Our flight was direct from Montreal to Santa Clara, Cuba. It was scheduled at 5:20PM but was delayed about 15 minutes. The flight at times was bumpy but not enough to be uncomfortable.
Our flight consisted of two wedding parties, both getting married on June 29 and all at the same hotel. The purpose of this trip is to attend our grandson's wedding. Among the passengers was my previous Doctor but I had found another one closer to home once I retired.
We had 3 documents to fill out before getting off the plane and there were to be presented at customs, one of the document is our visitor's visa that must be kept with our passport.
Once we collected our luggage, we proceeded to our designated bus, which consisted of most the wedding guests. Some others went down on another plane and some came from Toronto.
The bus ride was about 1h40min and it was night so we could not see so much, we will get to see this view on our way back to the airport as we will be travelling in daylight.
When we arrived, we were met by the group that has already arrived, so they were able to help us find our rooms. Once we boarded the bus, we were given an envelope that had our room number, room keys, map of the resort, our bracelets to be worn while at the resort, invitation to a cocktail and an invitation to an orientation meeting in the morning at 9:30AM. Our luggage was identified with our room number so they could be delivered. Needless to say the luggage came at 2AM so it was a short night.
We got up early so we could make the orientation meeting, make our reservations for the A LA CARTE restaurants and exchange some money into Convertible Peso (money used in Cuba). We could not exchange our money as we needed our passport (strange but what can I say). So I went back later to exchange my money once I had my passport in hand.
We are allowed to make 4 reservations for A LA CARTE restaurant, but with our group, the wedding counts for one, so we made 3 reservations.
This resort is beautiful and huge, lots of walking. I took a photo of the map so you can have an idea. Our room is 4414 which means we are in building 44, first floor, unit 4. Our unit is handicap accessible with roll in shower, exactly what we needed.
We had breakfast at one of the buffet restaurant called International Buffet "Caibarién" (#13 on the map). It closes at 10AM so there was not much left when we got there.
We had a couple of issues to solve in our room (safe did not work and a spring in our mattress came through). Both issues were resolved within an hour or so. Our mattress was changed.
We then went to the pool, what a beautiful pool, this is the adult pool. You can pick up a beach towel and exchange it as many times as you want, then on the last day you return it otherwise you will be charged $10.
We had some lunch at the Snack Bar "Guarani" (#34 on map). We each had a hamburger and it was very good and pineapple ice cream for desert. This Snack Bar is at the pool and it is a sit down restaurant. We then lounged on some chairs at the pool with the family.
We had reservations at Parrillada Grill "Los Siboneyes" (#18 on map) at 8:30PM. Very nice open air restaurant with a fixed menu, with shrimp cocktail, soup, surf & Turf for main course and a flambé cake for desert. They served bottle water and wine. You could get any drink that you wanted.
The show, at the theatre, which was the men vs the women. They have 4 of each on the stage that performed various tasks. The women won by one point. It was fun to watch.
With all the heat and sun today and travelling yesterday, we are still a little tired, so we said good night to the kids and walked back to our A/C room.
We got up late this morning, did not have a good night but ok now. It is sunny and very hot.
We went back to the pool and ate again at the Snack Bar "Guarani" (#34 on map). The food is good, there is a nice breeze and you can watch the people in the pool and also the sun worshipers. There are also a few topless ladies. My great grandson pointed one out to me.
Took a dip in the pool, it is so nice, the water is warm but slightly cooler than the air. Most of the kids got burned yesterday, I am staying covered.
We went back to the room to cool off. Since we got up late, I guess we missed the maid service today. Oh well!!! While in the room, our maid came, her name is Aimy. She cleaned our room, change the sheets, washed the floor. She is very nice.
We are dinning out tonight at another restaurant called Romantic Restaurant "Isabel & Fernando" (#16 on map). Very romantic restaurant with a pianist and clarinet. We had Chateaubriand as our main course, it was good but we have had better.
The show tonight was a magician and dancers which consisted of one magic act alternating with a dance act. It was pretty good, better than the show last night.
After the show we headed back to our room for the night. As we were going to bed our A/C stopped working, so I called the front desk and we had someone here fixing it with in 8 minutes, fantastic service so far.
Another relaxing day at the resort. It is still hot and humid. We slept in again this morning.
Once we got ready we went over to the pool to have lunch again at the Snack Bar "Guarani" (#34 on map). Some of the kids were all ready there having their lunch. One thing that is good is the poutine (very similar to the one we get at home). Their hamburgers are very good also and we had a plate of fried bananas that taste like chips.
The pool was nice a refreshing and their was a nice cooler breeze today, which was much appreciated.
The kids go between the beach and the pool. I did walk over to the beach to take some photos, saw the gazebo where they do have weddings, but since we are 55 attending there is not enough room for everyone, so the wedding will be held in a secluded part of the lobby. As for the beach is beautiful and the water is that turquoise colour and very clear but it is not conducive for a scooter so we stay at the pool.
