This was my first ever trip away to the south. We decided to go with Cuba and eventually at Luna Mares resort. Overall, I would say it was better than expected considering the things we had heard about Cuba before leaving. We wanted a quiet, layed back experience, and we got what we wanted. If you are into partying and a loud night life, Luna Mares is not the place for you. There were more than enough daily activities to keep you busy if you wanted. Things like archery, water polo games, beach volleyball, pool volleyball, water aerobics, paddle boats, snorkeling, and at night there was always a 45-60 min show of some sort at the theatre. Tony, the main activity guy was amazing, and alot of fun. They did a pig roast for everybody one day for lunch, which was quite delightful.
Nolitours took care of most of the stuff for check-in for us, but I found the check-in process to be fast, and smooth, and a staff member was quick to take your luggage for you and direct you to the room. He followed with the luggage aproximatley 10 mins. later to the room. My only complaint, and it might just be my own fault for not going away before, was I didn’t realize you needed to put your room card into a slot inside your rom inorder to get your electricty to work….should have told us that on check in, but only a small detail.
Rooms: The room was a little worn and dated, but not a big concern. The big king size bed was a little hard, I slept fine, my wife not as good, but still ok. The bathroom was again worn a little, but everything was clean and fuctional. The balcony was nice with a beautiful view of the ocean/beach area…absolutley fantastic view.
Restaurants and Bars: When we went only 1 of the buffet restaurants was operational, so it tended to be fairly busy at breakfast and supper. The first 3 days, i was difficult getting your drinks/refills at the buffet restaurant. the last half of the week got better. The rumours about Cuban food that you hear is true, it wasn’t GREAT food, but it wasn’t terrible food either. There was a ton of choices for all 3 meals at the buffet restaurant…selection certainly wasn’t an issue. I will say, the omlette stations were great, except, you do need to have them cook it longer than they are prepared to do. The first day I took the omlette as they prepared it, and the middle wasn’t cooked. If you tell them to cook it longer the Omlette will be excellent. The ala cartes we went to were: French: good food, not much menu choices, but the food was good. Excellent service, very friendly and quick to refill your wine glass. Romatic: By far the best food experience. No choices here, the menu was already set, but the atmosphere was amazing, view of the ocean at sunset was just lovely!! All 5 courses were layed out in a very elogant fashion, and food was all good! International: Our least favorite eating experience. Chairs were very uncomfortable, staff wasn’t friendly, and found the food to be very blaw! For Lunches, we found Le Pinta restaurant VERY slow and waited over an hour for hamburger and fries. Bars were all great service, and never had to wait long for drinks nor did we ever have to ask for more alcohol to be put in the drinks. The only issue here is that Rye and Cokes were disgusting, as the Cuban cola is undrinkable…disgusting!!!, but on the flip side, I found the Cuban 7-Up to be better than our 7-Up.
The swim up bar was awesome, and Paula, the bartender there every day was by far the best ‘tender we came across!!
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach was without a doubt the most beautiful I’ve seen, in person or pictures!!! No shortage of loungers, or shade if required. The white sand was like walking on clouds, and was VERY clean!! The pools were also very good, clean and never real busy.
The grounds were cared for almost 24/7…we went down at a point that they had gone 9 weeks without rain…while some of the grass was brown and dead, all the garden, and flowers and shrubs still looked beautiful. They were constantly grooming the trees and shrubs!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: depends on what you want really. If you are looking for something to keep you occupied from 9-5 everyday then you’ll be disapointed. If you are looking for something to do for a while, and spend most of your day in the sun, then this was your spot. On resort activities included Archery, Beach volleyball, pool volleyball, water polo, kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boats, pellet gun shooting and silly fun games at the pool. Off resort activities all cost you extra $$$. Catamaran tours that included, snorkeling at a coral reef, with another option of adding swimming with the dolphins. We took the package of the Catamaran tour, snorkeling at the reef, swim with dolphins, and a lobster lunch and it cost us $120.00 each, but i feel it was well worth the money. There were also deep sea fishing packages, scuba diving, and bus tours into 2 cities, either Holguin and/or Santiago.
There also was a trip into a small villiage about 10 minutes away from the resort, which had a little market. problem here is you have 2 choices, stay for 1 hour or 3. There is a beach right near by the market, but the market is fairly small…3 hours is way too much if you only want to spend time at the market.
Other Comments: The alcohol for purchase is cheapest at the duty free shop at the airport in Cuba, butonly by about 50 cents a bottle, so not a big deal to purchase at the resort or market. If you are purchasing cigars, go see Joe, a staff member who works down at the beach, he’ll get you much better prices on the cigars than you’ll get in the stores!!
All in all this was a great place to vacation, either with a family or as a couple.