logo Old Reviews - Breezes Bella Costa
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Cheryl 
Ontario
December 2008
Arrival: Dec 2- 9 /08
Skyservice - on time - uneventful - very small seats

Rooms:
We were on the 2nd floor over the 24 hours bars - not a good thing - very noisy - we requested a different room and were moved to 5th floor overlooking pool. Rooms are clean but they need updating. Staff are very helpful

Restaurants and Bars:
We went to all the a la cartes and buffet - food was actually very good for Cuban standards.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Grounds very clean - pool very cold - beach wonderful

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Played golf several days - course is nice

Other Comments:
Like the short flight time to Cuba
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
erieangle 
Niagara
December 2008
Your Arrival:
Fly with Sunwing...uneventful,on time flight,movies sucked, food was good.Used the prefered sunwing elite package.Good value for your money.

Rooms:
First we were in a room that over looked the service area. Asked to be moved. No problem. Got a room overlooking the golf course.

Restaurants and Bars:
You don't go to Cuba for the food.But you can always find something to eat.Breakfast is the best meal they serve. Note... bring your own favouite seasonings like katchup, jam, peanutbutter, hot sauce, stuff like that.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach was not as sandy as it was last year.The recent hurricanes left their mark on the beach leaving exposed rocks.Just had to walk a little down the beach to get beautiful sandy beach. Pool is to shallow but nice and clean. Grounds are kept up and look nice. Not too many palm trees were taken out with the bad weather they experience this year.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Went and played golf that was are only off resort activity. The golf course was great. We did do the double decker bus into town to shop at the markets, can't go wrong for 5CUC for all day per person.

Other Comments:
Enjoyed the time we spent here. But i will not return to this resort. Just too many different resorts to go to that are better. That being said if you could get a really great deal to go to Bella Costa i would go. Not my first choice or second or third.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Shari 
Brantford, Canada
October 2008
Arrival and Flight
Arrived October 21, 2008 via Sunwing, our flights were delayed due to some people coming from Vancouver who we had to wait for, it was a bit frustrating to have to wait the extra hour or so because we just wanted to get to Cuba!!, but we made good time once we were going so all was good. Our return flight however was ridiculous as we were 5 hours late coming back. We left our hotel at 9:15am for the airport, and we didn’t leave Varadero (not that I wanted to leave!! It was so beautiful) until just after 5pm and we still had to fly to Manzanillo before we even started to go back towards Toronto.

Rooms
We stayed in the Villa’s, they were really nice, but the hotel will need to do some renovating! Our first room had a leak, but the view of the ocean and the pool was too beautiful to leave, and since we weren’t planning on staying much in our rooms, we sucked it up. That was until we returned from playing in the ocean one day to find our roof caved in! They moved us to another Villa, and this had an even better view of the ocean and the garden, however, still had a drip from the roof when It rained.

Restaurants
I loved the restaurants personally! Yes, the odd time you may get a croissant that is as hard as a rock, but all in all the food was great. The best, is the personally made pasta’s/pizza’s and omelets!! You get three A la Carte’s with your stay, the Cuban was yummy, but the Japanese was fabulous!! I was not so impressed with the Italian, but my constant flow of vino blanco made up for it!!

Bars
We went twice to either La Bumba or La Rumba!! (Have a guy who speaks Spanish say these names to you! It’s damn sexy!) Whichever one was in walking distance from the hotel! The first night we went over with the Entertainers of the hotel and the second time with a bunch of people we had met. I Loved it!! the music was great, I don’t think I stopped dancing my whole vacation!! Man can Cuban’s dance!!

Beach and Pools
The Beach was unreal!! Exactly what you would see in a brochure!! The water was so clear & calm a couple of days you could see everything!! I had read a few reviews before I went and heard to beware of Jelly fish that are around quite a bit, however, I did not see one!! The pool was nice, not very deep though, and It would be a lot nicer if there was a swim up bar!!!!

Grounds
Wow!! Does that explain it!? The workers there take such great care of everything. The plants are absolutely beautiful and everything is so well maintained.

