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Tuesday 8 Apr 2008
Varadero, Cuba

All inclusive resort AHOY!

Woke up in Habana Vieja to a mad MAD storm.. the like I haven't seen since the tropical storms in Oz. I was NOT a happy camper... was I going to have to face off this kind of weather throughout the two weeks? ... I certainly hoped not.. and luckily today was the last of the bad weather for a good while.

The second thing listed on my itinerary after arriving in Cuba and taking a day to explore Habana was to head off to the all-inclusive-resort peninsula of Varadero for 2 days of pure lazing on a beach.

Now, I'm not the sort of guy that goes for the all-inclusive, tending to think of them as havens of fat, ignorant, rowdy tourists who want to get away somewhere to be noisy and cause havoc to the local population.
(yes I may have seen one-too-many Ibiza Uncovered episodes).

All I wanted was a place to rest my head, and then I would spend the rest of the day on a deserted section of the beach away from the rowdy crowds. I wasn't aware of which other beaches were good in Cuba so I wanted a sure-thing.

I even managed to get a rock-bottom price for am all-inclusive hotel called Sunbeach for 29 euro per night. The reviews for the hotel on the web and the Lonely Planet book were very unfavourable, but after spending 12 months sleeping in a van in Australia, I don't worry too much if the furnishings aren't up to my expectations or the food was crappy.

After a smooth trip on the VIAZUL tourist bus we soon arrived in Varadero. VIAZUL is the recommended way to get around Cuba unless you hire a car... yes that's right you can hire a car in Cuba, and it's a great way to get around since the roads are pretty good! I wouldn't recommend hiring a car in South East Asia, but would defo do it in Cuba next time (although the signage isn't great)

How wrong I was about Varadero! First of all, my hotel was top-notch. 3 star, with great view, TV and AC in room, all-inclusive buffet 3 times a day with as much beer and Spanish wine as you wanted, friendly staff, and all this for only 29 euro per night!

You were identified as belonging to the hotel with a wrist tag, and then were able to order mojitos from the bar at the beach as well.

The tourists staying there were mainly Canadians and Germans, both of whom are nice to have as co-guests since they're pretty quiet and laid-back unlike the Ibiza-going crowd in Spain.

I went swimming in the beach with the perfect white sand and azure water... mmmm

It unfortunately rained later on, whereupon I went up to my room and watched a bit of the TV they had. Station choices were a bit odd: several communist Chinese stations, some russian channel, a few Cuban channels, and er... CNN ...

OK no way I'm watching CNN, so Chinese communist TV it is!

The propaganda on the channel was laughable. It was during the Olympic torch riots in London and they had comments from the "typical Chinese man on the street". The overdub went something like:

"These people are fools and embarrassing their own country. The torch is about bringing together people from around the world", etc etc... and to top it off the end the sentence "Tibet is part of China and will never be separated".

Then spent the next 20 minutes reading out polls from other "people" on the internet saying the same thing.... oh the fun

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Perdido en Cuba de Fidel

Travel blog by peterforan

Swish antique

Swish antique

2 weeks in which I crap-dance salsa-stylee in my own inimitable way; terrorise the Cuban people after one-too-many mojitos and visit bars where they actually ENCOURAGE people to smoke cigars as big as your leg. If I get time I'll take in some culture..

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