We live in Canada where we have long, cold, grey winters. But I need sun. And my family needs sun. We also need a break from the responsibility and monotony of life, so we try to book a getaway every winter.
This year we went back and forth between a “choose your own adventure” or an all inclusive. We usually prefer choose your own adventure, but an opportunity came alone last minute to travel with friends and family for a really good price. So, where did we pick?
Playa Blanca Resort in Cayo Largo, Cuba.
The full vlog of our vacation is above, but here are a few highlights if you plan on visiting this island!
No. 1: It is tiny, remote and consequently quiet.
If you are looking for shopping, action or excitement, Cayo Largo is not the place for you. Very few people live on the island, it is mostly made up of resorts, so there are no schools. In fact we hardly saw any cars, we mostly saw buses for transport and the tourists on 4 wheelers and scooters.
No. 2: It is SAFE.
Because it is so quiet, with so few people around, we felt very safe.
No. 3: The beach at our resort was NOT for swimming.
We had to take a FREE bus and boat to the public beach (total transit time about 20 minutes) the beach was beautiful, and although our resort didn’t have swimming the boardwalk to visit the beach and sit and listen to the waves crashing was one of our favourite things to do.
No. 4: There are a lot of bugs that bite.
Apparently they are called No-See-Ums and we came home covered in bites that were insanely itchy! Make sure you pack bug spray and wear it ALL the time. We got bit all day and it didn’t matter where we were.
No. 5. It’s not fancy. It’s a cheap and cheerful getaway!
It was a last minute deal, and we laid under $4500 CAD taxes in for all five of us. I am sure that price fluctuates. Playa Blanca is not a five star, more like a three to three and half star.
No. 6: Choice is limited.
I have found this to be true for Cuba in general. There isn’t a lot of choice in terms of food, clothing, and overall products. (But our kids LOVED the donuts).
No. 7: Renting four-wheelers was so fun!
We paid $27 CUC for four hours and we roamed the island and explored everywhere. (Note: $1 CUC = about $1.25 CAD.) We actually ended up doing it twice because we loved it so much! It was my personal highlight of the trip because it was a nice break from the resort and fed the choose-your-adventure approach I love so much when we travel.
No. 8: Iguana Island and the starfish beach is a great day trip.
There are day tours available. If you are a scuba diver there is a dive centre there. We rented a private catamaran with our group of 30 and visited Iguana Island, snorkelled visited the natural pool beach which was full of starfish. We had two locals on the boat, one cooked us a lobster lunch! (And ALL of the drinks were included.) For the five of us it cost about $375 CAD (or $295 CUC).
No. 9: The Sea Turtle sanctuary is incredible!
To be able to touch, hold, feed and watch sea turtles was amazing. They are a magical creature and we loved visiting the sanctuary. It cost $2 CUC per person ($2.50 CAD) which was a donation to the centre. There was also wee hatchlings which were adorable!
No. 10: The wifi was very limited and you had to pay to use it.
But maybe this was actually the best part of all! Disconnect from your devices and connect to your family!
Family memories are invaluable. Wherever you go, it’s your mindset on how that trip will be remembered. We had a truly wonderful family vacation because we were forced to slow down and be present with each other.