Activities and Entertainment
Loved it!!! There was always something to do, and my vacation would not have been complete without the “Cha Cha Cha Cha Cha, Toma Toma”! lol!! You’ll understand when you go!! I did win the 26’r from bingo on my last day!!

Tours
We never went on any tours this time, but we’ll be back!

Departure and Check Out
Aside from that drama with our plane being so late, everything was fine. They were going to give us a wake up call, but somehow we woke up early on our own. We just chilled downstairs with some friends we met until our cab arrived.

Conclusion
The atmosphere at Bella Costa was everything I could have asked for!! We met so many amazing people, both the guests and the people who worked there!! I would definitely recommend it and will definitely be back!!
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Teresa V  
Smithville ON
October 2008
Arrival & Flight
Our flight was with Sky Services and anyone who has flown with them before knows that the planes are very limited on space. Really have nothing bad to say, we arrived early and had no problems with our luggage. Upon leaving the airport building we were greeted by our tour rep and told which bus would take us to our resort. I think it was about a 20min bus ride to the resort and upon checking we were told that out room wouldn't be ready until about an hour later. We left our luggage in the lobby and wondered around for a bit.

Rooms
We had asked for a room in one of the villas and this is what we got. Our room was very large and really consisted of two rooms. Upon entering you are in a little sitting room which has a TV, the mini bar fridge, a small sofa and chair as well as a coffee table. Off to the one side is a set of patio of doors that lead to our wrap around balcony. We were on the ground floor in room 768. The second room is where our beds were, I think they may have been 3/4 beds but not sure. In this room you also have a TV and a DVD player. Really the only thing they could improve on was the closet space which was very small. Typical bathroom for Cuba. The water pressure was great but the temp did going up and down a lot when showering. There is also another set of patio doors in the bedroom and we looked at the pool area.

Restaurants
We ate at the buffet for breakfast and supper, there was always lots to chose from but everyone needs to remember that they are in Cuba and that the food is different from ours however they do try. For lunch we always at the restaurant by the beach. The pizza was great!! We tried the Japanese restaurant and found this to be very good as well. The staff at all the restaurants were very friendly and we always tipped one or two peso.

Bars
We mainly used the pool bar and it was fine. There is a bar in the lobby and a bar at the restaurant by the beach.

Beach & Pool
The beach was great and this is where we were everyday!!! Lots of loungers and for the most part it was never really that busy. We walked by the pool everyday but didn't go in it.

Grounds
Always saw lots of gardeners working to keep the resort clean.

Activities & Entertainment
The only activity we did was sit in our loungers so can't really comment about them. We did see a couple of the shows and they were Ok again you have to remember your in Cuba!

Tours
We did none.

Departure & Check out
Check out was quick and easy. Again our flight was ahead our schedule and we had no problems.

Conclusion
We would stay at this resort again if we were able to get it for the price we paid this time.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Barb - family of two adults and two grown kids(17 and 21) 
Canada
September 2008
Arrival and Flight
Skyservice 3085 – Aug 24- Aug 31 2008. Everything was on time, expect the golf clubs never made the plane.

Rooms - good size, fairly clean (we found one cockroach) but in need of renovations, definitely helps to have a balcony for clothes drying. Palm trees block the view of the ocean but its still very nice. During Hurricane Gustov, our kids room had water dripping from the ceiling even though we were on the 3rd floor of a seven room unit.

Restaurants – we ate at the Buffet, the Cuban outdoor restaurant and the Italian – the al a carte restaurants were much nicer than the buffet, providing you picked the right meal. Overall the food was okay – not great and certainly not to Canadian standards. You could find something to eat (we ate pizza’s every day for lunch and eggs for breakfast) For Dinner’s we tried more variety but very limited foods we found acceptable

Bars - very good selection of drinks and good service, lots of interesting people

Beach and Pools - Beach was exceptional, sandy for miles and miles, no rocks or seaweed for most part, lots of waves and 85 degree temperature. Pool was find but no deep end, only went up to waist so it was not great for swimming lengths.

