Arrival: November 12-19 Road has been repaired from the airport somewhat, but it’s still a 1.5 hr drive – and at the end of the road is paradise!
Freshly painted and the furniture has been stripped and revarnished.
Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet was the best it has ever been in about 7 visits – they had avocados for the first time, as well as the usual buffet and 3 restaurants: ecologico, la bodeguita, and la mariposa. I prefer buffet style, not fine dining! Bars always had mint and mojito mixin’s… one night there was no Disco Cream for the Spanish Coffee so we said "surprise me" and it was still pretty awesome. For the repeaters’ dinner, we had lobster and the tenderest beef, as well as a live band and dancing.
Beach has eroded in front of the dive shop area but they are going to rebuild it. Now the catamaran and kayaks are kept at the far end of the beach, where the bar and dock are.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
I needed a serious week of vegging out, and it was wonderful to do nothing at all. No tours, but participated in bingo, aquafit and the music trivia contest, as well as lots of floating in the pool and ocean.
You can see that they are really working to improve the resort with painting and repairs – the road and the beach are beyond the control of hotel management. And I could see that the economic crisis has affected tourism – hopefully people will still come to Cuba – and don’t forget to tip for good service!
Arrival:: Dec 11 – 18, 2008 Flew Sunwing. Left 30 minutes late. Stopover in Manzanillo de Cuba for about 30 minutes. Arrived at SCU airport. Lots of immigration booths open. Luggage was already out by the time I got through immigration. Someone had written a couple of number on my luggage with a laundry marker, so I though I was going to be targeted for an inspection, but not the case. Bus to resort left 1 hour after plane touched down. Warning, if you have a queasy stomach, take a gravol or two and don;t sit at the back of the bus. Bus ride was 2 hours, some of which was on newly black-topped asphalt, but most of which was on the same bumpy road. Staff greeted us warmly with a cold punch drink.
Check in was quick. New for me was the bracelet. Last time down 4 yrs ago we didn’t have to wear a bracelet. Also, we were charged 2 CUC/day for the room safe, which I think is new. Luggage was quickly ported to room.
Rooms:: King size bed. Standard sized room. There is a suite avialable at a cost of 20CUC/ day additional. Bathroom had shower only. Bath gel, shampoo and moisturizer provided and restocked throughout the week. Very clean. Maids left the ususal towel art daily. Breathtaking view from balcony overlooking the Caribbean Sea and Sierra Maestre mountains. Two comfortable recliner chairs and table on the balcony.
32 rooms in total at Los Galeones.
Restaurants and Bars: Main restaurant is a la carte for all meals and opens at 7AM. At breakfast there is a selection of juices (not fresh to my disappointment) and sliced fruits, cereals and bread. Waitress will take your order for eggs any style. Great crispy bacon by the way. The adjacent bar is only a few steps from the restaurant and espresso, cafe con leche or cappuccino etc always good and available. There are tables outside the restaurant and it is nice to sit there early in the morning right beside the pool and enjoy a quiet java or two. Main restaurant serves lunch at 12:30 – 2:30 and supper from 6 – 8:30. Each meal as I said earlier is a la carte. Always several choices of entrees from the kitchen. Chichen, beef, and pork as well as potatos, rice, fresh cooked veggies, and garden or Greek salads. Deserts usually included a variety of cakes and always included ice cream…mango my favorite. I’d have to rate the food the best tasting and presented of any resort I have been to in Cuba. I must qualify that by saying that I have never been to a 5* resort. Repeaters seafood dinner served. Entertainment every night. Truthfully, I’ve heard better singers. Instrumentally they were superb however. The beach bar/restaurant is at the bottom of the dreaded steps. Most beverages avaialble including mojitos (all the time, never ran out of mint). There was always a BBQ lunch which included salad, grilled potatoes usually with garlic butter, chicken legs, melt in your mouth pork ribs and often fresh fish. The lifeguard would go out in the morning and spear a few fish and presto…fresh fish for the BBQ. There is a small seating area in front of the bar.
Washrooms were clean, but take a roll of TP down to the beach with you. Might want to take hand sanitizer too as no soap in the washrooms.
Beach/Pools/Grounds:: When you go to the beach, because of the 296 stairs down and up, you only want to do it once per day, so I’d advise taking a back pack or similar luggage with you. Take everything you will need for the day..books, TB, medicines, sunscreen, etc. Beach is smallish, but appropriate in size for the number of guests. Lots of sun beds, of the hard plastic variety. Lots of natural shade under the trees lining the beach. View of Caribbean and mountains very surreal. Absolutely no Cubans on the beach except for staff. They often visit with their familes on their days off. One pool, small but deep, circular in shape, located just steps from the main restaurant. Pool is surrounded on three other sides by guest rooms (which are townhouse style buildings). Hot tub overlooks mountains and Town of Chivirico and a small port. Never busy.
Grounds well kept.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:: Sunwing rep arrived in afternoon on second day. Many trips available but I wasn’t up to doing anything but lie on the beach. You could go to Santiago for 1/2 day or full day or for baseball game.
Shuttle avaialble to Sierra Mar in morning, after lunch and in evening (if you wanted to see the show there).
Other Comments: Virtually everyone who visits Los Galeones is a repeat visiter. Average age is definitely 50+. Staff will remeber you. For example, I hadn’t been there in 4 years, yet the head chef remembered that I had given his daughters a gift of green T-shirts a while back. He didn’t remember how long it was, but he approached me to ask if I was the one who had done so. On departure day, we had to leave the resort at 7AM. This wonderful resort opens their kitchen at 6AM so you can have a full breakfast before you leave. A desireable feature of Los Galeones is the proximity to the town of Chivirico which is located at the bottom of the hill. Not much to do there for tourists, but there is a party on Saturday evenings. I ventured into Chivirico to look for peso cigars and did locate an outlet. Beware though, once word gets out that a tourist is looking for cigars, everyone becomes your fren and knows someone etc. etc. Unusual thing though is the absolute absence of matches or lighters. I couldn’t find them anywhere in Chivirico. Other tourists at LG said the same. Even the store that sold cigarettes did not have any matches or lighters to sell.
Overall, I would rate Los Galeones the ultimate for those who want to do nothing and not be bothered by anyone. Good food, good booze (International brands like Disaronno, Martini & Rossi, Kahlua, imported Scotch, and others), good conversation with new friends. Small resort, beautiful. I love it!….I know I have broken the code of silence but I couldn’t help myself….but BEWARE OF THE STAIRS.