Barlovento, Varadero, April 2012
My sister and I went for two weeks to Cuba this year. We stayed at the Barlovento, a small resort on 1st Ave about 1 klm from city centre, near the entrance to Varadero Peninsula.
Barlovento was fine. The rooms were clean, the beach beautiful, the animation crew did get people up and doing things and the evening entertainment was great. The dance troupe was thrilling to watch. It was a pretty chill place. Our Cuban friends were able to join us under the shade of huge trees and we spent many days together enjoying the beach chatting with other beach goers and marveling at the lengths little boys will go to, trying to catch a lizard.
On the downside the resort ran out of wine occasionally, egad! (we brought our own into the buffet with no problem). The food wasn’t the best. I found it worthwhile to wait in the line-up for eggs in the morning and pasta in the evening. These were good but after two weeks nothing to look forward to. We ate out a lot at many of the restaurants around the resort. Some of the restaurants we ate at included: KiKi’s and La Sangria for pizza, LaiLai’s for chinese food, La Casita (which is a treat to eat at-and see all the beautiful antiques including some of interest to Canadians) and Coral Restaurant on the beach by Aquazul.
La Casita had Pierre Elliot Trudeau Liberal posters and a picture of Trudeau on the walls
During one of our weeks there is was a school holiday. It was a highlight of the trip to see all the young people enjoying themselves on the beach. There was a kite surfing business set up on the beach just down from Barlovento and lots of young people were gathered there.
Many also spent time fishing in the canal across from the resort and jumping off the bridge which signals the entrance to Varadero. They had lots of encouragement from their friends in the water and watching from the side of the road.
We took our cameras out to get some photos and met lots of friendly people swimming, fishing or just out for a stroll.
Varadero has changed a lot in the past few years. This year foreigners are able to stay in Casa Particulars in Varadero. Casa Particulars are Cuba’s version of a Bed and Breakfast, and they are springing up all over the place in Varadero. This is great news for people who want to visit the beautiful beaches but prefer not to stay at an all inclusive resort.
Particular Cars are now licensed to take tourists. This allows tourists an opportunity to hire an independent driver who has lovingly restored one of the beautiful old cars that Cuba is so famous for.
Small markets are popping up all over the place as well. Free enterprise is becoming more and more a part of life in Varadero. I think this will benefit the Cuban people, although I would hate to see McDonald’s, ReMax and Tim Hortons springing up across the island.