All-inclusive trip to Cuba. Any tips?

posted 9 months ago in Travel
Post # 2
Member
2697 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I went to Varadero about 10 years ago all inc. it was fun.

some things to take / expect. 

Take loads of tampons / sanitary towels and leave those as tips for your chamber maid. Such things can be hard to come by for locals so they appreciate it.

expect the unexpected at meal times. Some foods can be hard to get / maintain constant supply of so you might find some odd combinations at times.

Post # 3
Member
993 posts
Busy bee

I went a few years ago and read somewhere that the maids sometimes would hoard the gifts given by people and sell them to make more money so I’d be skeptical about tipping with gifts.

Alternatively I also read that maids are searched and gifts are confiscated at the end of that shifts.

We just tipped with money to avoid any of that. 

Be prepared to wait awhile once you land. It was really hot and it probably took an hour after getting off the plane before getting on the shuttle to go to the hotel. Maybe you’ll be lucky. I dont remember why the wait was so long for us. Having something to drink with you might be beneficial. 

Post # 4
Member
1417 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

mrs_mnv :  I’ve been to Cuba many times (everywhere but Varadero!) and it is one of my favourite places to travel to! We haven’t been since early 2017 since we started TTC.  My favourite resort is Melia Cayo Coco 😍.

The Cubian people are the nicest and proudest people I have ever met when travelling. I would not bring gifts as tips, I would tip in CUC for good service. 

I would bring everything and anything you would need for a trip (including extra sunscreen and bug spray as these types of items can be next to impossible to find and when you can find them down there they are super over priced). 

If you have any specific questions you can send me a PM and I am very jealous!

Post # 5
Member
993 posts
Busy bee

Oh and if I remember correctly it was easier to exchange American currency than Canadian. So bring US funds to exchange. 

Post # 6
Member
1417 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

mrspuppylove :  no you are mistaken – bring CAD. There is a 10% surcharge on the exchange if you use USD (and some cadeca will not even take USD) and American issued credit cards are also not accepted in Cuba (visa is fine, American Express etc will not be accepted). 

Edited to add link

https://www.tripcentral.ca/blog/bring-cuba/

Post # 7
Member
117 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

We brought cans of nuts and Pringles and they were really great for when we were hungry on the beach or as a late night snack. The food in Cuba isn’t the best so it’s nice to have something familiar to snack on. 

Post # 8
Member
1344 posts
Bumble bee

I would strongly advise getting Twinrix and Dukarol from your doctor if you haven’t had it done before.  The last thing you want to worry about is getting really ill on your trip.  I always brought along little gift packages I made for the housekeeping staff and also USD currency for tipping…did not know that gifts get confiscated.  I hope that doesn’t happen at every resort.  Also bring sunscreen, after-sun lotion, beach hat, meds, etc.  We love Cuba!  Always had a great time there and hope you will too!

Post # 9
Member
1417 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

Definitely agree about twinrix vaccine for hep A and B. When Dukoral came out I asked my pharmacist about it for Cuba and he said it wasn’t necessary if you are going to an AI resort (but if you were on an “off the beaten path vacation” where you could be unknowingly drinking sketchy water it would be a good option to protect against cholera.

Also make sure your tetanus is UTD. The second time I went to Cuba we arrived after dark and went down to a beach I had never been on. Walking in the dark, under the stars (think romantic beach walk upon vacation arrival) I totally tripped over a boat mooring and skinned both my knees (did not need stitches thankfully), but I’ll never do that again 😂. We always bring our entire first aid kit whenever we go to AI resort now!

also I agree about bringing some healthy snacks – we bring fruit bars, nuts, trail mix, etc.

And most important if you’ve never been to an AI before … bring an insulated travel mug for your alcoholic beverages! 

Post # 11
Member
63 posts
Worker bee

Haven’t been to Varadero but to Cuba a few times-

Do check out Havana, do go snorkeling. Bring your own gear- it will fit better and on the off chance they don’t provide new ones. Don’t expect excursions to be inexpensive. Expect to pay Canadian prices. I have been on relatively inexpensive snorkel trips- $50ish. 

Don’t go for the food. If you like basic fresh prepared food you will be fine ie grilled meat and whatever veg is in season. If you like meat you’re probably set. Hit up the omlette bar for a good breakfast. Try whatever fruit is fresh. Get your calories from the drinks! Find the coffee bar and have a cappuccino- the coffee there is good! Have a Cuba Libre- yum. Buy some 7 year Havana club- yum. 

Bring lots of sun screen- buying goods at the resort is expensive- like $20 a bottle. 

If you like sweets you might be dissapointed. Likewise for snacks. Bring chips/candy from home if you want to enjoy that on vacation.  Likewise if you are  partial to hot sauce or ketchup- not a tonne of spice to be had at the resort I went to.

Don’t be afraid to stumble through in Spanish- people are nice. 

Rock a bikini- and not a modest one, you shouldn’t feel out of place! Bring a few bathing suits. 

If you come in a bus split up when you get there- one of you head for the desk, one for the luggage- beat the rush to check in. Or be laid back- you’re on vacation!  

Something might be broken in your room, if you call and it doesn’t get delt with tell your vacation rep- air canada vacations/sunwing whatever the next time you see them and they can help get it sorted.

Enjoy- I’m jealous!

Post # 12
Member
318 posts
Helper bee

Cuban food can be hit or miss, definitely bring some snacks of your own. Also really recommend Imodium or other diarrhea drug! Travel first aid kit with drugs and Polysporin. Tip with money, and take CAD instead of USD (they’ve refused to take USD from me before). Check your room for bedbugs, broken door locks and the like as soon as you get in. The beach and the water in Cuba is fabulous – enjoy it!

Post # 13
Member
3114 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2016 - Surfer\'s Beach, Grand Cayman

Bring hot sauce/ketchup if you are used to using them. 

Post # 14
Member
301 posts
Helper bee

Two words: Mosquito repellent! I got eaten alive when I went down there! Totally worth it though 😛

Post # 15
Member
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

Great tips ladies – I have been wanting to go to Cuba for a while and I’m finding these tips helpful as well.  OP I hope you had a great vaca – It would be great to read about your experience. 

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