Cuba Resorts Scuba diving and snorkeling Reviews – Scuba diving and snorkeling – Cuba Reviews

First visit, but not the last.
Hotel Occidental Royal Hideaway Ensenachos
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D >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr 1, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
My wife and another couple visited this resort recently and it met all our expectations. The resort was beautiful and very friendly. We are going to book again for next year.
Rooms
The rooms were very spacious and clean. Maids visited twice a day and even left poems and notes.
Restaurants and Bars
There are 4 restaurants and we tried three of them. We very quickly made friends with several waiters/waitresses and had excellant service. They couldn’t do enough for you. I been to Cuba in the past and I wasn’t expecting much in the way of food, however the food was excellant. And the bars were fully stocked.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
There are two beach areas that were amazing and both were great for snokeling. One has a sunken barge to explore and the other has a reef to explore. we spent several hours at both seeing many species of beautiful fish.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The spa was great too. My wife has a massage and pedicure and said it was the best she had had.
Other Comments
Believe it or not, we had no complaints at all about the resort. It was everything we were looking for. On a side note the only complaint was the French-Canadians that were there. Everyone there was so friendly and would say hi except them unless you spoke french to them. It wasn’t just us, others made this observation too.
Fantastic, relaxing holiday. Would definitely recommend this hotel.
Hotel Melia Cayo Coco
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Janet >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr 1, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
Your Arrival
We travelled with another couple and flew Air Transat out of Montreal on April 16 and our flight was one hour late leaving. Typical for Air Transat. We hadn’t flown with them in quite some time and couldn’t believe how much advertising goes on during the flight. They must have interrupted the movie at least 1/2 dozen times to sell drinks, blankets at a $7 cost (they claim selling blankets is better for the environment-I call it another money-grab) duty-free, duty-free and duty-free. Enough with the duty-free! We arrived in Cuba around 9:30 p.m. and customs and luggage was quick. We arrived at the hotel around 10:00 and only six of us got off the bus so check-in was quick. We immediately noticed how quiet and laid back the atmosphere in the lobby bar was. A porter showed up and piled us and our luggage in a golf cart and drove us to our rooms.
Rooms
We dropped off our bags, turned on the a/c and went to the lobby bar. The first impression of the room was that it was very, very clean with no musty smell, however, it could use a fresh coat of paint as can most of the resort, but this is very minor. Other than that, the fridge was well stocked, the lights, a/c and safe all worked. The lobby was virtually empty and we got some drinks and were welcomed by the bar staff. Our a/c died on day 4 and we reported it to the front desk that evening. He immediately sent someone up to check it. We went back to see him after dinner and he told us there was nothing he could do for the a/c that night. However, he gave us a key to a vacant room and the a/c worked just fine. We requested he move us there for the rest of our stay and all our stuff was moved the next morning. Yay! Quite the efficient staff! An all around well-run hotel.
Restaurants and Bars
We ate at all three à-la-cart restaurants. The best ones were the Italian and the Lagoon. The steakhouse left a lot to be desired. The buffet was excellent for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The snack bar had pizzas, burgers, etc. and were open 24 hours a day. The beach restaurant was open for lunch and had great bbq chicken, calamari, etc. It becomes the steakhouse at night. The staff at all of the restaurants were excellent, warm and friendly. There are 4 bars on site. The lobby bar and snackbar, which are open 24 hours, the beach restaurant/steakhouse which is open from lunch to about 5:00 p.m., and the sports bar which is open from late afternoon to midnight. There was no beach bar, but we did see a clearing where there used to be and apparently they will be rebuilding it soon. Again, the staff at all bars was incredible.

As far as food and drinks are concerned, we have no complaints as there is always something available at any time of the day or night. I can’t fathom how much complaining goes on on these reviews. As far as I’m concerned, these people should stay home.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
It was cloudy the following day and we had quite the downpour around 5:00 p.m. After that, it was nothing but sunshine for the remainder of the week. The beach is beautiful and the only other resort on it is the Sol next door. We walked through it and it looked like it could use a coat of fresh paint as well. We did not rise very early to play the towel game, but there never was an issue with getting chairs. Plenty of chairs and shade on the beach and the pool area. I don’t think the resort was at full capacity. There are attendants on the beach who clean off your lounger which is a very nice touch. We spent time at both the pool and the beach. One of the best views of the resort is when you’re in the pool just floating around. The grounds are superb! The gardeners do a wonderful job with the upkeep. That’s the upside of staying in an older resort.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We didn’t go to any shows or participate in any animation as we were there to relax and enjoy the quiet. We did go on the speedboat excursion which takes you to a lagoon for snorkelling. It was worth the $45 US/person. It takes a half day. We were picked up at noon and dropped off just after 4:00 p.m.
Other Comments
The resort is adults-only and we were very grateful for this, especially after all the loud whining on the plane trip down. Why don’t they have a kids’ section on the plane? I would say the clientele at the resort was about 75% English, 15% South American and 5% Canadian and the average age was over 50.

We came back 45 minutes earlier the following Friday evening and the flight. All in all, I would recommend the Melia Cayo Coco in a heartbeat and look forward to going back.

awakening
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca
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joe >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr 1, 2010 | Leisure | Family
This place was truly heaven for my familt and me the people are amazing that was most important. As well i found that the people visiting this resort were amazing i look forward to seeing my friends there again soon VIVA Cuba lol
Home Away from Home
Hotel Melia Cayo Santa Maria
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kelsey >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr 1, 2010 | Leisure | Family
I’m 19 years old and i just returned from the Melia Cayo Santa Maria, in Santa Clara! My family and I went for a week and found it marevllous. Our flight came in really early in the morning of our second day (i think it was around 3 am?). Air transat was picking up dropped flights from sky service….i hope thats not a normal flight time! Anyways, when we got to the airport in Santa Clara, it was time to go through customs and stuff. I mean it when i say, i would would rather go through the Customs in Cuba than the ones in Canada any day. Though it is a little bit on the slow side (a solid half an hour until we found our baggage) everyone was very pleasant and suprisingly good at communicating with us cranky Canadians.

I dont know where someone was getting 10 km from the airport, cause our bus ride was a solid 9 minutes or so. Shockingly, i can’t complain about the bus ride. Im someone that gets car sick often but the ride to the airport was spectacular. You got a deep inside look at the town of Caibairien (sp?) which was a real eye opener into Cuban culture, as well as getting to learn the History of the infamous causeway as you ride on it.

Your Arrival
When we got to the hotel, we were greeted by VERY pleasant….bellboys i guess you’d call them. Since the flight me and my mother took was later than the one the rest of the family was on, we met them in the front lobby. The "Bellboys" (who i called the multitasking team) loaded our personal luggage onto the little car thing and took it to our room for us so that me and my mother could go have a dinrk with the family in the lobby bar.
The bar is 24 hrs thank god, and is a good center for entertainment. Every night, the activities coordinator (one of the most pleasant people i have ever met, and a downright cool guy) would organise a little show for who ever was in there for drinks. At one point there was a 4 piece saxophone band….thing. It was marevllous. There were also fashion shows, dancing, billiards, and more! Not to mention that bar tenders there were wonderful.
Rooms
Our room (all rooms, because they all look the same) was absolutely STUNNING. There were three beds: 2 doubles (Which felt more like queens) and a day bed. Luxurous curtains hung from the doorways, and the bathroom was huge. The toilet, badet, and tub were in a separate room off the side of the sink and linnen closet. The safe was digital and we had excellent water pressure.
Restaurants and Bars
The breakfast buffet was also wonderful, there’s a seperate fresh fruit buffet in the middle of the dining room that serves fruit, juice, smoothies and yogurt and stuff, where the buffet that serves the hot food was in the kitchen at the back of the room. One of the cooks, his name is Daniel, soon became one of my favourite people ever. He was polite, had eloquent enlgish, and made the best french toast i have ever had.

For lunch we generally went to the Pool side restaurant. We could have gone to the buffet again, or the Beach retaurant, but the one on pool side served the BEST chicken sandwiches i have EVER had, along with all the cervexa you could ask for 🙂

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach is also marvellous. It’s wide, first of all, and DEEP. i had friends stay at the Barcelo and few weeks earlier and they said their beach was HALF as deep as the Melia’s was. The Man who worked on the beach….never got his name (we called him Dawn of the Chairs) was extremely friendly. He would offer to find you a Pilapila (cabana) as well as brush the sand off your chairs and lay your twoels out for you. It was unnecessary, but lovely none the less. The water was absolutely stunning as well. Beautiful turquoise and clear as crystal. The waves get pretty rough at night but there will always be a red flag if the staff thinks its unsafe to swim.

