Old Reviews – Sol Pelicano

I traveled to Pelicano on a sell-off and was more than happy with my trip. I’m sure there will be other reviews commenting on the chaos in the lobby on arrival….I am told by others who have travelled to this resort before that this is not usual, but because so many people were arriving at one time, the front desk had trouble keeping up. I was fortunate to be near the front of the line, so received my arm bracelet and room assignment quickly, however, the room was not ready. I changed to shorts in the washroom and proceded to the Ranchon were I drank Cerveza and admired the view until I could pick up my room key. Others were not so fortunate, however, but "Cuba es Cuba" and worth the wait.

Room: I had an ocean view, east side, second floor. Perfect location for me, close to the east walkway to the beach. The room was kept clean, bottle of water in the fridge daily. The washroom had a shower, no bath. I actually prefered this, as it was easy to step in and use the telephone head shower to clean any residual sand off my feet. I did notice a few mosquitoes in the room, but they did not appear when I was running the air conditioning, making me think they may make their way in through the exhaust when it is not in use.

Beach: Perfect white sand in a sweeping bay. There are palapas for shade, but these are often all taken up if you wait too long to claim one in the morning. Snorkelling is good to the east of Pelicano in front of Villa Lindemar. I saw many reef fish and several barracuda. Walking the beach is excellent going west past the Sol Club. You can walk all the way to the western beaches, Playa Paraiso and Playa Sirena, in just over an hour. There is a free shuttle, so if you only want to walk one way that is easy to do. Snorkelling is also good at Punta Tiempo, a sandy spit just before you reach Playa Paraiso.

Sailing: Pelicano and Sol Club share a nautical centre. There are pedal boats, sea kayaks, windsurfers, and best of all, Hobie 15 catamarans. Staff will take you sailing, and if you can prove you know how, you can take the boat out yourself. I can sail, but preferred to have company with an unfamiliar boat….however, I did do some helming and enjoyed it. The last two days of my stay were too rough and since the wind was directly on the beach it was not possible to launch the boats, so I missed out on my daily sail. It was also much too rough for snorkelling, except at Playa Sirena.

Food: I enjoyed the Buffet restaurant. This is an older hotel, and the restaurant is charming, built around a courtyard with many windows looking out both sides. Food was typical for a Cuban resort, neither better nor worse than I expected. I did eat at the International a la carte, La Yana, one night. The fish I had there was excellent, perfectly cooked. Getting a reservation at the restaurant was difficult, however, as it is small and the tables are booked quickly. Be prepared to line up in the morning to get your table, and even then you may miss out. I was lucky enough to accompany friends who had booked for six people and had one of their party unable to attend, or I might not have been able to try this restaurant.

Bars: I particularly enjoyed the Ranchon by the beach. Good for a Cerveza in the afternoon, and fine for a light lunch. (they have a buffet at lunchtime, and turn into an a la carte restaurant at night, which I didn’t try since I don’t enjoy creole food) Great view of the beach, with a nice breeze on a hot day.

Pool: Looked nice and clean. I didn’t use it, but there were lots of palm trees and palapas around it for shade.

Internet: Best I have used so far in Cuba. While it wasn’t fast, it was pretty good, and inexpensive at 3 CUC for 30 minutes.

Front Desk: Best front desk staff I have encountered so far. Helpful, patient, and always pleasant. I was impressed!

Marina: I took the shuttle to the Marina one day planning to hop the ferry (2 CUC) over to Sirena and take the beach shuttle back. Unfortunately I missed the last morning ferry since I visited the museum ( 1 CUC…worth doing for the pictures of the damage after Hurricane Michelle), and thought I was stuck until the afternoon shuttle, but was lucky enough to encounter friends with a scooter (rented at the resort) and they gave me a lift back. Check the ferry times before you get busy seeing the museum or the turtle farm if you are planning to go to Sirena or you may be stuck for quite a while with little to do but wait for the afternoon shuttle. (there is a small store and a couple of bars, but little else)

Playa Paraiso & Sirena: The free shuttle runs three times in the morning and back three times in the afternoon. There is not a lot to do at these beaches except sunbathe and swim or snorkle. There is also not a lot of shade….take your sunscreen.There is a bar ($) at Paraiso, and a restaurant ($) at Sirena. The beaches are beautiful and Sirena has palm trees as well as palapas, but the shady areas get taken up fast. There is a nice little cove on the sheltered side of Sirena which is shallow but with deep areas where you can snorkel when it is too rough on the sea side. Worth it to go to these beaches at least once. Barcelo Largo still has its nautical centre there, until its beach builds back up.

Money Exchange: No problem getting money changed at the hotel. The rate of exchange seemed fair.

Staff: I was impressed with the staff…..all seemed friendly and were helpful whether I tipped or not. When I did tip, it seemed well appreciated. After a couple of days of sitting at the same table at the buffet, I was quickly served orange juice and coffee in the mornings, and wine in the evenings. My chambermaid was pleasant and efficient, and very appreciative of the gifts I left for her. The nautical staff were also very nice and I enjoyed sailing with them.

Sports: There are tennis courts available, also archery and "football". Beach volleyball is popular as well.

Excursions: There are several available. Snorkelling at the reef, etc. I didn’t go on these.

Nightlife: Something I didn’t partake of, but there are discos to visit if you wish.

Impressions: I had a great trip and would go back. Cayo Largo is a quiet destination, enjoyable for the beaches and the sea. I have stayed at Barcelo previously and Pelicano was a different experience. I appreciated the more mature landscaping, and particularly the little private nooks and shelters with hammocks scattered around the grounds. The staff were great, and the beaches superb. I recommend this resort to anyone who wants an enjoyable, quiet vacation.

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