This is where I will be posting updates on my everyday adventures on this journey called life.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A Week in Holguin, Cuba

Hi everyone!

As most of you know, I was able to spend a week at an all-inclusive resort in Holguin, Cuba back in July with my mom!  I didn't get a chance to update until now, but it was certainly a memorable trip.  It was our first time at an all-inclusive resort and definitely our first time in Cuba.  My mom had a week off and I was free, so I looked into affordable trips we could take that would accommodate our schedule, and Cuba fit the bill!

I booked our trip via Air Canada Vacations, and everything went smoothly.  We stayed at Memories Holguin and opted for Diamond Club.  We spent the first two days relaxing on the private beach and sipping drinks by the pool, really soaking in the sunshine and what the Cuban resort had to offer.  But we also tend to get kind of antsy, so we booked two excursions during our stay.

The first excursion was the Sun Cruise, which included swimming with dolphins, a catamaran ride, snorkeling in the coral reef, and a lobster lunch (half-day excursion).  Lots of firsts on that excursion, but really fun nonetheless!  Swimming with dolphins was a lot of fun and they were friendly and well-trained.  There were even photographers on-site who would take professional pictures as well as pictures with your own cameras/phones.  The catamaran was relaxing, but snorkeling was definitely one of the highlights.  The waves weren't as calm as they were the day before (according to our guides) so it was a little difficult to get oriented at first.  It took a bit of practice to get used to the snorkel gear and proper breathing techniques, however once I did, what I was able to see and experience underwater will not soon be forgotten.  Unfortunately, my mother had a lot more trouble with the gear than I did and wasn't able to participate in the snorkeling portion.  She still had fun on the excursion though!

The next excursion we went on was the Bay Adventure, which included a catamaran ride, snorkeling on a different reef, a wildlife observation safari on the secluded island, and a buffet lunch (full-day excursion).  To our surprise, we had the same guide!  Alfredo was great and really friendly, so it was certainly a welcome surprise.  The waters were a lot calmer in this reef, and so mom was able to participate!  It still took a bit of practice but she did end up getting the hang of it.  This excursion is only offered about once a week and so it was a bit more crowded than the other one.  The secluded island wasn't that close and so the crew members would dance and entertain the guests on the way (and kept encouraging full-use of the open bar).  After the snorkel session, we went on the island for the observation safari.  The island had hundreds of different species that were introduced to the area, however we were limited in the animals we saw because the weather was too hot for most of the animals to be out.  Our jeep driver was really helpful in slowing down and pointing out animals that were hard to see.  He even brought us to the highest vantage point of the island which overlooked the gorgeous clear turquoise water.  Absolutely breathtaking.

After the safari, we returned to the restaurant for a buffet lunch.  Mostly Italian influenced, however the meat was Cuban inspired.  After lunch, we had 45 minutes of free time to relax on the beach or to spend how we pleased.  Mom and I decided to go horseback riding on the beach!  It was 3 pesos for 1/2 hr and we had a guide who led the horses.  I guess he could tell that I was really enjoying myself because he would click his tongue and my horse would start trotting, resulting in my extreme laughter and struggle not to fall off my horse!  It was such a fun experience and I'm so glad it was one my mom and I shared.  After our horseback ride on the beach, we made a quick stop by the gorgeous secluded beach where a professional photographer was commissioned to take individual pictures of the guests (included in our package).  Shortly after, we were loaded back onto the catamaran to start heading back to our resorts in Holguin.  It was a fantastic excursion and I highly recommend it.

There was also a bus that came by the resort daily to pick up/drop off tourists to Guadalavarca.  There was a beach and an outdoor market, so we decided to go and see what it had to offer.  The market was petite but great to explore, however the beach was crowded and not as pristine as our resort.  We were glad we went though!

On our last day in Holguin, we booked the Hasta la Vista Holguin tour which was a half-day tour of Holguin and ended in VIP access to the airport lounge with priority boarding.  We chose to do this tour because we wanted to experience a bit of Holguin city before we left.  Our guide was fun and knowledgeable and we were able to pick up some last minute souvenirs. The lounge was quaint but it had A/C, food, drinks, and wifi so we were content.  It was a great end to our relaxing week-long stay in Cuba!

Until next time.  Hasta la vista!

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