St Lucia Vs Cuba?

(27 Posts)
Sfin Sat 16-Mar-13 11:34:22

I am looking for advice as of which destination to choose? We are going with our 4 year old this May for two weeks and now finding it really tricky to choose between these two. Thanks!!

MonsterScout Sat 16-Mar-13 11:35:13

Very different places. What sort of holiday are you looking for? A beach holiday or sightseeing or what?

VerySmallSqueak Sat 16-Mar-13 11:36:58

Not been to either but I would be extremely envious of anyone going to Cuba because I imagine it to be exciting and vibrant and full of culture.

Sfin Sat 16-Mar-13 11:55:11

Would like a good beach, kids club, good food the usual. little bit of culture too. We want this to be the ultimate relaxing family holiday before little one starts school next autumn.

FergusSingsTheBlues Sat 16-Mar-13 11:59:21

Cuba is changing fast. If you are interested in the culture and politics of south america, you must go to cuba! Its an incredible place.

givemeaclue Sat 16-Mar-13 13:08:07

Have been to st Lucia, fab. Interested in Cuba for next year so watching with interest. Cuba prob cheaper?

Umlauf Sat 16-Mar-13 13:15:43

CUBA CUBA CUBA CUBA CUBA! Honeymooned there in June, it blew my mind! It is a time warp, fascinating place, you won't relax as you will want to learn and see everything you can! Plus its changing so fast that you might not get another chance, st Lucia you will. the beach resorts are lovely to relax in. We did one week tourism round Havana and the old plantations in the south, then one week on a Northern key for some adults only beach luxury, they had family hotels down the road though.

I'd recommend voyagercuba.com as they were a really personal travel agency and know the country inside out, and it was half the price of thomsons for the same hotels, oddly! The country itself isn't cheap though, similar price to the uk for meals, drinks etc due to the dual currency.

Fluffy1234 Sat 16-Mar-13 13:31:36

I've been lucky enough to go to both places with DC and loved them both. We did twin centre holidays in both. In St Lucia we stayed in a town house near Reduit beach and went sightseeing each day and ate at different restaurants each evening. We then took a taxi to Almond Smugglers Cove which is a good family all inclusive hotel and chilled and used all the hotel facilities.
In Cuba we did it the other way round and stayed at a nice hotel called Playa Costa Verde and took the DC to swim with dolphins in the ocean and did all the watersports etc. Then we flew to Havana for 4 days and did lots of sightseeing. I absolutely loved Havana but thought what I saw of St. Lucia slightly more beautiful.
Having said that the beach at our Cuban hotel was gorgeous. Personally I think the Caribbean make great family holidays and both islands are lovely. If you chose St Lucia the trips are good. My children enjoyed the gondola ride in the rain forest and i'm glad we did it as they both spent a term studying rain forests at school and used the photos they took in their projects.
Have fun choosing your holiday.

Forester Sat 16-Mar-13 13:42:09

We've also stayed at Smugglers Cover with our 3yo which we all thoroughly enjoyed. We did AI and didn't do any sightseeing (personally I would have found it too hot to go out and about). The transfer up to the resort (and most of the resorts) is very windey (sp?) so need to consider if car-sickness is a problem.

I've never been to Cuba.

givemeaclue Sat 16-Mar-13 14:14:32

Fluffy, which are the Caribbean beach resorts in Cuba? Varadero I was looking avtbaut not Caribbean I discovered. How old were your kids when you went, wondering whether a five year old would find sight seeing in Havana too hot/boring?
Who did you travel with, would you recommend them and would you mind giving rough costs?

Forester, smugglers gets mixed reviews on tripadvisor was it ok when you were there?

FuriousRox Sat 16-Mar-13 14:28:34

Cannot imagine Cuba with children but I was there 13 years ago! It is a fabulous place. Didn't go to varadero - too resorty even then for me, but loved trinidad and camaguey - the latter v quirky and unspoilt. We went to a beach called la boca, right near st Lucia resort beach and it was pure heaven. Wonder what it's like now. Lucky you!!

greenfig Sat 16-Mar-13 14:36:48

Just back from Coconut Beach St Lucia, fantastic family hotel with AMAZING kids club & staff. 5 mins from airport so ideal transfer yet only a few afternoon planes so not at all intrusive. It is on the Atlantic side so more waves but they have built a 'harbour' so safe swimming for little ones. For a good value, good food, relaxing holiday with kids I can't recommend highly enough. Lots of activities but def not pushy & annoying. Had great massages in cabanas on the beach, early morning yoga sessions by sound of waves, delish cocktails, wonderfulsmile

Andromaca Sat 16-Mar-13 14:46:44

CUBA!!!! Been both places, and found people in Cuba more friendly and welcoming, the sea is soooooo much better, the beaches are sooooooo much better, the food is soooooooo much better (just avoid Varadero that is like A cheap Ibiza IMHO)

I'll go back to Cuba anythime without thinking, i will not go back to st lucia even if they offer me it for free..

MonsterScout Sat 16-Mar-13 15:17:39

Cuba is a beautiful, fascinating place but even in the touristy beach resirts, it isnt necessarily that glamorous...food is rationed, it isnt a luxury Caribbean holiday. St Lucia is lovely for a family holiday. Very relaxing, especially the north. Beautiful pace if you want tour around, and tiny, too. And you can get boat trips to Martinique and Dominica for the day.

I'd say St Lucia for a chilled family holiday. Cuba - specifically Havana - for adults looking for culture, nightlife and a bit of rough and ready.

