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Thread: Jamaica, Cuba or Dominican?

  1. #21
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    Originally posted by 03ozwhip

    curious as to why you won't stay at a beaches resort? that's my next go to in Negril I'm hoping. I even ever been to one but I've heard nothing but good things.

    Negril is amazing went there for my honeymoon and stayed at sandals, so I had the opportunity of spending one afternoon at the beaches resort, and its great! amazing beach, big pools and great for families. Althought this might not help OP since it might be out of his budget

  2. #22
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    Originally posted by lasimmon
    Its $$$$$$$$ as far as I know.
    This!

    The Couples Resort we stayed at was right next door to it, i know the beach very well, and it's the std i hold things to.
    But, escapes, selloff, itravel, all show rooms pp starting at $4000 + taxes. That's very expensive and there are better places we can go to for the same price. (for the dates I could get away)
    Finally, i'm not travelling 9+hrs with my 2 year old there between flight & transfer time.

    If she were older, and budget allowed - I would absolutely go, but we could do 10 days in Hawaii for the same price as 7 at Beaches.
    Last edited by nickyh; 01-04-2017 at 04:01 PM.

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    Sandals/Beaches isn't that bad for price, I've been to 3 of them now and they are pretty much the standard all other all inclusives are measured by, excluding the insane private resorts like Jade Mountain and the like.

    When you see absurd prices for those resorts, look at the room it's giving you, it's probably some Honeymoon Butler suite. The cheap rooms sell out fast because they are still amazing, and it gets you to that resort at a much more reasonable price.

    Also if you dive, it's an unbelievable deal with 2 free dives per day (approx. $1000+ value if you go every day). Other excursions like snorkeling, sailboats, kayaks, etc. are also free so when you compare it to cheaper resorts, it's often the same price or less after you factor in activities.

    Sandals is pretty easily had for $2200-2500 in Jamaica if you can get into a "normal" room several months in advance. They sell out first though. Got to go to Beaches though if you want the kids.

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    Originally posted by nickyh
    Jamaica, I loved. Granted my husband and I stayed at Couples Swept Away and it ruined our expectations for our next vacation. It was amazing. I'd love to go back but I'm not willing to spend money on a Beaches resort.


    Swept Away is by far the best resort I've been to. It's not all posh and shiny like some other resorts, but the food, amenities (free scuba, snorkeling, catamaran cruises, hobbie cat and glass bottom boat rides) and the staff make up for the shabby chic feel.
    Last edited by Amysicle; 01-04-2017 at 07:33 PM.

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    Cuba Cayo Santa Maria in February, I hear there's a nude beach too.

    Anyone been?

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    lol...I don't know about a nude beach (maybe... ) but topless in Cuba seems to be a lot more common than Mexico.
    "Masked Bandit is a gateway drug for frugal spending." - Unknown303

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    Originally posted by Masked Bandit
    lol...I don't know about a nude beach (maybe... ) but topless in Cuba seems to be a lot more common than Mexico.
    Yea the French in Cuba liked to go topless ..... however .... that meant ALL French women (not just the young ones)


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    BUMP!

    I'll be leaving for Cuba in a few days here and because I've been so busy, I haven't gotten a chance to prepare or do any sort of research before going. Since the embargo was lifted, it's obviously changed in some aspects. Just wondering if anyone has gone there recently and can give me some travel advice? Things like what currency should I bring down? tip etiquette? interactions with locals? unusual things to bring with me, etc.

    Anything helps! Thanks!
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by JordanEG6 View Post
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    BUMP!

    I'll be leaving for Cuba in a few days here and because I've been so busy, I haven't gotten a chance to prepare or do any sort of research before going. Since the embargo was lifted, it's obviously changed in some aspects. Just wondering if anyone has gone there recently and can give me some travel advice? Things like what currency should I bring down? tip etiquette? interactions with locals? unusual things to bring with me, etc.

    Anything helps! Thanks!
    I would bring CAD. Didn't Trump kill the Cuba deal? Don't exchange money at the resort unless you like to watch it burn. I don't know where you will be, but if you are in Varadero hotel area, there is an open air bus that goes from Varadero city to all the hotels, worth just going for a ride if nothing else. We took it around a few times, cheap and comes fairly often. If you need to change money there is a good bank at some shopping mall like half way to Varadero when you take this open air bus, as it gets off the highway I believe there is a golf course on either side, that mall has a bank where I exchanged money. Last time I was there there was some levy you had to pay if exchanging USD, so better just bring CAD.