Grounds - well kept and clean

Activities and Entertainment - only so so, the shows were fairly amateur relying on guests to make up the entertainment, either couples or singles asked to compete and do activities. Beach Vollyball was well attended.

Tours - went to Havana, long bus trip, very interesting to see a city is such disrepair, lots of culture

Departure and Check Out
Skyservice mishandled bags and broke luggage. A passenger decided not to fly and they had to remove their bags, in the process they threw everyone’s bags all around and delayed everyone for over 40 minutes. They lost our golf clubs on the arrival and took two days to get them to us.

Conclusion
Overall, Cuba, especially Varadero is a fantastic vacation spot with lovely people. Met some great people, mostly from Canada, some from UK, Germany, France etc. We would go again but to a higher quality hotel. The Bella Costa is an acceptable hotel but not one I would stay at again. They need to upgrade the food, accommodations and entertainment. If you can get it for a good price its got a lovely beach.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Mark  
Guelph
July 2008
We flew out on July 3 for one week. Weather was great. One day we had a thunderstorm for about 2-3 hours.

Arrival and Flight
Flew Skyservice. Flight was on time, food not the greatest.

Arrived in Varadero, no problems. We landed on time, were thru customs, got our luggage and on the bus in about 15 minutes

Rooms
We received one of the suites. Excellent. Main floor for the family and two separate rooms with their own washroom and showers.

Water is fine to drink from the taps here but we still got our bottled water daily.

Restaurants
We ate at the Italian and Cuban restaurants. Both were very good.

Breakfast is standard fare. Lunch at Mirador was good. They had great pizza, good salads and burgers.

You don’t go to Cuba for the food.

Bars
no problems at all. They always had mint for the Mojitos. Beer is always cold. We brought travel mugs for our drinks.

Beach and Pools
Pool is shallow, great for little kids. Beach is excellent. Unfortunately some of us tourists are pigs and tend to pollute it by not cleaning up after ourselves. I don’t know how many times I picked up beer cans and those cheap plastic cups.

Activities and Entertainment
The entertainment crew always had something on the go and people participated.

We went in the off season. The hotel was maybe half full. Not a lot of stuff offered at the beach. Only the banana boat showed up. Not a problem. We were there to relax

Departure and Check Out
Flight left on time, no problems checking out. Don’t forget to set aside 25 pesos per person to get out. Must be cash. Arrived in TO on time and we were thru customs and out of the airport in 15 minutes.

Conclusion
Excellent resort. Breezes Bella Costa is a great resort. For comparison Tryp Cayo Coco has better food and a nicer beach.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Heidi 
Nova Scotia
May 2008
My sister and I visited Superclub Breezes Bella Costa May 4-May 11/08...We flew Sunwing from Halifax and it was an excellent fligt with great service and food...

Rooms: There were not issues with our bus to the resort or check in and our room was ready even though we arrived before noon... our room was clean and spacious... however my one and probably only complaint was our air conditioning wasnt the best...we had technicitions in twice and come to find out its central air conditioning and thats as coolest it was going to get... however the most we talked to others we found out their rooms were quite cool but by that time it was half way through the week and we didnt feel like packing up and moving...

Food and Drink: You will never go without...there was unlimited amounts of food...if you picky then dont go...Remember you are in cuba so things are cooked different...Breakfast was my favorite...and by far the best meal...the beach grill was great for lunch and the pizza there is a must...the pool bar and lobby bar were the best...the bar in the beach grill was ok depending on wht you order...everyone gets a large bottle of water the first day in your room, if you tip your made well she will give you another... Tip your bartender every so often and you will be the first to get served everytime after that...

Entertainment: The nightly shows werent that great or approprite for children...but remember you didnt go to Cuba for a nightly show... There was always stuff going on all day...bingo everyday at 5pm and the winner gets a 40 of rum...step areobics, water areobic, dance lessons, mini golf, daily volleyball games etc...

