Brisas Santa Lucia Hotel/Resort Page 2 – Cuba Travel & Hotels – Debbie's Caribbean Travel & Resort Reviews

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey  ~  Reviews Posted – 28
Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Nathalie ~ Montreal

May 2005

Hello!

We, my friend and I, visited the Brisas Santa Lucia from April 15 to the 29. It was a great vacations…

Flight: West Jet service is very good….The flight was pretty bad but that’s Mother nature’s fault not their.

Check in: Long but hey you’re in your vacations relax…We were showed our room by a bell boy in below 1 hour we were in the room.

Room: Room was clean. Good size. We were in building 10 near everything we needed. It was noisy but since we were never there it wasn’t a problem….It’s near the entertainment stage. Watch for the matresses, I had a sprig coming out of it which I didn’t see, but felt it, trust me it’s kind of painful.

Food: Well, let me set this straight, it wasn’t very good. The first week was terrible but it got better over the second week. I’m not picky but sometime I had troubles finding something to keep me alive! Unless you eat bread and ice cream all the time, but since I watch what I eat, wasn’t a solution for me. You may agree you may not agree but it’s our opinion. We ate only at the Buffet since we didn’t make our reservations the first day there was no room at the a la carte. But we discovered a restaurant call Luna Mar when you walk down the beach to your left, it’s naer the Caracol, the food there is amazing we went three time and it’s afordable, espacially when you are starving!

Beach: Very nice….like almost all beaches in Cuba. If you have the chance to visit Coco Beach it’s breathtaking!

Entertainment: It was good. But too much shows involving drunk tourists ready to embarass themselves for a bottle of Rhum…The crew is energetic and very nice, it’s sure that when you are girls of 25 years old, they’re always around, sometime they get a little anoying because they really say what they have in mind when they say they want to entertain you….

Excursions: We did the Coral tour, it’s 20 pesos, it’s worth it, but my advice to you is do it only if it’s not too windy because it gets pretty dangerous when it’s windy…

Night life: The disco at the hotel we went there 5 minutes the second week and there was only 5 persons….We went to the Mar Verde, cultural center, there’s nice shows by the dance troup Tyfon del Caribe and after it’s a disco with Cuban music and Reggaeton. We went also to the Rumbo, there it’s mostly Cubans, they play a mix of Latin music and a bit of American and we went a lot to the Jungla it’s the disco of the Gran Club Santa Lucia, cover is 5 pesos and the drinks are all included. There they play a nice mix of everything.

That’s about it enjoy it if you go!

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Amedeo ~ Montreal, Canada

May 2005

My family and i just got back from Brisas santa lucia (5 & 7 year old boy & girl).And we loved it, this was the first time me and my wife brought the kids on a trip.So like every one who reads theses reviews we were a little concerned but let me tell you it was great.We stayed in block 11 second floor,the rooms wer very clean and yes you might see some bugs but dont forget you are on a tropical island.The staff was very freindly and didnt mind answering your questions.The beach is nice the ocean,the white sand but 3 days out of 7 they did not remove the seaweed from the sand with the trucks. The ocean was very shallow wich was good for the kids.Me i love to snorkel and there is a beautiful coral to see with so many kinds of fish and colours(bring some bread or bananas to the coral).The food was ok the buffet was very repetetive but we always found something good to eat,the kids loved the pasta bar and the ice cream was very good. At the snack bar the kids ate chicken,ham,cheese sandwiches,hamburgers & hotdogs.The snack bar ran out of fries 5 out of 7 days.My wife and i were a little disapointed on the drinks they had no blenders so my pinacolada at home is alot better then what we had there.The beer was good.The shows at night time were very good.Over all my family and i enjoyed are stay at the resort but were not fussy people for me and wife who weve been on a cruise,cayo coco(cuba)and italy would go back to this resort.

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Francois ~ Sherbrooke, Canada

April 2005

We went to the Brisas Santa Lucia from April 16-30 with Go Travel Direct. As background, we are a family of four with a boy and girl aged 9 and 6. We’ve been vacationning as a family in the Carribbean two weeks every year for the past four years. We went to the Tryp Cayo Coco in 2001, the Ocean Bavaro in the DR in 2002 and rented a condo in the Mayan Riviera in 2003.

Flew in a very nice 767 from Zoom Airlines. I travel extensively in my field of work and I can tell this was one of the most confortable airplane I have been in a long time. Feels like you’re in business class. We arrived in the dead of night and they gave the talk and the registration in the bus: wise.

The rooms – We asked in advance for two communicating rooms aways from the stage. We got two non-communicating rooms right in front of it. I complained to the desk and the next morning, we got our wish. The only trouble was that it was very close to the stage at the Gran Club next doors. Anyway, it wasn ’t so bad since we were so tired every night that the noise never kept us awake. The rooms are large and kept very clean. The maid can even do your laundry for a small fee which was very useful since we did not bring enough clothes for the whole 14 days. The bed are comfortable enough but of a very unusual size: too large for one but too small for two. For the first time in our 15 years together, we slept in separate beds…we are still laughing about it. There is no hair dryer so you need to bring your own and a converter. HOWEVER, bring a small one not a jet engine like the one my wife uses (1600 W). The level of electrical current was so low that the hair dryer was totally useless. She had to spend the entire vacation with dishelveled curly hair, a disaster of biblical proportion…

The food – We were in Cuba so this is not haute cuisine. If you like fish, pork and pasta, you’ll do very well. As for the rest… I always managed to eat very well since I love fish and they were very good, especially at lunch at the grill and in the restaurant by the beach. The breakfast was a little more challenging since we have very European tastes (bread & croissant). Also being a chocoholics meant we had to go cold turkey. It was hardest on the boy. We are not dessert people which was good since the desserts are unusually tasteless… although the ice cream is very good. The kids survived on burger, hot dogs, bread and pasta with bananas, melons and pineapples to complete the major food groups. They did get annoyed by the near constant shortage of french fries. On one fateful day, the resort ran out of fries, burgers, hot dogs, watermelons and pineapples. The grill was only serving grill cheese that day.

The drinks – All the little culinary negative will be forgotten if you are a coffee lover. The coffee was absolutely unbelivably good. Just make sure to ask for a Cappucino forte so that you get expresso instead of filtered coffee and you will be in paradise. At night, a lot of people were ordering a “Spanish” which was a cappucino laced with brandy. A double wammy that got us addicted quite rapidly. The bars serve the standard fare of drinks. However, there are no blender so your pina colada is rich on the pina with not much colada. I did hear about the usefulness of bringing insulated mugs but the small plastic glass makes for very good comsumption control. Some people really went over the top with 1 liter Tim Horton mugs. If you like good rhum, go to the bar near the lobby and ask for the Havana Club Seven years (in spanish mind you). They’ll give you a look as if you were not supposed to know about it but there are well hidden bottles (got this tip from one of the animator whose identity shall remain a secret for obvious reasons).

The pool – A little small but it never felt crowded because it is very well designed. It is in need of a coat of paint but that should be done shortly.

The beach – Very nice beach with lots of coconut trees. The trees makes enough shade for everyone but it also means that there is quite a lot of small debris in the sand. The water is very shallow because of the reef 2-3 km away. There are large areas of sea grass so there was lots of debris on the beach when the wind was strong. The snorkeling is pretty good once you figure out the right spots to go. There are some rocks and corals about 200 m in front of where you get the boats. There are lots of fishes there that are not afraid of people because a lot come everyday to give them bananas. You can also spot a few lobsters hiding in the cracks. To the right of the resort, there are some interesting formations where we saw moray eels. On one notable occasion, we saw one outside her lair. She got into a defensive position and opened wide…the weird noise I heard was my wife screaming into her tube as she was hightailing out of here. My favorite spot was about 1 km in between the Brisas and the Gran club were you can find a certain number of nice coral heads, in pretty good shape since you need to be a pretty experienced swimmer to make that far (and a bit crazy too). I liked it there especially since you can find Queen balistas, which is one of the nicest fish in these waters. On one day, my son and I took a pedal boat and went all the way to the reef to snorkel (one hour in, one hour back). Very nice coral but very little fishes.

The animation – Good animation but not too much. Just enough to keep you entertained if that was your wish. The kids fell in love with Mayaline and Vladimir. One more thing to add are the cats. There is a family of cats living under the restaurant by the beach. At the time we were there, they had three cute little kittens. “I’ll be at the cats” was a very common expression during our stay from most of the kids.

