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7 Day All Inclusive Toronto to Cuba trip to Grand Memories Santa Maria (4.5 stars) - as low as $635 avail Nov & Dec 2022

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if your looking for best prices to go down south....in my experience....always find the week of june 10th has been good and early april...

martimcs wrote: Hey folks,
I want to kill myself for waiting to book today and missing the best deals. Is there any other date this year where the deals will be better, like boxing day?
Thanks
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markhamdeals wrote: I just booked Dec 7th to 14th for $645. Other dates currently available are as follows:

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AlicW93740 wrote: I went to Varadero Royalton Hicacos resort in June. It was highly rated on Sunwing and one of the more expensive option. However, the food safety is abysmal. There were probably more flies than people in the Buffet area. I made the mistake of eating some cold seafood salad and had severe diarrhea for a whole day, I probably went the the washroom a dozen times. I have eaten street food in Asia with very questionable meat and haven't experienced this level of diarrhea. Maybe there's an unspoken rule of eating only hot food that I didn't know about.
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oldmanlogan wrote:
Santa Maria is amazing and beautiful, best resorts in Cuba. Varadero is terrible… but close to Havana
your best bet wrote: lots of resorts in Cuba with a Kids Club which caters to a 6 and 12 yr old..willl have pool table...workers doing crafts with the kids,,at night kids show, where they invite your child on stage,,unlike dominican or mexico where you have the water slides, splash pads,,if you were going theer domincan or mexico , can tell you waht resorts with great waterslides etc for the kids
but cuba doe snot have those unfortunately
Kannna wrote: Santa Maria beaches are best like Cayo Coco. We have been there in 2020 just before the COVID shut down. Decent resort (next to Starfish).
sexyj wrote: cuba beaches have no seaweed, that's the most important thing if you are going for the beach
burgerj wrote: Just got back from sanctuary. Stayed from sept 14-21. Some things you should know…
...
For those who went to Cuba, I have some questions for you...

I'm looking to book Air Transat to Cuba in Jan/Feb.

1) I have group insurance from work which covers medical and trip cancellation only, so would I need to purchase any additional insurance covering delays, lost baggage, or whatever else is not medical related, or is this covered by the Airline? (Seems like they only offer all included insurance packages that run upwards of $400).

2) Did you have to fill out the online entry form to enter Cuba?

https://gocuba.ca/news-view/know-before-you-go-check-list-for-canadians-traveling-to-cuba/
Since January 1, 2022, travelers must complete the customs and health declaration form, this is done online and the website to visit is: https://www.dviajeros.mitrans.gob.cu/. All travelers must complete this information online 48 hours before traveling to Cuba.
Thanks for any help you can offer. :)
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IDStorms wrote: For those who went to Cuba, I have some questions for you...

I'm looking to book Air Transat to Cuba in Jan/Feb.

1) I have group insurance from work which covers medical and trip cancellation only, so would I need to purchase any additional insurance covering delays, lost baggage, or whatever else is not medical related, or is this covered by the Airline? (Seems like they only offer all included insurance packages that run upwards of $400).

2) Did you have to fill out the online entry form to enter Cuba?

https://gocuba.ca/news-view/know-before ... g-to-cuba/



Thanks for any help you can offer. :)
1) Not covered by the airline. But your credit card might include insurance.

You can also just get travel insurance at CAA, which is like $40 for the week

2) Yes. It's just a electronic custom declaration form. Same thing as you would fill out on the plane normally.
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sexyj wrote: 1) Not covered by the airline. But your credit card might include insurance.

You can also just get travel insurance at CAA, which is like $40 for the week

2) Yes. It's just a electronic custom declaration form. Same thing as you would fill out on the plane normally.
Thanks, I was confused because on one line it says: For Cuba you need the tourist card (the tourist card is included in your plane ticket and is issued by the airline on board)
This was what we always did.


I guess the online form is to make things easier on their end, so I'll fill it out within the 48 hours prior to leaving just the same.

