Old Reviews – Playa Coco

We stayed at the Oasis Playa Coco from February 2 to the 16th. I won’t comment on the flight or arrival other than to say the West Jet flight was excellent, and our arrival smooth and quick. We had emailed prior to arrival for adjoining rooms and when we arrived, they had accommodated us and also included a cot that we did not request. Very nice. Our family of includes my wife and two children, aged 13 and 12. We have travelled to Cuba, Dominican and Mexico each twice over the last 6 years. I say this to let you know that we have experienced Caribbean travel of many varieties. The resort is a 4 star, but typical of most Cuban resorts, I would rate it a 2 1/2 at best. This was expected before we arrived so was not a great shock upon arrival. We enjoyed our vacation very much, but there were some things that I thought future travellers should be aware of:

BEACH: We concur that the beach here is excellent. Sandy shoreline in both directions for kilometres, shallow and good snorkelling to feed the fish right off shore. I did see a number of people sporting nasty bites on their legs and arms. The rumour was they were from sand fleas. My wife contracted a few near the end of our stay, but I didn’t. She rarely went to the beach, but spent most of her time by a pool. We slept in the same bed. I didn’t get any bites and I spent much more time at the beach, and my kids even more time, but they didn’t get bites either. I’m not sure what gave the bites.

POOLS: The pools were only cleaned once in the two weeks we were there. As such, there was a lot of filth on the bottoms (sand, garbage, leaves, bandages!!! etc.) There are broken tiles on the bottom that could cut your feet. The underwater lights are hanging loose and wires exposed. I never saw the lights come on the pools at night which is just as well, as anyone touching the water would have had an unpleasant shock. Upon arrival, we went to the large main pool and were pleased by its size and configuration. Unfortunately, within 20 minutes, the animation staff began playing pop music extremely loud. It was so loud that I had to almost yell to make myself heard to my wife sitting next to me. This audio level was continued throughout the two weeks were there. The music was what you here on a top 40 station at home, very little local music. So, we found a smaller pool close to rooms (7308 and 7309) where the music was muted by the distance. This was an awesome area and was rarely overcrowded. This pool was also very dirty.

SPORTS: My daughter and I love playing beach volleyball. We attended the first organized game and were very disappointed. The animation staff made up of 6 males, played as one team, and made the rest of us play on the other. The 6 males play every day and played hard with sets, smashes etc. Needless to say, the guests got creamed. The next day, I placed myself on their team. Now, I am not a professional, but would call myself average to slightly above average, and can bump, set and smash. However, the A-team would not let me get a ball. In fact, they went out of their way to come into my position to play the ball. One very large guy who was wearing a watch, came into the back row where I was getting ready to bump a ball. He jumped into me, and his watch sliced the back of my hand open. He turned around, drew a small circle in the sand and asked me to stand there and not leave that zone! Any other resort I have stayed at, there have been crowds opting to play volleyball and the animation members only play if there are not enough people to play and that was rare. After that first day, there were only a few of us that would show up to play and even we gave up after a couple of days. My daughter would not return after that first day. She too is a good player and plays on her school team.

GROUNDS: The grounds were fair to good, There were patch repair jobs on water lines throughout the resort, so you have to be careful while walking on the grass areas. There was a nice variety of trees and plant life. The grass was rough and not lush and green, but it is the dry season and was to be expected.

ROOMS: We had two adjoining rooms. They had a musty smell, but that was fine given the climate. They were clean, spacious, a/c worked well, nice view of the second pool area and ocean. We were missing lightbulbs in our room and two in the bathroom. I assumed that the maid would change them the next day, but after 4 days and no replacements, I asked her to change them. She assured me they would be changed that day. One bathroom light was changed and it was used I am sure as it gave off only a dim light. After a couple of days, it too was not working again. It made it difficult to see to shave. We had the second bathroom so was easily accommodated. I think she just took bulbs from other rooms and put them into ours, because a few days later, we lost bulbs again!!

Showering was something else. There was little to NO water pressure, and by NO I mean NO. There were days when I was showering in a very, very light spray, when it just shut off. for seconds at a time. Also, there is a sign on the mirror cautioning guests that the temperature of the water is 50 degrees Celsius. Don’t worry, it is tepid at best, and cool at worst. We learned to put the plug in the tub, let the water run for 20 minutes and then have a bath. There are two pop, two beer and a bottle of water in the mini fridge when you arrive. This is all you get, they don’t replace them. SO KEEP YOU WATER BOTTLE and have it refilled it either during one of your meals by your server or at one of the bars. They will NOT replace your water bottle without a fight. If you have an insulated cup, bring it to keep your drinks cool by the pool/beach. Usually we wouldn’t because we can’t use the tap water to clean them, but the tap water is supposed to be okay. I used it to brush my teeth every day and never got sick.

MEALS: Disappointed with the variety initially. There was very little fresh fruit other than orange, grapefruit, melon and watermelon. I stayed away from the beef as the taste was disagreeable. The fish was excellent and the chicken was also excellent. Not always a great variety of cooked vegetables. At breakfast, keep your water glass from your table to get juice. There is a perpetual shortage of juice glasses by the dispenser. Your server will try to take these away when you sit down, just politely ask to keep them.