The shows – There was a kids dance at 8h30 (cuban time; 8h45-9h00 if at all) and a show at 9h30 (sharp). The shows were usually very amateurish and sometime pretty lame. However, if you go to the dance show by the Tyfon del Caribe dance group, prepare to be totally blown away. Those dancers were unbelivably good and we saw them for three nights.

The horses – There are two groups that offer horse rides for 5 Pesos/hour. They are located between the Brisas and the Gran club. The tour offered by the “fat man” takes you to the salt flats and the laguna. The one by the “cowboy” goes along the beach. If you go with the “cowboy”, try and get Loco. That was the best horse I rode in my life. Obeys every command on a whim and even goes to full gallop if that is your wish (boy was that great!). You can also get a tour of Santa Lucia by horse-buggy. If you go between the resorts, they will charge you 6 pesos/person. However, I found out that I could get a much better deal by walking to the street in front and flagging one like you would a taxi. There are villages both to the east and west of the resort and quite worthy of a visit. We were there during the May 1st celebration and it was quite a sight.

The Flamingo Tour – The only tour we took. We took off in a powerful dive boat with a crazy crew. We went in into Nuvertos (sp?) bay to see the flamingo and saw all nine of them… then it was off to iguana island to feed the baby godzillas. They are big, spoiled and always hundry. Just don’t keep anything in your fingers. Since the flamingos were a bust. They took us to Bonita beach for a very good seafood meal. On the way, they stopped along a decrepid fishboat and packed a huge crate of fishes and lobsters. It was quite a sight. Bonita beach was quite beautiful by it was only at the surface. I had my snorkeling gear with me and when I took a dive, I was shocked to find enormous amounts of garbage underwater. Plastic, running shoes, bottles etc. The whole floor was covered in it. That really took my spirit down. We then took off for snorkeling at the reef. The wind had picked up by then and we had a lot of fun standing at the bow and getting clobbered by the waves while the rest were getting seasick at the back. They took us to a special spot in the reef that was totally magical. The coral was beautiful, the fish plentiful and, since it was only three feet deep, I could let my boy snorkel by himself safely. The girls were too cold and seasick to follow even after much encouragement. My guess is that when they see the pictures, they will really regret that decision.

The guests – The resort was packed with almost 100% canadians (french & english) the first week so there were lines at the buffet for dinner. The second week was much quieter as the season drew to a close. By the time we left, it was mostly germans and argentinians.

Overall – It was a very good and relaxing vacation. Is it a four star? Definitely not. More like a three stars. I would not complain too much though because we got a very good deal with GTD so it was well worth the price.

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Kim ~ Canada

April 2005

Hi! All I have to say is that this was my first trip anywhere and I thought it was wonderful! We went from April 1st to April 8th. People who are saying it was awful and the power went out(shut your room lights off when you go out), well, you have to be open minded and remember that you are in a different country with a different way of life. Big deal if you had to wait in line(some nights) for dinner. Were you going somewhere fast! Yes it was a bit windy some days, but they can’t control the weather. Think of where it is coming from. Oh, and anywhere you go with sand, yes, sand does consist of fleas. This resort has nothing to do with the price you paid because that was a special. Usually $1300.00. Everytime we ate there was lots of food. The people are wonderful! Made lots of friends. We read the reviews also, but you have to go see for yourself and always remember that you are somewhere else. I was just happy to be somewhere different. I would definitely go back. It never rained the whole time I was there. We loved every minute.

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Janice ~ Canada

April 2005

This was my 5th trip down south and 2nd to Cuba. I would just like to say that you get what you pay for, so, for $699, we didn’t really expect it to be a 4* resort and it isn’t. But, I am not going to go on and on bitching about it, I just want to give people a heads up on what to expect so they can prepare themselves.

The beach (which is absolutely breathtaking at sunrise) is not sprayed for sand fleas, etc, so if you, or your children, are susceptible to bites, bring some "Off" and/or Benadryl. Many people did have cockroaches in their rooms, i.e. in the shower, on the bed, etc., so be prepared. They were having a problem with the cold water supply while we were there (a leak somewhere that they couldn’t locate), often turning the cold water off at night. So, you might want to fill the garbage can in your room with water, in case you need to use the bathroom during the night (although this problem may now be fixed). Oh, and if you are one of those people who can’t survive without your blowdryer, be sure to bring one and a converter (which you can pick up at WalMart for around $12).

Finally, if you are looking forward to sipping on a nice frosty marguerita or other blender drink, forget about it. They did not have one blender on the whole resort. boo hoo. On the plus side, the beer was cold and delicious and the Spanish coffee at the coffee bar, located at the 24-hr bar, was fabulous.

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Jay

April 2005

I must start off by saying that I have stayed at many different resorts in Cuba ranging from 3 * to five star … This was our fifth time venturing to Cuba.

We got home from Brisas Santa Lucia on April 15, 2005. I would not recommend this hotel to anyone. Apparently this hotel is a 4* … very decieving I would rate the more of a 3* if that, because I have stayed at 3*’s that were of better quality.

Lets start off with the food. Now going to Cuba it is common knowledge that the food is not the main thing you go for. At this resort there appeared to be a lack of food compared to the amount of people at the resort. Typically we would head down for dinner at 7:00ish to be greeted with a huge line formed to enter into the restaurant. Once we waited about 30 minutes just to get into the restaurant. This has not be apparent any other place that I have stayed at … vacations are not about waiting in lines. When we got into the restaurants the food was limited… they had a spread of rabbit, tongue and an assortment of foods that looked like it had been sitting out all night. There was one night that they had turkey…I heard it was wonderful but by the time we went in for dinner it was all gone … how disappointing! There appeared to be alot of recycled food from the night before … cheese, meats and the famous morning hotdogs that were deepfried in yummy goodness. Usually you have to worry about packing on the pounds while you are away … I lost five pounds! Oh ya, make sure you book your a la carte meals as soon as you get there we went to book them the next moring and they were booked solid till the following Saturday … a day after we ere to leave. The rooms were alright. The decor was straight from the 70’s which was fine. My fiance had a difficult time in the room… If you suffer from allergies make sure you bring your own bedding. There appeared to be mould and mildew inside rooms and even on some of the bedding. There are no hairdryers inside the rooms … make sure you bring your own. The showers were well pressured but needed some drain-o as the water would stay in for a while afterwards.

The maid service was wonderful … always cleaned quick and friendly. During one point of our stay my fiance was showering and as he was toweling off he looked up into the slates inbetween rooms and found a man watching him as he toweled off … Very creepy being a women in all! During the ours between 10 – 4p.m. the power went off several times a day… making it extremely hot inside the rooms. The gounds of the hotel were fairly nice, they have let some of the hotel get run down… which is quite weird because there was about 25 worker/gardeners that stood around daily, who appeared to be working. The beach was nice… extremely busy though! There was alot of seaweed though.

I need to stop now … It seems like I am a typical Canadian complainer. The local people were wonderful and I guess I take for granted the wonderful country we live in. I do not expect alot from a resort but simple thing like food amounts and no peeping toms should be a standard.

In conclusion … Maybe we went on a bad week when they were over booked… It was the off season, I can’t imagine what it would be like it peak holiday season. Thanxs for reading my honest review. —

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Kate

April 2005

One word EXALLENT!! It was my first time to the carribian but it was great!! First of all I want to apologise for the mistakes , beacause english is not my first lenguage!! Me my mom and my brother traveld to cuba from march 25 to april 1 2005! When we arrived to Cuba They didn’t have enaugh visas so we needed to wait a long time… It was not that bad we met new friends so it was ok. Then when we got the visas we had a long long ride to Brisas 90 minutes from the airoport cameguey.But it was allready 23:00 so i was sleeping.when we arrived the check in was really fast and one old and really nice guy helped us to bring our bagage to our room…the room was cleaned every day, We gave him one american dollar but then someone told us that from November 2004 Cuba does not exept american dollars… So they can’t really use it there. so we changed the american dollars to convertible pesos.when we arrived there I was too exited about everything and i missed the ocean so much because i’m from Israel and there is a wonderful mideterian sea =) So I went to the beach. I could not really see something but the filling of the water made me really happy and the beautiful stars there were so many of them . The next day was wondereful sunny and wonderful ocean like a cristal, and so all the week…sea weed? Oh yes not a lot but if you want u can bring water shoes! I didn’t use them because i did not came there to cover me up! The food there was good it was a regular cuisine what you eat at home… I liked it… the juices were great! everything was good! The people that work there are really nice I had a chance to talk with some of them… but seriouslly I’m 15 years young and they defently like young girls everyone was smiling and saying Hola and telling me "Vos estas muy linda" which was really nice … I had a chance to talk to Jordan he was the one that cut the fruits and to Ernesto the Pasta guy… they are really nice! The snack bar was ok… i don’t really like fast food but sometimes i wuld go to the bar and pass by the snack bar… there was one old guy his name is Milan he is a great guy! so please if u r about to go to cuba please say Hi from Kate!! The enterteinment was very good… Vlademir is a really funny guy we had a great time with him all the dancers were great… well u know ! they dance latin so good salsa n cha cha cha… it was very beautiful! and ofcoarse we had a chance to ride on the horses! the horses are beautiful but too calm well my moms horse was kind of crazy she jumped all the time and she did not listen to her… it was really funny ! then every night we had a disco and show! Miss and Brisas santa lucia.. it was really fun! we brang some tooth brushes t-shirts pens soaps and all what needed for home and for the kids… bring something for the people there… they are really nice! You give them something and they will be very thankfull! People i will defenetly recomend this resort Brisas santa lucia para siempre!!! Cuba!! Best people! everything was just great and I will defently go back to Brisas now it like my other home!

