Iberostar Playa Alameda is a beautiful family resort in Varadero, Cuba. And you will have a wonderful stay there no matter what. But here are a few tried and tested ways to make your vacation even better and even more enjoyable.
Ask For Extra Blankets At Arrival
The nights are quiet cold in Cuba, so your best bet is to ask for an extra set of blankets at the reception right when you arrive at Iberostar Playa Alameda. There are usually two blankets in the room. If you’ve asked for an extra bed, you’ll need an extra blanket. If you don’t think you’ll need one, you can always call the reception and ask for the blankets to be brought up to your room. We did just that and extra blankets arrive within an hour.
Reserve The Loungers On The Beach First Thing In The Morning
They say that there are plenty of loungers on the beach on Playa Alameda, but if you stop by the beach after breakfast, you won’t be able to find any available loungers even if you manage to find a spot under the tilapias. So, before you go to breakfast, stop by the beach, choose your desired loungers, move them together if you wish and place your beach towels on them. In addition, leave a t-shirt that you wore yesterday or your kids pail with sand in it on your lounger. This will serve as a further deterrent for people to leave your reserved spot alone.
And while you’re at it, to pick up the older, blue loungers. The yellow ones or the newer blue ones look better, but the older blue ones have one feature that the new ones do not have – they have cup holders. And they do come handy.
Bring A Reusable Shaker Bottle, Coffee Mug, Or Beer Barrel
I love my coffee, but one of those little, elegant cups is just not enough for me. So if you drink coffee at times other than your breakfast, bring your own mug and ask the waitress to fill it with whatever type of coffee you like.
Instead of water bottles, bring a smoothie / sports drink shake cup. You can fill them up with water (we used bottled water), juice (we asked for juice without ice – as it is frozen tap water) or cocktails. The water bottles provided in your room are very big, so they are not very convenient to carry around. Bringing a water bottle or a shaker is much more convenient, but still allows you to carry a significant amount of water with you.
Many people used covered mugs or barrels for their beer. The reusable mugs hold much more liquid, so you won’t have to go to the bar very often and will be able to keep hydrated for a longer period of time. And if you don’t want to log them back home, just buy them in a dollar store and then leave them behind in Cuba.
Pick A Section In The Dining Hall And Sit There Every Day
When you arrive at the main buffet at Playa Alameda, first pick a section you want to sit at, find a table, and leave your belongings at the table to reserve it. Then make your way towards the buffet tables and load your plate with your favourite foods. When you sit in the same section, you will be served by the same waiters and waitresses most of the days. This will allow you to get to know them and personally, I find that it also helps get better service. The same can be said for the “kitchen staff” that make fresh food as you wait for it in the buffet. The same goes for the waitresses at the coffee bar and at the beach bar. It makes for a much nicer experience at the resort.
It also helps with tipping. We didn’t tip during the week. Instead, we left a bigger tip to each of the staff members whose help we appreciated. And since we got to know them a bit as well, we ended up leaving some little gifts for them or their kids, like key chains with Canadian flag on them, pencil crayons, markers, colouring books, glow sticks, beach toys that we brought for our kids but didn’t want to bring back to Canada, and granola bars and sweets that we brought from Canada.
Lunch Time – Choosing Convenience or Variety
The first day we spent on the beach, we ate our lunch at the buffet right off the beach. Is very close and convenient, but at the same time it is very crowded and has limited choice of foods. Since the resort is rather small, the main buffet is only about a minute walk from the beach, but it has significantly more food choices and it is practically empty during lunch time. The best part? On our way from the main buffet back to the beach our kids were able to sneak in an extra dessert at the “helado bar” which is located right in the middles of the resort.
Log Out Of Your Wi-Fi
To use Wi-Fi at Iberostrar Playa Alameda, you’ll need to purchase a Wi-Fi card at the front desk in the lobby. The first time I purchased a card it was two pesos for one hour and all the consecutive times I got one, it was only one peso per one-hour card. Not sure what the difference was. The Wi-Fi is only available in the lobby and on the patio just outside.
We found that the worst times to use it was between 5:00pm and 7:00pm. You’ll see many people on their devices during that time. So be prepared for your signal to be dropped every once a while.
We found that video calls made with FaceTime were choppy, so we ended up making voice FaceTime calls instead. The quality wasn’t the greatest, but much better than video. Also, disconnect from Wi-Fi network when you are done. Go into your Wi-Fi settings and press “Forget This Network” link (on your iPhone or iPad). Otherwise, your time will still be used even though you are not using the device.
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Pay Extra To Extend Your Check-Out Time
The regular check-out time at Iberostar Playa Alameda is 12:00 noon. If you are traveling with kids and your flight leaves at night, extend your check-out time. It is totally worth it to pay the extra 11 person per hour to have the room for the day.
The latest you can check out is 5:00pm. So if you are leaving the resort after that time, the late check-out will allow you to spend the day on the beach or by the pool. You can return to your room around 3:00pm, take a shower, change, and pack. If you don’t leave the resort for another hour or two, you can always leave your suitcases at the reception and have enough time to grad something to eat at the snack bar by the pool or in one of the buffets.
Have you tried any of these during your travels? Do you have any other hacks or tips that worked well for you at an all-inclusive resort?