I was fortunate enough to spend the past seven days in the beautiful country of Cuba. Last night, I returned from this place I have been calling “paradise” and I am so excited to tell you all about it. Specifically, my vacation took place on a small key on the northern coast of Cuba, called Cayo Santa Maria.
Cayo Santa Maria is a gorgeous stretch of beach, 16 kilometres long and 2 kilometres wide. It is separated from the mainland of Cuba by a 48 kilometre causeway with a stunning view of the ocean on both sides. Cayo Santa Maria is comprised entirely of beautiful beach resorts. The specific resort that David and I were staying at for our 7 day vacation was called Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria. I will review this hotel in more detail in a second post, but for now I will tell you all about our amazing vacation!
Vacation in Cayo Santa Maria
First of all, let me say that this was the first vacation I’ve ever been on in my entire life! For my boyfriend, David, it was his first time being down south- his first tropical trip. This meant that it was extra special- our first vacation together, and first southern vacation entirely!
We arrived to Cuba the afternoon before my birthday. The trip from the airport to Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria is 90 minutes long by bus, but the drive was one of the most memorable parts of our trip! We saw free, wild dolphins swimming, and got a glimpse of what the culture is like in Cuba. In addition to the wildlife and nature, we were able to see many of the local’s homes, shops and farms. It was very eye-opening to see such a different lifestyle.
If the airport had been very close to the resort, we would have not had the opportunity to see as much of Cuba.
When we arrived at the resort, it was near sunset, and absolutely breath-taking. David and I were giggling with excitement. We immediately dropped off our luggage into our room, and headed out to explore the resort, and of course, the beach. The first night was so magical and exciting. It was great to get a chance to see where everything is located before we dove into the vacation the next day, which leads me to…
Waking up in Cuba on the morning of my 25th birthday was absolutely surreal. My boyfriend and I kept looking at each other in disbelief and saying “Where are we?” On my birthday, we did pretty much the same thing as we did the rest of our stay:
Wake up at 8:30am
Leave for breakfast at 9:00am
Get a gourmet coffee at the coffee bar and drink it in the lobby
Change into bathing suits and head to the beach around 10:30am
Have lunch at one of the food stalls/restaurants on the beach
Head back to lounge at the pools and have a drink around 2pm
After 2 hours of sun-bathing or swimming in the pool, head back to the room to shower the sand/sunscreen off
Nap from 5pm-6pm
Get ready for dinner & drinks
Eat and then party until midnight (I know, we go to bed pretty early for people on vacation, but we love our sleep)
Since we booked an all-inclusive trip, we had all you can eat and all you can drink, 24 hours a day. It was amazing and the staff was extremely helpful, kind and welcoming.
The only exception to that daily vacation routine, was on Saturday, the 4th day of our stay, we book a 6 hour excursion on a huge party catamaran! In addition to sailing on the beautiful clear blue sea for the day, we got to go snorkelling by an incredible coral reef, were treated to a lobster and buffet lunch, and lastly got to watch a dolphin show at the dolphin aquarium! This trip was my first time seeing dolphins and I must say, I am in love! They are so friendly, smart and beautiful. I am not a fan of captivity but at the same time I was grateful for the experience to interact with them so up-close and personal!
In our all-inclusive trip package, it included 3 restaurant dinners where you order from a 3 course menu, rather than just the buffet. Another couple on the resort recommended we try the Italian restaurant first, so that was our first reservation. It was a really nice change from the same buffet food we had the previous nights. The following night, we reserved the “Romantico” dinner, which was so delicious that we went back the following night for a second time and ordered the exact same thing! We both had the french onion soup, the steak and chocolate cake for dessert, both nights. If you happen to be at Playa Cayo Santa Maria in the future, I highly recommend that restaurant.
What made this vacation even better, was the perfect weather.
Every single day was filled with sunshine and 30 degree weather. It was like a dream compared to the cold Toronto Winter that we had come from.
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation, or a better person to spend it with. It makes me excited to see more countries and travel as often as I possibly can. Hopefully we will do another trip in the near future!
We made a lot of special memories that I’m sure we will cherish for our whole lives. It was definitely my favourite birthday ever!
I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip to Cayo Santa Maria and all of the pictures we took. We would’ve taken more, but we left our phones in our room for the majority of our trip! Regardless, I am really happy with the memories we have captured, and I hope you like them too!
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