U have to go there if you want to relax to have fun and to drink rum!!!! I know to young eh? but escuse me?? I’m on a vacation!! Bye bye!!!=) If you would like to know more or to get some pictures u can e-mail me kate_konnov@hotmail.co.il

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Rana ~ Newfoundland, Canada

April 2005

We traveled to Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey from March 25- April 1. I traveled with a friend (teenagers) and my parents to Cuba. We all had a wonderful time! Brisas Santa Lucia was a beautiful resort with lots of fun for all ages. I stayed at villa 9 which was close to the pool and entertainment but didn’t seem have too much noise. Don’t forget to bring a clock, the rooms do not have clocks! The rooms were very clean! We found the food to be great. My parents and I have traveled to the Dominican Republic to a 4 star and they enjoyed the food here better. The fruit, bread, pasta, fish, omelettes and so much more was excellent! We were prepared for the worst after reading the reviews but keeping in mind that we were in Cuba we were pleasantly surprised! The 24 hour snack bar that served hamburgers, hotdogs, fries and chicken sandwiches was great! We didn’t have to change our clothing and could eat no matter what the time. The entertainment was good. The kids really seemed to enjoy the kids disco in the night. The entertainers will be sure to get everyone involved causing you to have a great time! Not only did the entertainers perform a show and get you involved during the night time but also during the day they always had something planned. It was great! We were interested in snorkeling which was one of the main reasons for booking this resort. The beach was shallow but it was great for small kids and for adults to wade in. We didn’t have any problem finding a chair at the beach or pool at any time during the day. Both the pool and beach was great. A little paint was pealing at the pool but they are soon painting it before summer arrives. We went snorkeling out by the buoys and saw many fish! We also took a catamaran tour for the day out to the coral reef which was excellent! It was breath taking. The food they served on the excursion was also good. It was lots of fun.

We would all travel back to this resort again! We had a great time! If you have any questions you can e-mail me at ranasaunders@hotmail.com

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Mitch ~ Canada

April 2005

I went to Brisas Santa Lucia and loved it “march 25 to April 1, 2005” My wife and I brought our 2 boys age 17 and 21 The food was good ,24 hour snack was great Entertainment was very good “keep us @ our seats” Piano bar was good One thing to remember bring potato chips The pool did need a paint job but it was much better than being in Canada “a little warmer” The room was very clean We had a veranda, their was no cob webs Overhaul it was great

We would go back!!!

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Ben, Paula & Anna ~ Ontario, Canada

April 2005

Hi – we just got back last night from Brisas Santa Lucia Cuba (April 2-9 2005). We had a very nice relaxing sunny and hot vacation. We have traveled many times to the Caribbean and this was our 3rd visit to Cuba. We would always return to the resorts we previously visited but we would not return to Brisas Santa Lucia. Beach was not good for swimming unless you are under the age of 5. It is also full of weeds. The sand is white but could be cleaner. We were in building 6 (622) which was right on the beach. Location was great. The room is very small but was clean. No hot water or water pressure for 5 of 7 days.

The food was not good.. It was not fresh and there was definitely a shortage of it. Trust me, we are not fussy eaters. . Drinks were fine but not fresh juice – only sugary flavored juices. Never saw any milk. Breakfast was the worst. Could not even get toast unless you wanted to line up for 20 minutes. No staff member ever asked if we wanted coffee. We had to find our own utensils on some mornings. No clean tables so we cleaned our own.

The Cubans were great as always and we met lots of new friends. We took lots of gifts for staff and other Cubans we met. The resort had a lot of French Canadians and my husband went on a Catamaran excursion where he was the only non French speaking tourist. The gym had little equipment and was very dirty. Spoke to the manager, but no change on cleanliness. Apparently they will be renovating this hotel – it needs it. Pool was too small and paint was peeling. We enjoyed the piano Bar and tried out the disco. We enjoyed horseback riding and the flying boats (30.00 or @15minutes).Also the two hour snorkeling trip. We would not recommend this hotel, but we would recommend Cuba.

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Nadine ~ New-Brunswick

April 2005

First, I’ll apologize for all the mistake I’m going to make, because English is not my first language. We went to the Brisas on April 1 to April 8, 2005. We traveled with Go Travel Direct and had an excellent fly. On the bus to the Brisas, because it was pass 11h00pm, they gave us our room number and all the explanation for when we arrive at the resort.

Room – I e-mailed the resort to have a room side by side with the people that came with us, didn’t get any respond to it, but to our surprise we had a not only side by side, but a door that let us in one to the other. The room we’re great. Clean and wide. #1014 and 1015. It was very close to the entertainments (show). But the big pow-wow is from 9h30 to 11h00pm, so it was not bad.

Restaurant- Food for everybody. Chicken, pasta, rice, soup and all kinds of other things. So who have all that at their table in one meal. Plus, if your not up to that the snack bar has fries, hamburger, and hotdog 24/7. So who can complain on that????

Pool – As a swim up bar. It’s not big but so what we’re on vacation and if you wont bigger, go to the beach.

Beach – A lot of shad hid out for those who likes to. But that the only down thing for us. We love to snorkel and it’s definitively not the place. Theirs no water. When I say no water it’s mean that you don’t have any over your waste. Ok we’re both 6 foot, but still. And when people tells you to bring your water shoes, bring them!!Did I say bring them, I did and do it. But it’s a beach and we are on vacation.

Bar – Great drink. Rum, Rum, Rum !!! Bring your insulated cups, it’s a real plus. Coffee beside the main bar, do try everything. Near the lobby (can’t remember the name) as a bar that only open’s at 6h00pm and close around 10h00. Every alcohol is their. Great!!!

Gift – Well, don’t go put in your head that you’re going to come back with a lot of stuff, because you wont. Their’s great island jewelry, and little stuff, but not much more. Rum, coffee and cigars are at every corner. I would recommend that resort to everybody and tell the other that does not do the same thing as us that they have to remember the price they paid and that their in Cuba, not in their own house and country. We were a groupe of 4 people – 30-33-43 and 50. And their was things to do for all of us.

If you have some question. jacknad@rogers.com and we will be please to help you. One more thing. We visited the village and their people and Camaguey, so if you wont to know more, just ask. 🙂

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Elizabeth from Ottawa

April 2005

Our family (me and husband, plus three kids aged 5, 4 and 15 months) were at Brisas Santa Lucia from March 17-24. We had a great time! Like others, we were apprehensive after reading some unfavourable reviews, but we were pleasantly surprised. Sure the food wasn’t haute cuisine, but we knew that. None of us got sick, and there were high chairs available. The buffet dining room is quite crowded, so we found eating with a toddler who likes to throw food a little challenging, but the staff were very nice about cleaning up (they told me after every meal to stop picking the food up off the floor – that they would do it), and they were all over our little one. Cubans seem to love kids.

Our rooms (connecting, as we had requested) were clean, although a little tired looking. We were in block 22, which I think is unrenovated. The mattresses were flat as pancakes and there was no fridge, but we didn’t need one. There was always enough hot water at the end of the day, and our maid would always do something fancy with the towels or sheets (decorated with hibiscus, folded into swans, etc). We brought cosmetics, toothbrushes and toothpaste for her and at the end of our stay we left her with the medication we had brought for our kids, as she had a six-year-old son. Children’s Advil, Polysporin, Pedialyte, etc.

