Havana Ball… My Cuban dreams for this summer
Pretty much all my life, I’ve had dreams about dancing the salsa in Havana, sampling colourful cocktails on a beach in Varadero, having a proper tropical adventure and basically unleashing my inner Latina spirit. This year I am going to bring that dream to life and I am planning to visit Cuba. A bucket list destination for me and I’m pretty sure I can tick a few things off my list when I get there – I might even roll a big fat cigar even though I don’t smoke!
For me, the most important part of booking a holiday is where to stay. Yes, I sure like to experience the culture of the country I’m visiting and I will sample any dish you can put in front of me – no matter how adventurous but I still like a little bit of the wow factor as well as my home comforts. I’d rather not go than skimp on accommodation and I’ve had too many bad experiences by ‘doing it on the cheap’. I’ve gone without a holiday for two years to save for this trip. To my utter joy, there’s actually some pretty lush hotels and all-inclusive packages to Cuba on the market right now from reliable names such as Thomas Cook, Thomson and First Choice, and at reasonable prices too.
The selection of accommodation is plentiful and each one looks more beautiful than the next. One or two hotels in particular that are calling out to me. If any of you have already stayed in any of them – I would welcome your recommendations. I love talking to other tripsology members – I’ve picked up some great tips for previous holidays and no matter how good a brochure looks or how many lovely pictures I see, I still prefer a personal recommendation. It’s amazing the titbits you can pick up from social media groups and I’ve made a few new friends along the way too!
So, I plan to head straight for Varadero with direct flights available from Manchester and London Gatwick. And with any luck I’ll be living out my Cuban dream in one of these luxury hotels.
My first choice would have to be the Paradisus Princesa del Mar.
This adults only resort has five a la carte restaurants to choose from – you know I love my food and trying new flavours is a favourite pastime of mine on any holiday and I can only imagine the exotic flavours on the menu here. There’s a whole load of sports and recreational activities going on and something that has caught my eye is the swim up pool bar.
Or, another hot looking place to hang my hat for two weeks is the Royalton Hicacos which sits right on the beach in a stunning location. Here, there’s also a vast choice of things to do – day and night but I have spotted that one of the day-time activities on offer is salsa lessons so this might be a winner for me.
Varadero is Cuba’s top beach resort and lies on the 20km shores of the Hicacos Peninsula – approximately 20-30 minutes’ transfer time from the airport and roughly two hours’ drive from the bustling city of Havana so you’re well placed to combine the heady delights of the sizzling capital with chilling on what is arguably one of the most scenic and relaxing beaches in the world.
If you too decide to venture into Havana – or rather if we can drag ourselves away from beach, an exciting day in this seductive city most surely awaits us. The Cuban capital conjures up images of thick cigars, rum, salsa and sassy Cadillacs.
You can almost hear the rhythms of Havana even just talking about it, and of course, the famous American writer Ernest Hemingway, who loved this place and frequented its many bars. Packed with character and vibrant atmosphere, Havana is surely a must and sparing even just one day out of my two-week holiday is going to be worth the effort. I’ve not decided how I’m getting there yet but I’ll be checking with the local holiday rep or the hotel’s concierge about day excursions or I may check out this local company who offer professional drivers and tour guides and specialise in trips from Varadero to Havana.
Who knows, I may even hire a car and drive there myself if I’m feeling brave enough.
I’m planning to just head straight for Varadero and do a day trip but some of you might fancy more time in Havana, so you could always do a twin centre and spend a night or two in Havana before settling down at your chosen beach resort. Thomson Holidays are offering a nice trip combining a three-night stay at the Memories Miramar in Havana with 11 nights at the Royal Hicacos.
It’s always exciting when you’re planning to visit a country you’ve never been to before and you start to image the sights and sounds of the place and how you’ll feel when you get there but it can be daunting too – especially if long haul travel hasn’t been something you’ve done before. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the dos and don’ts and entry requirements before you go too. Visit the foreign travel advice for everything you need to know if you’re thinking of joining me in Cuba!
I am a travel crazy mother trying to suit the needs of a family of thrill seekers and culture vultures, there’s no where I won’t go. I dream of travel and I live to travel, all whilst holding a day job and organising my family.