I woke up around 7:30 local time. Amber was not ready to get up so I typed out the beginning of our travel adventure while she slept for another hour. Around 8:30 we began to get up and find the breakfast buffet. We were pleasantly surprised by the room. It’s large and has a great amount of space around the food stations so you don’t feel crowded or like you will be bumped by others who are passing by.
There were many standard fairs; cold cuts and cheese, breads and jams, fruits and veggies, eggs and hash-browns. There was also a crepe and french toast station as well as a smoothie station.
Amber and I had crepes with cinnamon and sugar. I also had some eggs and tons of fruit. There was a great variety that we don’t usually buy at home, papaya, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, and guava. I’ve had guava juice but I’ve never eaten a guava fruit. Well after today I’ve eaten a few.
After breakfast we headed to the lobby for our 10am meeting with our Air Canada Vacation Guy, Miguel. He was helpful and funny. He gave us a rundown of the hotel, what’s included in our stay, like restaurant reservations, told us about optional (extra $) excursions.
At this same meeting was Cindy (crazy Canadian from the night before) and her husband. We talked to Cindy about a variety of things including going on some excursions together, maybe the Catamaran on Tuesday and some other options. Cindy’s just very friendly and outgoing and only a little crazy.
Amber and I took the price list of the excursions and went to sit on some beach chairs and play around with what we wanted to do and what days to do them on, some excursions run each day and some were limited to one or twice a week. We thought about changing the day to do the catamarans, not because of Cindy but because there was a cave party that only happened on Tuesday nights that we wanted to attend.
We decided that we would do the Catamarans on Tuesday with Cindy, and also on Tuesday we would go to the Cave Party, making a very long day. We also wanted to do the Two Cities Tour that went to a number of place son the Cuban mainland. We thought about on Wednesday, but thought that it might not work that day because of the late night in the cave. The tour also ran on Mondays and Fridays. We thought Friday was too close to the end so we could go on Monday. We also wanted to do a Jeep 4×4 tour but it did a lot that the two cities tour did and we may want to customize it.
We went to see Miguel, our Air Canada Specialist. He told us that the two cities and the jeep tour were very similar and if we wanted culture to do the city tour and if we wanted countryside to do the jeep. Amber who does a lot of 4x4ing at home decided she wanted culture and I was happy with that. Miguel also let us know we could book a day at the spa, 3 hours for 52CUC. We were sold.
We went back to the room to seriously plan the excursions and days we wanted to do them on.
We decided that Monday – Two City Tour & à la carte at Italian Tuesday – Catamaran and Cave Party Wednesday – wake up late and do nothing Thursday – Spa Day & Oriental Restaurant Friday – Poolside & BBQ Restaurant Saturday – Check out and hang out until but comes at 7:45pm to take us to the airport
We went back to Miguel again booked everything except for the spa, we thought we may change the day later in the week depending on how we felt.
After everything was booked we headed to the buffet for lunch. The stations had changed into a few new things. There were stations to have fresh meat and fish grilled, there is a fried rice or pasta station, and there is a pizza station. There are also breads, meats, cheese, and other precooked items along the buffet. There was always lots of food to choose from each day.
After lunch we headed down to hang around the pool for the afternoon and begin to work on our tans. I fell asleep, hard. Amber apparently tried to wake me up a few times, even flicked cold pool water at me and tried to tickle my feel. No reaction. She found that if she prodded me a few times and told me to roll over I would do so. I don’t remember any of this, but I didn’t burn, so great for me.
When I woke from my nap we went to the pool bar. I found that I could disguise the taste of rum if I ordered two drinks, one with, one without, and mixed them. We went back and sat by the pool until it got cold. Amber noticed that I had yellow patches of skin, we joked about jaundice maybe, but I’ve done nothing but eat fruit here. WE think it may have been a reaction of the sunscreen and something else.
We went to the room and changed into dry clothes for dinner. The dinner buffet is very similar to the lunch buffet, the stations stay the same and some of the precooked buffet items change. After dinner we went for a walk around the hotel to find the à la carte restaurants we had booked.
Two of the restaurants were in the same area, down a bridge over a mangrove. They shared a building, each on one side of a centre courtyard. We took a quick look but both restaurants were closed so we left quickly. We walked down a path between buildings. In that area we found a small swimming pool with a small amount of chairs around it. On the signs this was called the quite pool. Along the walk we also found a closed dive centre and a lunch only restaurant near the beach.
After exploring we headed to the lobby to buy internet. You get a small card with a user name and password, just like a phone card in Canada. It cost 1.5CUC and you get one hour of time. You log-on and try to access the internet, no connection. You try to log-on again, it may or may not work. After a few tries you get some slow internet. You can’t do much more than message. You may get lucky, if not to many people are on, and be able to upload a picture so show everyone how beautiful Cuba is. Then you try to log-off. This tends to be easier than logging on. If you do not log-off the time on your car continues to be used, even though your not connected to the internet. Over all my recommendations are to expect to be mostly without internet in Cuba.
The lobby bar was the only bar with a drink menu. Here you could see what drinks they made and what was in them. This way I was able to find drinks not full of rum. Most still had rum but had other liqueurs and such to cut the amount of rum. I got a Havana Surprise: Rum, Banana Liqueur, and OJ. A very sweet and fruity drink, just my style.
We watched as at 8:30pm entertainment for the children began. This was in the form of some dance lessons and dance contests. The kids were very cute. After the children’s entertainment was finished they set up for the main entertainment. On Sunday nights this was circus. We watched as was seemed like half trained performers went through stunts they were nervous to perform. It was a good show but the stunts looked dangerous, mostly because of the uncomfortable way the performers acted.
After the show it was back to the room and ready for bed.