The pools are great too. Big enough so that you rarely run into someone, and alot safer than most because there’s a ramp into the water instead of stairs, and it gets deeper GRADUALLY. There’s also a killer swim up bar:)

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Generally after luncht we’d go and have a little siesta in our room for a couple of hours (the sun wears you out, ye know?). However there were some days when i just wasnt sleepy and would look for things to do instad. I didnt have to look far! I met a guy named Yoelkis, who was basically the resident sports guy! He showed me where the volleyball net was, started a gane of water polo, ping pong tables, archery, beach soccer, tai chi in the mornings, dance lessons , and MORE. Honestly, you are NEVER bored. But if you are the kind that likes to chill in your room for a couple hours, be not afraid, you do get american/canadian channels. I must have watched ESPN and the Disney Channel every night before bed.

Also, there’s buses to and from the market every two hours! Frequent and flexible!

Heaven  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar 1, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
The Blau Costa Verde in Holguin is a great place to snorkell. There is a coral reef right there along the shore with all kinds of fish species. This beats having to travel out to sea to snorkell! The hotel rooms are spotlessly clean, large and comfortable. The air conditioning is centrally controlled and they often turn it down in the afternoon and through the night. This is a pain but a phone call to the front desk will quickly correct it.

The hotel staff are all very polite and accommodating. They all encourage tipping. The coffee with milk at the Snack Bar is delicious. The steaks at the Cuban Restaurant are cooked to your liking and grilled to perfection. The water activity crew at the beach are all excellent. Make sure you go for a Hobbie Cat ride with "Ray"! He is very handsome, charming and extremely good at what he does! This place is a great Family vacation resort!

Not what I expected
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Karen >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar 1, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
My husband and I stayed at the Blau Costa Verde from March 24-31, 2010. I was dissapointed with the buffet selection. The resstaurants were great and always found something good to eat. Our rooms were neat and comfy. I took a foam mattress pad with me because the beds are pretty hard. If you are not a VIP guest, ask to be put in building 5 block, it is very quiet and away from the stage. Building 4 gets all the noise from the pool and lobby bars. As far as the cleanliness around the pools, I never saw anyone, through the day, cleaning up cups etc but this is not saying that the 1 person who is responsible for cleaning around the pool does not work hard. My theory is, they need more staff during the day to work on the cup clean up. We never stayed at the beach. It states the beach is great for scuba diving etc, and I do agree. If you are looking for a beautiful rockless, shell-less beach, do not go to this resort. The bugs get pretty bad at night as well. As far as the staff, there are some of the waitresses that are awesome and always give a smile. The Italian and restaurant down by the beach were excellent and the staff were great. We did meet a great bunch of Canadians from our hometown Province, NS and the weather is awesome. The bathrooms off the lobby had a very bad smell even though they seemed to be pretty clean. I will say that the entertainment at night was excellent and highly recommend it.

My advise, if you are looking for sun and warmth on a cheap budget, this is a place for you. I will try another resort on my next trip to Cuba.

Your Arrival
Arrival was fast and easy!!!
Rooms
Clean
Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants had great food and staff
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Pool was a good size but the pool area seemed to be pretty dirty at times.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Not a lot of entertainment for children it seems
Jibacoa snorkling at its best, laidedback spacious resort
Hotel GC Villa Trópico (Cameleon Villa Jibacoa)
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mark >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar 1, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
march 4th – 12th 2nd trip to cuba(cayo coca 2007) 1st day was cold….it was all great after that!
Your Arrival
fast and smooth,although I was surprised to see all the Cubans wearing mask at the arrival….just useless dust masks
bus to resort was great with a very well informed guide and cold crystal beer 2 for $5…time to relax….you are on cuba time
Rooms
very clean,large shower (hand held shower head or fixed) very small pillow but the bed was very comfy…air conditioned worked well extra blankets…nice towel art from Yowanda our maid we tipped her 10 pesos at first and left her alot of things at the end,she took great care of us.

safe in the room for 2 pesos a day,very quiet rooms,tv even had golbal winnepeg and a vancouver station

Restaurants and Bars
one ala carte….great leasurily dinner…we had snapper,lobster,squid the wines are surprisingly good caferteria style for all other meals….pork,fish,chicken and some beef always great pasta dishes…the lasagna was excellant breakfast great omeletts start your toast early…you have to run it through a couple of times to get it right, NO PEANUTBUTTER,my new french friends from moncton were so kind to give me a couple of packets!!!!(they don’t like man of wars…..ouch!!

ok the bars….what can i say..they even cut the fruit in the shape of a canadian flag…awesome bar staff

Beach/Pools/Grounds
beach is big,you feel like you have your own piece of paradise,never crowded and no lounge chair wars!! security on the beach because you are next to a cuban camping area and beach security is mainly there to keep the cubans from begging on the resort..we never experianced any begging,just friendly informative people we had several red flag days on the beach…jellyfish (man of wars) you could stilll use paddle boats,kyacks,hobbi cat but no snorkling or swimming. beach is clean and we did get to go snorkling about 4 times….AWESOME REEF & FISH!! pools….clean and large…they did have scuba classes in the pool and some games

they do not try to force you to play the games or learn to dance….i very laidback resort

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
take the jeep safarie!!! its great,you get to see Mantanza (quite a large town) driving your own jeep,lunch at a coffee plantation,snorkling on the reef,a boat ride on a river (lobster 10 pesos great deal beer 2 pesos)snorkling in a cave,and a tour of the caves (cuban national monument) cost you 5 pesos if you want to take pic in the caves or buy the cd 25 pesos it includes your journey through the caves(yes you are in the video) and about 150 mp3s of cuban music and other interesting sights in cuba

every night they would have a show for about an hour or so…dancing girls,music,comedy fashion,traditional music…a differant show every night…a nice show to wind down the day

Other Comments
a very laided back and relaxing resort…a great place all guest are canadian lots of things to do if you so desire….one hour from havana if you are on the beach at the cuban camp ground….find edmond (the artist) great man to talk to and to learn from they have a BBQ on thursday which is very nice…traditional dance,music if they red flag the beach for jellies…obey it …don’t be an idiot people we know got stung and it can be deadly if not treated. THE SNORKLING IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! take a drink or a sandwich to the security guys on the beach,they work hard with little rewards
Wonderful Resort
Hotel Paradisus Río de Oro
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Patricia >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar 1, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We were a family party of three generations ( 78, 52, 18) that travelled to this resort in November 2009 for 1 week. We all loved it. The flights were good – we flew on Sunwing in their Elite Plus section – we thought it was worth the extra money to have the extra legroom seats prebooked both directions, as well as the seperate check-in. We waited in a line of about 8 people instead of the line with about 150 people. We could also board early if we liked.
Sunwing gives you a glass of champagne and a snack soon after take off, then free headsets, choice of hot meal and free wine with the meal. Our flights were on time. Overall a good experience.
Your Arrival
You are greeted at the resort with a glass of sparkling wine and a cool towel. They have you sit in the lobby, and come to you to check in. Wasn’t the fastest check in I have had, but definitely not the worst. We were driven to our room by a bellboy in a golf cart and he carried our bags up to the room. The room keys didn’t work so he took them back to the front desk to re-program them, and returned with-in a few minutes.

We changed, then went to buffet for late dinner.

Rooms
Large, very clean and comfortable. A little bit dated decor-wise, but still nice. On 2 levels. Bathroom and bedroom on upper level, then 3 stairs down to sitting area. Sink area seperate from tub area. In area with tub/shower is toilet and bidet. Great water pressure in shower. Always lots of hot water. Lots of towels. Nice soap, shower gel, shampoo etc. Air conditioning was adequate. Room was fresh smelling, not damp or musty, (2nd floor room), kept spotless by maid. Mini bar always replenished.
Restaurants and Bars
Food was amazing! The main buffet has endless choices, beautifully presented. We ate every breakfast here, some lunchs and a few dinners. Staff was attentive, professional,friendly, welcoming, eager to please. If you couldn’t find many things to your liking at this buffet, there is something wrong with you!!! The a la cartes were all good. (least favourite was the Cuban, but still fine) The service was always good. They try very hard to make your meal pleasant. The restaurant by the beach had wonderful food at lunch – fabulous seafood. The pool area restaurant was great as well. Casual. Bars- good.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Pool- large, clean. Has a swim-up bar. You can see the ocean from the pool. Lots of lounges. People get up early to save the best spots. Beach was nice, but very rough wtaer when we were there. There was a hurricane that was at the far west end of Cuba and Mexico while we were there. We got torrential rain one day, and the ocean was rough the whole week, so we were not in it very much. Grounds are well looked after. Nice plantings.

