14 Nights Cuba, ALL INCLUSIVE, 4-Star Hotel  [The Memories Paraiso] + Return Flights from Manchester £637.00pp @ Thomson
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14 Nights Cuba, ALL INCLUSIVE, 4-Star Hotel [The Memories Paraiso] + Return Flights from Manchester £637.00pp @ Thomson

57
Found 30th Apr 2017
The Memories Paraiso clocks up the numbers. It’s got five bars, three restaurants and a long list of sports and activities.

This place has touches of Spanish colonial design. You’ll spot stained-glass windows indoors, thatched roofs outside, and lots of terracotta throughout.

The complex shoulders an endless stretch of white sand. The shoreline is a springboard for catamaran trips, and snorkelling sessions in the Caribbean Sea.

Travel Dates: Tue 16 May 2017 to Tue 30 May 2017
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We found that even though we went all inclusive you had to tip well to get even a drink at the bar, just ignored you if they could not see money in your hand. Would not go again.
amazon54

We found that even though we went all inclusive you had to tip well to … We found that even though we went all inclusive you had to tip well to get even a drink at the bar, just ignored you if they could not see money in your hand. Would not go again.


If it really was that bad/, id hold the money up, get the drink, say thanks, put the money back in my pocket and walk away. Cheeky beggars.
57 Comments
Original Poster
http://i.imgur.com/ey0xFuU.jpg
Unfortunately this has bad reviews on trip advisor
Just come back from Cuba. Lovely place, great people. I spent 3 days in Havana, and 11 days in Varadero. Realistically it would have been better to have done 4 days in Havana and 6 days in Varadero. The hotels i stayed in were Iberostar Parque Central and the Blau Varadero. Just be aware it isn't a cheep place, and you will be very suprised/shocked at the lack of basic retail therapy including supermarkets. I also went through Thompson.
We found that even though we went all inclusive you had to tip well to get even a drink at the bar, just ignored you if they could not see money in your hand. Would not go again.
This must depend very much on the hotel. Generally we didn't wait to be waited on ie we went upto the bar. We tipped the staff on our last day we felt gave great service about £5 each. Total in tips about £30 to £40 in total. I know this my seem not a great deal however I felt I had paid to be all inclusive and shouldn't be expected to pay tips every time.

hubcms

Just come back from Cuba. Lovely place, great people. I spent 3 days in … Just come back from Cuba. Lovely place, great people. I spent 3 days in Havana, and 11 days in Varadero. Realistically it would have been better to have done 4 days in Havana and 6 days in Varadero. The hotels i stayed in were Iberostar Parque Central and the Blau Varadero. Just be aware it isn't a cheep place, and you will be very suprised/shocked at the lack of basic retail therapy including supermarkets. I also went through Thompson.


how did you find the blau varadero we are there in sept this year very similier to your hols 3 days at the telegrapho hotel havana then 11 nights in the blau ?
excellent!! cheers!!
amazon54

We found that even though we went all inclusive you had to tip well to … We found that even though we went all inclusive you had to tip well to get even a drink at the bar, just ignored you if they could not see money in your hand. Would not go again.


If it really was that bad/, id hold the money up, get the drink, say thanks, put the money back in my pocket and walk away. Cheeky beggars.
hubcms

This must depend very much on the hotel. Generally we didn't wait to be … This must depend very much on the hotel. Generally we didn't wait to be waited on ie we went upto the bar. We tipped the staff on our last day we felt gave great service about £5 each. Total in tips about £30 to £40 in total. I know this my seem not a great deal however I felt I had paid to be all inclusive and shouldn't be expected to pay tips every time.



I have been extensively around Cuba, albeit not to a western inclusive hotel. I can speak Spanish some what, so have spoken with Cubans at these places. Cubans working in leisure already receive a very decent wage. They can earn their monthly government wage in a few days working as a waiter etc.

Tipping really isn't a thing outside of resorts. Maybe in a restaurant (for decent service like here) you would but for drinks no. You shouldn't be inclined to tip, many of these cubans are just greedy and want to buy a better phone etc. Unfortunately, especially American and Canadian tourists, see it as a given so fuel this quasi-begging which staff then come to accept.
Edited by: "mafialeader" 30th Apr 2017
stuwbafc

how did you find the blau varadero we are there in sept this year very … how did you find the blau varadero we are there in sept this year very similier to your hols 3 days at the telegrapho hotel havana then 11 nights in the blau ?


