A Halifax woman whose vacation to Cuba ended up longer than expected, is warning others about international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jillian White spent days in a quarantine hotel in Varadero, and doesn’t want others to run into the same situation.
“I will never go back to Cuba. And, I love Cuba,” she said.
“I’ve been there 13 times and it just put me off completely.”
The Canadian government issued a travel advisory against non-essential travel to foreign countries on Dec. 15.
White spoke to Global News on Tuesday, after recently returning from Cuba two days earlier. She had travelled there with a friend and the day before she was supposed to return home, she tested positive for COVID-19 on a PCR test.
Her friend received a negative result.
White was then taken to a quarantine hotel where she met other travellers in the same situation.
“It was awful, I was grateful there was others there that I shared this messed up experience with,” she said.
After two days, everyone was given the green light to go and were told they were now negative for COVID-19.
“We said, ‘It’s too late to get a flight’, so we called around to get some rooms,” said White.
However, she and the seven others she had befriended were unable to find accommodations in Varadero, and had to stay in a neighbouring town.
“So we got an Airbnb in Boca and said, ‘We’re all going to have one last night together and get out of here and never come back,'” she explained.
She and the others had to buy new one-way tickets back to their home countries because they had missed their return flights home. White’s cousin was eventually able to book one, at an increased price.
“Since being back, I feel really anxious and kind of just reliving like, ‘Is this real life? Did this really happen?”
Quarantine hotels are no longer being used in Cuba, as of Jan. 8.
COVID-positive guests are now permitted to stay at their resort. They are moved to a separate area of their resort for the quarantine period.