Cooking areas were not very clean. I can tell you two horror stories that we saw with our own eyes. My wife was waiting in line for seafood that was being prepared at a grill. There were also steaks on the grill. The cook dropped one steak on the floor, picked it up and placed it on a plate and gave it to a server. She in turn took the plate to a table and served it to a guest. I saw her carry it over and place it in front of him with a smile. I guess he never tipped!!. The second story occurred at breakfast. They cook will make an omelette for you with your choice of ingredients. The cook used utensils to grab the omelette extras like ham, cheese, mushrooms etc.. She dropped this utensil on the floor, picked it up and was about to put it back in the cheese when she saw the horror on our faces. She walked over to a small sink, and without exaggeration, turned the tap on for about 1.5 seconds and quickly rinsed the utensil off, walked back over and placed in the cheese. I was pleased my omelette was already on the grill, but it sure didn’t taste the same after that! My daughter got very sick that day before we left. I have never seen anyone as sick as she was. She couldn’t support herself when she walked to the bathroom and back. She was sick for about two days. We spoke to other guests and there seemed to be a lot of other people sick as well, with the same symptoms. Each one of us in our family carries a small bottle of hand sanitizer and use it after getting our food, before we eat. I would HIGHLY recommend this to everyone. I can only speak for guys when I say this, as I watch far too many men/boys leave the bathroom without every paying homage to a sink. I could tell a horror story or two here as well, but I think you get the idea. They had lobster one night and you had to wait in a line. We got in line and waited for about 10 minutes and again, without exaggerating, we did not move one step. We left the line and got our regular fish or chicken. Later, after we were done (about 30 minutes), the people that were in line ahead of us had hardly moved forward. My wife and daughter decided to rejoin the line and waited for about 20 minutes when they were told by the cook that they were out of lobster!! Our servers Zoey and ? were excellent and always friendly happy to assist.

TIPS: We have always tipped: the maid, the server, tour guides etc. However, I have never felt more harassed that I did at this resort. Everyone expects a tip and is happy to pester you for one. Even the grounds keepers will spend the entire day, going from one person to the other asking if we wanted a souvenir for peso’s. We actually saw grounds keepers stand around all day without working, asking people for tips. Laying in my lounge chair, soaking up the sun, I felt like I was at home being pestered by telemarketers.

EXCURSIONS: We took the 1/2 day trip to Moron. It was interesting. Beware of people coming up to you and saying they are the cook at your resort and then try to sell you something. We also took the 1/2 day boat ride with snorkelling. It was also excellent.

A LA CARTE: Japanese was excellent. Seafood, well, not very good. Italian – okay to great. There were also two other dinners we could attend as Nolitours guests. They were not that good. Of the two, the beach BBQ was the best, but still, I would rather eat at the buffet. If you are a Nolitour guest and you want to book a la carte meals, be sure to bring the ticket that the agent gives you during your first day briefing. The staff member taking reservations WILL NOT allow you to make a reservation without it. I waited in line to reserve and after getting to the front of the line, I was told to go back to my room and get that ticket and return. However, anyone not with Nolitours did not need this ticket. After another 20 minute wait, I got to the front of the line. The only reason he wanted the ticket was to confirm what nights the Nolitour only suppers were planned so he would not conflict with these. I could have told him this information the first time, but he would not take my verbal assurances of the dates.

GENERAL: There are a lot of Canadians at this resort, and most were from Quebec while we were there. There were also some guests from England. The Friday and Saturday just before we left, busload after busload of spring break nuts from Canada arrived. They were rude, obnoxious, loud and generally what we would expect spring nuts to be like! Stay away from vacationing when they are around. One guy arrived on his bus and was standing in the lobby, obviously drunk already. He and his buddies walked out of the reception hall, onto the driveway. And then he did a face plant into the cement curb. We watched his drunk buddies trying to revive him, but they couldn’t. They could barely stand themselves. This guy was bleeding, had soiled himself and was unconscious, all in plain view of all guest in the reception area and staff. After about 15 minutes, a few staff members and a Doctor threw him on a golf cart and took him somewhere. If nothing else, it was a great life lesson for our children on how not to act at that age.

I personally wasn’t impressed with the animation team. There were many on the team, but they didn’t wear uniforms and I could never tell I they had just wandered onto the resort to hang out or if they were there to work. The evening shows were poor to average at best, although, we didn’t go to very many, perhaps because of this.

I know I’ve listed many negatives, and the joke of the vacation for me was, "this is just another in a long line of disappointments!". However, we had an excellent time. I can’t give a lot of credit to the resort, but the credit goes to the beautiful weather, sand beaches, not cooking or doing dishes, lot’s of reading time, and GREAT time with the family. We tried to make the best of our vacation and have a good time, and we did. However, would I ever go back to the Oasis Playa Coco, or recommend it to anyone? Absolutely not. We stayed in Holguin last year and the resort was excellent. So we won’t give up on Cuba yet. We will just give up on this resort. The price here is cheaper than other areas, and after reading some of these reviews, you will know why.

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