Nice bonsaii around the Asian restaurant.

Other Comments
Staff in the resort were very good. Professional, eager to please, welcoming, friendly. They always had a smile and a "Hola" for you.

Over all we had a great holiday and would reccommend it to anyone. As a matter of fact I am returning there in less than 2 weeks, this time with my husband and another couple.

Just like going to the cottage
Hotel GC Villa Trópico (Cameleon Villa Jibacoa)
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Rob >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar 1, 2010 | Business | Family
We are a couple in our 50s. When the kids were young, we used to rent a cottage every year in a place called Sandy Lane on Hall’s Lake in Haliburton. We did it for a few years and as time went by, everyone got to know everyone and it was a wonderful, friendly experience that we all remember to this day. We found the same feeling at JVC. The place is not perfect, but the friendliness of the staff and guests make it a wonderful place to be.
Your Arrival
We had an early flight with Skyservice ( just dodged a bullet there) and we on the bus headed for the resort by 1130 in the morning. The host on the bus did not speak any English, only French, which we thought odd, but…est Cuba! Tried to check in but our room was not ready. Had lunch, walked around the grounds and we were starting to worry when by 3 the room still was not ready. It was all good though, as we wound up with room 70, which I can tell you is a good room, nice view and close to everything. The front desk staff seemed a little overwhelmed as the place was completely booked.
Rooms
We had requested a single bed but ended up with two doubles. They offered to move us but we were ok with it so we just pushed the beds together. The rooms are big, nice walk in shower, no bath tub. The pillows are small, or at least not thick so I think if room permits we will bring out own next time. We had a little lizard living in the room, but they eat bugs so he was our friend and pet. The rooms themselves are comprised of quads and little rows of 6, and honestly there did not seem to be any bad ones, although as I say 70 is central to everything.
Restaurants and Bars
The food, as most people know, is simple. Breakfast is good with cereal, yummy yogurt, nice fruit, lots and lots of fresh sqeezed orange juice, eggs cooked for you, some cheese all sorts of nice things. Lunch was usually a couple of types of pasta, fish, chicken and or port, pizza, really nice salads (no salad dressings, just oil and vinegar) always beans or rice, always something to eat, but plain. I used tabasco which they have to liven things up a bit. Ice Cream at lunch but only at lunch. Dinner was much like lunch in there was alway something good to eat, but never anything to really rave about. Good, honest, clean food simply prepared. The bars are never crowded, we felt the lobby bar was the best. They do not have wine at the bar, but we were able to buy a bottle at the store on property to have in the afternoon . The wine in the buffet at lunch and dinner was Spanish and quite good. The drinks we all nice made. You can get olives at the store for a martini, but you have to bring your own glasses if you don’t want a little plastic one. The al la carte was fine, had mahi mahi with shrimps.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The grounds were good, well maintained and clean. They are always working on them, raking pruning etc.There is a lot of wild life. Great birdwatching, a family of little gecko’s living under the sidewalk, and a little mother cat with her kittens. These had to be the most looked after cats in Cuba, everyone was passing by giving them food and petting them. The beach itself is quite nice although water shoes are a good idea. We arrived on Monday and went to Havana on Tuesday. The wind was very high and the beach was closed both Tuesday and Wednesday due to jelly fish. I got up early on Wednesday before they had raked the beach (which they do every day) and could not believe the amount of garbage washed up on shore. It had been extremely windy and we wondered where it all came from……washed down from Varadero perhaps? Maybe the do like the do in NYC and just take it out on barges and dump the garbage in the water. There had to be at least 1000 jellyfish mixed in with it, but they raked it and it was never seen again. Probably what this area offers most is the reef and snorkeling chances that are hard to beat. Just offshore there are reefs that are teaming with fish. The water is warm, but I used a 2mm shorty suit as the coral is sharp and I am a suck about cold water. The pools are clean and cool and refreshing. There is never, ever a problem getting a good lounge either on the beach or at the pool and there is lots of shade if you want it. My wife was bitten by some insects we could never see. They didn’t touch me. Other guests had the same experence with one getting eaten alive and the other not touched. Take bug spray and maybe Benydril ointment if you react to misquitos in a big way.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
I was going to go scuba diving. I am certified, but the dive boat is actually a pedal boat. You get into your gear on shore and then the divemaster padels out to the reef where you go. I decided it did not appeal to me, and the snorkeling was so go I took a pass. They have a hobbi cat, and pedal boats, and kayaks, but they close up the use of them at 4 in the afternoon. There did not seem to be a problem ever getting to use them though, no line ups or anything. We took the hike up the mountain, it is a good hike and you come down the back side into a farm. We toured the farmer’s house and were told you could have lunch or dinner with the family for 15 pesos each. We did not as time was short, but talked to people that did and they quite enjoyed it. They have shows every night but we never made any but people said they were good if ameture.
Other Comments
As I said at the opening of this review it was lot like going to that cottage compound. It is not perfect and at 40 years old, some of the buildings are showing their age a bit, but it under new management and they are upgrading as time and money permit. The thing that is probably the most amaizing is how quickly you become friends with just about everyone on the resort. We are not joiners and prefer to just chill when we are away, but still we met many wonderful people from all over Canada. We will return again sometime, maybe next year although we like to try different spots. We felt considering what we paid, the place was great. We paid a total of $1280 for both of us but someone who waited until the last minute paid under $1000, which makes it the deal of the century. If you go to this resort, I can assure you you will enjoy yourself. It is important, in my opinion, to realize that you are in the tropics, and on an island where there is a shortage of goods. Saying that, the food is fine, the ocean is great and the people that work there are friendly.
Wonderful vaction,with great people at Brisas Guardalava
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca
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Betty from Winnipeg >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Feb 1, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
This was to be our 5th time here at Brisas Guardalavaca We were booked in Sept this trip because it was for one month. As most canadians know most of the west had to travel via Toronto. We are from Winnipeg.Most charters only hold so many seats for 3 and 4 week travels.Also Westjet was the only carrier to Holguin Cuba.

Was very happy with the service I might add. Great luggage allowance.1 hundred pounds each plus 2 carry ons each at 10kg.Had it packed to the max