We didn’t use the kids club (it seemed to be a little loosey-goosey in terms of structured activities and was really for older kids although it was billed as being for 4 year olds and over) although we enjoyed the kids disco every night at 8:30. My daughter is still singing the songs she learned!

The beach and the pool were both great for kids. There were some weeds on the beach due to the wind, but it didn’t bother us. The sand was nice and soft and the shallow water was perfect for little swimmers. We brought our own sand toys (there weren’t any there) and we met another family who brought an inflatable dinghy – a great idea for the beach or pool! Unfortunately our two older kids got quite sunburned the first day, so I’d recommend bringing lycra surf shirts or bodysuits.

We also brought plastic cups for ourselves and insulated sippy cups for the kids, and I’m glad we did. We would have used a LOT of little disposable plastic cups. I was concerned about having milk available for the kids to drink, but the two older ones had no problem with Cuban milk (was it powdered?). The little one drank toddler formula, although she drinks milk at home. We were warned here at home not to drink or even wash dishes or brush teeth with the tap water, but we had no problem. There were water coolers at the snack bar to mix the little one’s formula with.

We got hepatitis A vaccines before we left home, although my family doctor didn’t think it was necessary for travel to Cuba (although she’s recommend it for the DR).

Hubby and I didn’t get much alone time, although we had quiet time before dinner where the kids watched the Cartoon Network in Spanish (contrary to what I’ve read in other reviews, there were plenty of TV channels to be had if that’s what you wanted to do) while we read or enjoyed a tasty cappuccino or Spanish coffee (yum!). We each took an afternoon to do the catamaran snorkeling expedition. Cool fish, although next time I’ll bring my own equipment – who wants to share a snorkel with a stranger? The only other expedition we did was a family horse and buggy ride to Coco Beach. Beautiful! We also went horseback riding with the black-hatted cowboy. Our 5-year-old got to ride a pony by herself, and adults rode with the other two kids.

Overall we had a wonderful week and I’d go back again. I’ve never been anywhere other than Cuba, but I think this was an advantage. Hubby and I had nothing to compare to, so we had nothing to complain about.

A final note: the $25 peso departure tax is per seat, not per person, so our little one (who was on my lap on the plane) didn’t have to pay. That left us with some extra cash to spend on the rum and Cuban coffee in the duty free shop!

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Val ~ Canada

April 2005

Just came back from brisas Santa Lucia

We booked through a travel agent a while ago since we wanted to make sure we would go and nobody or nothing would stop us. I travelled with my 2 kids 8 and 7 and a friend and her daughter of 7. A lt of people we met, even families of 4 or more , booked with go travel direct and had better prices.

I tavelled to Cuba before, but with the kids this was the best ever! However , there were mainly canadians (quebeckers) so that was not so "typical" cuban…

Beach: shallow far far away. Ideal for the kids who could get off by themselves. Pedalo’s sailboat(Laser), Hobbycat, kayaks, snorkling equipment always available
Plenty of chairs available and (much needed) palmtrees to protect from the sun. Lots of wind, but hardly any waves since protected by the coralreef

Pool & area: Small pool but perfect to play and refresh from the sea/sand.

Entertainment: difficult to find the activity board and not a lot was followed anyway.The team organizing the shows was excellent and super nice.Themes were different daily and we closed off with a beachparty that was fabulous!

Rooms: clean, good beds , A/C not freezing.

Food: better than what you expect in Cuba. Repetitive buffet but some good things. Also, at the bars, always friendly people.

Excursion: one day to camaguey with Cubacana. The guide was tired of the same questions and not the most enthousiastic and did not keep the schedule (we arrived 2hrs later than expected and the kids were tired of the heat)

BEST: safety- the kids were running on their own all day. Playing with new friends. Nothing to worry. They also went horsebackriding on the beach for an hour with a "real cowboy" and we felt safe. Almost all staff speaks a english and or french, and they could always tell me where they last saw my kids.. At night, we put them down and could go for another drink.

I would go back to the same hotel with kids. Without kids-unless you are a beachgoeroe- I would not go. There is not much cultural in that area and it is very poor and dry.

GREAT!

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey JC ~ Canada

March 2005

Just arrvied from Brisas , traveling with "Go travel direct .com" . Must say I was impressed with the service . Similare to Air Transat but a bit more overall ( by the way they serve hot meals in the plane !!! ) .

Anyway for me this destination does not meet the 4 star rating . It’s my fourth trip in Cuba ( Varedero, Holgin, Cayo Coco and Santa Lucia) unfortunately it was a bit deceiving .

FOOD :The food was good a bit short on quantities (always missing or waiting for some dish refilling) , in the moorning always short of bread , jam , orange juice it was a bit anoying . Beside that I always found something good to eat and service was fine .

ROOM : # 1421 : Very clean , average room , a bit doll ( white walls ) and the Mattress were wearned out . No fridge ? and some had no safe in the room . In my room the Air conditioning was’nt working . Water presure and temperature was great .

BEACH : This is were it gets the most deceiving . nice sand , palm trees … but the ocean was full of weeds . On the shore in the water . You can manage to find some path in the water but frankly it’s deceiving . Comparing to Cayo Coco it’s day and night . I never saw that before and wont miss it . The hotel beside us (Gran Club) was even worst.

POOL: Not that big and the paint was or had flake away on the sides and even in the pool . Just was’nt appealing .

Overall this is should not be rated 4 star . 3 1/2 at the most . Like I said I have been in other 3 1/2 and 4 stars and it was better . It always depend on how much money you can afford on the trip .!!!

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Mel ~ Ontario

March 2005

The resort was great. I found the best deal on line last minute. I recommend this approach for the best savings. I would also recommend the online reviews; these are accurate. I found common threads in reviews such as the food being poor avoid certain excursions etc. We went in the last week of Feb. and the weather was great. It rained one morning but we were away on an excursion to Camaguey and we appreciated the overcast day as it was hot. The water was quite warm ~80F or 25C. The highlight of the trip for the kids and I was the snorkeling. We would do about 5 hours a day. We went offshore checking out the rocks around the red buoys. Also we would swim to the right as you are facing the ocean and saw lots of fish amongst the coral. The stuff we saw was amazing. Keep in mind that we snorkel in lakes here in Ontario and see bass, pike, crayfish and eels etc which are pretty plain. Off the beach we saw a moray eel, hermit crabs, crabs, peacock flounder, small to volleyball size sea urchin. One common sighting was starfish or brittle stars that moved pretty quickly and didn’t mind too much being handled. Rare sightings include sea cucumbers, skates, cuttlefish or squids, one little octopus, prawns, lobsters. Many colorful fish such as squirrel fish the shrimp (Jacque from The movie Nemo), box fish (like Mrs. Puff), big yellow fish, blue fish, zebra fish so many they are too numerous to look up. We took 3 under water Kodac cameras with us and were surprised at the quality. We took a trip to the reef on the catamaran and it was pretty rough. I had two kids with me age 12 and 15 and I had my hands full. The waves were about 3-4 foot swells the depth was 9-12 ft. I was getting motion sickness while snorkeling and I sail, swim and snorkel all summer. My son got sick and started throwing up in the water. I was busy keeping his head up swimming trying to get the guide and keep an eye on my daughter. When I was in my twenties (20 yrs ago) I was a lifeguard and did some actual rescues in lakes but this was quite different. I flagged the guide over and we decided to stop. The guides were excellent swimmers an in good shape. I would recommend if you go ask to go in the chest deep water. The reef from what I saw was beautiful. The Elkhorn coral was spectacular also blue flat coral. Once again this is my first time in a tropical country. At the resort I saw Flamingo’s, pelicans, small lizards (swifts and anoles) the resort had an iguana (3-4 feet long).

The food I thought was excellent. My wife described it as home cooking. I am not a picky eater however. My main complaint about the food was the desserts. Although I rarely eat desserts I found the desserts lacked flavor. It was like the desserts you get at the Chinese buffet, even the chocolate taste like vanilla. The ice cream was really good. The coffee was poor. I would suggest you bring a package of Tim’s and brew your own with one of those plunger coffee makers. The drinks were also too strong. A small glass with 2 ice cubes more than ½ filled with rum and topped up with mix. He folks I’m not 20 anymore. Bring thermos mugs or small jugs to fill up for the beach. I had a one liter jug that I filled with p-colada for the beach. They always had a variety of good food. I found some food served was unusual such as brussel sprouts and boiled cabbage for breakfast but you can have coco puffs, eggs, bacon, toast and juice at the same meal. Once again I’m not a picky eater so brussel sprouts for breakfast? Bring it on! The pastries were not bad but one again they lacked flavor.

