My son and I recently returned from Playa Costa Verde. It was just as we had hoped, a nice relaxing vacation. However, we do have a major complaint against CanJet Airlines I packed (among other things) a Battery charger for a Sony digital Camera AND a charger for my son’s Nintendo DS game Upon my arrival to Cuba, I noticed that both these items were missing from my luggage. I would find this extremely difficult to believe they went missing on the Cuban end of my trip. The Cubans do not have, and cannot get devices for which these chargers were meant to power. Also, their voltage and shape of the plugs is different than our own. As such, I believe a handler within the Ottawa airport siezed an opportunity to confiscate these items as their own. Of course, their official stance is "we are not responsible . . ." So that’s the bad.
And I will not fly CanJet again . . . but I need to talk about the good as well
Your Arrival: Thankfully, there were no other flights ariving at the same time as us. Holguin airport is quite small, and this can sometimes create a real bottle-neck at customs. This is not something you can control, or your travel agent, or the airline. It just happens at small airports. Our arrival through customs, baggage claims, onto the resort bus went very smoothly. Once we arrived at the resort, our check-in went quite quckly as well. Unfortunately, due to the timing, our room was not ready yet. They gave us our bracelet, so we could enjoy our "all-inclusive" experience. They have a luggage room where we left our suitcases, got into our swim suits, and off to the beach. When we returned from our day (approx 4:00) our room was ready.
They took us(and our luggage)to the room.
Rooms: Our room was large and clean, with two twin beds. As we were on the first floor, we had a large terrace (upper floors had a balcony). One of the bed-frames was broken, so I contacted the front desk. We were told not to worry, it would be fixed before we retired for the night. We washed up and went for dinner.
Upon our return, the bed was fixed . . . no problem
Restaurants and Bars: We mostly went to the buffet restaurant, because in the past, we found this to be the most convinient. My son likes to try a bit of this, bit of that . . .plus we have a fairly rigid schedule at home, we didn’t want to have fixed time to eat. That being said, the buffet had very good food, with lots of variety. There was a grill station, in which you could get chicken, beef, and/or pork. We always had something from the grill . . . Mmmmmm! On our second day, on our way to lunch, we saw them roasting a pig over the coals. My son was little reluctant to try "wilbur", but once he did he said "I hope they will be roasting another pig tomorrow" . . .and they did . . .every day . . . Once again Mmmmmm! We tried to taste everything in the restaurant, but there was too much variety. Must tries: – Something from the grill – Pizza – Fresh juice (my favourite – Canteloupe) – Bananas Flambé – Coconut Ice-cream We went to the Japanese restaurant, one evening, and it was quite good. Our preference is definately the buffet restaurant(s). After 6 Cuba trips, 3 Mexico trips, 2 Dominican trips, 1 Jamaican trip . . .we know what kind of travelers we are
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beach, what can I say ? That’s why we go to Cuba !! And this beach did not disappoint. Nice shallow entry (for my son), good snorkelling right off the beach (bring some bananas from the restaurant). My favorite beach is still "Cayo Santa Maria" but this is quite nice too. The grounds are always being maintained by hard working staff. I like to bring these guys a beer from the bar, or give them a peso, or a ball cap, or something small . . .to show them I appreciate their effort to make MY vacation as nice as possible. The bartenders, maids, servers make decent tips . . .but these guys are working as hard or harder. While a peso here or there is really nothing for us, it could be the equivalent of a days pay for them.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We took the "swim with the dolphins" excursion, and it was really special. I really struggled with the balance of trying to please my son, and trying to be environmentally responsible.
In the end, we took a "once in a lifetime" excursion, that will provide a lifetime of memories.
Other Comments: Remember you are on vacation. Chill out, walk a little, smile at the people you meet, dance a little, make new friends, try new foods, swim in the ocean, try that blue drink, be respectful, get a massage, go to the gym, so sailing . . .have fun. When I go to Cuba, I usually bring my gently used clothes, some toiletries, some small toys to give to the families. Let me tell you, a little gesture like this goes a long way. So when I say I go for the beach, I also go because the Cubans are genuinely warm, friendly, appreciative people, who go out of their way to ensure your time on the resort is as good as possible.