We went back to our room for awhile and watch some TV, then our TV died. Call the front desk and within an hour we had a replacement TV. They give very good and fast service.
Tonight we have no reservations for a restaurant, so we will be eating at the buffet with the kids. The buffet is called International Buffet "Caibarién" (#13 on map). It is quite an extensive buffet. The kids got 3 tables of 4 so we could all eat together. There is everything at the buffet, pasta bar, carving station, grill station plus other areas where you could just pick what you wanted. There is also a bread station, salad and sushi station and desert station. We ate well, had a bottle of red wine with dinner.
After supper we went back to the lobby, the show tonight was a beach party, so we did not go. It had rained during dinner so would think that the mosquitoes would be out in force on the beach. We gathered with the family near the bar in the lobby.
We turned in before 11PM. We had a very nice day.
Today is the big day, the reason we are all here in Cuba, Charlie and Krista's Wedding. There wedding is taking place at 3PM in a secluded area of the Lobby, it is like an island as there is water surrounding that area. The hotel covered the chairs with while linen and blue bows, they had decorated flower pots at the entrance and at the beginning of the walk way.
We took lots of pictures of family before the bride arrived.
We were then seated for the arrival of the bride. Her father walked Krista down the aisle, she looks so pretty, beautiful wedding gown, hair just perfect and her face just beaming with happiness.
Once the ceremony started, it was all in Spanish with a translator for some of the vows. The couples witnesses needed to speak Spanish in order to stipulate that the bride and groom were aware of what was being said.
Once the bride and groom kissed their was a champagne toast to the couple.
Then lost of pictures were taken with different groups. The whole ceremony was nicely done.
The reception will start at 7PM at Snack Bar "Guarani" (#34 on map), the snack bar will be transformed into a beautiful restaurant. They did up the snack bar as a fine restaurant for a wedding with white covers and pink ribbon on each chair. The grooms chair had a white ribbon. The bride was so beautiful in her wedding dress, which had to be hot as it is very hot in Cuba. We did get a gentle breeze frequently which helped. All our family were all seated together and we were near the head table which had only the bride and groom. They had brought the flowers from the wedding to the reception which was a nice touch. We had a salad, duo cream soup (half was tomato and the other half was potato cream), the entrée was surf & turf (the beef was very good) and the desert was a beautiful wedding cake. The whole meal was very delicious. We could drink anything we wanted, we had red wine.
There was all the speeches, then the first dance, then the throwing of the bouquet and guarder. There was dancing until 10:30PM.
We got up late this morning then headed to the Snack Bar "Guarari" for breakfast. Today being my birthday, all the kids are wishing me Happy Birthday, which very is nice.
We stayed at the pool for awhile but most of the kids are spending their day at the beach so we came back to our room, it is really hot out there.
We will be eating at the buffet. The buffet is called International Buffet "Caibarién" (#13 on map). The food is good at the Buffet, we had turkey and pasta with red wine.
The show tonight was "Cuban dancing & singing", very colourful, very entertaining.
We again headed to the Snack Bar "Guarari" for breakfast, they have a good breakfast and we are served.
Went swimming for a while in the pool before returning to our room where there is A/C.
Tonight we all have reservations at the Beach Ranchon & Sea Food Restaurant "Los Caribes" (#19 on map). The whole family was there, unfortunately they could only seat 12 at a table and we were 14, so we sat at a table next to theirs. This restaurant has a nautical feel and is open air. The food was very good and so was the service. Their was a group of 3, 2 playing guitar and one singing. They would go from table to table.
The show tonight was called "Fantasia" which consisted of little parts of Disney movies, they were lip singing and dancing. It was all right, they do their best.
Our check out was at noon, so we called for the porters to pick up our luggage and proceeded to checked out at the lobby. We waited in the lobby until the buses arrived. Of course they were late, we were scheduled to leave at 2:10PM but got on our way by 3PM.
The drive back was more interesting as it was daylight. We had a 48km drive on the peninsula before hitting the main land then another 52km to Santa Clara where the airport is located.
The homes look so poor, lots of bars on windows and doors, even the apartment buildings had bars all around the balconies. We saw a lot of horse drawn buggies, bicycle taxis, loose animals, old cars.
We got to the airport by 4:30PM and our flight was at 7:10PM. The check-in went smoothly and we were off on schedule.
Our flight was smoother then when we went down. Immigrations went fast and we got our luggage, shuttle to our van and was home by 1AM.
We had perfect weather and very hot, the resort is absolutely beautiful. Our room was very nice and clean, sheets and towels were changed and floors washed every day. The beach, according to our family was the best beach and of course the pool was beautiful, big and very clean and clear water. Lots of loungers so no problem to get one. The food was good, service great and the entertainment was just ok. The Wedding was excellent all around, the bride and groom look so happy. It was sure a beautiful place to have a wedding.
If you want a place to relax, do beach and pool, this is the place for you. For us, since we can't go to the beach because of the scooter, we still prefer cruising.
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