The rooms were excellent. Clean and well maintained. We brought lots of small gifts and money for tips. Don’t expect to watch TV. The say satellite TV but you really only get TBS. That was ok for me. If I wanted to watch TV I’ll stay at home and do it. If you like baths bring your own plug.

I brought two suitcases of old clothes and shoes that I traded for shells (coracle) on the beach. You could also trade for cigars. I think they felt better trading for something rather than a handout. I always felt safe on the beach even off the resort. I was really impressed that kids staying at the resort could roam freely without supervision. Many times I saw kids younger than 10 walking around by themselves after 9:00 pm. We get a safe for our passports. I often left valuables (money, cameras) out in the room. I trusted the maid completely. Speaking of maids if you are lucky enough to get Aida your room will be sparkling clean. I wish I could have taken her home she would make a small fortune cleaning houses here.

My wife’s main complaint was no toilet paper on the bus or at the airport. The immigration to enter Cuba was really slow 1½ hour at least. Then the bus ride to the resort was 1½ hour. It made for a long day. I found going from –14 C to 28 C was fantastic. Especially swimming the same day you left was a great experience.

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey J.C. ~ Canada

March 2005

Just arrvied from Brisas , traveling with "Go travel direct .com" . Must say I was impressed with the service . Similare to Air Transat but a bit more overall ( by the way they serve hot meals in the plane !!! ) .

Anyway for me this destination does not meet the 4 star rating . It’s my fourth trip in Cuba ( Varedero, Holgin, Cayo Coco and Santa Lucia) unfortunately it was a bit deceiving .

FOOD :The food was good a bit short on quantities (always missing or waiting for some dish refilling) , in the moorning always short of bread , jam , orange juice it was a bit anoying . Beside that I always found something good to eat and service was fine .

ROOM : # 1421 : Very clean , average room , a bit doll ( white walls ) and the Mattress were wearned out . No fridge ? and some had no safe in the room . In my room the Air conditioning was’nt working . Water presure and temperature was great .

BEACH : This is were it gets the most deceiving . nice sand , palm trees … but the ocean was full of weeds . On the shore in the water . You can manage to find some path in the water but frankly it’s deceiving . Comparing to Cayo Coco it’s day and night . I never saw that before and wont miss it . The hotel beside us (Gran Club) was even worst.

POOL: Not that big and the paint was or had flake away on the sides and even in the pool . Just was’nt appealing .

Overall this is should not be rated 4 star . 3 1/2 at the most . Like I said I have been in other 3 1/2 and 4 stars and it was better . It always depend on how much money you can afford on the trip .!!!

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Marsha ~ Canada

March 2005

My husband and I stayed at the Brisas from Jan 28 to Feb 4 05. We have not been away as just a couple since our honeymoon almost 12 years ago and we picked an awesome spot to stay. I had, of course, been checking the reviews on your site for some time before our trip, so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to see it was a nice resort, although a little brown due to the drought. The food was fine, nothing special, but if I don’t have to do the cooking than anything tastes great. The staff was friendly, although my husband and I mainly kept to ourselves, my husband is more likely to speak to strangers than myself. The rooms were decorated different than at home, sure, but were always clean and we had no trouble with our bathroom, lots of hot water. We expected to see more critters in our room, but we saw nothing. Our maid was friendly, but unobtrusive. The beach was gorgeous. If it wasn’t so tiring, we would have snorkeled all day, every day. There were schools of fish around the cement bases for the buoys, and they sure do eat out of your hands. We took bananas and wieners, one even tried to nibble on me. We snorkeled on the reef, amazing, and went to Iguana Island. We aren’t frequent travelers so this was a pretty neat day trip. Overall, what can you really complain about when you go off the resort and see how the Cuban’s live. And they all seem very content. Maybe we should be more grateful for the little things!!!

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Mark ~ Canada

March 2005

Wonderful resort and the staff outstanding. Food typical Cuban standard but always something to eat. Not too crowded for March break but this could be because of those unfortunate folks that were with Jetsgo and lost their opportunity to travel.

We were disappointed with the local school..they did not appear to be that thankful for the supplies that we brought. This school is far better off then the other schools that we paid a vist to on other trips. I understand that if you take the rodeo excursion you will find a school there that is in real need of the supplies. You bet that we will return

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey

March 2005

We arrived home yesterday after a week at Brisas Santa Lucia. We too had read the reviews and had mixed messages about the Brisas, I thought you may be interested from the perspective of a mom of a 14 and a 5 year old.

Brisas Santa Lucia is a beautiful, breathtaking resort. The people there are the same. Wonderful, couldn’t do enough for you!

The food is not Canadian, we are quite spoiled, I must say, but they lay out a lot of variety and it is plentiful. My 5 year old survived on bread and french fries, he is not a good eater at the best of times. We also took for him peanut butter, which he never used, but it made us pretty popular and wonderful on their toast, their toast is very thin bread, which you sometimes had to put through the toaster twice to get it browned, as it is not like ours at home, but it was lovely. We also took with us Neilson’s chocolate syrup which enabled him to get some sustenance from their milk, which looks curdled, but its not, it is much creamier than ours. The food for us was good, it is not heavily spiced, you need to doctor it up but it is still good and no one got sick, which is the real bonus.

Our rooms were comfortable, clean and quiet, we were in building 26 which getting their seemed like the longest walk in the world, but in the latter part of our trip, I was extremely appreciative as we were not disturbed by the partiers, we slept great, and got to hear the horses clomping on the street behind us, which was also pretty quiet.

Our daughter too had a great time, a little better than we would have liked her to have, hahaha, she got drinks no problem, we had to be her liquor control board. And her boy/man repellant, travelling with her was a full time job, I was constantly worried, as she is young, naive and very trusting, and there were many, many young men their willing and able to take advantage of her. So watch your daughters, sons–I think are less likely to be taken advantage of, but I can’t say for sure. We made sure that an adult escorted her to the discos and other places she was interested in, so make sure you keep an eye on your kids, I warned them constantly to be careful of how much they drank, I don’t think the facilities were their to save their lives if they suffered alcohol poisoning. So really, really watch your kids in that regard.

The games were fun, we played drunken volley ball, and my daughter played water polo, the cubans are a little rough in that game, they want to win and are quite competitive, but all in all it was very fun and you really don’t get drunk in water volley ball unless of course you really suck at sports, and you can always opt for the non-alcoholic punishment–i.e. pushups on the side of the pool. Take a ball with you, there’s got lost and they did not have the ability to get a new one, if you can take a couple with you they will be forever grateful and it was so much fun playing volley ball in the pool with the light ball, not a beach ball though, they are too light, you need one of the ones from walmart or zellers that bounces well and already blown up, the beach balls that you blow up are too light and more often than not get blown away.

The beach was gorgeous, the water wasn’t too deep and swimming was not something I attempted to do there, I am more a pool person than a swimming with fish person, but I know my friends loved the snorkelling, take bananas with you to feed the fish, yes, bananas…

Iguana Island, was really cool, a little intimidating with all these lizards coming at you, but all in all pretty neat. Watching the flamingoes too was really neat, they get them flying can’t wait to see the pictures. Do not wear yellow there as the Iguanas think you are food if you do, I witnessed a lady almost lose her toes to one over zealous Iguana, she had to change as her shoes which were yellow and they thought she was a walking banana, luckily the guide Jenny intervened. Speaking of Jenny, if you go there, take her a watch, she told me her dog ate hers and it wold absolutely thrill her to death, you can even take her one out of a cereal box and I would bet she would be happy, these things are not easily replaced, so keep that in mind. She is a lovely girl and I think you may bring her to tears if you do this. I only had an expensive Seiko watch, which I would not could not donate to her.

Take any clothes that you or your family will not or can not wear any more, the Cuban people are not ashamed of getting help, and they appreciate any and all you can do.

We left them our chocolate syrup, peanut butter, candies, toothpaste, apparently that is about $14 a tube, toothbrushes, pencils, pens, paper, stencils, our drinking cups we brought from home, you know the ones from the dollar store, to them it is a million dollars, Milan the french fry guy got one, I wanted to give him two, but he wasn’t there the last day, apparently you can offer a mug for a bottle of rum with the bartenders.

