We stayed in the Marea del Portillo resort for one week starting July 21st. We met so many awesome people there and had a great time. One night, one of the girls we met went to the washroom. She was pulled by her elbow into a dark corner by security and was told to stay with them. When she asked to leave and tried to pull her arm away, they pulled her back into the corner and started to touch her inappropriately, despite her numerous demands for them to stop and to let her go. The security staff was backed up by management and the receptionist refused to call the police for over an hour before I tried to bride her with 5 pesos to call the police. The police said they could not do anything because it was all just the girl’s word versus the security guard’s and therefore the rapist security guard was back on his shift walking the grounds outside the room that the girl stayed in. He was not fired and he was not in any real trouble. We found out the hard way that in Cuba, a tourist should have bruises, scrapes, scratches and vaginal damage for anyone to be charged with rape or attempted rape. Upon leaving, airport security asked about the situation. They acted as if they were going to help, and asked to see the picture we had of the rapist security guard. When we showed them the picture, they deleted it from our camera to get rid of evidence. We now have to contact the Canadian Embassy and other officials to try to bring justice for a girl that has been changed forever. Security is all over the resort, and that’s definitely NOT a good thing. They didn’t serve, protect or do anything to help anyone. There were numerous complaints of security stealing from hotel rooms, asking for beers or food too many times, and even peeping into hotel rooms to watch as vacationers changed or were being intimate in their rooms. I even tested their security by yelling out several times "Seccoro!" which is Spanish for "help me" at the top of my lungs at a far dark area in the resort and none of them showed up. However, they were definitely there to watch us dancing together in the disco at night. The city, the beach, the pool and the activites were all too beautiful to describe in words… however the security and rest of the staff were completely rude and ignorant and just got ruder and more ignorant if you complained.
I do not recommend going to this city unless you DO NOT want to party or have a loud time on your vacation and I especially do not recommend going there if you are not fluent in Spanish. If you are a senior or a family with young children and don’t mind bad food (even by Cuba’s standards) then this resort can provide you a simple and inexpensive vacation – just make sure you lock all your belongings in your suitcase every time you leave the room.
Beatiful weather and cute, tiny airport… Horrible 2 hour bumpy bus ride to the resort.
An insect infestation of 4 different types of bugs resulted in us having to change rooms. The second room was much better, however the security guards do peep into the rooms, so we recommend only being intimate in the dark for short periods and changing in the washroom.
Restaurants and Bars: Bars closed whenever the bartenders felt like it, so we suggest buying water and other drinks from the gift shop for the nights that the bars decide to close at 11:30 PM.
Restaurants were ok, but the food and the service was not. There were numerous occasions of having rude service and the food was constantly recycled from the day before. The food in this resort was horrible compared to the food in another resort in Varradero that I had on my last trip to Cuba.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach had brown sand (which we didn’t mind) and the water was so warm we couldn’t believe it! The water temperature was just too perfect to imagine.
Pool temperature was perfect as well. The pool was closed early at night and they did throw bleach and other harmful chemicals in there – which was a shame due to the perfect pool temperature for night-time swimming.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Activities were fantastic! Horseback riding was inexpensive and beautiful. The cruise had an open bar and music and was also very inexpensive. There were also other activities we didn’t partake in that looked fun such as snorkeling, lobster lunch on a nearby white sand beach, jeep mountain tour, etc.
Find an English speaking lawyer in Cuba before going to Manzanillo to party. It’s just not a party city and the service is bad enough if you aren’t drunk and belligerent, so if you do start to get loud the service will go from bad to worse. If you complain the service will drop off the scale to an unacceptable level.