Excellent, however as I renewed my wedding vows they upgraded our room free of charge. What I will say is ask for a room at the rear as from my understanding from speaking to other guest the front is still due refurbishment. My overall all rating for my stay would be 9.5 out of 10 for the hotel. What I will say is there isn't loads to do and like I said previously 7 days there would have been plenty unless you really like pool and beach life. You will only get WiFi in hotel lobbies and parks. These you buy a scratch card and cost approximately £1 to £2 an hour, and expect it to only work for 20 minutes lol! Unless you really need to use your phone I would recommend using a watch and good cheep digital camera while out and about. Also take loads of suntan lotion as it cost about 3 times the price and you can go red very quickly over there plus take some Jungle formula insect repellent.
Also just to warn you some of the excursions will involve a lot of coach travelling time so ask the rep about this and make sure it includes all the pick up and drop off times.
hubcms

You will only get WiFi in hotel lobbies and parks. These you buy a … You will only get WiFi in hotel lobbies and parks. These you buy a scratch card and cost approximately £1 to £2 an hour, and expect it to only work for 20 minutes lol!



Which is fantastic, as you can enjoy yourself and unwind without going on Facebook or getting pesky work emails!
hubcms

Also just to warn you some of the excursions will involve a lot of coach … Also just to warn you some of the excursions will involve a lot of coach travelling time so ask the rep about this and make sure it includes all the pick up and drop off times.



Too true we went on a trip and because they were running late we missed spending some time at some water falls. They said you have 5 mins to get in and back to the coach. Oh and that was not included in the cost, even though stated on the booking form so we told them forget it and paid them nothing. Put's a real damper on you holiday. People trying to rip you of all the time.
mafialeader

I have been extensively around Cuba, albeit not to a western inclusive … I have been extensively around Cuba, albeit not to a western inclusive hotel. I can speak Spanish some what, so have spoken with Cubans at these places. Cubans working in leisure already receive a very decent wage. They can earn their monthly government wage in a few days working as a waiter etc. Tipping really isn't a thing outside of resorts. Maybe in a restaurant (for decent service like here) you would but for drinks no. You shouldn't be inclined to tip, many of these cubans are just greedy and want to buy a better phone etc. Unfortunately, especially American and Canadian tourists, see it as a given so fuel this quasi-begging which staff then come to accept.


I'm surprised there is an overabundance of American tourists in Cuba causing trouble.
I shouldn't laugh the only rude people we met there were Americans.
hubcms

Excellent, however as I renewed my wedding vows they upgraded our room … Excellent, however as I renewed my wedding vows they upgraded our room free of charge. What I will say is ask for a room at the rear as from my understanding from speaking to other guest the front is still due refurbishment. My overall all rating for my stay would be 9.5 out of 10 for the hotel. What I will say is there isn't loads to do and like I said previously 7 days there would have been plenty unless you really like pool and beach life. You will only get WiFi in hotel lobbies and parks. These you buy a scratch card and cost approximately £1 to £2 an hour, and expect it to only work for 20 minutes lol! Unless you really need to use your phone I would recommend using a watch and good cheep digital camera while out and about. Also take loads of suntan lotion as it cost about 3 times the price and you can go red very quickly over there plus take some Jungle formula insect repellent.


thanks very much for the info it will come in very handy would you recommend any excursions to do ?
seems to cheaper now £560
Yes and No. All of them and non of them. Sounds stupid I know, however you will find they are very good at making something out of nothing. Things we would be too embarrassed to consider as part of a day out they consider with great pride. What makes these trips is seeing towns and villages that you would otherwise never see and meeting Cubans. The best I found though was an hour trip in an old American convertible round Havana by George, as much as it was about the sites, it was about talking to him about his country. What I will say is when I left I was pleased to come home, but couldn't help feeling a great sense of Cuban pride. If I had to stranded on a desert island with a broken plane then I really would hope for a Cuban to be with me, as they could probably even get the native pigs to fly!
Edited by: "hubcms" 30th Apr 2017
hubcms

I shouldn't laugh the only rude people we met there were Americans.


TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Tourist travel to Cuba remains prohibited. You must obtain a license from the Department of Treasury or your travel must fall into one of 12 categories of authorized travel. See ENTRY, EXIT & VISA REQUIREMENTS below.
We paid for the Visas as we were told they were not included, about £15 each I think, then we received two free ones from Thompson, so check with your tour operator. You must keep them for your return flight.
Unfortunately this 'demanding' of tips seems to be becoming all too common in many places, and all down to the irresponsible act of tipping in the first place, with the Americans being the biggest culprits. I will stick to my no tipping philosophy (both home and abroad) and at least feel comfortable in that I am not contributing to this bad practice, which many people in poorer countries are unhappy with as it eventually distorts the economy.
stuwbafc

thanks very much for the info it will come in very handy would you … thanks very much for the info it will come in very handy would you recommend any excursions to do ?


Best thing you can do is to hire local taxi which usually parks outside of hotel... they usually have some trips to offer, you will see much more without any rush
mafialeader

I have been extensively around Cuba, albeit not to a western inclusive … I have been extensively around Cuba, albeit not to a western inclusive hotel. I can speak Spanish some what, so have spoken with Cubans at these places. Cubans working in leisure already receive a very decent wage. They can earn their monthly government wage in a few days working as a waiter etc. Tipping really isn't a thing outside of resorts. Maybe in a restaurant (for decent service like here) you would but for drinks no. You shouldn't be inclined to tip, many of these cubans are just greedy and want to buy a better phone etc. Unfortunately, especially American and Canadian tourists, see it as a given so fuel this quasi-begging which staff then come to accept.



May need some advice about travelling around Cuba (not in resorts) and staying in small casas. I am going at Christmas for around 10 nights.
Snooki

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:Tourist travel to Cuba remains prohibited. You must … TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:Tourist travel to Cuba remains prohibited. You must obtain a license from the Department of Treasury or your travel must fall into one of 12 categories of authorized travel. See ENTRY, EXIT & VISA REQUIREMENTS below.



Or you can just fly to Mexico and onto Cuba. Yes a lot of americans travel in groups, government approved, but I also know/have met lone travellers who were fine. Cuban immigration won't stamp their passports. Also under Obama at least, the administration really didn't care and were only prevented by easing travelling by the republican controlled congress. So I don't know about now.
rachelandgromit

[quote=mafialeader]May need some advice about travelling around Cuba (not … [quote=mafialeader]May need some advice about travelling around Cuba (not in resorts) and staying in small casas. I am going at Christmas for around 10 nights.



Quick things:
Accomadation
The lonely planet is fantastic for finding accommodation. Often we would rock up to a place, turn up at a casa and stay there. However, you can be more organised and phone ahead. There is one or two hostels in Havana where most european backpackers start, if you're by yourself.

Travel
If you're travelling city to city, viazul buses are great to get around. If you are with a few people, you can share a 'collectivo' taxi which is normally an old american car and is sometimes cheaper but is also quicker. Depends on the route. From havana, you can get some buses from government travel subsidiaries which are sometimes cheaper than viazul though (bookable from hotels such as Hotel Plaza).

Miscellaneous
-Atms are available - can be a bit time consuming trying to convert cash (but you can convert GBP notes).
-You buy internet cards, which only work where wifi hotspots are (look for all the young adults on the mobiles!)
-Eating at your casa will not only be cheaper than a restaurant, but the food is normally good by cuban standards. Again for food, the lonely planet has good recommendations.
-Download googles offline maps of cuba, will help when you're trying to find places of interest etc.

I would personally recommend visiting Trinidad for a few days. It has amazing beaches, rainforests with waterfalls, a nice old town, good restaurants and a spectacular club which is located in a cave!
Snooki

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:Tourist travel to Cuba remains prohibited. You must … TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:Tourist travel to Cuba remains prohibited. You must obtain a license from the Department of Treasury or your travel must fall into one of 12 categories of authorized travel. See ENTRY, EXIT & VISA REQUIREMENTS below.