The paper forms normally issued and filled out on the plane have been terminated as of Jan 2022, so their online form is the only method of entering.
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I'm going to Cayo Coco in Dec - and could've sworn I saw someone offer $300 to bring back some Cuban Cigars...anyone know how I can go around finding someone to sell Cubans to?
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Dec 25, 2014
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IDStorms wrote: Thanks, I was confused because on one line it says: For Cuba you need the tourist card (the tourist card is included in your plane ticket and is issued by the airline on board)
This was what we always did.


I guess the online form is to make things easier on their end, so I'll fill it out within the 48 hours prior to leaving just the same.

The paper forms normally issued and filled out on the plane have been terminated as of Jan 2022, so their online form is the only method of entering.
Yes, definitely fill out the online form which is only allowed up to 72 hours before your departure date. We had ours printed and they just took our paper at customs which was a little faster. However if you don't want to print it, there was another line where they would scan the QR code from your phone which seemed marginally longer as they only had one person scanning at the time. Both would be fine.

They never asked to see our travel insurance anytime on our trip, but we our credit card had travel insurance so we made sure to bring that.

We got back almost a week ago and overall enjoyed it at Sanctuary. We had low expectations for the food but the buffet was better than I thought with freshly made omelettes for breakfast (ham, hot dog, cheese, onions, green onions, tomato as toppings - some days more, some days less), chicken/beef(tough)/pork/fish for lunch+dinner. The a la carte restaurant reservations (Italian, Cuban, Seafood were the ones we tried) was actually the most disappointing for us - we actually preferred the buffet which had more options and was strangely more fresh and tasty imo. However, if you can get into "the Grill", they did have a half lobster with rice and pork (one of our servings of pork was not fully cooked so do be careful). Ensure most things are cooked thoroughly.

1 USD bills are best for tipping, but we also saw people tipping in CAD loonies, toonies, $5 bills. Many staff at the resort work hard (cooks, people clearing tables, servers, gardeners who chopped open coconuts, etc so we tipped a few $ every day to various folks who helped us.

Tip for those who want to buy Cuban cigars or are new to cigars - buy them at the Habanos House / La Casa del Habano at the Market which was about a 12-20min walk from Sanctuary. We asked for cigar prices from the gift shop, checked online, asked resort staff if they have connections (they do - someone offered us some Cohiba Esplendidos at a stupid price - they would clearly be fake). Being an RFDer, we wanted cigars with the least markup but also to ensure they're authentic. We've found cigars to be the cheapest at La Casa del Habano since they're government regulated (ie. Romeo y Julietta 5 Pepitos/10 Mini for $8 USD vs $13.xx USD at the gift shop), and we could be 100% sure they're the real deal. They took USD, CAD (just converted USD x 1.35 rate at the time), or credit card (VISA is best). This is what I wish I knew before we went.

Sunwing tried pretty hard to upsell the VIP lounge at the airport for $30 USD/pp - we found it underwhelming as it was packed and we barely could find a seat for 2 when we flew as another flight was delayed...not sure if it's like that all the time but truthfully, they had these tacky green/orange leather couches and it felt gross/stuffy/packed in there despite the A/C. However, you do get get free drinks (mixed drinks, bottled water, cola, etc), ham/sausage sandwiches, buttered toast, the wifi i think were 1hr wifi passwords, if you value that. We tried it once but will not do that again.

The highlight for us was definitely the beach. The beach was AMAZING. Water was super clear/clean, and sand was fine - if you love the beach, this is a great place to be. The market was dead when we went because it is just before high season - they listed CAD and USD prices depending on how you want to pay. Rooms were just okay and the initial checkin was tedious, but honestly, for the price, especially if you could get a deal... a great little getaway over the winter.
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objectified wrote: Yes, definitely fill out the online form which is only allowed up to 72 hours before your departure date. We had ours printed and they just took our paper at customs which was a little faster. However if you don't want to print it, there was another line where they would scan the QR code from your phone which seemed marginally longer as they only had one person scanning at the time. Both would be fine.