Humble your kids, especially the teens, who think the world owes them, let them give stuff to the locals, let them see the appreciation a tube of toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, nailpolish, skin cream, hair elastics and decorations, t shirts, old bathing suits, shorts, pants, jackets anything you can spare, let them see the smile you can put on faces who have very little, but smile all the time. These folks ask and beg for nothing, one convertible peso is apparently equal to 27 cuban pesos, canadian coins are no good to them, so if you want to tip, give them something they can use. do not be offended if you hear they may sell an item on the black market, it is not because they don’t like what you gave, it is because they don’t need it but could use it to bargain something they do need. Everything you give is needed, just maybe not to the one you gave it to. They may pass it on to a relative, or they may sell it, do not take offense, give what you can, they never ask, they never beg, but you truly can brighten a smile. We tried to share with those who may not get tips or gratuities, like the french fry guy–he kept my kid alive, or the gardener, there is so much need and so much love in these people…I am very appreciative for my experience, next time we do it without kids as I lost alot of sleep the first few days as it was all new and the potential for trouble was there for my daughter, it may have been the fact that I worry alot about her, she is young, beautiful and looks marvelous in a bikini, once she settled in and found a few calmer friends she was okay. We let her enjoy herself, we let her have a couple of drinks, I stopped the tequila shots though.

Take bandaids for nicks and cuts, take lots and lots of sun screen, take hats–especially baseball, these folks I think invented the game and they absolutely love the sport and will do anything for you if you give them an old bluejays hat…treat them good, they will treat you like family. If you can take the opportunity to pay 12 pesos a person and go the someones house for dinner, apparently the lobster is amazing and caught fresh for you. We never did this, but so many people did, I am a bit jealous we didn’t know about it, it sounded probably the most humbling of all experiences.

Enjoy your stay, Ola!

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Chris from Ottawa, Canada

March 2005

Myself and 5 other friends, all in our earlier 20’s had the privilege to spend a week at the Brisas from Feb 5th to 12th. For 3 of us, this was our first time ever visiting the Carribean. I had previously read the reviews of this resort on this site, and found a mixture of feedback, but felt I would have to make my own opinion by going myself. Taking into consideration the negative feedback I had read, I was pleasantly surprised and pleased by our experience there!

We arrived early Sunday morning and were greeted with drinks while waiting to check in. Though we arrived too late for the breakfast buffet, the 24 hours snack bar was perfect to get the day started. All 6 of us were set up in Villa 23, which proved to be great, because we had a beautiful view of the little garden and piano bar from our patio. The rooms were clean, though didn’t have a fridge like the rennovated ones by the beach, they were well kept, the showers worked fine with pleanty hot water, and we never saw any critters crawling around. We were far enough from the stage, so it was more quiet, and less of a traffic area, though a little far from the beach, it wasn’t dissapointing.

Beach/Pool: We spent enough time at the pool sunbathing, the swim up bar is right there, and the pool is great for a quick refreshing dip. The beach was also quite nice, not a great swimming beach, cause it’s very shallow, but very nice to lounge by. Not many locals harassing you, there is the odd one, but a simple no thank you sends them on their way.

Food: well, everyone who has been or read about Cuba knows not to expect "haute cuisine". There was always something to eat, and we never got sick. Though it starts getting repetitive after the 4th day, the pasta, omelettes and fresh fruit are always good. We got lucky and got fresh fire roasted pig one night too! And the bread, well it’s great, and so is the Ice Cream! We ate at the beach restaurant one night, and we all ejoyed it, I had the pork, it was quite good. You can also eat here for lunch without reservations, but we mostly opted for the snack bar, since it was quick and always there, hehe.. French fries, hamburgers, and ask for a grilled cheese. It’s not on the menu, but they will make em, with or without ham. And we thought the orange juice was fresh and great.

Drinks: Yes they serve them in plastic cups, if that’s an issue, bring a mug, they will fill it up. The Cervezas are quite good. They only serve "Crystal" at the resort, but you can find "Buccanero" on the excursions and external bars, which is a stronger beer, closer to Canadian standards, hehe! You have to try the "Brisas" we all fell in love with this drink, even us 3 guys. Pina Coladas were also quite popular, Screwdrivers and Sex on the Beach were good too. I didn’t like the Rhum and Coke som much, cause I found the Coke was bland. Head to the coffee bar for great cappucino’s and spanish coffee, the espresso’s were a great boost too!

Excursions: We took the Flamingo/Iguana Island tour. Which was pretty good, though we had a cloudy day that day, which prohibited us from seeing alot of Iguanas (cause they like the sun) we still saw some, and had a great time snorkelling at the reef in the afternoon. It includes lunch, and the boat has an open bar. We went back the next day for the Catamaran/Snorkelling tour, they took us to the same reef, but it was still great to see the fish again, the water is crystal clear. If you want to visit Santa Lucia, there is a free bus, but we took a horse/buggy ride with Pepe! He was amazing, had us laughing the whole time, got us some coconuts from a local, and showed us everything, though there isn’t much there.

Surroundings: There are shops at walking distance from the resort to buy souvenirs, rhum (aka Ron) and cigars. Don’t look for potato chips, the rhum is cheaper! If you wish to see a beautiful beach, go to Coco Beach. There is a free bus twice a week, but leaves at 10am and only comes back at 3pm. We took a horse/buggy down, cost us 10 pesos for 2 people to go and come back. We didn’t stay long, cause it was very windy, but it was a very beautiful beach.

All in all, this was a great vacation for all of us. Though we all agreed it’s not a 4 star by Mexican or DR standards, it is a great place to go relax, and is very affordable. I would consider coming back in the future. And the staff was great, Vladimir is sure to get the fun started and is a fun guy to talk to. Well, that’s that, but everyone will have a different opinion regardless of what is said in these reviews, go see for yourself!

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Danielle ~ Canada

March 2005

My husband and I just returned from a two week stay at the Brisas Santa Lucia.

We had read the reviews and found them to be quite varied. I read the recent reviews and wonder if I was actually at the same resort during the same timeframe!! We were not expecting much but still we were quite disappointed! We will never return. Friends of ours stayed there the week of February 18th and have the same views as we do. This was our third trip to Cuba so we have a sense of what to expect, particularly in regards to the food. Definitely not a four star.. You really need to remember that you get what you pay for, don’t expect to get a real four star with a three star price! If you’re looking for an economical holiday and can’t spend another couple of hundred dollars, then this resort will do. However, if you can afford it, I would strongly recommend that you spend a couple of hundred more and go somewhere else! A couple of years ago, we went to a 3.5 star in the Mayan Riviera for about the same price as Go Travel Direct was advertising for the Brisas for the first week of March. The Mayan was ten times better! We plan to go back there someday.

Rooms – we stayed in a room in building 5, near the beach, room 522 overlooking the beach restaurant. We could hear the noise from the stage shows but they always finished around 11pm. Afterwards it was quiet. The room was reasonable, a little tired but always very clean. The water pressure would not allow us to take much of a shower and the water temperature never did get very warm. So we either took a cool bath or a luke warm dribble from the shower head. Our maid was less than friendly. We always left her lots of items (soap, shampoo, pantyhose, perfume, makeup.), we would say hello to her when we left our room, but she would not reply nor even smile at us. Once we had to go back in our room to pick up our books and she snarled at us. We left her things anyway with a note saying "Gracias". We never got any swans or special attention to our room. The second week, we had a different maid who was somewhat friendlier. Our friends’ room was very tired looking, the curtains were ripped and opened from the ends to the middle. Although the brochures indicated that all rooms have fridges, our friends’s room didn’t have one, but their shower was working fine. They were in building 21.

Food – as I said earlier, we have stayed at other resorts in Cuba (Varadero) in a 3.5 star and a 4 star. I have to say that the food at the Brisas was disappointing. We expected to see a variety of tropical fruit. There was only bananas, oranges, grapefruit (although they ran out of them for a couple of days), pineapples that were never ripe and sometimes papayas. We had pineapples off the resorts that were very good, and could not understand why the pineapples at the Brisas were consistently unripe and the bananas overripe! The vegetables were always mushy and limited Finding a red tomato was like winning the lottery. The turkey and pork was always good but not always available. Lots of line ups. For about three of four days, they ran out of french fries, hamburgers, laities, cucumbers and oil and garlic for your pasta.