All the loud, drunk, rude people that we came across were Canadian
Cuba is a beautiful country. Me and my Mrs went about 6 years back though so a while back so a lot has probably changed. Namely Americans weren't allowed over but a lot of Canadians take holidays there. Nice bunch of people. They also had (not sure If still applicable) 2 currencies. Convertible pesos and local pesos. One was for tourists and the other for the residents of Cuba. Cuban people in general are very welcoming but be wary of excursions you will probably be followed by many people trying to get money by taking your photo or some other means. They're not harmful but could be intimidating to some. We stayed in holguin at the sol rio de Luna y mares and went back the year after because it was so nice.
mafialeader

Quick things:AccomadationThe lonely planet is fantastic for finding … Quick things:AccomadationThe lonely planet is fantastic for finding accommodation. Often we would rock up to a place, turn up at a casa and stay there. However, you can be more organised and phone ahead. There is one or two hostels in Havana where most european backpackers start, if you're by yourself.TravelIf you're travelling city to city, viazul buses are great to get around. If you are with a few people, you can share a 'collectivo' taxi which is normally an old american car and is sometimes cheaper but is also quicker. Depends on the route. From havana, you can get some buses from government travel subsidiaries which are sometimes cheaper than viazul though (bookable from hotels such as Hotel Plaza).Miscellaneous-Atms are available - can be a bit time consuming trying to convert cash (but you can convert GBP notes).-You buy internet cards, which only work where wifi hotspots are (look for all the young adults on the mobiles!)-Eating at your casa will not only be cheaper than a restaurant, but the food is normally good by cuban standards. Again for food, the lonely planet has good recommendations.-Download googles offline maps of cuba, will help when you're trying to find places of interest etc.I would personally recommend visiting Trinidad for a few days. It has amazing beaches, rainforests with waterfalls, a nice old town, good restaurants and a spectacular club which is located in a cave!



Thanks so much, I've got the LP on reserve from the library and have started to look at different casas on Airbnb, so many lovely places! We fly in and out of Havana so that's where we will start and finish no doubt. I'm glad you mentioned Trinidad as that's somewhere that really caught my eye along with Vinales, for hopefully some hiking. We will probably book accommodation all in advance with it being Christmas as we want to have a plan, just got to sort out a rough itinerary now. I may PM you if that's ok, always good to get some tips. I last went Cuba around 12 years ago with family and the confines of a AI resort - which wasn't my thing- in Cayo Guillermo (lovely beach mind) with a side trip to Cienfuegos but I can't wait to properly explore. Have a bit of time to sort it out yet though....


Edited by: "rachelandgromit" 30th Apr 2017
stephen2k5

Cuba is a beautiful country. Me and my Mrs went about 6 years back though … Cuba is a beautiful country. Me and my Mrs went about 6 years back though so a while back so a lot has probably changed. Namely Americans weren't allowed over but a lot of Canadians take holidays there. Nice bunch of people. They also had (not sure If still applicable) 2 currencies. Convertible pesos and local pesos. One was for tourists and the other for the residents of Cuba. Cuban people in general are very welcoming but be wary of excursions you will probably be followed by many people trying to get money by taking your photo or some other means. They're not harmful but could be intimidating to some. We stayed in holguin at the sol rio de Luna y mares and went back the year after because it was so nice.


We stayed there 5 years ago. Very nice hotel, they are very resourceful when it comes to fixings things. The roof fell in recently.
tilyymolly

We stayed there 5 years ago. Very nice hotel, they are very resourceful … We stayed there 5 years ago. Very nice hotel, they are very resourceful when it comes to fixings things. The roof fell in recently.



Sounds idyllic!
X)
rachelandgromit

Thanks so much, I've got the LP on reserve from the library and have … Thanks so much, I've got the LP on reserve from the library and have started to look at different casas on Airbnb, so many lovely places! We fly in and out of Havana so that's where we will start and finish no doubt. I'm glad you mentioned Trinidad as that's somewhere that really caught my eye along with Vinales, for hopefully some hiking. We will probably book accommodation all in advance with it being Christmas as we want to have a plan, just got to sort out a rough itinerary now. I may PM you if that's ok, always good to get some tips. I last went Cuba around 12 years ago with family and the confines of a AI resort - which wasn't my thing- in Cayo Guillermo (lovely beach mind) with a side trip to Cienfuegos but I can't wait to properly explore. Have a bit of time to sort it out yet though....



