Written by: Sabrena Dayle
On November 14, 2019 I boarded an Air Transat flight to Varadero Cuba; I was full of excitement because Cuba was always a place I wanted to visit. The FAM was from November 14-21, 2019 which had 40 participants. We could not have asked for a better group of Travel agents. Everyone was vibrant, motivated and showed genuine passion for Cuba!
We drove through the beautiful city of Matanzas and as we did, our knowledgeable tour guide gave us the history of this city, the meaning is Massacre and the city was founded in 1693. It is also called the city of bridges. This is just a tip of the wealth of information the tour guide gave us, he did an amazing job, and as a matter of fact it didn’t seem like a job, he treated us like family. The driver of the tour bus was the best driver ever.
We spent the first few days in Havana, Cuba’s capital and we were beyond lucky to be in Havana at that time because on November 16th was Havana’s 500 years anniversary. The city was packed with people from all over Cuba. There was also a lot of tourists from Europe and of course Canada. I was overwhelmed to be a part of such an iconic moment, there were fireworks, music and people were having fun. A few of us walked the streets of Havana until about 2 AM. I have always heard that Cuba is a safe and peaceful place to visit and I can attest to that. Just imagine over a million people in the streets of Havana and not one incident. I fell in love with Havana the moment I arrived. The colonial buildings, the history and especially the people, I was attracted to their humility. We stayed at the Memories Miramar Havana. The staffs welcomed us with Mojitos, and pleasant smiles, it is a clean and comfortable property. In Trinidad we stayed at Village Costa Sur, Cienfuegos we stayed at Hotel Jagua and in Varadero we stayed at the new Melia internacional. Now I understand the big buzz about the Melia internacional, it is hugh, modern, excellent amenities, great location and the staffs are amazing. I have two words for this property “love it”.
On this FAM we inspected 5-3 star properties; we got to see the various properties so travel agents can know which property to recommend depending on the type of client; some were high end and some budget properties. It was nice to visit so/paseo del Prado la Habana, a brand new property in a very good location, very modern, I love it! We also visited Sol Varadero Beach, which is currently under construction and should be ready soon; it looks like it is a very promising hotel, looking forward to staying there in the near future. We visited Rancho Luna in Cienfuegos, the staff were awesome, love the property. They had a beautiful set up for us; we had lunch overlooking the beach. Compliments to the chef, the best lamb I have ever had. I also enjoyed the lunch at Xanadu Mansion in Varadero, the view of the beach, the staff, the food, were perfection. Some of the activities we did were city tours in Havana, Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Varadeo. Cienfuegos is such a beautiful city, a strong European influence. The tour at Callejon de Hamlet in Havana was quite entertaining and informative. We also visited a Cigar factory, Rum and Beer factory; sailed on a Catamaran to Cayo Blanco (the weather was perfect). The farewell dinner was at Royalton Hicacos a very nice property. There was a lovely setup on the beach with a live band and entertainment. On a side note I must say I did a lot of dancing on this trip, I am now motivated to take salsa lessons.
Overall this FAM experience was a perfect ten! It was informative, motivating, fun, educational and iconic. Cuba is not just about beautiful beaches, its rich in history, great for adventurous clients, perfect for clients who just want to relax, good for those who want to explore, nature lovers, also great for clients who want to party and not just in Varadero, I went dancing in Cienfuegos and had the best time. I have only one regret, I never got a chance to drive in one of the pink Cadillac but that’s ok, I will on my next visit. CUBA has so much to offer and salute to Hola Sun for an amazing FAM!