Adventures to have and places to see

Getting there

Day 0

I am a firm believer that vacation starts at the end of your workday, so 3:01 pm Wednesday, January 8th was the beginning of our vacation. Months of anticipation all came down to that pinnacle moment of 3:01 pm. I have a short drive home, and after twenty minutes most of my workday had been washed away with visions of a warm tropical climate for the next two weeks.

We decided to fly out of London Airport (YXU) this time with our usual provider Sunwing. London Airport is so much smaller and easier to deal with than Pearson Airport!

We have family in London so we planned to stay overnight and then fly out on the 9th.

Flight Day

This was the most relaxing trip to the airport we have ever had! Fifteen-minute drive in minor traffic. Our flight was at 10:15 am so we got there at 8:15 am. This flight time was a luxury- usually, we fly out on a 6 am flight and need to get to the airport at 4 am.

Getting through London Airport was a pleasure. It was quick and the staff at the airport were friendly. Even security (although very thorough) was friendly. For this trip, we took both full-face snorkel masks the standard ones. It was funny, at the X-Ray station we had a pleasant chat with the guard about which type of mask was better. There we no epic lines to wait in or anything like that. Once we got our bags checked we grabbed some coffee/tea and waited for the flight. With only four gates to choose from it was very straight-forward to figure out where you should be. The wait was a good time to dream of our vacation, say some goodbyes on Facebook and read on our eReaders. No stress, such a great way to begin our vacation.

Juan Gualberto Airport

The flight was smooth and after a few hours, we landed in Cuba at Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport (VRA).  This is a modern airport, with good amenities. Going through customs was very fast- this may because we were the only flight arriving from London, Ontario. Did we already mention how much we love this airport?

It was funny, I recognized the same search dogs from our Varadero trip a few years before. They happily ran around the baggage carousel sniffing for illegal substances. As far as we could tell they didn’t find anything.

And that was it. We exited the airport in search of our bus.

Arriving at Memories Jibacoa

We skipped the fellows selling beer outside the airport. We expected they would have that on the bus that would take us to the resort. It took us a bit of time to find the bus- but that is typical for us. Give me directions and I will inevitably turn left instead of right. The bus driver was there touching up a stone chip on his bus with a small paintbrush.

Usually, there are lots of people milling around the bus and there is a spokesperson of some kind. Not this time. It was just three couples and no guide (or beer). We started wondering just how isolated this resort might be? Memories Jibacoa has only 250 guest rooms, which was the smallest resort we have ever booked. I always enjoy the bus ride to the resort. Everything is so green compared to the black and white winter we left behind in Canada. Going from -10C to +30C in 3 hours is always a bit of a mind-bender. It was funny, on this trip we did the tourist thing and went to the airport in shorts and sandals. The bus ride was quick, perhaps 45 minutes. It gives you a chance to see some of Varadero too.

Getting registered at the resort went very quickly. Our room wasn’t ready, but that isn’t a big deal. If you look closely at the check-in time it is 4 pm, and we were there by noon. Money exchange and WiFi purchases are all done at the lobby desk which is very convenient. You can purchase more than one hour for internet access rather than a card. We left our luggage in the safety of the lobby and went for a wander around the resort, had some lunch and drinks. It is a beautiful place. Like the reviews said it is small, but it has a nice sized lobby and the grounds are well-tended.  It is a short walk to the beach from any location.

At 4 pm we went back and got our room key and paperwork. We thought there might be a bellhop service, but it didn’t seem to be happening that day. That was fine, it was easy to find our block and room.

The room was as one would expect. Tile floor, colourful bedspread with some painting on the walls. The bathroom was good, there was water and it was hot. There was a small coffee maker there that was similar to a Keurig. It worked really well and made a pretty decent coffee. I used it every day. There was a good amount of closet space, although dresser space might have been a bit spare. It was all good, we unpacked our stuff and everything found a spot. We find that it is best to unpack your items and hang them up when vacationing. Your clothes will stay fresh longer. You can then use your luggage as a hamper of sorts.

We scouted out the a La Carte office but it was too late in the day to book any. We decided to try and do that the next morning. That left us to some drinks in the lobby and watch some of the entertainment. We really enjoy watching the lobby musicians.

Then it was off to the buffet and the evening show. Everything was very good. A long day tends to make for an early night. We made it without incident- all was good with the world!