically famous because of Hemingway. So we decided to do a tour offered by some local Cubans which was basically them driving you around in a rental car so it was more personal and you basically had the freedom to do and see what you wanted during the tour. It did sound kinda dodgy in the beginning, but our tour guide slash driver was actually very nice. Havana was filled with these beautiful broken down and dilapidated building which were colorfully painted in uber bright colours: orange, yellow, green, blue and pink. Cubans love their color in their buildings, cars and in their fashion (see pics on the second part of the post).
I would definitely recommend visiting Cuba… don’t expect “W” hotel standards and stick with the resorts and you’ll be just fine. Bottom line is they are old and most are a bit run down, but they do keep them clean… at least in our resort they did! Check out Aguas Azules reviews on TripAdvisor.