Vinales is great. You can go on a horse ride through the valleys, tobacco plantations and coffee plantations for around $10 a head. The one I went on visited a tobacco farm (got a free cigar), coffee plantation and then to a man made lake/pool where you can swim. There are a few pit stops on the way where you can get a mojito or coconut etc for a dollar or 2.

And sure, by all means contact me if I can help!
Not sure why you would want to go to Cuba and sit in an all inclusive resort

You want to be spending time in Havana.

I cannot speak spanish and really struggled. It's definitely one of those places were knowing spanish will make it much more enjoyable (assuming you don't just sit near the pool - in which case why on earth would you go to cuba).

Some notes - food is in general dreadful. Govt run resturants don't know how to cook even the most basic of food. There is a lot of hussling to get cash from you, as the locals get paid £25 a month. It is NOT cheap for tourists.

Cuba isn't as tourist friendly as the other carribean countries, and should be an 'experience' holiday, visiting villages and absorbing the culture of this very odd country. If you wan't to sit on a beach and eat great food, don't bother with Cuba.
damn I hated cuba......constant scams/pickpockets, bad food, bad internet, difficult logistics to get around.

I would go to cancun/tulum instead
spock1958

Unfortunately this 'demanding' of tips seems to be becoming all too … Unfortunately this 'demanding' of tips seems to be becoming all too common in many places, and all down to the irresponsible act of tipping in the first place, with the Americans being the biggest culprits. I will stick to my no tipping philosophy (both home and abroad) and at least feel comfortable in that I am not contributing to this bad practice, which many people in poorer countries are unhappy with as it eventually distorts the economy.



Over 50% of Cubans earn less than $100 per month. How dare those lousy Americans try to help out people less fortunate than themselves.
manbearpig

Not sure why you would want to go to Cuba and sit in an all inclusive … Not sure why you would want to go to Cuba and sit in an all inclusive resort :/You want to be spending time in Havana.



People go on holiday for all different reasons.
mafialeader

I have been extensively around Cuba, albeit not to a western inclusive … I have been extensively around Cuba, albeit not to a western inclusive hotel. I can speak Spanish some what, so have spoken with Cubans at these places. Cubans working in leisure already receive a very decent wage. They can earn their monthly government wage in a few days working as a waiter etc. Tipping really isn't a thing outside of resorts. Maybe in a restaurant (for decent service like here) you would but for drinks no. You shouldn't be inclined to tip, many of these cubans are just greedy and want to buy a better phone etc. Unfortunately, especially American and Canadian tourists, see it as a given so fuel this quasi-begging which staff then come to accept.



The monthly government wage is $25 I believe, for the month! I mean, how dare they want a better phone. So greedy. I take it you're still using a Nokia 3310.
RuudBullit

The monthly government wage is $25 I believe, for the month! I mean, how … The monthly government wage is $25 I believe, for the month! I mean, how dare they want a better phone. So greedy. I take it you're still using a Nokia 3310.



2 currencies in Cuba. Tourists currency & locals currency.
bojangles

2 currencies in Cuba. Tourists currency & locals currency.



I know. The point remains the same. These people are poor.
The cubans at the resort we went to in March earned about £300 a month paid for by the government as they own all the hotels with tips it doubled that. Those not in the hotel industry struggle.

We have stayed in Varadero and near Playa Blanca.

Internet is rubbish but your on holiday right

Tipping: At the resort we were on lots of people tipping for everything (including the bank staff ) typically Canadians and Americans. I tipped a few times when I felt it warranted it but it was not expected. I enjoyed giving the gardeners our beer from the mini bar on the quiet

Thomas cook included the visas in the package you just had to fill out the form on the plane. Make sure you complete it correctly as its not worded very well and they only have so many forms on the plane, like the bit on electronics you are bringing into the country, its for stuff you plan not to take home.

Would I go back, yes as its cheap in all inclusive but I'd carefully checking the hotel ratings as some 4 stars are 3 at best in UK standards.

P.s. 1 litre of rum is cheaper than a sandwich £4 a litre.
And to add on this one the transfer time is long, 2 hours on a bus after a long flight
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