A la carte restaurants – the Cuban restaurant offered three main items on their menu. We ordered the fish. How could you mess up fish? The fish was overcooked and more like sawdust, as were the vegetables. Needless to say, we didn’t finish our meal. The International restaurant was much better. The fish there was very good. I had the shrimp which were very sweet but you have to clean them yourself (they still have their heads and tentacles). It’s a lot of work but well worth it.

Beach – white sandy beach with a lot of natural debris, probably from the trees. We would get up at 7am every morning and go down to the beach. Guests would have stacked beach chairs (as much as 10 of them) and tied them together either the night before or before 7am. We would have to hunt down two chairs, and one day we didn’t find any! You can’t really swim in the ocean. you can; however, walk quite a distance and only be a little over knee high in water. Some areas had a lot of sea weed but you could avoid them fairly easily. I thought by reading the reviews that the beach would be nicer if not as nice as the ones in Varadero, but that is not the case. You could not walk very far on the beach and would have to walk through seaweed and other natural debris. Bring your water shoes. We had a lot of fun on the peddleboats.

Drinks – sometimes they had fruit juice, but usually you would get fruit drink. The orange "juice" tasted more like Tang than actual orange juice. Bar mixed drinks were not very good and inconstant. Sometimes, if you were lucky you would get a good Mohito or a Tom Collins.but usually they were not very good. They seem to put sugar in their drinks. Don’t expect anything fancy. All other resorts we’ve been to, in Cuba, DR, Jamaica, Mexico, had blenders and they could make you a nice fruit drink with ice and crush it with the blender. but not here. One day they received a shipment of "imported" alcohol (Chevis Regal, Snaps, and other liquors). We were able to get an imported drink one night (I had a Strawberry Snap) but the next night there were none left? If you like beer, bring an insulated mug and drink beer! Stay away from other types of alcoholic beverage (unless you like them with a lot of sugar). I brought a thermos, and on days were they had actual fruit juice, I would fill the thermos and drink that all day.

Excursions – Catamaran and snorkelling were great. The lunch provided was the best food we had during our stay there. The sunset cruise was fun, the staff on board were very funny. The horse and buggy ride was a good way of seeing Santa Lucia ($10). The train ride was good as well, but hold on to your hats. The lady in front of us lost hers and the truck behind us stopped to pick it up then drove away with the hat. We went for a bicycle ride every morning. If you want to do that, line up around 8:30am because by 9am the bikes are all taken. Later in the day, we found it too hot to bike. We biked on the dirt road that takes you to Coco Beach. Not a good idea as the road is like a washboard and the bike ride to the beach is very very long. We also biked past the limits of Santa Lucia. There’s not much there. We visited a store that was a depot for distributing the rations. We brought items and gave them away there. We opted to rent a taxi and driver for the day ($110) to take us to Camaguey. This allowed us to stop in the small towns and leave items with the villagers. We brought work gloves and would stop on the side of the road to give them to the farmers and workers. They were always very appreciative. We visited a church and left bags full of toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, eye glasses, school supplies, clothes and canned meats. The priest was going to bring them to nearby villages and distribute them to the poor. We gave more to the villagers outside the resort area because we felt that they would have fewer opportunities than would the employees of the resort. Remember that you can only bring the weight of 40kg each. we had 80kg in excess going over to Cuba which would have cost another $340. Luckily, there was still room in first class which we got for an extra $200. All of that extra weight stayed in Cuba!

Staff – always friendly. There were a few that seemed less than happy to serve you. but just a few. We came to know them and avoided them. Gisele at the bar near the stage made good mohitos!

We rested and had great weather. Although we were disappointed with the resort, we made the best of it and had a lot fun. We would consider going back to Cuba, but not HERE!!!

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey André ~ Canada

February 2005

Just back from a week at the Brisas and had a great time. It was Santa Lucia’s Carnaval from the 12th to the 17th of February. It was quite the party.
I had brought a full bag of items that I thought could be useful. For example, small size clothing (including winter clothing), toys and stuffed animals, toothbrushes (the ones you get from the dentist but don’t use because I have an electric toothbrush), school supplies. I gave the items to the entertainer Eilyn De la o Garcia and was kind enough to share it among the staff and she did a great job. She’s a sweatheart. Debby is great also. The DJ’s, the MC’s are excellent. Most of the vacationers are Canadian from the Ontario peninsula, Ottawa and Montréal region

During my stay, I had the priviledge to hang out with the band called ‘Latin Factory’ and they were very nice to me. While talking with them I found out that they were very keen on insulated coffee mugs because they work very long hours, their coffee can’t be kept warm and cell phones with text messaging (1red, 1silver) would easily enable them to be in touch with their family and children who most of the time are far away and see their kids every 11th days. Also because they are very good musician, the drummer dreams of having a double pedal for his drum (Iron Cobra or Tama), classical guitar strings for the guitarist, and cell phones with text messaging (so that they can keep in touch with their loved ones here). Rodgers (Fido) is the company that serves Cuba. If ever you have an extra portable DVD player, that would blow them away. The singer Neylem, she something else to, ask her to sing in english and she will blow the room away. She’s a superstar in my book.

Here is a list of things that you could bring to help the staff and they will treat you like royalty. For the bar staff: sunglasses, parfum, barbies, Canadian hats woud be very much appreciated.

I would definitely recommend this hotel because it’s clean, the ambiance is very good, you can go out of the resort and be part of the culture. People are very nice. It’s a place to relax and also have a great time. Since the rooms are not very well insulated, I would suggest that you bring ear plugs if you really want to rest. Don’t forget a sweater because it could be cool in the morning and night especially if you were out in the sun all day. Enjoy

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Tamara

February 2005

This is the message i sent to brisas hotel in santa lucia…we enjoyed our trip very much..
… Thank you for all of your generosity and for being so nice to us as guests….we stayed in room 2414 which was beautiful…we had a beautiful sight when we looked out of our patio doors…the food was great….i am a very picky eater but they had a fabulous buffet and the restaurant was very nice and the servers very profesional…..the pool and the beach were beautiful as well, the resort itself was very clean, no bugs either…we had the best time ….this was my first trip i have ever been on outside of canada and i will definately return to this resort…also i wanted to say that the night shows are great very funny….and the staff was very good to all the guests…they got me up to play volleyball and join in the salsa…i was very shy the first few days i was there and wasn’t sure about how i was going to like it and the staff helped me have one of the best times of my life……thank you very much and i will hope to see all of you next year again….

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Shannon ~ Windsor, Canada

February 2005

We are two adults in our early 30’s from Windsor, Canada who spent one week at the Brisas during Jan 28-Feb 4, 2005 with our two young boys (3 & 5). We had read all the reviews before we left so we made an informed choice. This was our second trip to Cuba – last time we were in Varadero. We chose this resort because of the value for money. I would definately call this a 4 star by Cuban standards (food,service,beach location) Good things: the buses to the airport/resort were spacious, air-conditioned and comfortable for napping

the Conquest staff was very friendly the beach is great – windy though. Soft white sand and turquiose water. Seaweed washes up, but they remove it every day the food was really good for Cuban standards though pretty much the same thing every day. The pasta bar was great, sometimes line ups though. Of course, our kids loved the burgers & fries We ate at the bech restaurant one night and it was fabulous. The staff there was great too

Our room was cleaned and we were left with Hibiscus every day and on the last day, our maid, Judi, gave our boys a gift! Every day, I would leave her gifts for her & her boy. We were in Villa 6, right on the beach and though we were very close to the action, the noise was not too loud at all. scuba diving: My husband went one day and he said it was the highlight of his trip! You get practise time in the pool (equipment is included and was all modern) and then went out for a trip to a reef. He is a certified diver and although you do not need to be one, it was helpful. They only charged him $30 pesos for the dive. The water is so clear there, he says it is an amazing place to dive.

Train ride around Santa Lucia. Free and a nice way to see outside the resort. We also took the horse & buggy ride one day. The driver was very helpful pointing things out and stopping whenever we wanted. Safe place to be. You can feel confident to walk outside of the resort down the main road to a little store (few munchies, cheap, good cigarettes, booze) or local outdoor bars.

There are many bars there to get a drink so line-ups were small or non-existant.

Other Canadians we met were great people. Catamaran ride is a nice ride out to see the reef We took the horse ride along the beach one evening with our two kids and they loved it. The horses are very well looked after and healthy (not like ones I have seen in Mexico). My youngest son rode with one of the guides and he fell asleep and the guide rode like that and supported his head and never complained about it. Of course, we tipped him even though he did not ask for it. Never saw any bugs in the room

Cappucinos are great but there was often a line up for them. Massage is available for $20 pesos per hour – was quite good. He used coconut oil and my skin felt great after.