Your Arrival
On time and good ckeck in.We stayed in the villas as much more room and in most places quite.Our room building 6000 you walk right out to thebeach. Awsome
coffee maker and small fridge with water everyday. Maid service has always been good.
Restaurants and Bars
Two buffets to eat at. You can have your choice in the morning for fresh made eggs however you like them.Lots of fruits and veggies and more. There are 2 alacarts Italian in the hotel and Seafood down by the villas.Have yourself a drink at the cappachino bar next to Italian before dinner . Nice place for a coffee afterwards. Great service.Seafood, they sometimes have the servers entertaining you with sing or guitar. Very good.
You can also get breakfast served to you at 1o till ii.30 at the seafood if you miss buffet which closes at 10.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Love the beach. Just pristine. My hubby loves to snorkel and has gone fishing way out front of resort and caught alot of fish on occasion.
Pool at hotel is more lively as they have a grill bar there. Great pizzas and hotdogs and the like.Villa is nice for small kids. Little bar close by.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Always something to do/ The animation team really try to get you involved with volleyball, dancing games in the games room. They have archery with pelet gun ,Bachi ball and more.
The evening entertainment good. Modeling show my favorite :)Aquadic show, Christopher Columbus show Really funny 🙂 and more.
Other Comments
We rented a car for 5 days and toured around. Town of Banes to see friends. Holguin to visit and stay with friends. Seaside town called Gibara. 2 hours from Guardalavaca. Really nice drive. Stopped at a home that served lobster there.Couldn;t have had a grander day. Stopped and played ball with some kids that were playing.My friend and I gave away alot of shoes and clothes on this journey.Fantastic My husband and I wish to go back and do it all over again Get out and meet Cuba Bettyboop
wonderful wonderful place
Hotel GC Villa Trópico (Cameleon Villa Jibacoa)
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Barb >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan 1, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Wonderful place, will go back again next year. The staff are all lovely, would recommend this place to anyone.
Your Arrival
Arrival was very late to Cuba, could not change our money, it was closed, and our luggage was misplaced, but all in all we got to the resort unscathed
Rooms
The rooms were large and very very clean, nothing special, but who needs that when you are at the beach or by the pool all day
Restaurants and Bars
The poolside bar was lots of fun and always willing to let you try different drinks. The dining room was large and open, food nothing special but lots of it, breakfast was the best, but for the other two meals you certainly wouldn’t go away hungry. Next year when I go there I will certainly bring some soya sauce, cause one of their staples is rice.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach, pools and grounds were immaculate.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Took a trip by bus toHavanna, next year we will go by taxi, so we can pick and choose where we want to go.
Other Comments
The shows at night were very entertaining, and we didn’t miss one. Just want to say again, the people there are wonderful and make you feel very welcome and will do anything to make your stay the best it can be
All of our experiences were good
Hotel Melia Las Dunas
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Brain from Toronto >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Nov 1, 2009
Arrival: 13 to 27 November 2009 These are the comments I just sent to the resort … My wife and I just left your wonderful resort and I am writing to tell you about our stay there. For the past 8 years we have stayed at Sol Melia resorts in Cuba. We stayed at Melia Las Dunas from 13 to 27 November, 2009, and were assigned to a wonderful room which met our needs in every way. Everything was in a good state in the room and any repairs that were needed during our stay were made quickly and in a very friendly manner. The state of the entire resort is being kept to a very high standard and we congratulate you on how well the buildings and groundskeeping are being maintained and presented each day – always very clean and tidy. The quality of the plants and flowers you have planted made our visit very pleasant indeed.

We much enjoyed the quality and huge variety of food and beverages you have available – including the wine lists your have prepared for the specialty restaurants.

And as we have come to love about Cuba, your staff are simply excellent: friendly, efficient, courteous and always wanting to make our stay better. As usual there are a few people who stood out, and whose name we remember, and many many whose name we do not. Before we arrived we had many questions about your resort and the e-mail responses were outstanding in the attention given to our questions and comments. At the 4 (of 5)specialty restaurants we dined at (especially the Italian one), the senior staff made us feel welcome whenever we ate there and went out of their way to ensure we were satisfied and having an wonderful experience. Also at the Italian restaurant, the waiters/waitresses were always very cheerful, efficient and being sure we had everything we could want. The waitresses/waiters at the pool-bars were very attentive and spoke good English too. From the groundskeepers we said ‘Hola’ to each day, the pool maintenance staff, the towel shack staff, the bar staff, the snack bar staff, the reservations clerk, customer service and the front desk staff – all of our experiences were good, and most were much better than good. Also, we should tell you that the scuba diving centre (separate company) also worked very very hard to be sure we had a wonderful time while we were diving with them – they are a great compliment to your operations. — in summary we very much enjoyed and appreciated this resort and will return, likely next November. * My ratings for this hotel o 5 of 5 stars Value o 5 of 5 stars Rooms o 4 of 5 stars Location o 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness o 4 of 5 stars Service * Date of stay November 2009 * Visit was for Leisure * Traveled with With Spouse/Partner * Member since January 28, 2003

* Would you recommend this hotel to a friend? Yes

Awesome !!!
Hotel NH Krystal Laguna Villas & Resort
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Gordon >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Sep 1, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
For a third world country we were very impressed , Hotel was clean , the food was good ( not as much choice as some other all inclusive hotels , but very good )the staff were friendly and polite .
Other Comments
people need to give this place a break , it is good value for money
Watch out for crabs, frogs, and bats.
Hotel NH Krystal Laguna Villas & Resort
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Niki from Burlington, Ontario >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jun 1, 2009
The entertainment here was of a consistantly high quality
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Jenn from NS >  1 contribution(s) Canada
May 1, 2009
Travel: We Travelled with Air Canada. All I can say is that I will take ANY and I do mean ANY means to avoid using Air Canada in the future. Travelling with this airline was a nightmare, from having 2 severly drunk person in the emergency exit row ( the aircrews only concern was that one of them was blocking the drink cart with their foot while they were passed out in their seat), to no meals, to no service reps in Holguin, to sending half the luggage on our return flight to Toronto. To say the experience sucked out loud would be a ‘mild’ understatment.

Arrival: April 25 – May 9, 2009

We arrived in the early evening. They served us wine and orange juice while we waited in line to check in which was a nice touch. The check in process was efficient and seamless.

Rooms

Our room was in the #1 block as requested but we were unable to get a room with 1 bed. While this was disappointing it was not so huge a deal that we were willing to pay the 26CUC a day for the VIP upgrade. The room was dated but clean. The beds are very hard as others have noted but we used the wall hangings over the beds as a mattress pad which solved the problem. There was never any shortage of hot water or water pressure. The air conditioner worked but was only able to just barely keep the room cool. Again not a deal breaker and acceptable by Cuban standards. The maid kept the room adequately clean and supplied the usual towel / blanket art.

Restaurants and Bars

The food at this resort was very very good, especially by Cuban standards. We were very impressed by the quality and selection, which was notable given the hotel was less than half full during our stay. We ate mostly at the buffet with occasion lunch forays to the snack bar or beach restaurant. Both A La Carte’s were good with the Italian being our favourite. They even did a pool side dinner theatre event one night which was amazing. All in all the food at this resort far exceeded our expectations.

Beach/Pools/Grounds

The beach is nice with fine sand and good snorkeling. The snorkeling is not as good as Jibacoa but perhaps that is an unfair comparision. The pool while small is nice. The grounds are quite nice and well kept.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel

We did the ‘discovery’ excursion which took us to a fishing village, mini zoo and the Gurardlavaca market. It was a nice half day tour and a bargain at 15CUC. Other than that we cycled a few times along the road to Holguin which was nice and gave us a chance to distribute gifts to some locals.

Other Comments
If one is looking for a quiet room be sure to request the #1 or #6 block as the other blocks overlook the pll / snack bar/ stage area which can be quite noisy. The staff at this resort are very friendly which really add to our vacation. The entertainment here was of a consistantly high quality and included a varied selection of local talent from water ballet to opera, local cuban bands, rock band, etc. If I were to return to the Holguin area I would most definately stay at this resort again.
This is probably the best snorkelling beach in Cuba
Hotel GC Villa Trópico (Cameleon Villa Jibacoa)
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eeeefarm from Ontario >  9 contribution(s) Canada
Apr 1, 2009
Arrival: April 11 – 18 My third time at this resort. I arrived in the evening. Check in was quick, my bags were brought immediately to my room, and there were sandwiches and a fruit plate in the mini fridge to greet me.

Rooms:

Very clean, lots of storage, comfortable if aging furniture. There is a 2 CUC/day charge for the safe. The air conditioning worked well and is controlled by remote so is convenient to use. There is a mini fridge and T.V. and the electrical outlets are 110 volts. The washroom has a large stall shower, no bath. There is a hair dryer supplied. Outside the sliding patio doors there is a nice patio with 2 chairs and a table . I found the accommodations comfortable, although esthetically there are some details that need attention: e.g. peeling paint. The resort is scheduled to close for renovations, so I’m sure this will be attended to. As far as I am concerned, such superficial flaws have no impact on my enjoyment of my vacation.