They never asked to see our travel insurance anytime on our trip, but we our credit card had travel insurance so we made sure to bring that.
...
Thanks!

I plan on printing everything out, but will still have the QR code as backup.

As for insurance, the only thing I have is a printed copy of the little paper card the insurance company emailed us for our group plan, so I have that printed and kept in my wallet.

The only concern is whether or not I need extra coverage in case of unforeseen delays, or lost baggage, but every plan is expensive because there's still medical included.

I tried the CAA route, but was quoted a ridiculous amount over $300 (not sure where there's a $40 per week option), but we're planning on 9 days, in case that made the huge difference.
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concerning insurance-
not sure about your age if you need the extended health insurance as if your older , say 70 plus and with recent medical conditions..but if not, young and healthy,,,you should be fine with your work insurance,,,,,back in the day,,you read ,,cant enter cuba with medical insurance etc..ive been to Cuba Over 30 Times, Not once have i Been asked to Show proof Of Medical Insurance,,,as for baggage and flight delays...with new travel protection as of this past sept..if your flight is delayed more than 3 hours,,the airline will compensate you and if not,,you can get help from tica.ca as well baggage damage,,again airlines..just take pic of luggage before you leave ...for proof...
IDStorms wrote: For those who went to Cuba, I have some questions for you...

I'm looking to book Air Transat to Cuba in Jan/Feb.

1) I have group insurance from work which covers medical and trip cancellation only, so would I need to purchase any additional insurance covering delays, lost baggage, or whatever else is not medical related, or is this covered by the Airline? (Seems like they only offer all included insurance packages that run upwards of $400).

2) Did you have to fill out the online entry form to enter Cuba?

https://gocuba.ca/news-view/know-before ... g-to-cuba/



Thanks for any help you can offer. :)
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your best bet wrote: concerning insurance-
not sure about your age if you need the extended health insurance as if your older , say 70 plus and with recent medical conditions..but if not, young and healthy,,,you should be fine with your work insurance,,,,,back in the day,,you read ,,cant enter cuba with medical insurance etc..ive been to Cuba Over 30 Times, Not once have i Been asked to Show proof Of Medical Insurance,,,as for baggage and flight delays...with new travel protection as of this past sept..if your flight is delayed more than 3 hours,,the airline will compensate you and if not,,you can get help from tica.ca as well baggage damage,,again airlines..just take pic of luggage before you leave ...for proof...
No, I'm not looking for any extended medical coverage.

That's what I was assuming as well, about baggage or delay claims as well.

When I was doing online quotes, most places say I have to phone in because I'm from Quebec, but I don't know why Quebec differs from other Provinces.

Before it was a no brainer because we didn't have any group plan, so I took the best suited plan for us, but since we are now covered, I was only looking for the non-medical addition, but I can't believe what they are still charging.

The cheapest I found was through RBC which was $260ish +tax, which isn't so bad, so that's always an option.

Thanks for your help. :)
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sexyj wrote: ...
2) Yes. It's just a electronic custom declaration form. Same thing as you would fill out on the plane normally.
When did you fill out this online form?

Website says "48 hours before traveling to Cuba"

Does that mean I have to complete the form at least 48 hours before, or it's a maximum of 48 hours before?

French version says between 48-72 hours.

Since it used to be done on plane, it was literally hours before!
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IDStorms wrote: When did you fill out this online form?

Website says "48 hours before traveling to Cuba"

Does that mean I have to complete the form at least 48 hours before, or it's a maximum of 48 hours before?

French version says between 48-72 hours.

Since it used to be done on plane, it was literally hours before!
I just did it the day before.
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sexyj wrote: I just did it the day before.
Their wording sucks, but that's what I figured.

I just wasn't sure if they needed a certain amount of time to get that QR code send by email, so they required extra time.


