We have another option for our January trips to Cuba; Marea Del Portillo in the Farallon section. So there is no confusion, this is a 3 star resort but the beauty of this gem is its very rural location between the Sierra Maestra and the Caribbean. The weather was as expected and the view from the resort (and our room) was great with both the mountains and the Caribbean greeting us every morning. For this trip we took advantage of the VIP option. This resort is made up of two, The Farallon with its superior rooms rooms located on the top of the hill overlooking the beach and sea, and the Marea section, with its superior bungalows closer to the beach. Both are well laid out with about a 10 minute walk between the two. They say 3 but you’d have to be moving pretty fast. For context we are retired empty nesters in our early 60’s and have enjoyed many trips to Cuba, all at various AI’s. This trip was from Jan 13th to 27th, 2016.
The check in was a pretty smooth as most of the info was completed on the bus prior to getting there which took about 1hour and 40 minutes. As it was at night there was nothing to see, but our late afternoon return to the airport was much more interesting as we went through many villages and towns. We had a nice room on the 4th floor with a fabulous view.
Rooms: The room was comfortable and while the fan for the air conditioner was a bit loud, it did provide some decent white noise. Hot water was rare, ok none but it did get warm enough for a bearable shower late afternoon. The maid did a good job keeping the room clean and it was nicely located but then most of them were. The VIP option gave us a few extras such as the no charge for the safe, a sunset cruise, a lobster dinner and trips to Cayo Blanco (white sand beach island). We were also greeted with 2 bottles of rum and 2 bottles of wine plus nicely stocked fridge with beer, pop and juice.
Restaurants and Bars:
The resort seemed to be fairly well booked however there was always seating areas around the bars and lounges available and the service was always pleasant and quick. For most of this review I’m referring to the Farallon section where we spent most of our time. The food was decent and nice variety, chicken,pork beef or lamb and fish as well as various vegetables. The fruit might have been a little light at times though. The bread however was fabulous. The had an in house bakery and most of the time it tasted like it just came out of the oven. The a la carts were ok and pleasant for a change. For the buffet if you got there when it opened you you had your choice of either inside or on the patio (our preference) otherwise you probably had to wait. There was no danger of running out of food, just places to eat. Because it’s two resorts, people from the other one come up for a meal, and why not the outside view on the patio was great, but it did make it a bit crowded at times. One thing we did notice was the lack of birds around the eating area (a common complaint at other resorts) can’t explain why but enjoyed their absence. There were local entertainers ready to sing your favourite cuban song for a peso or two. Very enjoyable.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: We’re beach people and while the beach is dark sand, it was easy to walk on with very few rocks or shells. We are big into snorkelling but the snorkelling had to wait till we went to Cayo Blanco where we got to see all the usual suspects except the large barracuda that decided to follow us for a bit. The island itself was a treat to visit. With beach bar, great lunch, including lobster, if you signed up for it, and soft white sand, it was a great relaxing place to be.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: In the evening there was nightly entertainment however because we tend to be up early we didn’t see many of the shows as we usually crashed by then. What we did see we found enjoyable and worth the time. There is also wifi available however only at the Marea section. Which meant a daily walk to the other resort and maybe a coffee in the lobby or by the pool. They did have a computer at the Farallon but I found the wifi easy to check what I need to and get and sign out quickly.
Other Comments: In the evening there was nightly entertainment however because we tend to be up early we didn’t see many of the shows as we usually crashed by then. What we did see we found enjoyable and worth the time. There is also wifi available however only at the Marea section. Which meant a daily walk to the other resort and maybe a coffee in the lobby or by the pool. They did have a computer at the Farallon but I found the wifi easy to check what I need to and get and sign out quickly.
Would we go back? Definitely! We met some really nice people (many of them repeaters) and the staff were pleasant and efficient. Lastly, if you look up my channel on YouTube (MrJarArt) I’ll be posting a few videos of this resort soon and add to my collection of other Cuban resorts we’ve been to.