Restaurants and Bars:

One buffet restaurant and one a la carte restaurant, plus a snack bar, a pool bar, and a lobby bar. Food at the buffet is quite adequate. I never had a problem finding enough to eat. Breakfast features the usual omelets made to order, pancakes, french toast and many other items. Some mornings there was fresh orange juice, but other times there was a disappointing substitute that tasted like Tang. Pizza is available at lunch and often at dinner. Ice cream seems to only make an appearance at lunch, but is very good. Desserts are a bit lacking in variety, and fresh fruit was good but not an extensive selection. The grapefruit was particularly tasty when available. Lots of salads and fresh breads at every meal. I don’t eat meat, so can’t comment on that, although those who did seemed happy with their meals. I found the selection of cooked vegetables was a bit limited. A couple of nights the house band entertained at dinner, which was enjoyable. The a la carte restaurant includes choices of beef, chicken and fish. The soup was very nice. I found the snack bar willing to make me a grilled cheese & tomato sandwich, instead of the usual burgers and dogs. The Lobby bar still makes excellent Spanish coffee!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:

This is probably the best snorkelling beach in Cuba, and the reason I came. I was lucky with the weather and able to snorkel every day. The beach has lots of shade and there was never a problem finding a lounger and a spot to sit. I didn’t spend any time at the pools, but they appeared to be very clean. The grounds are like a park…..well kept, with a very spacious feel to them. Wonderful bird life everywhere. The staff work very hard to keep this place looking fabulous!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Didn’t bother with tours or many activities…..too busy snorkelling and sailing on the Hobie Cat. There were many options available for those who wanted them.
Other Comments:
This was my fourth time at Jibacoa, third time to Cameleon with one visit to Breezes. I find quite a different atmosphere between the two hotels. Cameleon has less amenities and is smaller, quieter, and more laid back. Walking the beach between snorkelling sessions, I noted that it was much busier in front of Breezes, and since that resort is adults only, I was surprised to see so many children in the water there. A closer look made me aware these were local kids, probably from the Cuban campgrounds. I was also approached by locals wanting to sell shells and other items, or just for a handout. This didn’t happen in front of Cameleon while I was there….
We also went ‘snorkeling! That was great fun!
Hotel Sol Río de Luna y Mares Resort
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Lorie >  1 contribution(s) 
Apr 1, 2009
You had me at ‘Hola’… Arrived back to a really damp and rainy Nova Scotia after a week at Sol Rio de Luna y Mares at noon today, so before I completely slide into a two day crash, I’ll relay my experience and hopefully it will be useful. We were trying to decide where to spend a week. That was all we had. I’ve only been to Cuba once, spending much more time in Mexico and South America. I knew Guadalavaca was a beautiful area and not quite as ‘slick’ as Veradero and after some resort research, I decided on Luna y Mares. For one thing, it seemed like the resort had huge personality and I really liked what travellers from my area were saying about the staff and management. As an aside, somebody in another review mentioned a ‘cookie cutter’ vacation, and in my opinion that’s a good representation of the experience you’ll have in Orlando or Las Vegas, or even Cancun, which is sort of like Miami. You’ll rarely see a bug, and essentially enjoy completely sterile and pristine accommodations. Staff will be efficient and professional and friendly, and you’ll be blown away by Hollywood and Broadway style stage shows… and what’s not to like about that? If that’s what you want. For us, it’s about the experience. Because, on a ‘cookie cutter holiday’ you’ll rarely find a housekeeping staffer who throws her arms around you after the second day of cleaning your room, telling you tales about life in her country and displaying genuine interest in life in yours, nor will you often find a bartender making impassioned salient points about why Che Guevera is a hero and ‘descamisado’ and will never die in the eyes of many Cuban people.

So, ahem… after that fairly lengthy prelude, I’ll give you the goods, as I saw them!

We flew Transat Holidays and arrived at the ungodly hour of 4 am last Sunday, April 5. I was far too excited to sleep and after getting our room ( more later) prowled around the resort for an hour to check out the lay of the land. My excuse for this pre dawn explorative quest, was that I was hungry and wanted a burger- a blatant lie—I was waaay to excited to eat it, but we did get one on the Luna all night snack bar. We were served by an amiable if somewhat sleepy bartender. I didn’t have any tip money so I gave him some sun glasses, which I felt was good and proper. Anyone I ask to cook for me at 5 am deserves something, don’t you think? The hamburger was good. It tasted a lot like my mother’s to tell the truth, and the fries were delicious! After the burger, I had no more excuse not to retire for the remainder of the night, so off we went to room 4009 on the Mares side, overlooking the pool and the ocean. It was big and it was spotless, and it was COLOURFUL! To me, it embodied the Caribbean in a blend of turquoise, pale orange, burgundy and white—a combination that I wouldn’t have thought stunning, but was. The beds were two singles pushed together. Very comfortable. There were extra blankets in the closet, and water in the small fridge. The bathroom was large with a tub and shower, toilet and bidet; sort of a cool European touch, I thought. Everything worked perfectly. The room fixtures were not brand new. It was not the Hilton or the Hampton Inn. I thought it was better. Sunday am, we staggered off to the Transat Orientation before 10. The Transat Rep was informative knowledgeable, and remained extremely accessible all week. During orientation, the hotel’s food and beverage manager introduced himself, welcomed us, but we didn’t catch his name; only that he was from Spain, so we nicknamed him Mr. Barcelona!

Tromping back to our room on the way to the beach, we met our housekeeper. Her name was Rosa Carmina- and we completely fell in love. She told me with complete sincerity, that the most important thing for her was that my holiday be happy and stress free. I gaped. I couldn’t help it, but she meant it, and though I’m not sure I deserve it, such was the level of her professionalism. She was incredibly funny and, intelligent- and a way of connecting with people instantly. I don’t mean that housekeeping staff shouldn’t be / aren’t intelligent, but it occurred to me after several conversations with her that the country would be better served with Rosa in a diplomatic capacity. She hopes to finish up her degree in the fall, and I can’t help but think her talents are a bit wasted making ducks out of towels, sporting sunglasses and scarves (although the one she did for me looked uncannily like a great aunt I had that died last year!)

We were extremely fortunate to receive an invitation to the new French Restaurant (Bistrau ) on it’s opening night, and it was one of the most delicious meals we’ve ever had anywhere in the world. No joke. There were a group of Health Care Workers from NS at the next table, and we overheard them trying to estimate how much the meal would have cost in Halifax. Possibly $300 a couple with wine; at least that was our guess. I was able to snag a copy of the menu, so here it is, although it will no doubt vary.

Appetizers

Nicoise Salad with Tuna Duet of Asparagus with Citrus Cream Smoked Salmon Plate Champagne Pate with Cognac

Soups

French Onion Soup Lobster Bisque with Armagnac

Entrees

Salmon Steak, with Creamed Dill and Fried Vegetables Sauteed Caribbean Prawns with Garlic and Butter Rice Crown Pork Medalions with Matignon Sauce and Potatoes Beef Entrecote with Pepper Sauce and Stuffed Potatoes Chateau Brilliant and their Classic Garnish

Deserts

Lemon Pie Pears Cooked with Red Wine and Vanilla Ice Cream Carmelized Banana Pie Chocolate Mousse There you have it! We had Smoked Salmon Plate and the Lobster Bisque to start. The smoked salmon tasted exactly like home to us (NS) but it was from Chile. Good on the Chileans, I say! The bisque was also delicious! We then had the pork medallions and the beef- both of which were fork tender. For dessert, we had the banana pie and the pears. It was a toss up- but I think I’d choose the pears next time—amazing.

The restaurant is very small, and there were a group of very celebratory French Canadians there as well. They were having a lot of fun, and slightly boisterous, and on the way out, a gentleman with their party congratulated the Maitre’De on the opening and whispered humbly that he hoped he “wasn’t too loud.” I snickered to myself, wondering if he’d ever seen a bunch of Nova Scotians on a rant- Here on the South Shore, we drink Cuba Libras; just without the lime—we call them ‘Dark and Dirtys’! Between the two provinces, no doubt we’d be a force to be reckoned with!

