Blau Veradero, Cuba
I was down for a simple get-away week to relax and just have some fun (Location).
Of note: a hurricane hit the other half of the island while I was there so the weather was great for photography, less so for ocean and beach fun (I didn’t mind). I took my Nikon D80 and a Canon Digital P&S which I had borrowed from my brother:
— Beach & Pool —
Unfortunately, due to the weather, the beach was red-flagged most the trip, but the large pool was a more than acceptable alternative (big, nice, clean pool). The beach itself, when I finally go into it, is about 3-4ft deep for as far as I wanted to go away from the shore, and it’s all white sand. This was good for swimming & playing in, but there is nothing to photograph under the water (such as fish or coral).
— Rooms —
Check-in staff said that I had to wait an hour for my room. They gave me the bracelet and held my luggage. After I came back from quickly exploring the hotel, the room was ready. Got an ocean-view room without even booking it or asking for it. Sweet. Rooms are very nice and clean, and room-service, for when I locked myself out of the safe, was speedy and helpful. Elevators were a bit small and I’d worry about overcapacity in busier times.
— Food —
It’s Cuba, but the food & drinks here were good. Attentive & friendly staff. The a la cartes are definitely worth going to, which was a nice change from my previous Cuban experience.
— Activities & Concerts —
I put them together because the same staff operated these. They were both okay. Nightly shows were better than what was presented in my Holguin trip. Activities themselves and access to them where better in Holguin.
- Aqua Dance
— Day Trips —
I chose to go one of the day trips to Havana. There are several offered. It is a good use of a day and the price is right. My only suggestion is to leave the larger cameras at the resort (DSLR) as there are many Cubans in Havana who want you to take their picture. That’s okay, if you want their picture, and pay them 1CUC for it (its almost like begging). If you’re toting a large camera, you attract more of this attention. Its not too bad but best to take a good P&S instead. Of course, if you want a picture of/with them, feel free, just make sure you pay them, or they will make a very large fuss. Agree on a price BEFORE having your picture taken! There are many other explorations offered at this hotel and I heard good things from guests returning from these trips.
— Varadero Nightlife —
Going to the bars in Veradero is fun for young crowds (<40) and its a good time. Taxi fare there and back was 10CUC for as many people as you could fit in (4). Note: on our return, the drivers where trying to get 15CUC but a quick negotiation and we were down to 10CUC. It’s about a 10 minute ride.
Hotel Bars – This hotel has many bars. Staff are pleasant and quick. If you’re sitting around with an empty glass, they will come by, from time to time, and ask you if you want another and bring it to your table. The late night bar was the beach bar (down at the beach) which is full of fun and laughter but a bit far from amenities and the rest of the hotel.
— Landscape —
Excellent, not a blade of grass or shrubbery out of place. Surrounding the pool is the pool deck with chairs, around that is grass which is on an incline and many, who wish to stay away from the pool, take their pool chairs and drinks and relax on the grass. Between the Beach and the Pool there is a grove with a wooden walkway. This means that you can walk from your hotel room to the beach without stepping on dirt or grass.
— Weddings —
Can’t say much about them beyond that they happen on the beach and at around 6pm (when I was there).
This cute couple got married while I was there. Since I had my camera and nothing else planned, I took some* photos for them and gave them my email address so that I could send them to them after I returned home. Never heard from them… 🙁
*some = 500+, yeah a bit of overkill but it was fun.
— Additional Photographs —