Our Flight: We bought a package holiday to Villa Cojimar from Sunwing Vacations and flew with Sunwing Airlines. Our flight left Toronto on time at 6:30 a.m.. We were the first in line for takeoff. We landed in Cayo Coco well ahead of schedule. About three hours flying time I would say. It was our second flight with Sunwing and I would have to say that we were treated very very well and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again. It was raining when we landed so they had a bus take us from the airplane to the terminal which was about 50 m away. They must think Canadians are softies or something LOL. However we moved quickly through customs and immigration and despite having our luggage searched we were on our bus and on our way to Cojimar in no time at all. The bus was comfortable and we were the third but not final drop for that coach. All in all about 40 minutes on the bus.
We were checked in very quickly at this hotel. Actually we were in our room before noon time. Great stuff. We were assigned a lovely one story bungalow (# 46) and on getting there with our luggage we were very pleased with the location and all of the amenities in the room.
Club Villa Cojimar is a very nicely treed and landscaped spacious three-star property . In our section of the property the bungalows were situated well apart with lots of elbow room . There is quite a few palm trees on the property as well as lots of tropical bushes like oleander and bougainvillea and other flowering shrubs. The property is well kept. Our first impression of the property was quite positive.
It was very centrally located on the west side of the property. Extremely nice room. It was spacious enough for the two of us. It had spartan furnishings which although the furnishings had seen better days were nevertheless very functional. We had two three-quarter beds. Two bedside tables. Two armchairs. A writing desk with a chest of drawers. There was a television (with approximately 10 stations, three or more English-language) at one end of the writing desk and underneath the television there was a small bar fridge (included in the price) . The bungalow also had a nice size closet containing a chest of drawers, ample clothes hanging space for two people, a safety deposit box which you could open with your room key. The safety deposit box was a good size and it was included in our package price. The bathroom was well appointed featuring a shower stall, marble vanity with sink, toilet and bidet. Lots of hot water at any time for a shower. There was also a hair dryer in the bathroom. There was no shortage of clean towels every day and housekeeping was excellent all week. Electricity was all 220 volts and I had no problem charging my camera batteries as my chargers were 220/110. The veranda which was furnished with two chairs and a table had a nice view of the ocean (which was about 100 m away).
The Beach And Catamaran::
Villa Cojimar’s portion of Cayo Guillermo Beach is probably about 600 m in length. Very nice white palm fringed beach. We made great use of this beach. We would say the widest point of the beach is 15 m. There are sand areas just behind the beach and in front of the cottages where there are lots of palm tree shade and lots of lounges. The warm ocean which is quite a beautiful multishade blue color is quite shallow even out to 200 m in front of the Cojimar. We would say the beach was quite suitable for children. The beach was cleaned once a day by machine. There were two catamarans that you could make a reservation to take out for one 40 or 50 minute stint per day free as part of the all-inclusive. There was also peddle boats and sea kayaks as part of the all-inclusive. We had a couple of trips on the catamarans. These trips were not easy to arrange so I would advise anyone seeking a spin on them that you have to push the staff to get your free daily spin on the catamaran as they will try to put you off in favor of taking out guests that want to snorkel for a couple of hours and who consequently might make some kind of arrangement with them etc.. We managed to secure those trips as we are persistent and not easy to put off. A very nice sight also from the beach was the kite surfers who were out in force all week long. It was certainly a spectacle to behold with the myriad of colorful kites set against azure seas and palm fringed beaches and clear blue skies.
The Pool Area::
Two pools side-by-side. Very nice indeed. Two fairly good sized pools that were centrally located on the property. You had a wonderful view of the ocean from these pools. There was a fair amount of shade palapas and lots of lounges in the pool area. We certainly enjoyed our afternoons at the pool just lazing around and having a Mojito or two. We found the pools to be well maintained and were a very nice temperature for to cool off from the hot sun which beamed down all week. There was a bar and snack bar close by so that all of your food and beverage requirements were met for the day in the pool area. Drinks at the bar were all domestic liquors and beers. The snack bar served very nice grilled whole fish and they also served burgers, hot dogs, a small salad, some pasta or fries. We certainly enjoyed eating here on a couple of occasions during the week. Good quick friendly service in this area all week. The animation staff were quite busy here in this area entertaining folks with different games and contests. They did a great job all week long. A very nice bocce ball area close by. The bocce ball tournament had a first prize of one million pounds sterling. We don’t know yet who won that LOL.
Food: Buffet: This mostly is where we ate all week long as there was no more availability at the one Italian/Cuban à la carte that was operating on our week . I believe they are in the process of building another restaurant close to the beach. However for a three-star hotel restaurant we found the buffet to be more than adequate for our culinary tastes. We were never hungry at any time during the week. There was enough choice for us at all times. Breakfast. You had a fairly good choice for breakfast of eggs any style, bacon, home fries, beans, cold meats and cheeses, cereal, yogurt, orange drink, toast, bread rolls, coffee or tea. Some fruit also available. We usually favoured having the omelette with fillings of our choice. Very good. The lady short order cook serving on our week was really good and anticipated what you wanted by remembering your order from the day before and asking if it would be "the same again". A very nice personal service touch from a very attentive cook. Lunch And Dinner. A meat selection usually of pork, chicken, fish, beef burgers done to your specifications by the short order cook. A hot table with pre-cooked selection of fish, chicken, pork and on a couple of occasions lamb stew and various other meat dishes. A limited vegetable selection of beans, french fries, rice, mashed potatoes, a green vegetable. A very limited salad section (red beets or shredded cabbage, oil, vinegar). Some sliced processed cheeses. A small variety of fresh fruit (pineapple, grapefruit, orange, bananas). There was also a dessert table with more than enough variety for us. There was ice cream served at lunch and dinner. We really enjoyed our ice cream. Wine and beer was served with both lunch and dinner if so desired.