We had opportunity to speak with Carlos Freeman, the Maitre’De, and he told us, he had spent the last several months preparing for the opening of the restaurant, ensuring that the ambiance be perfect, his staff highly trained in both food and wine pairings as well. While the other a la cartes were excellent within the resort, Carlos and his staff’s culinary efforts, I believe will make his restaurant many guests first choice. Plus, Carlos is a great conversationalist and host. We felt really privileged to attend the opening. The Colon Buffet is large and varied. The name still cracks me up, even if it is Columbus in Spanish—no doubt that show’s my level of maturity. Seriously, if you can’t find something to eat there, you’re not hungry. It has a huge selection and the food is very good. It’s been covered in many reviews. My biggest regret is that I saw a pig roasted on a spit and it looked delicious! We went to the French Restaurant that night, so I missed Porky Pig- much to my dismay! This is getting lengthy, so I’ll try and summarize a bit. We took a horse and buggy to the mini zoo. Our driver’s name began with a G, I believe, but his horse was named Hurricane. He was a lot of fun! He talked in broken English; I in broken Spanish and once in a while we understood each other. Once we got to the Mini Zoo- Rob, the handler took us around to all of the animals, and ‘G’ was so interested, he decided to come with us. We got up close and personal with an African Turtle named Paca, and went in an iguana’s cage named Marisa and scratched her under the chin. ‘I mention G and Hurricane in particular, because we took a horse and buggy into Guadalavaca the day before and our driver was dour and incommunicative and wouldn’t even try to converse with me in my horrible Spanish. I know it must be frustrating but it’s a bit deflating. I’d much rather take another trip with G and Hurricane. The mini zoo doesn’t seem to publicized well, and it’s really worth the trip. You could walk it or take a bike. It’s not far at all. We also went ‘snorkeling! That was great fun! Close to the Rio D’Oro, we even saw what we think was a tuna. If you have your own gear, that might be good as it’s very popular and might not be available when you want it. The hotel entertainment was also great fun! Very talented entertainment staff were able to engage a large range of ages and cultural tastes effectively. I also loved the music. I’m really glad not to hear hip hop blaring through the speakers by the pool. It’s not that I mind hip hop (although I’d prefer Nickelback- I’d just really rather hear local music) and that was phenomenal. The bar staff at 1492 was excellent! Dania (daytime) is very charismatic, and is able to make each patron feel like they were the most important in the world. That’s a gift when you’re not always respected by vacationers. It’s likely evident, that we, like many people grew very attached to people in a very short time. My partner gave away his ipod. No coercion, or manipulation by anyone. I was proud that he did it.

I had read that Mohamed Fawzi, the General Manager of the hotel was extremely competent, as well as customer oriented, and that was evident quickly. I had the pleasure of speaking to him briefly. I’ve never seen management as visible or conscientious about performance and quality control in a resort. It appeared that at least several managers put in at least a 16 hour day in the trenches interacting with their guests, and there seemed little Mohamed wasn’t on top of.

Mr. Barcelona (we learned his name was Ferran, an hour before we left!) cropped up everywhere too. I’d see him conferring in the early morning hours with his manager, while walking the property, and later clearing glasses from a table if the wait staff were swamped and once high fiving a bartender on the way through the bar. It really made me happy to see “Mr. B” high fiving his staff, because after a day or two in dealing with the front line staff, it’s evident that life for them in Cuba is not the same as life for us. For example, we have no problem buying aspirin, buying a pound of hamburger, and many things we take for granted are just beyond their reach, economically. That’s one reason, I think it assuaged my conscience to see that their managers treated them with respect. I went so far as to ask Rosa, the ‘housecleaning diplomat’ if the General Manager was a good boss. If she had been disparaging, I naturally wouldn’t have given her up- but she wasn’t. She said he had very high standards and wanted the hotel to be excellent. A worthy answer I thought. Last evening, we had grilled lobster at a table by ourselves outside the international restaurant. It overlooked Playa Esmerelda; there was no wind, and the moon was almost full. The lobster was grilled, and served with a pepper mayonnaise, ceasar salad and a French onion soup that was as delicious as any I’ve had anywhere. For dessert, I had flan with coconut ice cream, and then we watched the water ballet show. I can’t see how our last evening could have been better. I am grateful I don’t have ready access to that coconut ice cream here in NS. I don’t want to be mistaken for the rare Albino Northern Porpoise on my next trip!! Three last things

1. Second morning out, I got sunstroke. We were on the beach for two hours and I had a hat on. No booze. Really, violently ill and dizzy.l Had to go back to our room, and lay down for almost 24 hours. Be really careful of the sun.

2. We bought some beautiful end tables from a vendor at the hotel. Very nice man. They had fish swimming through sea grass and customs confiscated them because he used seeds for the fish eyes that are poisonous. Apparently it permeates the wood. There’s no way he would know we’d have an issue, but make sure you check because we could easily have taken them out and replaced them with something here.

3. If anyone wants more details or has questions, we’d be delighted to try and answer them. princessfubar@hotmail.com

As for a return visit, bring it!

Hasta luego…

The swimming and snorkeling is excellent
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Raine from Nova Scotia >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr 1, 2009
Arrival: April 18-26 We had the VIP package so our check in was quick and easy. There was a minor wait with the regular line, but nothing worth talking about.

Rooms:

Rooms were spotless, the hotel is a little tired but the rooms are very clean. The beds are hard and the pillows are tiny, but we slept anyway because we were busy all day.

Restaurants and Bars:

The beach restaurant and pool bar had great hamburgers and fries. The buffet has lots to eat, with a turkey or ham or pork roast freshly carved every evening and a pasta bar. On Cuba night, try the Cuba soup…very yummy! Their breads are to die for…very fresh and tastey. Breakfast is the usual, bacon, eggs, cereal, breads, pancakes, salad, fruit, yogurt, cheeze. Always found something to eat.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:

Sat at the pool for about an hour in the evening but didn’t swim in it. Looked very clean. The ocean beach is the nicest we have been to. Minimal waves and a spot to snorkel. Lots of fish to watch. There is a little coral and rocks on the beach so wear beach shoes in the water. No seaweed whatsoever. The hotel grounds are also kept very clean and plants are manicured. There is a problem with shade on the beach. The hotel is trying to make some palapas for shade but are having trouble getting palms for the roof (or thats what I was told). The little shades at the pool, are too small. They don’t provide much shade but there are trees to sit under for shade.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:

There is a team of entertainers on the resort, they have beach volleyball, archery, shooting, pool volleyball, aquafit classes which we watched but didn’t participate in. There are kayaks on the beach as well as paddle boats, but you must reserve them early and they are booked for an hour so they aren’t available all the time. The catamaran rides are included but are hit and miss. The person with the jug of beer and pocket full of money gets a ride first, even if you booked. I should add that we didn’t use the catamarans because we have a boat at home and we were there to relax, so it didn’t matter if we got on the hobie cats or not, so this is an unbiased report.

Other Comments:

This was our second time at the BCV, and we found the first trip much better. Service was slow, and we tipped. The lack of shade on the beach is a problem for us. We don’t like to bake, and if you didn’t get to the beach before 7am, you didn’t get shade. The swimming and snorkeling is excellent. There is security everywhere, and we left our bags with cameras etc on the beach and they weren’t touched. Food is average. Rooms are clean. We had a good time but probably won’t go back to the Blau.

The snorkeling is very accessible
Hotel GC Villa Trópico (Cameleon Villa Jibacoa)
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Ginette from Winnipeg, Manitoba >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar 1, 2009
Arrival: March 29th to April 5th We were well received at the resort. The reception was friendly and efficient.

Rooms:

Villas were comfortable and well kept.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:

The pool is a necessary addition as the ocean is more suitable to snorkeling than swimming. The snorkeling is very accessible and the reefs and fish are quite beautiful.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:

We rented a mini-van for our family of five and spent a day at Varadero. We went to see the dolpin show and the kids swam with the dolphins, then we spent some time at a beautiful beach, and shopped in the most popular market. It was a great day!

Other Comments:

During our stay, we fell in love and "adopted" George, a little, black and tan "stray" dog. He lives on the resort, but doesn’t really belong to anybody. The tourists take care of him. We were wondering if any recent visitors "met" George and if they could tell us how he is doing. Also, have any readers ever taken a dog back home from Cuba and, if so, would you have information about how to go about that and how long the process takes…. If anybody would like to provide such info, please contact me at my provided e-mail address. Thanks!

gpaille@mts.net

The staff is awsome!
Hotel Gaviota Playa Pesquero
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User name ald1 from Ottawa >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb 1, 2009
Arrival: Feb 8 – 15 Sunwing airline, we were to have a direct flight Ottawa – Holguin, however 1 week before departure we were advised that we would be making a quick stop to Montreal to pick some passengers. No big deal, for us. some passengers were pretty upset! On arrival at Holguin airport, customs was very quick and we were through with our lugguage in less than 1/2 hour. We boarded our bus with beer in hand. They have some vendors who sell Cristal (very cold) cans for 1.15 CUC. We arrived to our hotel in less than 1 hour. Reception was quick and efficient, we had reserved the Superior room. Not sure if that made a difference at check in time!