Still18atheart Sat 16-Mar-13 15:39:00

CUBA!!!! Went in 2007 and quite honestly best holiday ever. Spent one week in Havana and the second week in a tourist resort hotel in a place called Varadero. Loved every minute, desperate to go back again. Havana is in the top 2 of my favourite cities. The culture is amazing especially in havana

Never been to St Lucia

Sfin Sat 16-Mar-13 18:19:25

Fantastic info all thank you!! Only concern I had with St Lucia was that some friends who have been said it is much better and loads more to do when kids are 8 years old and up. Also that it is very much a honeymoon type of place. Not too many activities for a 4 year old.. Cuba sounds lovely and someone recommended Trinidad for something a bit different.. Hmm this will be a tough one!

Jins Sat 16-Mar-13 18:23:28

I'm going against the flow. I went to cuba in 2007 and hated it. I wouldn't go back ever.

I've only done a short stay in st Lucia and I thought it looked great. My favourite Caribbean destination is Barbados and I found it a great destination when the boys were young. Ds2 was 6 when we went and keeps asking to go back.

I wish sad

Fluffy1234 Sat 16-Mar-13 18:24:40

Givemeaclue I went to Playa Pesquero and flew into Houlgin airport (excuse my spelling). Then flew from there to Havana and from Havana to England. My DC were 6 and 8 but were very used to travelling and sightseeing. I didn't find it super hot, never have in the Caribbean. It was probably about 27 every time I have been which is always Feb half term, Easter or May half term. Regarding Havana and sightseeing with the children we made it fun for them, did things like riding in 1950's car, they had their own cameras on the tours. Brought them big non alcohol cocktails on the Hemmingway tour. It helped that we had done the beach bit first. Also there was no way i was going to Cuba and not going to visit Havana. 5 years old is young but doable. You could do a bit of sightseeing then a bit of swimming and ice cream. I travelled with a company called Holiday Place and yes I would recommend them. I think we paid about 4k but that was 6 years ago.

Jins Sat 16-Mar-13 18:25:02

We stayed in varadero. Tourist ghetto with armed border point on to the peninisula Nice sad. On the plus side we lost weight as the food was dire

givemeaclue Sat 16-Mar-13 18:38:30

Wow such mixed opinions!

Coconut grove is alto getting mixed reviews at moment

curiousgeorgie Sat 16-Mar-13 18:45:49

Cuba! I got married there at the Paradisus Rio De Oro in Holguin and it was amazing... We went on a jeep safari to castros private island, went to local markets and out on catamarans but staying in the resort was the best, most beautiful place I've even to. We had a private bungalow with outdoor shower room and private garden.. The all inclusive was fantastic with champagne being included and although I didn't do it as I was having a spa day, all the men went scuba diving and raved about it.

Cuba is brilliant if you pay for it. If you stay somewhere under par it isn't, purely because of the state of the country.

St Lucia felt like a chavvier butlins abroad, and the food was terrible.

EuroShaggleton Sat 16-Mar-13 18:49:50

I also wasn't keen on Cuba. We went a few years ago and found it scruffy, dirty and pretty unappealing. Some of Havana is attractive, but the whole place is literally falling apart. I found it sad rather than "romantic".

The health and safety was no existent (we did one dive and that was it - shonky equipment, overloaded boat, no counting in and out to make sure everyone was back; horse riding trips had no helmets), which is something to think about when travelling with children.

It's also quite a difficult place to get around without an organised tour. As a tourist you can only buy petrol in certain places and if you are in an accident you cannot leave the country until the investigation is resolved. I'm not a nervous flyer but the internal flights were pretty terrifying and Cubana has pretty much the worst safety record of all airlines.

I'd wanted to go for years, but won't be going back!

Umlauf Sat 16-Mar-13 18:54:01

The thing is in Cuba you CAN afford to pay for it, the best hotel in Havana (Parque Central) is only about 60 pounds a night and it is a luxury 5* in an incredible location with roof swimming pools. Our travel agency strongly advised against Varadero but there are some incredible keys North of the island, and I think the very best hotel is in Guardalavaca on the Easternmost point.

Our 2 week, 5*, 3-centre honeymoon (4 hotels in all) cost us just under 3k for 2 people in June, so it wouldnt be much more for a family. this website costs it up for you and you can have hours of fun playing!

givemeaclue Sat 16-Mar-13 19:17:54

Umlauf where did you stay

Umlauf Sat 16-Mar-13 19:46:51

We started off at the Parque Cental in Havana, then moved to the Iberostar Grand in Trinidad (LOVED it here and there were very few tourists but it was ridiculously hot) then drove up to the Cayo Santa Maria where we stayed at a newly opened hotel, the Melia Buenavista, and finally our last night at the Hotel Nacional back in Havana.

The Nacional is the famous old cuban hotel where Frank Sinatra stayed with Ava on their honeymoon, but it felt as though it hadnt been renovated since! The most luxurious was the Melia Buenavista as it was fairly small and we had our own butler (bit weird to get used to!) but there are no children allowed at that one.

Just asked DH about why our honeymoon was cheapish in comparison and he thinks its to do with the fact the travel company have far lower overheads than the big travel agencies. We met one couple in the same last two hotels as us (same dates) who had gone with Kuoni and paid 6k altogether. For the same thing!

I have wanderlust thinking back! Im pregnant now and trying to work out how long it will be until I can go on a lovely longhaul holiday again!

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