The service at the buffet was somewhat spotty. One day you would have three waiters at your table and the next day it was difficult to get their attention. There didn’t seem to be a cohesive policy about any particular waiter or waitress serving a particular table or set of tables. It seemed like every waiter/waitress for himself. On the overall though we managed to get fed and watered every day LOL.
Bars:: There are two bars operating at Cojimar at the present time. The bar in the pool area is open from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m.. Here you can have a limited selection of domestic liquor, cocktails and of course the beer is cold and thirst quenching on a hot day whilst lazing at the pool. Service here is quick, efficient and friendly.
Lobby Bar: Our favorite bar was the lobby bar where I would have to say that we got the best service that you could get anywhere in Cuba. They have good indoor and outdoor seating at this bar. Here they served Cuban domestic liquor and beer brands. Excellent mixed cocktails as well. This bar was a great place to just sit and relax and have a quiet drink anytime earlier in the day. About 6 p.m. though, the place livened up and it was just a wonderful place to sit and people watch while having a Mojito or two before dinner. A really nice atmosphere at this bar. It was also fun here when the British flights were leaving or arriving as they did have a bon voyage or welcome party and the entertainment troupe were called upon to entertain the arriving or departing guests. We thought that was a very nice touch. It was also certainly a great place to relax after dinner and have a cappuccino with a tot of dark rum or brandy added before retiring to our room. The staff at this bar were an extremely hard-working lot.
Mosquitoes and Sand Fleas::
There was a major presence of these critters around dawn and dusk at all hotels on Cayo Guillermo or Cayo Coco for that matter. You certainly will have to wear protection with a high concentration of DEET to deter them. We had no problems ourselves as we did bring different types of bug protection and slather it on generously before heading for the lobby bar at 6 p.m.. That was the witching hour as far as mosquitoes and no-seeums were concerned. We did receive the odd mosquito bite during the day but it wasn’t any kind of problem.
Cayo Guillermo Beach::
We did quite a lot of walking on this beautiful beach which is about three to 5 km long. We visited all of the other three hotels by way of the beach and had no problem looking at all of the facilities in those hotels. We did encounter security at every hotel but although we were wearing our yellow all-inclusive wristband from Cojimar they let us pass without question. It was quite interesting to see the difference in all of the hotels. Actually after having visited those hotels we were more than happy to be at Cojimar. We thought yes we had made the right choice for us.
The Hotel and Holiday in General::
After booking Villa Cojimar we had read so many bad reviews that we were very apprehensive about going but had no choice as our booking was nonrefundable. We certainly didn’t have to worry on that score as we had nothing but good value and mostly good service and reasonably good food. For us this hotel was another great find and we wouldn’t hesitate to go back there again. It is an excellent three-star hotel which I would recommend to anyone interested in going to a three-star hotel. The property really is quite spread out and never seems crowded. Of course the hotel was about half occupied on our stay so maybe that helped. There are about 210 rooms. There is a variety of two-story buildings and bungalows. The two-story buildings are mostly at the back of the property with the bungalows to the front of them all facing the ocean. I would say most of the bungalows have an ocean view of some kind or other. We found our bungalow to be very comfortable. The grounds of the hotel are lovely and well treed. At the moment they are constructing a new restaurant close to the beach. There is a construction area fenced off from the public. I have to say we found the the fence to be a kind of an ugly blight on the property. There was very little if any noise from the construction area. This construction didn’t affect us anyway as we were on the west side and construction was on the east side. They are also working on upgrading and painting the insides of certain bungalows. The fitness center wasn’t functioning while we were at Cojimar. It probably hasn’t functioned for quite a while. Check-in and checkout at the lobby reception was quick and easy. Reception staff were courteous and helpful when their service was needed. Public toilet facilities were clean and well maintained. The Cadeca was open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Good friendly service from the cashier. We got about the same rate of exchange for our Canadian dollar as we would have at the airport Cadeca. There was three Internet computers in the lobby which you could use for a fee.
Check-Out And Flight Home::
Even though we had a late flight (9:45 p.m.) with Sunwing out of Cayo Coco we didn’t opt for a late check out as they were only offering the room until 3 p.m. for a fee of 15 CUC. If it had been until 5 p.m. we would have opted for it, even for a larger fee. We checked out at noon time and stowed our luggage behind the reception where it was quite safe. We had a great afternoon at the pool and then at the lobby bar saying our goodbyes and chatting with other guests. At 5 p.m. we took advantage of a courtesy room to take a shower and freshen up. A nice perk from the hotel. Our bus left for the airport at 7 p.m. and we were quickly checked in and had seats of our choice on the aircraft. Our flight left in good time at about 9:45 p.m. back to Toronto. About 2 1/2 hours into our flight there was a medical emergency on board and I will have to say I take my hat off to the Sunwing cabin crew who acted so professionally and without panic in this situation. The crew called for a doctor or a medic. There was a fireman and a nurse present on the flight who responded to the call. They administered help to the individual and got him back on track. Kudos to those two individuals who were so professional in their demeanor and caring in their attitude and who stayed with this person talking and encouraging him until the plane landed 40 minutes early in Toronto. It was good to know that we were all in safe hands. There were emergency medical personnel awaiting for the individual at the gate when we arrived and the patient walked off with them under his own steam. What a great system we have. Through customs quickly and home safely by 2:30 p.m.. All in all a great holiday. We have put on the web up a few photos of the Villa Cojimar and area. They can be found at the link.