I cannot really say that anything was bad, but advice I would have is: The first morning was cloudy so that is when we did our horse/buggy ride. No big deal.

Try to eat early or later to avoid line ups.
Book your a la carte seating right away to avoid dissapointment Bring your own insulated travel mug and potato chips if you want them We took our own beach towels (easier to spot) Bring gifts of socks, shoes, toiletries, toys for kids, and clothes for your maid or better yet, go to the Rodeo tour and give your gifts there. They are super poor there and do not even have clean drinking water in that town. The grass was all brown but they have had a drought for two years now.

Overall, it was a very good value for the money. My only regret is that we did not get the kids involved with Mercedes more. If you are looking for a nice, quiet time this is the place.

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Derek ~ St Jean Sur Richelieu, Quebec

February 2005

My wife, myself and our 2 kids (age 5 and 9) just spent a week at the Brisas Santa Lucia resort. We were there as part of a group of 15 friends and family. Of this group I was the one that had traveled the least in the Caribbean ( 3 time DR), but I have been around the world a few times.

Weather: It was wonderful, everyday was warm and calm winds.

Food: Just before leaving for Cuba I read some of the reviews and was a little bit worried. Both of my kids are very fussy eaters. I have eaten in Syria, Israel, Bosnia, and all over Europe and have learned to eat just about anything. I was expecting my kids to be on a one week hunger strike. Well this did not happen, yes the buffet was a little bland, but remember your not in Canada. At the buffet they have a omelette bar in the morning that the cook will make to order. The snack bar was great for lunch. Also at the buffet there is a pasta bar, which you pick your pasta, put the on sauce, and then the cook will heat it up for you. This was great, my kids loved being able to make their own supper. It is true the International à la carté, is just an extension of the buffet restaurant, but the food is not the same. The shrimp were wonderful. Don’t forget to try the fresh fruit.

Staff: Amazing, the people employed there where great, very helpful and courteous. The entertainment staff were some of the most fun loving people I have ever met. I want to especially congratulate Mercdies, who the kids fell in love with. My 5 year old will never forget the fun she had.

Beach: The beach was wonderful, white sand and warm water, excellent beach. There was only one day that there was any seaweed on the beach and this was raked away by the twice daily tractor that goes by. The tractor will not pass over your sand castles during the day, he will drive in the water to avoid them. Horse back riding: This is not part of the resort but I felt that I should mention it. It was fun and cheap, but make sure to ride in the morning, by the end of the day the horses are tired and gust mosey along at there own pace. They have ponies for the kids.

Never saw any. My wife would have found them if there were any in the room. Rude guests: Yes there are some everywhere you go, and there is nothing you can do about it. Can you imagine the looks I would have gotten, for telling off a senior citizen about cutting in front of my children, I would have been …. but this happens everywhere and is not the fault of the resort or the staff. Over all: I would have to say that we loved our stay. It was well worth the money. Remember this is a 4 star and you get what you pay for, if you want 5 star you have to pay for it. We would stay here again if we go back to Santa Lucia, absolutely the best value and fun we have ever had on a vacation. We weren’t even home 5 minutes and my wife had the books out looking for were we should go next year. To all the staff, job well done. Remember you are visiting another country and when we leave Canada ( the greatest nation in the world ) we are all ambassadors of our country.

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Scarborough, Ontario

February 2005

We spent a great week at the Brisas Santa Lucia January 20-27. The weather was a bit cool 20C-24C with a little bit of a wind, however Toronto was -30 C….and that made it all worthwhile. For the money we spent ($835 per adult and $435 per child including taxes) the resort was fabulous. The beach was great. Lots of kids for our kids to play with. Food was good…lots of variety. The ice cream was amazing. Our room was great, block 4 room 411 (with an ocean view), close to everything and we weren’t disturbed by the noise, despite our proximity to the stage and the entertainment hub. The only negatives were: the drinks were served in little plastic glasses (so take your own insulated mug), the pool could use a fresh coat of paint, and my husband’s sandals were stolen.

I would definitely recommend this resort especially if you have kids and are on a budget.

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Family from Ontario

February 2005

We just got back from a week long trip to Brisas (Jan 28 – Feb 4). All together we were 3 couples with 5 kids. We had great time. The ride from the airport (about 1.5h) went really quick – nice A/Ced bus. Check in was painless. We found our room to be spacious and clean. The resort was fully booked for that week. Even with that, we found that there were no long line-ups for the bars. It was good service. The only line-ups we ran into were inside the buffet restaurant. In the morning for the eggs and at night for the pasta bar and to the grill. That was the only downside of the full resort. The service was great, very friendly. We could not complain about the food. Each night we found something to our liking. Sea food was just excellent. The beach is fabulous! The white silky sand, shallow water and that aqua colour of the ocean made it our place to hang out with the kids. We also spent some time at the pool. It was never crowded. The water could be a little bit warmer for me, but the kids did not mind it as it was. The staff was very friendly, never asked us for anything.

I believe that this place is a great value for your money. If you are looking for a vacation were you don’t have to worry about anything and plan to stay in the resort (there is nothing around to see) and you do not want to blow your brains out on the price, this is a place to visit. I’m sure we will go there again.

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Brisas Santa Lucia – Camaguey Marie ~ Ontario

February 2005

Dear Debbie,
We have just returned from two weeks at Brisas Santa Lucia, Jan. 13th to 27th, 2005. This was our second trip to Cuba but our first visit to this resort. Two years ago my husband and I stay at a 3 star in Guardalavaca. On this vacation we were accompanied by our son, 12, and our nephew, 10.

Most reviews I read before our trip, no matter how negative, stated that this was a great resort for kids. The boys had a blast. On our second day, Mercedes, who is in charge of Kids’ Club approached us and told us all about the scheduled activities for kids and adults too. The boys were always telling me about staff members coming up and hugging them. On the morning of our departure, Mercedes said good-bye to them at the bus and gave them each a big kiss, much to their embarrassment.

Having eaten at a 3 star Cuban resort, I am surprised that anyone would complain about the food at Brisas. We found the choices healthy and satisfying. Lean meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly baked breads, omelettes, pasta, homemade soup, salads, not to mention delicious desserts and ice cream. Don’t even get me started about the Cuban cheese. We sat in the same section (non-smoking) every meal allowing us to tip the same waiters. We got great service, especially from Fernando and Yeye, who took good care of us.

We tried both A La Carte Restaurants, but like the International the best. The boys preferred the Snack Bar and ate lunch there most days. We didn’t forget to tip the snack bar chef for looking after the kids. So there were a few days when fries were not available. This is Cuba; the roads and resources are limited. Why gripe? The onion rings were just as good. I didn’t stop drinking rum when the bar ran out of straws. Have you ever had any one in a Canadian restaurant thank you for leaving a tip? I haven’t. In Cuba, the service is better and the tips are truly appreciated.

The resort is centrally laid out, with the Snack Bar, stage and pool at the centre. I found the unheated pool cold, but the boys loved it. We felt safe enough to let them go off on their own, except to the beach, as it was always easy to find them. We all made new friends with whom we plan to stay in touch. Hi Heather! I enjoyed your review!

The beach is one of the most beautiful I have every seen. The boys caught some live conch and a sea urchin, which we let go. The ocean was very warm and we enjoyed swimming, sunbathing and trying out the kayaks and paddleboats. Unlike the beach at Guardalavaca, we did notice a number of women (mostly European) sunbathing topless. As this is not something we see at Sauble, we were rather shocked.

Our room was spotless. The beds were comfortable and the bathroom was new. The chambermaid was wonderful and we left her a gift every day. She fixed our room up beautifully, with towel swans, etc.

The entertainment staff is a lot of fun, but some of them will ask you to get them drinks and hint broadly that they would like your shoes, etc. It doesn’t take long to figure out who is sincere and who is looking for a handout. We enjoyed most of the shows, but my favourite was Happy Hour with games and impromptu performances by the staff and guests.

We made many new friends on this trip from Canada, Argentina and Cuba. Cuba is a beautiful island but its true beauty comes from the warmth of its people and this is what draws us back time after time. In the words of my son, "The Cuban people never stop smiling." The only thing that will stop me from returning to Brisas Santa Lucia is my desire to explore for of Cuba.

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