Trust me when I say that once I reached my mid-twenties, I thought I would never go to an all-inclusive resort again… Especially over Spring Break. But that’s exactly what I did just a few weeks ago when I went to Varadero, Cuba, and my perceptions were flipped.
There are a lot of negative connotations that are associated with all-inclusives; the food is bad, there are no chances to explore, and the service is poor. But the reality is that those things are just not true and like all vacations, it’s what you make of it. All-inclusive resorts like the Memories Varadero Beach Resort I stayed at are great for a variety of reasons and while they may not be for everyone, they are suitable for a lot of people.
Plus, right now, Cuba is a super affordable destination for Canadians in terms of accommodations, food, and excursions. A short 3-hour flight from Toronto doesn’t hurt either.
Where to Relax in Cuba
It’s the reason why most people take vacations and it’s easiest done at an all-inclusive like Memories Resorts. The stresses of everyday life are taken right off your back, with all of your meals provided at the buffet and a la carte restaurants (for carnivores and vegetarians alike), an affordable on-resort spa, activities planned, and of course, unlimited drinks.
And for those who think all-inclusive resorts are loud, messy, free-for-alls, think again. Memories Varadero offered two pools: one quiet for those looking for ‘me’ time and a party pool for those who really want to let loose. For ultimate relaxation, upgrade your wristband to Diamond Club which offers access to secluded areas, private bars, and discounts on spa packages.
Where to Eat
I think most people will agree that the best part about all-inclusive resorts is not having to cook or clean a single dirty dish. The buffet is open almost every hour of the day and full of mouth-watering options. For those hard-pressed times when the buffet is closed, you can always rely on the snack bar, which at Memories Varadero, was open 24/7.
A la carte restaurants are also an option for when you can no longer buffet all day. Memories Varadero has plenty with Japanese, Mexican, Italian, and Cuban eateries at your disposal.
Where to Mingle
Making new friends on vacation is daunting and of course, it’s not for everyone. But if you are willing to mingle, whether you’re traveling alone, as a couple, or with a group of friends, meeting new people is easy. Scheduled resort activities like salsa, volleyball, and aquafit act as ice breakers, and the activities staff at Memories are so great at connecting visitors from around the world. While you may think you have nothing in common with the Russian couple sitting three beach chairs down, there’s something (perhaps the alcohol?) that makes Memories such an easy breeding ground for new friendships.
Another myth debunked: if you stay on a resort, you won’t experience the culture of Cuba.
That was my exact thought prior to leaving for my trip but with a Nexus Tours on site, making plans to explore the beauty of the country of Cuba couldn’t have been easier. We opted to go to the beautiful city of Havana which was 2 hours away from Memories Varadero. On the way, we picked up tons of other tourists and had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people.
While in Havana, our tour guide took us around Old Town and explained the rich history Havana has to offer. Beautiful pink, green and blue homes made up the residential areas, while grand colonial buildings and vintage cars make you feel live you’ve traveled back in time. In the city, there were also a plethora of restaurants, cafes, and shops to explore, all at super affordable prices. We ended our tour with a visit to Tropicana; Cuban Cabaret located in the middle of the forest and built in 1939. The show was bold and colourful, with costumes and dancing on-point. Plus, each table got their own bottle of rum, snacks, roses for the ladies and cigars for the men.
Aside from Havana tours, Nexus also offered a variety of other fun and affordable excursions including catamaran adventures and jeep safaris. Best part yet? They pick you up and drop you off right at your hotel, in my case, Memories Varadero, meaning you have the allure of adventure with the comfort of your temporary home.
Have you ever traveled to Cuba? What was your experience like? Tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.