Varadero Beach

Trip Start Feb 04, 2006
Trip End Feb 11, 2006

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Flag of Cuba  ,
Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ahhhh, what a relaxing week that was. The beach was fantastic, as well as the resort and the locals.

We will definitely have to make another, and longer, trip to Cuba. With only a week there we didn't want to waste a day or two heading into Havana. Next time.

Most of the days were sunny and calm, but there were a few that got quite windy. After a windy day you had to be careful of the jellyfish. I think we counted over five Portuguese man-o-wars washed up on one section of beach. None were all that large but..... Lil did manage to get stung on her hand while we were out snorkelling. It was either a loose tentacle drifting in the waves or a very small man-o-war, as we couldn't see anything that could have stung her.

The snorkelling at the beach was pretty good. There was not a lot of coral growth, but there were some small patches. It was mostly sand and rock, but there was a spot where the rocks fell away for about a meter, which led to a large sandy area. All along the rock "wall" there were colourful fish, and just out over the deeper water with the sand bottom there were larger fish waiting for a quick lunch.

One afternoon we walked from the resort into town. We wandered about along the main drag, had a beer and then haggled with a coco-taxi for a ride home. I offered five pesos, was turned down, but had another coco-taxi yelling for me to head back. Yeah!! Five peso ride in a Cuban motor-trike made to look like a huge orange. One thing that did concern me was that all the coco-taxi drivers had long pants and jackets and helmets. While hurtling down the road.....OK, maybe not we putt-putted down the road, actually passing some cars, a bus would suddenly pass dangerously close the flying orange and my brain wished that it had some protection like our driver. Well, it was a short ride, so I guess it was alright :)

There was a small mall (Las Américas) where Lil found something quite interesting: rum in a tetrapak. The only thing that it was missing was the little bendy-straw in the plastic envelope glued to the side. Man, a litre of rum in a box. Who goes to the grocery store, sees bottle of rum for three to four dollars and says to themselves: "If only there was a cheaper option..."?

One thing I would recommend for anyone planning day trips in Cuba, stay away from Cubanacan. We tried the trip to Cayo Blanco which included snorkelling and a lobster lunch. They tell you more about the lobster lunch when you are already on the boat, which entails that they are small pieces cooked with a sauce. Actually, it was the bottom inch-and-a-half of the tail and all the pieces were that. Most likely, they got the tail ends from the restaurants in the area. The snorkelling was also terrible. We went to about a meter of water where the bottom was sand and kelp. There was not one fish and the only living thing was a pelican following the boat. The good part, the actual island Cayo Blanco was nice. The beach was great and the water area was great.

Our last full day in Cuba was very interesting. We had a humorous "Argentine Adventure" at breakfast, and then dinner and drinks at the town.

Breakfast started like any other. The buffet restaurant had quite a few people but very few unoccupied, set tables. We searched for one, found one, and then put our juice glasses on the table so people wouldn't think it was unoccupied. Well, we returned with our plates from the buffet to find other people's belongings at our table and my juice glass empty. It seems that a couple from Buenos Aires was also looking for a table and instead of taking the one beside our table, they decided that they wanted the one with the orange juice already on it, drank one of the glasses and then went to the buffet. Ahhh estos Porteños chistosos. The worst was that after having moved all their things to the other table the guy kept giving me dirty looks while we were eating and when he walked past he looked at me and said "Buen día". Not a "sorry for drinking your juice", or a "sorry for taking your table".

Dinner that night was fantastic. We went to a restaurant called Barbacoa (1ra avenida and 64). The service was great, the food was excellent, and the espresso was the best we had in Cuba. Drinks also proved to be interesting. Before dinner we stopped for a couple of drinks and were entertained by a group of perverted Frenchmen who were passing about a digital camera and checking out all the pictures they took of topless women on the beach and a pair of younger guys who bartered with a pair of local girls for a little flesh. Man, I felt like I was back in Rio de Janiero!

We decided to head back to the bar after dinner, and was it ever packed! There were a lot of people filling up the tables and others dancing in the street. It was a great little place to hang out, I just wish that I could remember the name of it, but it's around 1ra avenida and 62 (more or less).

Our departure day was tough. It was tough to leave all the fun and sun for the cold and work.
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