The VRA Turning Point

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Travel  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 07, 2018

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Submitted: October 07, 2018

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Varadero ... my 'other' second home!

It honestly doesn't matter where you stay in Varadero, the Cubans are the reason we keep coming back. They may not have everything, but they will quickly become your new best friend & they have naturally great customer service skills.

I travel when I need to & not around the hurricane calendar and so when Hurricane Irma ravaged its way through the Caribbean & Cuba in September 2017, I wondered whether it's effects would interfere with our trip one month later.

Within a week of us leaving, we received a request to relocate as our hotel had sustained damages during the hurricane that weren't fixed yet. The new hotel suggestion was Palma Real. It's a hotel I've stayed at before & if this is where we were destined to be ... so be it.

Less than 12 hours before leaving came the second call. Would you be willing to accept an upgrade due to an overbooking at Palma Real ... of course I said ... and so that's when the real adventure began ... this time we were bumped to Roc Barlovento ... just steps away from Sunbeach.

Everything I saw online seemed to be in order, this hotel was located on the beach side of the road, it was an adults-only resort with entertainment ... within walking distance to our friends. What more could we want?

We hardly slept that night, we were excited to be seeing long lost friends, making new friends & creating plenty of new memories.

We arrived at the airport on-time and located our traveling buddy. We breezed through security and found our gate. A quick breakfast & a coffee and we were soon belted in and flying at 35,000 km due south.

The flight was quick and it felt so good to touch down on Cuban soil again; excited by the new adventure we were headed out on. After locating our bags & our bus, we bought a few cold Cristals & waited for the others to arrive.

There is a big reason why I prefer to stay in old Varadero, as opposed to new Varadero ... you get off the bus first & you get picked up last = more time to be in Cuba with Cuban friends!

When we pulled up in front of Barlovento, I remembered seeing this hotel from the road before ... but ... wait until you step into the lobby and begin to take in your new home for the week!

The checking in process was slightly delayed until the rooms were cleaned; however, we were given our bracelets and free run of the resort. We had 1/2 hour until lunch, so we made our way through the complex in search of the beach like a pack of lions on a hunt for a kill.

What we found at each step of the way was amazement! Instead of staying at a 2 Star Hotel, we felt as though we were bumped to a 5 Star Resort.

The place was incredible ... 4 pools in different locations, 1 main buffet restaurant, a beach BBQ restaurant with the most to-die-for awesome hamburgers ... we ate them everyday & they became our sinful bedtime snack.

We hadn't even checked into our room yet or made it to the beach but we were all double-fisted with Mojito's and then we hit the white sand ... my shoes came off, the cold Mojito slid down my throat as I gasped at the gorgeous beach we found ourselves a part of ...

It was adults-only as women have the option to go topless. Some did, most didn't, it's all good.

At Barlovento you never have to worry about getting a beach lounge chair. There is plenty of them and the man on duty there will happily hook you up with whatever you need.

Back at the buffet, there is no limit ... there is something for everyone. If you hear someone say "the food sucks in Cuba" they haven't been to Barlovento. 

They need to be educated that the Cubans cater to our Western diet & what we eat in Varadero is not Cuban food. I found the food awesome. 

As I am careful with a shellfish food allergy, that would be my only recommendation for change.

The evening entertainment is top-notch. It's well executed and varied. The crew involved are always present & interacting throughout the different activities planned over the course of a week.

If you're a night owl, then the main lobby is the network hot-spot where you can buy a card that provides a code so you can hookup to wi-fi for an hour.

What I took away from this trip to Cuba was different ... I have an insight now into what it's like to be in Cuba during a hurricane. 

During my week at Roc Barlovento, I became friends with Andrea, a lady on vacation for 2 months from Germany.

The stories of her experiences and how the guests were looked after during a weather disaster was empowering to hear, harrowing accounts of everyone pulling together in a time of need ... no walls up, all egos left at the door, all working in a spirit of cooperation to ensure they were safe to see another day.

It's the kind of place more people need to visit, being in Cuba under any experience changes you & causes you to re-think your entire life.

It takes a great leader to inspire "all who are a part of" bringing the Roc Barlovento mission together ... Klaus Herrmann is a great Manager. 

During my stay, I had the pleasure to compliment him on a job well done several times.

Roc Barlovento is a fabulous place to visit and now my official "Home Away From Home" when in Varadero! 

Visiting Roc Barlovento was my VRA turning point!


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