The Tourists Guide to the World: Cuba Edition Part Two

As I’m sure most of you have heard, last week I traveled to Cuba to enjoy some tropical sunshine. As expected, the weather was perfect, the beach was beautiful and the sun was IMG_5572hot! This was my third trip to Cuba, so the resort life is nothing new to me but it never gets old. The major difference between my 3 trips down south was my traveling companions. On my first trip I traveled with a small group of 4 girls, my second trip was large co-ed with about 14 people, and my most recent trip was with just Lucas and I. For more detail on my first two trips to Cuba check out The Tourists Guide to the World: Cuba Edition (Part One).

To give you guys some back story, Lucas and I have been two peas in a pod for about a year and 4 months. So its been a while, but not a super duper long time. Technically this was our first official vacation alone together. So a real fear was that after a week of being stuck together 24-7, we would be bored or argue a lot. Well, good news all around because that did not happen! woot woot! In fact, I think the time away together brought us even closer. We planned ahead and brought lots of things to keep ourselves busy. I brought a book, The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld, see my book review here. I also brought my colouring book and my iPad, loaded with games and tv shows. Lucas also brought his iPad and we brought along a deck of cards. The cards were great to have when we sat in the lobby, especially in the evenings after dinner while we listened to live entertainment. We also passed the time with some people watching and a week long competition called “spot the worst tattoo”. Don’t worry we kept our opinions to ourselves, but between you and me there were a lot of great contenders.


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We didn’t go off the resort at all so sadly I didn’t get to experience any Cuban culture but one day I hope to go back there and do some local living. This time it was all about relaxation and soothing the soul. The beach was stunning and the resort was beautiful and super clean but the rest of the resort needs some work. This place just recently opened and they have quite a few kinks to work out before they can really claim to be a 5 star. The two biggest issues were the towls and the food. They are having a shortage of towels, so we didn’t receive any clean towels all week. And the food is just not great. Instead of cooking authentic Cuban food they attempt to make north american food and really miss the mark. Lucas actually lost weight while we were away because there was so little to choose from and he is skinny enough as it is. I don’t think I would return to this particular resort but you will definitely find me vacationing in Cuba again in the future. Check out some of our pictures below!

How do you keep yourself entertained on vacation?

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The Tourists Guide To The World: Packing & why I suck at it…

As I am leaving for my Cuba vacation tonight(we are leaving for the airport at 3:30 am! woo), I figured that a travel themed post is in order. However, instead of posting about a particular destination I am going to share my opinions on everyone’s least favourite part of the journey: Packing.

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I’m absolutely terrible at packing. I always bring way to much stuff, like WAY to much stuff. I am no expert folder. I’m incredibly ambitious when it comes to my reading list. I believe that you can never have enough sun screen. I do not trust hotel shampoo. Shoes, omg, shoes. See the issue…

EXCEPT!!! I think I may have solved my over packing problem!! Okay, not entirely but I’ve definitely made some headway. Let me share my infinite wisdom with you.

Step One: Write it down. Before I even thought about opening up my closet I got a pen and paper and wrote down everything I wanted to bring. Then I looked at the list and thought “alex, that is a dumb amount of stuff to bring on a 7 day trip” so I crossed off half of the items right then and there.

Step Two: Give it a title. As I pulled things off of hangers I listed, out loud, where I would wear it. “Beach”, “fancy dinner”, “nighttime”, ect. If it didn’t get a title then it didn’t get pulled. And no, “random t-shirt that I might possibly wear” is not an adequate title.

IMG_5458Step Three: Use a small suitcase. No joke, I am using a cary-on case for all my clothing. This wouldn’t work on a longer adventure but it is perfect for a 7 day beach resort vacation. Rule of thumb, if it doesn’t fit in the case it doesn’t make the cut. I also used the rolling method. To be honest, I’m not sure that it saved me a ton of space but I do know that the tiny case method is a winner.

Cheats: I did cheat a little bit. My shoes are in Lucas’s regular sized case… As are my toiletries… And my book (singular, I’m being realistic) is in Lucas’s cary-on bag. But seriously, look how tiny that case is.

All in all, I think my new step by step plan to packing will help me to greatly cut down on my luggage in the future. Anyway, Lucas and I are off to paradise for a week. The timing could not be more perfect, as Toronto got hit with a fresh snow fall today. I wont be updating while I’m away but you can expect lots of new and exciting content when I return next week. Actually, I can’t promise anything. But here’s hoping!

The Tourists Guide to the World: Cuba Edition

Exciting news! Over the weekend Lucas decided that instead of exchanging gifts this year we should drop everything and go on vacation. So I got approved for the vacation time and we booked the trip last night! From January 4th to 11th we are traveling to Cuba! 

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This will be my 3rd time visiting Cuba. Each trip so far has been similar in terms of resort life but very different in terms of travel companions. & as all travelers will tell you, who you’re with can make or break the trip.

The first time I went to Cuba was in May 2011 with 3 of my bestfriends. Katie, Karin & Laura. The four of us have been friends since grade 10 and we are still going strong.

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Karin, Laura, Katie & I. (May 2011)

Whereas the second time, in February 2012, I was with a large group of 14 friends. It was a mixture of men and women. It was a mixture of couples and non-couples. It was a mish-mash of people who just wanted an excuse to go on vacation.

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Top left: Nate, Tour Guide, Me, Palo, Jordan, Rebecca, Jen, Tour Guide, Kim, Jason Bottom Left: Carly, Kat, Karen, Kyle, Max (Feb 2012)

Both trips were amazing, fun and special in their own way. One was not better than the other, just different. But there were pro’s and con’s to both groups, so let me break it down for you.

Cuba With a Small Group

Pros

  • The conversation is always intimate 229240_10150179956578558_1765402_n
  • It is easy to coordinate group activities
  • It is really easy to meet new people

Cons

  • If you are the only person who wants to do something… you’re on your own
  • You have to ask a stranger for help every time you want to take a group photo
  • At least one small argument is inevitable

Cuba With a Big Group

Pros

  • There is always someone new to talk to419090_10150886667949012_1942697123_n
  • Even if you are the only people at the resort, it is still a party
  • There is always someone willing to join you… no matter what you want to do

Cons

  • The couple you are traveling will get in a fight and sides will be temporarily be chosen
  • Two people from the group will hook up and be awkward for the rest of the trip
  • organizing group activities is a mission

Honestly, I really can’t decide which group of travel companions was most preferred. Maybe I just have great friends, maybe I’m an easy going traveler. Who knows…

Share in the comments! Do you have a preferred travel companion number? 

Oh! In terms of what Cuba is like? Well, resort life is pretty standard. Brightly painted hotel rooms with towel swans. Buffet meals. Limitless alcohol. Relaxing by the pool. Tanning on the beach. Swimming in the ocean. Sipping on drinks from the swim up bar. Boat rides and dolphins. Enjoying shows in the evening. Dancing the nights away. Basically it is paradise. Here are some more pictures! Enjoy.