Cuba is a place that I go to again and again; it will always be close to my heart.
The first time I went to Cuba was in 2005. It was a special trip. My mother had cancer. I was adamant that when she was well enough to travel my sisters and I would take a trip with her to celebrate life. Varadero, Cuba was my mother’s choice.
Varadero is Cuba’s largest tourist centre. The beaches feature fine sand, warm blue-green water and at times, waves that are great fun to play in. My mother always loved swimming in salt water. We spent most of our time on the beach and in the water. We did take a trip into Varadero on the double-decker hop-on hop-off, bus (a bargain at $5.00). We also hired a taxi and driver to take us to Havana for the day. This is a better and often cheaper way to see the city than a tour bus. Havana has lots to offer and the status as a World Heritage Site is well-earned.
Yo hablo espaňol…muy poco. The staff at the resorts speak enough of many languages to help guests. Attempting to speak their language, even when you do it badly, opens up communication. The staff made sure we had a terrific time. I’m happy to say we still keep in touch with some of the staff we met that first year.
My mother’s last trip to Cuba was in 2009. I always felt very fortunate that we were able to spend time enjoying each others company. Visiting a resort freed us from having to think about everyday things like preparing meals, cleaning the house or going to work.
I have been to Cuba every year since 2005. I have driven across the country from Havana to Holguin and have stayed in 5 star and 2 star hotels. With our Cuban friends we have visited many non-tourist areas, these remain the highlights of our visits, giving our vacations a layer of richness that would not normally have been possible.