Old Reviews – Barcelo Arenas Blancas

Two girls traveling together, we are 26 and 28. We went to Arenas Blancas from March 30th to April 6th, 2007.

Flight: We booked our flight with Sunwing vacations and I would hesitate to book with them again. Our plane was late both ways : almost 6 hours late while going to Cuba and an hour late leaving. However, the service inside the plane was good : great meals, champagne, etc. We left from Ottawa and had a stop at Cancun on the way and our flight was direct at the return.

Location: This hotel is situated right on the beach on one side and downtown Varadero on the other side. The location is great! It is walking distance (5-10 minutes) from shops, markets, restaurants, bars, etc. If you prefer not to walk, you have a variety of other options : coco taxi, horse carriage, real taxi, double-decker bus (5 pesos and you can use it from 9 to 9 that day)

Resort: This resort is rated as a four star but I would rate it as a 3 or 3 ½. It is quite old and not really taken care off (but the gardens, pool and beach are beautiful). If you are not the type to spend a lot a time in your room, you will be fine. The crowd is mainly couples and older people, and a few families. It might only be the time of the year where we went. We still met some fun people to hang with.

Our Room: The first room we were assigned to was on the third floor on the pool/ beach side House keeping was always prompt and polite and very appreciative of all of the gifts we gave or left them, our room was always clean and tidy. The towel art was always fun to find when we got ”home” at night. Also, there is a fairly big balcony with a table and chairs – it’s great!

Bars: The bars were all ok; by far the best one was the lobby bar for the drinks and service. The Mojitos and the Margaritas are amazing! Also, I you like orange juice, don’t take the one in the lobby bar, fill your cup at the buffet, it is delicious!!

Restaurants: It’s ok. Really! For an all-inclusive resort in Cuba, it is ok. There is choice, we always found something to eat, at every meal. Breakfast is especially good and I loved the ham and cheese. The Cuban sure love their ham and cheese! A disappointment was the snack bar. I read a lot about the ham and cheese sandwiches and the snack bar and they are not good. Fries and burgers were ok. As for the A la Carte restaurants, we only tried the Italian one and liked it very much. Finally, the beach restaurant (at lunch) has a small buffet with pasta and shrimps… really good!

Beach: It’s perfect; long and white, and the water turquoise, clean and the temperature is PERFECT. The weather was perfect all week for swimming and tanning on the beach, and there were big waves to play in. We had no problem finding chairs even if we went on the beach late in the morning. Shade, however, was harder to find but the day we wanted a break from the sun, we looked and finally found a spot under a palpas. We always had our camera and MP3 players on the beach and were never scared to leave for drinks or to go swimming – there was plenty of beach security.

Entertainment: The nightly entertainment consists of musical events, bands, dance, shows and competitions last Miss or Mister Arenas Blancas. It is fun to watch and very entertaining.

Excursions: We took the day tour to Havana (Wonderful! So interesting! We had a small group and our tour guide, Aramis, was amazing!) and the Catamaran – Crucero Del Sol day, wich is also a wonderfull day. You get to snorkel, swim with the dolphins, visit a beautiful beach, eat lobster and tan on the beach / boar.

Retrospect: Would I go back to Arenas Blancas? Probably not, but only because I’m not the type to go back twice at the same hotel. But I would recommend it to someone on a tight budget, who want s agreat vacation, close to everything and with a beautiful beach. Need more info or pictures? sookmaster@hotmail.com

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