Serivce: TOP NOTCH... We did not meet one un friendly employee... Everyone was so willing to help you or wait on you regardless if you tipped or not...the pizza guy was just thrilled to see us everyday at lunch...

Beach and Pool: Beach just beautiful and always a place to get some sun...the pool lovely...at first we though it was small but then realized it was never packed and there was always room for everyone...also you didnt have to get up at the crack of dawn to reserve a chair...

Building: yes its a bit out dated but are you going to cuba to stare at the building?

Lovely time, would go back again... the resort wasnt huge so everything was quite close... we would definitly fly ing sunwing again as well the flight was just lovely...
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Charlene 

May 2008
Well where to start! At the beginning I guess. This was a family vacation, we were 9 in total, 2 grand parents, 4 parents and 3 teens. The bus ride from the airport gave us a chance to see housing and businesses along the way, with full comentary about the sightings.

Check-in was fast and efficient. Of course because we arrived early in the day, approx 12 noon our rooms weren't all ready - so we just put all the luggage in the one's that were and took off to explore our vacation site. Pablo took care of our luggage quickly and efficiently and even brought us drinks while we waited in line.

Rooms are very clean and although I'd read about paint coming off walls and tubs - I didn't notice any in our room. As far as I know all rooms are equipped with safe - and there is no charge - but if you lose your key it's 20 or 25 pesos.

The first day we tried to get to see everything and where everything was. The resort staff is super friendly and with all smiles always ready to answer any questions or concerns we had.

Bring lots of sunscreen no matter how little you normally burn. Put it on often - every hour to hour and 1/2 - you'll enjoy everyday that way.

The beach was great - we had a lot of fun in the waves and looking for sea shells. We'd get two huts close together and spend most of the day there.

The pool is also very nice and very very clean. And everything is well situated that you don't have to walk endlessly to get from one thing to another. First Aid staff at the pool all week was Ricardo - very nice and probably saved me a trip to the ER b/c of sun/heat stroke.

Never had to wait for too long at either the pool or beach bar. We brought insulated mugs so we didn't have to use the little plastic cups (ecological too) and that way the drinks were sand free and cold. The bar in the lobby in the evening was a little longer wait - but we'd order 2 drinks to keep ahead of the game.

Some feedback about the food - If you can't find something to eat - than you're too picky! Everyday the buffets were varied. Breakfast you can always get pancakes, waffles, omlettes or eggs any way you want them - if you like 'em well cooked just speak up and you'll get what you want. At the beach buffet - pizza anyway you want it - everyday. Hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, salads of all kinds. Experiment - that's what vacation is all about! If you don't like it - don't ask for it next meal. You have to expect that it's not Canada and food is not prepared the same as here.

Water - to drink - you get one 1L bottle in room - but if you take it to the bar or buffet you can refill it for free - or you can always buy or really tip your housekeeper and ask her for one.

Always activities around the pool and beach area - fun to participate in. From stretching, step arobics, water polo, volley ball. And at the pool bar at 5pm every night they had a bingo where you could win a bottle of Rum. - Can't go wrong!

Well we just loved it and would absolutely go back to this resort in future. Hi to Lourdes (Housekeeper), Raoul (Gardner), Rene (Bar), Pablo (Luggage), Ricardo (First Aid), Nelson (Animation), Suzy (Hair-braids), Ruben and Jose and many more - you certainly made our vacation complete.

It's always good to tip your housekeeper, bar tender (not at every visit) and other staff, like the gardners. They are so appreciative of anything you can bring them. We tend to take for granted all that we have - so if you have clothing that you no longer care for and is still good - they appreciate that also.

Well I could go on.... but please do try this one - it's a gem. :)
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Allan 

April 2008
I just came back from the Superclubs Breezes Bella Costa from April 20th to the 27th and I wish I was still there! It was such a great trip I miss it already!

I flew with a group of 16 with Sunwing vacations and was pleasantly surprised by the quality, seeing how it was a charted flight. The meals both ways were excellent (for airplane food) and there was complimentary wine and champagne! The seats were a little cramped but they were leather!

