As a 27 year old Canadian, I recently took my first trip (unbelievably) outside of North America. Where did I go? Cuba, of course – because that’s where Canadians go! Things may start to change now that the embargo was lifted and Americans are allowed to visit, but for a long time Cuba has almost been a second home in the winter for Canadians.

I thought it was about time I joined the party so I took a week off work and went to Varadero with my girlfriend for an all-inclusive vacation. It ended up costing us about $1200 each with airfare included to stay at a “5 star” resort. In researching different options where we could vacation, it was clear that Cuba was definitely going to be the most affordable.

The flight wasn’t too bad at all. It was only a few hours and Cuba is in the same time zone as Toronto (where I was coming from) so it wasn’t overly tiring. When we got there we had to wait about half an hour for our shuttle bus, but we enjoy the warm weather and had a chance to try the local beer. It tasted great, but pretty much anything would have tasted amazing in that situation since we got off a flight and were pumped for vacation.

It took about an hour to get the resort. It looked nice when we got there, but the room was a little bit disappointing. There was nothing wrong with it “per se”, but just didn’t seem “5 star”; however throughout the vacation, we learned that “5 star” in cuba is more like 3.5 stars in other places.

Overall the resort was very nice. Everyone complains about the food in Cuba and although I wouldn’t say it was the strongpoint, I had no problem finding lots of food to eat every meal. I liked the buffet and the a la carte restaurants each had something tasty to offer. Maybe I was less picky because I was drunk the whole trip.

This was my first time having access to all inclusive alcohol and boy oh boy did I take advantage.  I always had a mojito, pina colada, or cuba libre in my hand! There were very delicious and all the bartenders were great, ready to refill whenever you were ready. PRO-TIP – bring a giant mug that they can refill so you don’t have to keep going to the bar to refill little glasses.

Along with the alcohol, the best part of the resort was definitely the beach. It was the nicest beach I’ve ever been to and it was only a few minutes from our room. The sand and water was absolutely amazing and there was a great setup with beach chairs, umbrellas, and a nearby restaurant and bar.

All of the workers there were excellent from the bartenders to the beach crew to the dj at the disco. I’d definitely recommend the resort, which was called Ocean Varedero!

Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog where I’ll talk about my trips outside the resort in Cuba.Cuba trip vacation