It’s common on all-inclusive vacations to book an excursion through a vacation travel-provider. Whether it’s a day trip to a local landmark or city, a Jeep, ATV, or dune buggy tour, or a snorkelling adventure, there are lots of excursions to pick from in many popular Caribbean destinations.
On my recent trip to Cuba, my friends and I decided to go for the classic catamaran cruise. What’s better than turquoise water, open bars, and private beaches? We booked our vacation through Sunwing, so to make things easier, that’s where we booked our excursion as well. The catamaran cruise was a good price for a full day on the water with lots of nice bonus offers.
Before I go on, let me say that at twowildtides, we freakin’ love Cuba. It is a beautiful country with the kindest people and fascinating history. The sun is hot, the sand is soft, and the culture is vibrant. Check out our other articles about Cuba:
- Hotel Review: Ocean Vista Azul Varadero
- A Privilege: Ocean Varadero El Patriarca
- Hotel Review: Iberostar Laguna Azul
- Snapshots of Cuba
- Snapshots of Cuba, Part 2
- An Action Packed Day in Matanzas, Cuba
- Caribbean Style Guide: My Favourite Outfits from Cuba
- Cuba Video Diary
- The Cuban Capital: Havana for a Day
- Hemingway’s Home in Havana
The Sun Cruise Catamaran tour starts with a double-decker bus pick-up from the hotel. After a quick ride to the marina everyone boards the large catamaran, complete with a bar and open nets above the water. It was time to completely chill out and soak up the sun. Pro tip: don’t slack on the sunscreen when you’re out on the salt water– protect your skin. The first stop was snorkelling (I’d had too many Rum Punch at this point and been snorkelling several times before so I sat this one out lol)
I thoroughly enjoyed flaking out on the nets while everyone else was in the water. I love myself an action-packed adventure, but on this vacation, I really just needed to RELAX. So that’s what I did. And it was lovely.
The second stop was a private beach, Cayo Blanco, for lunch. I had done a catamaran tour before in Punta Cana and the lunch was honestly not great, so I didn’t have high hopes for this one. Well, my expectations were totally exceeded. The buffet lunch was absolutely delicious. There was honestly more variety than the resort we were staying at and it was cooked to perfection. I was so impressed. I also recommend getting a Pina Colada in a watermelon while you’re there. YUM.
After we left Cayo Blanco, we were informed that we’d be going to swim with dolphins. We had learned after we bought our excursion that there were two packages: a cheaper one without dolphins, and a slightly pricier one with dolphins. Unfortunately, we were not given the option. In all honesty, if I had done more research I probably could have known, but I went along with what our travel agent told us, and nobody had mentioned anything about dolphins until a day or two before the excursion. We would have picked the option without the dolphin experience, hands down.
The catamaran pulled up to a large concrete structure, like a series of piers with water in the middle, about the size of a skating rink. There were people in wetsuits directing the tourists to different areas where they could put on life jackets and get in the water with the dolphins. There were excited kids and parents, which reminded me of when I was a kid and went swimming with dolphins in Florida and Mexico, unaware of the implications of it. Two of my friends decided not to get in the water, but I had questions for the ‘trainer’ and I had already spent my money supporting this place (unknowingly) so the harm was already done in my opinion, so I got in the water. I asked the trainer if the dolphins were able to leave under the concrete piers, and she promptly replied: “no they live here.” Heartbreaking.
I urge everyone to avoid swimming with dolphins. Opt out of the dolphin option on this tour and please do not support organizations that keep creatures captive in small enclosures, especially if they aren’t conducting (ethical) research or conservation initiatives. Please. I regret having spent my money to keep a place like this open.
On a brighter note, the rest of the trip back to shore was fun. The amazing staff had a little dance party on deck and played some games with the guests. It was laughter and good vibes all around.
Have you done a tour like this before? Where? What did you guys do? What’re your favourite excursions? Let us know in the comments or by reaching out on social media, @twowildtides. We love hearing from our readers!