    Tip in their convertible pesos. I think they make like $25 cad on average per month, so a $1 or $2 for most things is totally cool.

    If you feel like going to Havana can arrange with your hotel a private car if you want, was like $100 or so CAD for two of us, classic car with AC and a guide. Can do it much cheaper on big bus if into that.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by JordanEG6 View Post
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    BUMP!

    I'll be leaving for Cuba in a few days here and because I've been so busy, I haven't gotten a chance to prepare or do any sort of research before going. Since the embargo was lifted, it's obviously changed in some aspects. Just wondering if anyone has gone there recently and can give me some travel advice? Things like what currency should I bring down? tip etiquette? interactions with locals? unusual things to bring with me, etc.

    Anything helps! Thanks!
    Don't know where you're staying or what your intentions are. I went to Cayo Coco in Feb. if that helps for reference. Surrounded by tons of other Canadians when I went. Odd things:
    - Don't bring USD, they still charge an additional 10% to exchange
    - Tip in the convertible currency (CUC), even if you tip in CAD, the workers there will still try and trade you for CUC. Exchange rate is about 1 CUC = 1 USD. Try and change the money at the airport for better rates. It's also a closed currency, so at the end of your trip, exchange it back to CAD or whatever if you have any extra because banks can't help you here.
    - Bring a coffee/travel mug! I used a contigo from costco. They serve drinks in tiny clear cups and you'll usually want 3-4 just for yourself. Also useful if you wanna just hang out on the beach and hand one of the workers your mug and they'll fill it with whatever you like and bring it back to you.
    - Food was still sub par
    - As for tip etiquette, I heard bartenders make more than a decent living. a few CUCs here and there daily doesn't hurt. Tip first, service after. Be sure to tip the cleaners daily in your room and ask for extra bottles of water.
    - Excursions: range from $65 for scuba diving to $160ish for the jeep adventure, and $250+ to go to havana for 2 days... if I remember correctly.

  11. #31
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    Me and the wife really liked sandals in Jamaica, but price was completely off the hook. Diving made it worth it since it was all included.

    I perosonally loved Cuba both times I went, but wife didn’t like the food. I’m Spanish so I thought the food was awesome but she has a pickier palate so she would not touch the more interesting things. Overall I would say lady friends don’t like Cuban food and guys it’s nbd from what I have heard from people.

    Dominican was a great compromise and we liked that a lot as well.
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  12. #32
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    Thanks for the tips, guys.

    Me and the lady will be staying in Varadero in an all inclusive resort.
    We'll probably take a day or 2 to go to Havana to check out the scenery and I heard of some great restaurants to visit that were on Triple D lol.
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  13. #33
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    Havana is multitudes better than Varadero, make sure you go.

    Quick Cuba tips (from my multiple trips, and from my Cuban friends):

    - Resort workers make way more money than the average Cuban, thanks to tips. Don't feel bad or pressured to tip them all, it's better spent outside of the resort.
    - The food sucks at resorts. It's always better in town at restaurants, generally the ones that don't speak much English. Eating at a resort? Bring condiments with you, or spices. I had a costco sized Franks Red Hot get emptied in one week due to other travellers begging me for some.
    - Room safes aren't always safe.
    - Book the a la carte restaurants early, but still bring the Franks.
    - Buy cigars, you can bring back 50 each. Easy to flip them in sealed boxes with receipt, just keep them humid. Or smoke them.
    - Bring me back some Legendario Anejo.

    Cuba's a fun place, you will enjoy it.
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  14. #34
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    Personally disliked Cuba, alot.. a 5* there is like a 3* in mexico. They hid the good liquor during peak drinking hours (after dinner), pushed 2 double beds together after messing up our reservation for a king (both of which were different firmness), food that was supposed to be available at certain times but then when we ordered it they said a different time than the menu.

    People were super nice, was nice to not have 100's of americans around though!

    Definitely bring some condiments, ketchup, siracha, salt/pepper and MAYO!

    Dominican I felt was pretty similar as well, when i went we got stuck indoors for 2 days because of a tropical storm that flooded HAITI. was sketchy to go off resort. Food was much better than cuba though.

  15. #35
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    Like anywhere you get what you pay for. Pay a lot and get a great resort. Pay a little and don't expect much.

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