Rooms

As mentioned earlier we booked the superior room. The price was 60.00 each for the week. It included a bottle of dark rum (26oz), robes(house coats), incense sticks, and ocean front. We were on the main floor in block Naranjo Agrio bldg room 3404. Rooms were very clean air conditioned and very large. We had a King size bed. the bathroom had all the little extras;Body wash, shampoo, toothbrush and paste with floss, bubble bath, nail files. it included a hair dryer. there was also a bidet located next to the tub and toilet. The sink is separate from the bath area. the closet had a safe were you create your own PIN. (no charge!) It had a fridge that was stocked daily with 2 beer coke and water. we had a coffee maker but did not use it!

Restaurants and Bars

our superior room included a pre reserved spot to one of the restaurants. they had reserved the seafood for us. we tried the Italian, and the Asian. in our opinion they were good to average. the rest of the week we ate at the buffet or at the beer garden for dinner. for lunch we ate at the chicken restaurant( I forget the name) the breaded chicken is awsome! there is also a great coffee bar in the lobby!

Beach/Pools/Grounds

the grounds definietely need a a little Tender love and care as the resort is showing it’s age. A little paint job and cleaning would definatly make it some good!

POOL: it’s HUGE! we elected to stay near the pool bar as we like to watch people go crazy about 4 pm from sitting there from noon to closing. Some pretty good "action" one late afternoon after the dj put on some ACDC. we had a great laugh!

BEACH: Spectacular. by far the PP end of the beach is the best from all the 3 resorts located on the beach. Because of Huricane IKE they had a temporary bar set up away from the main blg. the building and facilities , I was told is schedualed to reopen in a couple of weeks.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel My only outings were 3 dives with Blue World Diving Centre. the Boat picked us up at 9am every morning for a 2 minute boat ride to the dive Centre. I walked it the first morning and the walk takes about 15 minutes. 1st dive was the Taza Azul; this is great wall and cave dive. we were lucky to see 2 lion fish. the dive master is Michael. Nice guy with Gold capped teeth! 2nd dive was Pasquero Sponge; dive master Michael brought some baitfish (maqueral??) and broke it up as we swam. it attracted a school of Rusty parrotfish and one huge grouper as well as other smaller tropical fish. 3rd dive was the Grand Canyon; this was a great dive were there are multiple walls that run from more 100 feet to the surface at about 20 feet. we also went through some tunnels. note that the coral is slowly coming back to life. I did see one octopus while snorkling in front of the dive shop.

Other Comments

HUGE resort that needs some work. the staff is awsome! would I return. Probably not, as there are way too many other places to visit in the caribbean. We However had a great time and would still recomend it thanks for giving us the opportunity to write up a review Oh! we had the pleasure of being at the resort with our very own Lyndon Slewidge the official anthem singer for the Ottawa Senators.

The fried fish was not tasty but the pizza was OK
Hotel Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
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Daniel from Montreal >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan 1, 2009
The music can be a bit loud near the pool area
Hotel GC Villa Trópico (Cameleon Villa Jibacoa)
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John and Pat from Victoria, B.C. >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan 1, 2009
We spent 7 nights at the Cameleon Villas Jibacoa from January 19th to January 26th, 2009. We had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful beach, great snorkling, fabulously friendly staff and fellow travellers! First of all the beach is very large (much bigger than the resort next door) with lots of room to spread out. The grounds at the resort were very well kept up with daily pick-up of the palm and coconut tree leaves, trimming of the bushes and picking up of any litter. The grounds were spacious with plenty of room between the units. The units themselves were kept very clean with daily maid service. We had read some questionable reviews regarding the food but were very pleased overall with the food. The breakfasts included made to order omelettes, bacon, fresh orange juice, excellent yogurt, excellent bread and very well made coffee. My wife is especially particular about her coffee and she loved the coffee!. Lunch and dinner consistently had about 3 meats such as (turkey, beef, pork, fish, liver, chicken and hamburger). The usual combination of meat consisted of pork, fish and chicken. There was usually two rice dishes to go with the meat, croquettes, salad bar, pasta and other food items. The ice cream and some of the little cakes were also excellent. There was a lot of variety and I am sure something for everyone. The snorkling was excellent with a reef just a short distance off shore. We saw a great variety of fish, one school of thousands and an octopus. The fish could be seen in waist deep water but certainly there was a great variety once we got out to the reef. Just around the corner away from our resort was another sheltered beach, with less wind and wave action and very quiet for just relaxing or going in for a swim. The music can be a bit loud near the pool area, but things would quiet down by around midnight. The nightly show would run from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and we would mingle with others for awhile, so most nights we weren’t ready for bed until midnight anyway. The nightly shows featured dance, singing, comedy, fashion and skits. They were very entertaining and put on by a very enthusiastic friendly group of performers.

My wife and I thought this resort was excellent value. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a five star resort, but then again it has a five star beach and reef outside of it. The grounds are beautiful, the staff friendly and the overall ambience is wonderful.

Food was great
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Wes from Calgary >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan 1, 2009
Rooms: Rooms were very clean, a bit out dated and the beds were a little hard but I guess thats normal for Cuba, Very pleased with the cleanleness of the rooms. House keeping made the room up in diff. ways all week.

Restaurants and Bars:v Food was great always a meal or snack at all times of day or night. Iam a very pickey eater and I had no prob. finding something I liked buffet was diff. every time/day

Beach/Pools/Grounds:

Beach was perfect,great snorkeling right of the beach, brought buns and bread from buffet to feed the fish they loved it they come right up to your hands to eat. spectacular sand and crystal clean waters….

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:

We went on the Holguin tour including tour of cigar factory mountain lunch and hour of free time in downtown Holguin. Very interesting and worth every penny, We also did the swimming with the dolphins now that is a must do… it also included a great peace of coral for an awesome snoreling adventure, very much worth the money..