Thanks! :)
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How many people came back from their trip swearing?
I got back from Varadero and the resorts are dead, the food is really lacking, restaurants that are advertised on the resort arent open.
Even when you are downtown, the restaurants dont even have the food they advertise.
A week in Cuba and some people might come back with mental health issues.
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nu2toronto92 wrote: How many people came back from their trip swearing?
I got back from Varadero and the resorts are dead, the food is really lacking, restaurants that are advertised on the resort arent open.
Even when you are downtown, the restaurants dont even have the food they advertise.
A week in Cuba and some people might come back with mental health issues.
I'm definitely derailing, but that should make us realize how bad is the situation there. We sold be thankful that we have what we have.
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nu2toronto92 wrote: How many people came back from their trip swearing?
I got back from Varadero and the resorts are dead, the food is really lacking, restaurants that are advertised on the resort arent open.
Even when you are downtown, the restaurants dont even have the food they advertise.
A week in Cuba and some people might come back with mental health issues.
Do you think it's because it's off season still or it's the state of the country as a whole?
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nu2toronto92 wrote: How many people came back from their trip swearing?
I got back from Varadero and the resorts are dead, the food is really lacking, restaurants that are advertised on the resort arent open.
Even when you are downtown, the restaurants dont even have the food they advertise.
A week in Cuba and some people might come back with mental health issues.
Came back two weeks ago from Varadero, resorts aren't dead. It's probably the one you went to.

Went to a resto downtown, got 3 lobster tails and few drinks and a desert. $43CAD

Both clubs I went to were bumping (First one @ 2AM on Saturday, 2nd one @ 12AM on Thursday)

It's probably just you bruh
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Hugh Jass wrote: Do you think it's because it's off season still or it's the state of the country as a whole?
There are two types of people that goes to Cuba

1) People who look for everything and the littlest things to complain about
2) People who actually enjoy their vacation while abroad

I went to Cuba three times this year, May ($1100 @ Varadero), Oct ($597 @ SM) & Nov ($860 @ Varadero).

Are there things to complain about, yes... But not at the price I paid for my vacation.

Things are definitely sht there for local Cubans, but for tourist like us... it's pretty much just the complainers talking, especially for a forum like RFD where they want to be treated like king for the bottom of the barrel prices.

P.S. I got my brand name "addidas" shorts stolen... but I'm not complaining
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IDStorms wrote: Their wording sucks, but that's what I figured.

I just wasn't sure if they needed a certain amount of time to get that QR code send by email, so they required extra time.


Thanks! :)
You get the QR code/pdf at the end of submitting. You can just save that to your phone.
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Hugh Jass wrote: Do you think it's because it's off season still or it's the state of the country as a whole?
Cuba would have a lot of Russians on the resorts but because of the war, there were very few of them. I spoke to a few of them who were on the resort but they were taking in a few days but had business in Havana.
I visited 3 other resorts when I was there that were 4-5 stars and they all seemed to be the same. A la carte restaurants closed, buffet selection limited.
On the plane home, people were all saying the same thing no matter what resort they went to with the food lacking.
I mean when you hear things like no butter, bacon, syrup, eggs at breakfast, juice...

If their food shortages continue, they may have to pay people to visit.

In town I was able to get a lobster tail dinner for $8.50 USD.
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sexyj wrote: There are two types of people that goes to Cuba

1) People who look for everything and the littlest things to complain about
2) People who actually enjoy their vacation while abroad

I went to Cuba three times this year, May ($1100 @ Varadero), Oct ($597 @ SM) & Nov ($860 @ Varadero).

Are there things to complain about, yes... But not at the price I paid for my vacation.

Things are definitely sht there for local Cubans, but for tourist like us... it's pretty much just the complainers talking, especially for a forum like RFD where they want to be treated like king for the bottom of the barrel prices.

P.S. I got my brand name "addidas" shorts stolen... but I'm not complaining
We're definitely the latter type people. Been to Cuba about ten times, love the place and the people. Have tried a few other islands but prefer Cuba. Probably going next month but really don't want to go if it's mostly closed and there's massive supply issues. Had one day without beer on Cayo Largo once and was not a happy bunny Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes
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