I just got back from staying at Brisas del Caribe this morning and wanted to let readers know that my stay was amazing. I payed $905 taxes incl for 7 nights from Toronto and booked on my own off itravel (best rate at the time). Not sure if using an agent would help, might try that next time, but I know people that got it for $800 from Toronto and $650 from Ottawa. I also brought $400 in spending money.
After reading review after review about different hotels I opted for Brisas del Caribe as they were a fairly large hotel and it was only my boyfriend and I going (we are in our mid-twenties), they had 24 hr snacks and drinks, and it was a central location in Varadero . Everyone is very friendly and there was a good mix in the crowd of 20s, 30s, families and couples.
Having never been to Cuba before I expected the worst and could not have been more happier with my decision. I think the next time I go I will even down-grade from a 3.5-4* to a 2.5 or a B&B. The culture in Cuba is incredible and much better spent enjoying than living on the resort. If you want to do that I would say go to Mexico.
Just a 10-15 minute bus/moped/taxi will have you into downtown Varadero where you will find restaurants, bars, tourist markets, and other activities. A great day trip with lots to see. It is located about 30 minutes from Varadero airport.
I was expecting the worst after the reviews I read but I was thoroughly impressed, the food was fantastic. Fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, rice, pasta, and overall healthy food. I consider myself a fairly picky eater and I always found something to eat. I also found the food at the buffet much better than the a la cartes.
If you are planning a trip to Cuba, do your research on the history and be respectful while you are there. I brought a printed list of common words and tried to learn new words from the Cuban people when in conversation. All the staff and locals in Varadero and Havana could speak relatively good English. They learn it for us so being in their country we should try for them.
You are not in North America, you are on vacation. Do not expect the level of service that you have at home in Cuba. What I mean by this is that you will not receive the timely service that they aim for at home (ie front desk). They will likely tell you this upon arrival. They are not stressed out people, they are happy people. If anything try and learn from them and respect them.
Housekeepers - 1-3 CUCs per day or gifts (childrens toys, gifts, makeup, nailpolish, electronics, etc)
Guides, drivers - 1-3 CUC
Wait staff, cooks - 1-3 CUC
-Pretty much just give a bit extra with purchases or services, they truly appreciate them but be respectful.
Take the time to get to know people and learn from them. We made friends with a couple of the locals who have invited us back to stay with them and their families. Their warmth is genuine and a real experience unlike Canada and especially the US.
For the party-ers there are places to go at night (although you will be paying extra), the nightly entertainment, and the disco. Although I never went to the disco, the friends I made there went nearly every night and had a great time - a good way to make friends at the resort.
Very safe. Use the same amount of caution you'd use at home and you'll be fine.
Being unable to convert money prior to visiting Cuba, you are able to at the airport (be prepared for a long line), banks, and the hotel.
I exchanged my Canadian money at the hotel and if you do be prepared for a charge. While the rate changes every day, expect to lose a decent amount - I exchanged $100 and got $88.
However, I took money off my VISA card (make sure yours has no US affiliation and that you bring your passport) and there was barely any charge - I asked for $70 thinking I would get $60 and I got $70. My receipt said I paid $72.50 - MUCH less of a charge than what the hotel exchanges for.
Our rep at the hotel had also said there was no difference at local banks versus the bank at the hotel, but there is. In town we could exchange money for nearly no charge as well - just make sure you bring your passport, and also, prepare for a line.
The bank at the hotel is convenient, but i'd recommend taking $ off your credit card.
Rooms are not equipped with converters for 220V but the front desk will charge your cameras, cell phones, etc for you.
Overall it was an incredible trip, I would definitely go again.
- Also Known As:
- Brisas Del Caribe Cuba
- Cuba Brisas Del Caribe
- Brisas Del Caribe Varadero Cuba