No kidding huh, Elektra (about Cuba being undeveloped)!
And you were in Varadero weren't you? There is a lot more there than where we are going (Guardalavaca/Holguin).
I have been doing lots of research and it sure sounds like it will be worlds different from Mexico in the shopping/restaurants/availability of everything
sense. Unsurprisingly of course.
We stayed at the Hotel Villas Coral
. Non AI.
I really recommend staying somewhere like that, as there are so many different beaches and other things to see and do in the area, that staying AI might not be the best, unless you are going to just relax and not worry about finding places to eat, etc.
If that is the case there are a few different AI hotels in Tangolunda Bay- the Las Brisas and the Gala are the nicest, there is also a Barcelo and a little cheaper 3 star one, the Crown Pacific. There is also a couple of upscale hotels that are non AI, the Quinta Real and the Zaashila, very fancy.
Prices- about the same as Playa or anywhere else...not cheap, really.
Beers were from 18-22 pesos at the bars/restaurants (I paid 75 for my tall can of Guiness!). Cocktails about 60 or 70 pesos. Meals on average were around 80 pesos, I'd say.
The pan francesa at Terra Cotta (french toast stuffed with citrus cream cheese, mmm
) is 65 pesos.
Ice cream cone- 12 pesos single, 24 double.
bottle of decent Chilean red wine- 75 pesos. Mickey of rum- same.
Our hotel was 1400 pesos a night, but that was because it was xmas- it's normally cheaper. There is a few small hotels that are only about 700 pesos that are quite nice too though.
What is really cheap and convenient is getting around - taxis are cheap and plentiful, it was just 25 pesos to get to town for us (ten minute or so drive to the main square). There doesn't seem to be a local bus system in town, but there is a big ADO station for longer haul trips.
Souvenirs- same as everywhere...but not that many people selling stuff on the beach- and best of all- not one single timeshare shark in the area. No timeshares!
There is a big Mega-type grocery store that had just opened, there is 4 screen theatre in a mall, etc. No McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, or Wal Marts though. Matter of time, though, I bet.