This was my second visit to the NH Krystal Laguna
Hotel NH Krystal Laguna Villas & Resort
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Leesa and Marc from Ottawa >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec 1, 2008
Pet lovers will enjoy the 14 or so cats & kittens
Hotel GC Villa Trópico (Cameleon Villa Jibacoa)
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Lee and Mike from Sarnia, ON >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec 1, 2008
It has gone downhill
Hotel GC Villa Trópico (Cameleon Villa Jibacoa)
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furbaby >  1 contribution(s) 
Oct 1, 2008
The place is lovely, the snorkeling amazing
Hotel GC Villa Trópico (Cameleon Villa Jibacoa)
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Jenn from Halifax, NS >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr 1, 2008
Cayo Coco’s beach is outstanding
Hotel NH Krystal Laguna Villas & Resort
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Len from Toronto >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar 1, 2008
My husband does a lot of snorkling and just loves it here
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca
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Mike and Betty >  1 contribution(s) 
Mar 1, 2008
We had a great vacation!
Hotel Oasis Villa Cayo Coco
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Theresa and Brad from Ottawa >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar 1, 2008
I wish i stayed for two weeks…..better yet, forever.
Hotel Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
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Monika >  3 contribution(s) Canada
Feb 1, 2008
The food was above average as usual
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca
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Paul from Wasaga Beach, Ontario >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan 1, 2008
Jibacoa has a reputation as fantastic place for snorkelling
Hotel GC Villa Trópico (Cameleon Villa Jibacoa)
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Vern >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan 1, 2008
The snorkling is still top notch
Hotel Paradisus Río de Oro
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Jim and Christine >  1 contribution(s) 
Dec 1, 2007
The hotel is being renovated but has a way to go
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca
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Peter from Hamilton >  1 contribution(s) 
Dec 1, 2007
The lay out of the resort is absolutely stunning
Hotel Sirenis Playa Turquesa (formerly Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)
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Catherine et Hugues from Québec >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Nov 1, 2007
Relax and enjoy the great service and kind, caring Cuban people
Hotel Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
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Jane from Ottawa >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Oct 1, 2007
We snorkelled everyday
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca
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Sherri from Toronto Ontario >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jul 1, 2007
Unfortunately, we will never go there again
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Letha >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr 1, 2007
The facilities were beautiful
Hotel Melia Cayo Santa Maria
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Sue from Halifax, NS >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr 1, 2007
It has a rustic charm
Hotel Sol Cayo Santa María
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Vern from Montreal, Quebec >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr 1, 2007
We were absolutely amazed with Cuba and with the resort
Hotel Melia Cayo Santa Maria
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Gerry >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar 1, 2007
Would we go back- in a minute.
Hotel GC Villa Trópico (Cameleon Villa Jibacoa)
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Jake and Julie >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar 1, 2007
The snorkel equipment is plentiful
Hotel GC Villa Trópico (Cameleon Villa Jibacoa)
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Kate >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Mar 1, 2007
We enjoyed our two weeks
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Mary Jane >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb 1, 2007
very good choice for the budget traveller
Hotel Sol Río de Luna y Mares Resort
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eeeefarm from Goodwood Ontario >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan 1, 2007
There are several smaller coral reef formations for snorkeling
Hotel Sirenis Playa Turquesa (formerly Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa)
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Inga from London, Ontario >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan 1, 2007
The beach was nice but extremely crowded
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Roy and Joan from Ontario >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan 1, 2007
It felt cosy and personal
Hotel Blau Colonial Cayo Coco
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CatherineHuguesQuébec >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec 1, 2006 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We were at the Blau Colonial Cayo Coco from dec. 10 to the 17 2006. Booked via our travel agent for a super saver room: one week for 815$ each, all taxes included. I used to think that the tour operator or the air carrier did not matter much… that they were just accessory to get you there. After flying with Sunwing, we got spoiled and I now realise that when it’s done well, it does matter. From now on, if the price difference is not that big, I would pay a bit more to fly Sunwing… their service was just outstanding! We were offered a warm face cloth to refresh ourselves, drinks were easily offered, food was a warm plate (2 choices, cannot remember what were the options, but both turned out good)… we were even given a complementary glass of champagne to start off our holyday (not on the way back to ease the pain of leaving however 😉 ). There was also a bit more leg room, free headphones and a movie with choice of language … worth mentioning as that option was not available on a more recent fly with Cubana (there were no headphones available on the way back and on the way there, the movie was available only in Spanish or English… not much fun for the French speaking kids). Landing in Cayo Coco is a blessing, small airport, one plane at the time, not much waiting around and a very short bus ride to the hotel.
The resort
The Blau Colonial was the first to be built on Cayo Coco in 1993, 13 years is quite old in the tropics… so there are sign of used. On the other hand, the vegetation is at full maturity. This complex is advertised as offering 458 rooms. Now I don’t know if that’s including all of the rooms or if it is just the ones available at this time. If you go exploring a bit, you will notice that basically half of the resort is fenced off for renovations. That does not affect at all the other side of the resort… the biggest inconvenient (if you want to call it that) is that there is no swim-up bar (it would be in the closed section) and the Cuban à la carte is relocated in the grill… If you look in the Caribesol / Holasun brochure, you will see a picture of the pool made to look like a stream by some of the rooms… don’t expect that … it’s now a work in progress! Our room was in the furthest building (#18) which suited us just fine. Very spacious, in the bathroom there is a divider so that one could be taking a bath / shower or using the toilet while the other was using the sink. Another nice touch was the mirrored door of the closet in the bathroom that could be turned to give you a back view of yourself when getting ready. Our room had to ¾ beds (a bit bigger than a twin but a bit smaller than a double). Having a Supersaver deal, we could not be switched to a room with a double bed. That room had not been renovated (some were in this section) so our bathtub was a bit chipped and the air conditioning was a bit noisy. Other than that, we could not have told. We had completed privacy, never heard the neighbours. The balcony was large enough and wrapped around the corner. We also had a nice ocean view.
The layout of the resort is its biggest assets in our eyes, it felt cosy and personal. It has the feeling of a small village with curvy streets, buildings with wooden staircases and balconies, different decorative touches on each building… very Spanish style.
Weather
The weather was very surprising. Upon our arrival there was a lot of wind… strong enough to slam doors! That translated in tremendous waves! We had a blast with that for the first tree days. There were no jelly fish to speak of this year (last year you could not count them as soon as you stepped in the water because they were too numerous). So we made the best of it and took that opportunity to open up all the windows in our room, go visit a national park right on Cayo Coco and took a cab to visit Moron… Opening up all the windows was a big mistake! Doing so, we allowed very small bugs to join us and I was eaten alive! Apparently, it is a small spider that we did not even see… but I can tell you they sure bit and are not repulsed by DEET (I was wearing the Watkins cream). These spiders are also at home in the parks as well as by the beach.
Food
The food at this resort was more than adequate. Beef, pork, chicken, fish, pasta… always something to choose from. For those of you that are not big fish eater, be aware that the fish at the grill might be served with its head and tail still there. Doesn’t change the taste really but does come as a surprise. There were bananas flambées every night as well as fresh doughnuts made on the spot right outside in a stand by the buffet. Let’s just say this is not the hotel where we lost weight! We really enjoyed both the Cuban and the Italian à la carte… we skipped on the Sea food one as it is by the water and I was itching enough as it was!
Scuba diving & snorkeling
Scuba diving is provided by the Tryp resort next door…so they have you walk there by the beach… nice once you gear is already there… a bit tedious the first and last time. Due to the windy conditions the visibility was not the best. As for the equipment and dives instructor, it was decent. You always have to trust yourself first (I did see them offer beer during one surface interval, and one of the dive master bragged about going far beyond sporting limits…) but if you are responsible enough for yourself, they will provide you with a nice diving experience although not out of the ordinary.
There is not much snorkelling… Yes, if you go out, you will find living creatures but there are no reef to speak of in a swimming distance.
Excursions
There are many excursions offered by the tour operators (jeep safari, 69 CUC; Moron spectacular, 75 CUC; Moron colourful, 65 CUC; Havana by plane, 195 CUC; Trinidad, 70 CUC; swim with the dolphins in Cienfuegos, 169 CUC; catamaran full day, 72 CUC; deep sea fishing, 250 CUC; jungle boat tour, 39 CUC) and others offered by Cubanacan (Ciego spectacular, 75 CUC; ½ day in Moron, 30 CUC; other catamaran + Pilar beach, 49 CUC; Baga nature Park, 25 CUC). We choosed to hire a cab to visit Moron on our own terms and did not regret it for one centavo (cost for the cab was 75 CUC split 3 ways + we offered him his lunch). We had the chance to go by a Dutch style village, 2 lakes, one crocodile farm, one sugar mill turned museum and the Moron train station that is spectacular… a trip back in time. We also ate in a restaurant in town that was really nice. The visit of the Baga nature park was also very interesting… and cheap! We ended up with a guide just for the two of us, saw a reconstruction of a farmer’s house, some traditional dancing, natives rituals, crocodiles, lizards, some kind of Cuban beaver, sea turtles (we got to feed them), and more! This tour not being advertised, the visit was very private. We also rented scooters for an afternoon and explored a bit of the surroundings. We went by a cave and ended up on the Flamenco beach which was a nice spot to just relax and enjoy a beer before we returned (20 CUC for 3 hours). We were too tired to make it to the shows but were told we did not miss much. We also have no idea what the disco is like… besides being roomy! We would return to this resort.
The staff are very friendly and accommodating.
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Michele & Brittaney from NB >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec 1, 2006
PP"s pool is by far the largest I have ever seen!!
Hotel Gaviota Playa Pesquero
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Steve >  12 contribution(s) Canada
Dec 1, 2006
There is horseback riding directly across the road.
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca
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Paul from Barrie, Ontario >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Aug 1, 2006
If you like to snorkel or suba dive this is the resort for you
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca
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Ray & Deb from Calgary, Alberta >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Apr 1, 2006
Wonderful snorkeling right from the beach
Hotel Sol Río de Luna y Mares Resort
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Andre and Wendy from NB >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr 1, 2006
Enjoy the positive aspects of your vacation
Hotel Sol Río de Luna y Mares Resort
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Mike & Joanne from Ottawa, Ontario >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Sep 1, 2005
We enjoyed a day of snorkeling/sailing and lunch
Hotel Sol Río de Luna y Mares Resort
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Wendy & Steve from Mississauga >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Sep 1, 2005
We were well impressed.
Hotel Melia Cayo Guillermo
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Brian, Catherine, Lauren, Jordan & Oliver >  1 contribution(s) 
Aug 1, 2005
The beach was truly amazing
Hotel Sol Río de Luna y Mares Resort
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Martina and Larry from Peterborough >  1 contribution(s) 
Aug 1, 2005
The grounds of this hotel are lovely
Hotel Sol Cayo Guillermo
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Diana and John from England >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Jul 1, 2005
(French Review) – Impressions de voyage
Hotel Gaviota Playa Pesquero
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Magalie >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar 1, 2004

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