We felt like we’d put Karen & Mike through enough. Whilst we’re sure they enjoyed their time in Cuba it’s also important to have some down time, with the new school term looming over Karen we aren’t sure anyone wanted another 4 hour squished car journey! That being said… we did in fact take a 4 hour squished car journey to Varadero. It was once again about $100 cheaper than the nice comfortable car so we couldn’t say no.
We pulled up at all-inclusive hotel with an air of apprehension about the resort style holiday. We weren’t expecting the most cultural of experiences but to be frank, absolutely loved every relaxing minute of it! The inside of the hotel had glorious hanging vines dangling from the ceiling down into the lobby. The main bar had an air of class (as much as possible) about it and we were also greeted with a piano bar! Karen & Mike chose well with this one and the facilities included tennis courts, pedalos, windsurfing, all drinks and 3 meals a day included. What a change from living in Betty!
The week wasn’t the most eventful. In fact we didn’t leave the resort once! Swimming in the pool, the sea, reading, playing tennis, eating and drinking is how we field our week and it was brilliant. We did consider doing our PADI whilst we were there but due to the embargo you can’t do a PADI in Cuba! They had an equivalent which we’re sure is just as good but didn’t want to pay the money incase for any reason one day we’d wished we’d got the PADI.
Our time at the hotel absolutely flew, and by the end of it we felt completely recharged and ready to hit the road again. We had an emotional farewell as Mikey’s family headed to the airport we had one extra night in a casa. Luckily this casa restored our faith after our bad experience in Vinales – with an incredibly friendly owner who made us delicious food which was a great change from the mass cooked hotel food! We’d smuggled some beers from the hotel fridge and when we gave them to our hosts as a gift they refused to let us pay for breakfast! We dipped in the humble pool and got our heads down for our return to Mexico.
We only spent another 4 or so days in Mexico upon our return. The Yucatan peninsula is still brutally hot at night and so we were struggling to sleep, and still being over our budget we all but one of the nights in supermarket car parks! We did make time to see the ruins of Tulum however which were stunning. The only coastal Mayan ruins in Mexico, the sea provided a stunning backdrop for the historical trading sight. You can imagine what it would have been like for the first Mayan to see a Spanish ship sailing off the coast….
Finally our 3rd land border crossing happened very uneventfully. Everything was helpfully marked, we weren’t pestered by any ‘helpers’ and everyone spoke English! Although at times this was actually harder to understand than the Spanish in Mexico as the accents can be incredibly thick! Now it’s time for a brief visit to Belize!
It’s been a real pleasure travelling through Mexico, and we’d emplore anyone who’s thinking about it to take the plunge. The people are so welcoming and the country is one of contrasts, with the deserts in the north to the thick humid jungle of the south, the rich busy bustle of the cities and the rural ranches of countryside it has so much more to offer than just the beach resorts. Regarding safety we spent many a night in wild camp spots and have only had one experience where we felt uncomfortable. That’s not to say it’s not a country without it’s issues and dangers but we don’t believe if should put anyone off coming (with the exception of certain states). I’m sure we’ll be back in the future!