Cuba in January was not the best idea for a vacation

Cuba in January was not the best idea we’ve had for a vacation, simply because the weather is not that great. As it is winter in Canada, it is also winter in Cuba, thus there was only one day that we were actually able to sit on the beach, go swimming in the ocean, and sailing. Most other days were spent around the pool out of the wind. Of course no one was swimming in the pool either, since it was freezing but we were out of the wind and occasionally the sun did appear. There was one day where it was warmer in Calgary, Alberta, Canada then it was in Varadero, Cuba because of the chinook winds! We found out that little tidbit of information when we were again spending time in the lobby bar due to the unsettled weather.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My husband and I went to Cayo Coco, Cuba years ago and had a wonderful time at the resort we had chosen for that holiday. When I booked this trip, hubby wanted to stay in a 5 star resort, so I made sure I read review after review, as I searched for a nice place to stay. Well, the resort we stayed at, which was listed as a 5, maybe was a three (I found many other Canadians with the same opinion well we were chatting on departure day – our plane was delayed for hours). Sadly the food was horrid, either undercooked or overcooked. Now since hubby has been sick on other trips, I had him take some Dukoral (Travellers’ diarrhea) before we left. Now I didn’t take any Dukoral myself because I am usually fine, well as it so happened this time I got sick, thankfully it only lasted about 24 hours. Then hubby was sick for two days, so much for the Dukoral. Due to illness we had to cancel two of our dinner reservations. (If you have never stayed at an all-inclusive resort, there are usually 4 or 5 restaurants where you must have reservations for dinner).

I didn’t find the hotel to be all that clean, the floor in our bathroom was never properly washed under the sink or around the toilet. When you did see housekeeping cleaning, their rags were usually filthy. Washrooms never had paper towels to dry your hands, instead a roll of 1-ply toilet paper was stuffed in the dispenser. Try drying your hands with toilet paper – you end up with little bits and pieces stuck to them. From the outside all looks good, but as with many things on closer examination you see the truth.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now there were fabulous parts to our vacation, especially the day trip we took into Havana. I love history, so touring through old Havana was wonderful, except when it cost me $10 Cuban Convertible Pesos for hubby to receive two kisses from official tourism Cubans (our tour guide warned us of this, but apparently hubby wasn’t listening at that time).

Two official tourism people kissing hubby.

At one point we had the bejeebers scared out of us when all of a sudden we heard cannons going off. The cannons were being fired from Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña  in celebration of Jose Marti, father of Cuban independence. Here is a short video of the cannons going off:

More pictures of old Havana:

At the end of the day we had a half hour of free time which most of us spent having a drink in Hotel Ambos Mundos, one of the 1st residence’s of Ernest Hemingway.

one of the 1st residence's of Ernest Hemingway

With that, it was the end of our vacation, of course there was the 4 hour plane delay at the airport, eventually though we made it home after being awake for 24 hours! 🙂

23 thoughts on “Cuba in January was not the best idea for a vacation

  1. anotherday2paradise

    I would love to go to Havana one day, so thanks for the warning about hotel descriptions not quite matching up to reality. Sorry about your bad experience. I’m sure you had some good times too though. 🙂

    Reply
  2. anyaharris

    I’m sorry you were disappointed but am glad there was still some good to come out of your trip – and future plans for a different location. They say a change is as good as a rest? X

    Reply
  3. Actually Mummy

    Oh what a shame! Cuba is on my list of must-visit places and I would just love to spend time in Havana. It’s miserable when you build your hopes up for a great holiday and it turns out to be disappointing. I hope you can get to do something to make up for it soon x

    Reply
  4. Kirsten

    Sorry to hear the weather wasn’t so great. We had a similar trip in August (when you think it would be warmer) and it was cold and rainy most of the time. Just returned from Puerto Rico last week though and the weather was perfect for late Jan/Feb. 80s all week. Loved it. Your pictures are amazing and I hope to go to Havana some day (but probably not the place where you stayed, does not sound so good). : )

    Reply
    1. AlwaysARedhead Post author

      Definitely pick somewhere else to stay. Havana is amazing, I hope you make it there. Puerto Rico is definitely one of the Carribean countries I would love to visit, temperatures in the 80’s or higher are perfect for me.

      Reply
  5. petchary

    Hi Catherine: We are puzzled that you were so chilly in Cuba! Yes, it is winter in the Caribbean (you know we are about 100 miles from Cuba) but it’s not that cold? Maybe the sea is colder there than in Jamaica at this time of year, I don’t know. The temperature here is around 80 degrees, sometimes in the high 70s in evenings or after rain showers… Great photos of Havana though. One day I guess we should visit our nearest neighbors!

    Reply
    1. AlwaysARedhead Post author

      Friends were in Holigan the same time we were in Varadero, their weather was beautiful, whereas ours was not. Basically I should have overruled hubby and booked the Jamaican trip I was looking at. Live and learn, I will always go a lot further south!

      Reply
  6. Reese Speaks

    I’m sorry about your vacation not being what you had hoped it would be. What you did was give us some valuable insight into what to look out for if we were to book a vacation to Cuba. I thought that your pics of your vacation were fabulous, and my favs were of you sipping your drink and your feature pic!

    Where would you stay if you to return for a vacation to Cuba, or has this trip ruined Cuba for you?

    Reply
    1. AlwaysARedhead Post author

      Well we have been twice, so we will travel elsewhere in the Caribbean. The first time we went, we stayed in Cayo Coco (I can’t remember the name, sorry), and it was only a three star all-inclusive resort, yet it was fabulous. Don’t visit in January, March is far better for the weather. It honestly didn’t even don on me that it was winter there, so you are taking your chances with the weather. I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures we took, it was difficult trying to figure out which ones to post! I’m snap happy when I have a camera.

      I do find TripAdvisor to be of some help, re: reviews, but saying that, this resort had a lot of good reviews. Yet, when we were leaving, there wasn’t one of us who didn’t have a complaint, particularly the cleanliness of the place.

      Reply
        1. AlwaysARedhead Post author

          Soon you will be able to travel there, my advice, if you do love history, old buildings, etc, book a few days to look around, maybe one with a tour guide, the other to wander.

          Reply
  7. Pingback: Cuba in January was not the best idea for a vacation | LAB

  8. Izzie Anderton (@IzzieAnderton)

    Sorry to hear the weather wasn’t as kind as it could have been. Your photos make the hotel look amazing and you’d definitely be fooled into thinking it was 5* accommodation. I’ve never been to Cuba but it’s definitely on my list of places to visit. Hope you and Matt are both fully recovered x

    Reply

I'd love to hear what you have to say