Travelled from Gander, NL., Canada on the 31st of March 2010 and flew out of Cuba on the 7th of April 2010. I used a very good agent at email@example.com who was patient and found us a very good deal & resort combination. Sunwing was beyond our expectations. Flights ahead of schedule both south and northbound, great onboard staff, meals, ammenities and on the ground resort personel available 6 days a week to address any concerns. Takes a private airline to set the benchmark eh? Super resort 4.5 / 5 and very good value for the $$ money. No kids under 14 years of age permitted. It only has 250 rooms thus no line ups or crush of people for a beach chair, meals, drink, etc. This resort is not on the Varadaro peninsula. In fact, it is west of Varadaro in "Jibacoa Bay" (on north side of Cuba aprox 80 miles south of Miami. Also known for some of the best coral reef snokeling)about 1 hr by comfortable air conditioned full size charter bus from the airport. That suited us just fine, a resort ~ with privacy. The captial of Cuba – Havana – is only 1 hr away, again west, from this resort which we found convenient for excursions. One gets to see the country side enroute to exploring Cuba! * If you want to party like stray dog or cat ~ this place is not for you * Relax to the max or pedal to your own speed ~ and hit the bunk by 11PM or 2 AM (if you enjoy the disco)then you’ve found it ~
Good food, clean rooms, beverages of ones’ choice, safe enviroment, and varied clientele.
Your Arrival: I made 2 boo boo’s … #1 I failed to heed the previous posts and did not bring a thermal mug for beverages. A MUST have, for both hot and esp., cold beverages. Saves repeated trips back and forth to the bar. Beer / hard drinks come in a 6 oz plastic cup on each endless serving. Oh, and for smokers (I am not) cigarettes are .60 cents a pack. No tax on anything, the sticker is what you pay. #2 Take a hoodie/fleece or 3 season jacket and long pants/sweats for the nightly outdoor stage performances on the resort. You won’t want to miss them ! Evenings, despite being a low of 18C, with the wind and your sun burn can feel cool. Ironically enough ~ have a fall outfit at the ready and in your suitcase if you want to be comfortable and enjoy a cold beverage at the same time. Nice to know :
If you are a ‘face cloth’ person (we were not) you will need to bring your own, only towels of the standard size (ample) are provided.
Rooms: Cleaned daily. Again are clean, modern, comforable (for the time spent in them) and a good night sleep after a day in the hot Cuban sun. Rooms have a key locking safe, small fridge 2’x2’x2′, a hairdryer, and a converter from 220Volts to CDN voltage, all provided free. TV’s are on satelitte 20+ channels.
NFLD’ers even get NTV news on channel #36 ~ daily.
Restaurants and Bars: Buffet – great. Most evening there is musical entertainment. These groups could easliy be cover bands in Canada and amass a small fortune. The breakfast egg omelettes are remarkable (with or without the yolk). Full variety of hot/cold food, soup, fruit, if you can’t get it here ~ stay home and eat TV dinners. Beach bar – wicked fries (I like them crispy, cheese burgers x2 or x3 patties, chicken & pizza – fill your boots – justifies the selection of no egg yolk at breakfast, see ? ) Both the Italian and Cuban restaurants are good and formal in the sense of a dining experience. With two teenage boys, or big eaters, don’t expect to "dine and dash" You are entitled to visit each only once in your 7 day stay.
If I had to pay out of pocket what my two ‘seagull’ sons ate during the week at this resort ~ I would be a pauper.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Clean, large pool and two jacuzzi tubs on the same deck.
Grounds are tended to daily by ground personnel so no coconuts fall on YOUR ‘coconut’. No issues.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We, as a family or four with two teenage boys 18&16, had a grand time at this resort. They boys bumped into some Albertan male buddies, were maintenance free and us secure in them being safe / well-behaved for our stay. They attended the nightly outdoors theatre shows with us that were put off by the resort @ 9:10 PM to 10:30 PM, and then slinked into the disco to socialize, sans parents,afterward. As parent were never concerned about thier safety on the resort or swimming. Most here are Canucks and look out for each other I must say! #1 two boys did resort scuba diving x2 $30 each for 1.5 hours , #2 my wife and I had a massage $20 each for 1/2 hour each, and #3 did a hike up a mountain (free by from resort), the base of which the resort is situated upon. #4 We all did an excursion to Havana by taxi vs a bus and the driver walked us around old/new Havana/huge flea market, spoke good English and had an exceptional knowledge of his countries history. Regretably, I’ve got my doubts most Canadians could recite a similar history lesson. He could also press the flesh to get us bumped up in a lineup in this busy city. It cost 4 of us $70 peso’s total or about $100 bucks CDN – we left at 8:30 AM and home at 5:30 PM ~ awesome. Just enquire around. #5 I rented one 2-seater scooter on the resort for about $15 for three hours and booted around at my own speed. Went to St. Cruz nearby and took photo’s of that small town about 20 km west of the resort. A photographers ~ mecca. #6 We did the Costa Blanca catamaran excursion, the only excursion we went through the Sunwing representative to book. We did the $69 dollar tour to just "watch a dolphin show" (don’t pay double to swim with dolphin’s unless you choose) At 7:45 AM the bus departed from our resort to the Varadaro peninsula, a nice air conditioned drive to get there, only 1 hr, but scenic . At 9:00 AM we left Varadero peninsula on the catarman and steamed to set anchor at 10:45 AM and did some group snorkeling. All equipment provided but if you have your snorkeling gear bring it will save you "water time" ! Lots of room for gear/kit bags on board. How big ? we are talking a 64′ boat here folks ~ no slouch of a craft. All drinks, free. At about 1:30 PM we arrived at Waterworld, an island, where we docked and swam in the whitest, warmest of beaches, shopped at a market set up for the day and had lunch; lobster, crab, chicken, favorite beverage, ~ again fill your boots. A very good tour and good value.
Again, you could do all of the above, some of it or, none of it ~ tasters choice 🙂
Other Comments: Bring stuff for the kids and adults…….. Cubans love baseball hats, esp., the one with the ProFit head band. These folks (from walking to the gereatric ward) practice baseball with everything from a junk of palm tree and a rock, to a bat and ball, if fortunate enough. Also medicine (and oddly disposable diapers) are very expensive or not attainable. I regret not bringing more "stuff", giving money is one thing but despite that Cubans often cannot attain what they "need" My suggestion, when you have your next visit with your family physician, ask for few/bag full of the sample pharmacutical products that medical pracitioners get from drug representatives and take them to Cuba. Check the visitor site, one is only allowed 10, get this, "kilograms" per person. Since our stay was over the Easter break, and Cubans are Catholic, my wife brought down Easter Bunnies and on the moped tour we went to the hardest spots (not crime ridden – very little crime/drugs in Cuba)stopped and gave out items to the kids. Not one melted ! The DERRY’s – NFLD