While I love adventure trips and trying to see as much of a country as possible when travelling, sometimes an all-inclusive vacation is just what the doctor ordered! I went down south to Cuba in December 2016 to satisfy my travel bug but not drain my travel account. Being a Canadian, it was nice to leave the cold winter weather and sit on a beach for a week and relax before the holidays.
Starfish had good food (buffet and a la carte), a nice beach with water sports included in our all-inclusive price, happy hour at the main pool that included events and music, live music every evening at the 24 hour bar and evening entertainment at the stage. The rooms were decent but don’t expect a 5 star! The staff were very friendly and professional. While we were there, the resort was going through a management change and were renovating the rooms and stage, improving the restaurants and aesthetics and installing new TVs in the shared spaces.
We arrived to the resort just before midnight and the resort was much bigger than expected and we got lost on the way to our room. By the time we found it, we went straight to bed. The rest of the trip we enjoyed the sun on the beach and by the main pool, made excellent use of their gymnasium, went kayaking and met lots of great people! We didn’t do any of the excursions in the interest of saving money and spending as little as possible but they were tempting.
Things to keep in mind when booking an all-inclusive trip:
- As with any trip, check if you require a travel visa or vaccinations. Travel diarrhea is very common when travelling to southern countries such as Cuba so you may want to take medication for that beforehand.
- Did you check the “All-inclusive” option when searching for a trip? Some packages only include flights, room and breakfast and doesn’t include lunch/dinner, entertainment or alcohol.
- While food, entertainment and travel are included in an all-inclusive, tipping (cleaning, bartenders and restaurants) is extra. You can exchange money at the front desk at most resorts. We tipped everyday in Cuba approximately 1-5 peso per service per day (room service, bartender, a la carte server, buffet servers).
- Excursions are not included but you’ll often get a deal with the airline if you book through them. You don’t have to decide when you book your package but make sure you check in on the first day at the resort to get all the information from your liaison.
- Packages will be most expensive during holidays. If you can, it’s worth it to take the time off before or after the holidays to save money.