Cuba Libre – Varadero

This is the final chapter of our Cuba Libre tour in February/March 2011.  We are now in the ‘all inclusive’ resort of Varadero on the north coast of the island.  Our Cuba experience effectively finished when we arrived here, as Varadero bears no resemblance to the real Cuba.  We are, however, still on holiday so I should complete the story.

When we arrived at the hotel we discovered that the room allocated to us could only be described as awful.  It had previously been used by smokers and smelt strongly of that, when we opened the window to try to clear the air, we were immediately subjected to cooking smells from below and worst of all, the room had absolutely no view at all apart from the walls of the radial spurs of the building.  Our room was right at the root/centre of these spurs.  There is a photo later, which might help explain what I mean.

Since we were going to be here for 3 days, I immediately set off to find our Tour Manager to see what could be done to find another room.  He quickly joined us to inspect our room and immediately suggested we should look at his to see whether we would like to swap.  Obviously, the hotel knew him well and looked after him, because his room was magnificent, right at the end of the spur, with a sea view and a huge balcony.  I felt awfully bad about it, but we agreed the swap anyway.  Thanks Nial.  You were a great Tour Manager.

Here’s one of  the view from the new room.

View from our room

The weather was excellent when we arrived, as can be seen from the first few shots, but it was not to last after the first day.
Pelicans
Fun on the water

Fun at the beach

Why do we take them?

Why do we take these shots?  This was the stairwell of the hotel and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

On the second whole day in Varadero, we decided to take the ‘open top’ tourist bus to investigate the peninsular from end to end.  Naturally we sat upstairs to enjoy the view.  This was a bad idea as it turned out.  The next shot shows the approaching storm.  When it hit it was sudden, the rain was heavy for a while and the wind was fierce.

Everyone dived downstairs, which was already full so it was standing room only.  Never mind, to cheer the passengers up, the bus driver turned up his stereo and a few locals burst into song for the remainder of the journey.

We cut our journey short as the bus passed our hotel on the way inland along the peninsular, to try to salvage our washing that we had left on the balcony.  All gone, although by walking around the grounds dodging falling coconuts I was able to find some of it.

The storm is coming

Stormy weather

By the next day the worst of the storm had passed, although there was still a fair sea running.  The free watersports were still all closed down, so there was no chance of getting a sailing dinghy or sailboard as I had hoped, so we just contented ourselves with a good walk.  Here are a few more images from the area around the hotel.

After the storm
Xanadu Mansion,Varadero, Cuba

Xanadu, which was originally home to the Dupont family.
Hotel Melia Varadero

Our Hotel.
Basking

Coconuts
Cicada Leaf Sculpture

This cicado sculpture was made by one of the staff, with a machette, and presented to one of our fellow guests.

Varadero Sunset
Towel Sculpture

The inevitable towel ‘sculpture’, produced by the chambermaid.  This one made a change from the usual swans.

The remainder of the photos were grabbed on the way back to the airport.

Old Blue Plymouth

Coffee and Cigar

Souvenir shop
Last chance to buy a Cuban flag or Che tee shirt.

Waiting for a train?

Well, that’s it for the Cuba Libre tour.  We thoroughly enjoyed it.  We still have the option of returning to tour the eastern end of the island, though from what we heard from other people we met that had taken that option, the travelling is much more intensive.  I suspect that we have already seen the best of Cuba anyway.

If anyone is interested in following any of our other travels, I intend to do some posts covering a trip we did to Zambia and Botswana in October 2008.  Please keep an eye open for it.

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8 thoughts on “Cuba Libre – Varadero

  1. What a fantastic trip this must have been! I really like the stairwell shot. And the towel swan? is of course rather memorable–perhaps you got the honeymoon suite and didn’t know it 🙂 Best wishes

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    • Thanks for pointing this out. I need to do some repair work because of the way Lightroom publishes to Flickr. If you change or add any tags, then Lightroom republishes, and then the link gets broken. I don’t know how to stop this at the moment. I need to identify all the broken links and repair them. This will take me a little while. Please be patient.

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