We arrived rather late but were checking in quickly..very efficient staff!

The hotel is old, there is no doubt, but it is super clean...the rooms were cleaned throughouly each day and our maid Lourdes left us notes and created elaborate swans with the towels and blankets each day!

The beach is phenomenal! Aqua colour ocean, crystal clear! Sand is like white sugar...and the waves were very fun! On the beach there was also a lunch buffet, which was rare in the area apparently..I spoke with others on the return flight and they complained that their resort lacked this feature. The pizza at the beach buffet is really good...made in front of you!

Speaking of food..the food was really good at this resort. I heard so many bad things about food in Cuba but I really did not find bad at all. There were certainly a lot of things i did not like, but if you go hungry it is your own fault because there is such a variety every day. We ate at the Italian a la carte and the staff were so sweet. The atmosphere was nice and the table was set just so.

All in all I had an amazing time..the only things that were bad were the slow elevators..and that is not that bad. The decor is a little tacky but get over it, you are in a third world communist country! I felt that the hotel was lovely..the main thing is cleanliness. This resort is perfect for anyone who is a beach bum and enjoys a lot of food! Each night there was a show, but it was a little racey for small kids (Tropicana dancers with thongs)..but the dancing was incredible. The party scene was not overly intense, very low key...but we did go to a nearby club for a couple of nights..La Rumba..but it is 10 peso for cover and drinks are not included!

I would definitely return!
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Dave 

March 2008
ARRIVAL:
Used Sunwing Vacations, nice flight, good meal. Arrival went very well, clearing customs at the Cuban airport was easy, they hardly seemed to even care about people's luggage. We got on the bus and easily checked-in. The bartender sent drinks over for people waiting in line. The room was nice and clean, good shower, hair dryer and refrigerator. We did not get a balcony, but still had a great view from the room, beautiful sunrises over the ocean. Cash was easily exchanged at the front desk, staff were always polite and helpful. No party noise, but some wind noise for two days that were very windy.

RESTAURANTS:
We always ate at the buffets, either the main buffet or the beach buffet. Cannot understand any complaints about the food, there was always plenty of good food to eat and a large variety, the desserts were especially good. They had theme nights a few times, with different food on those nights. They could use some instructure on properly preparing sushi, but they always had pork, chicken, beef and fish available at dinner, even lobster one night. Wine and coffee service was excellent and for dinner there was usually live entertainment from a Cuban trio. For kids there was pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers as well as ice cream sundays. People I talked to enjoyed the food. Cubans like tipping, which is understandable given their low incomes, I spent at least $10 a day on tips.

BARS:
Bars pretty good, not always consistent in the preparation of drinks. We had large thermus mugs that they happily filled for us.

Fabulous beach! White powder sand. Clear, aqua ocean, waves varied depending on offshore storms, some days low, other days great for body surfing. We had no problem finding lounge chairs at the beach any time of day.

TOURS:
Took the Jeep tour and the Havana tour both were great, although if you have back or neck problems, do not take the jeep tour as the back roads can be very bumpy.

WARNINGS:
Always, always ask for the cost of taxis, horse carriages etc. in advance. If you do you will end up paying only 10 pesos for up to four people to go into Veradero, if you do not you will be told at the end of the ride that you owe 10 pesos per person and if the ride was long, it could be 20 pesos per person, the Cubans have no problem taking advantage of you if they get the chance.

There is a Cuban scam going on at the airport, you pay 10 pesos for every kilogram over the 20 kilo luggage limit. And the scales have been adjusted to make you pay. So if you leave Canada with luggage weighing 20 kilos and have given away some items, but buy nothing, you may find that at the Cuban airport your luggage weighs 25 kilos and you owe them 50 pesos. So make sure your luggage is underweight unless you wish to pay money to leave Cuba.

Conclusion, had a great time, few problems and would go to the same hotel again next time.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Robert 

February 2008
We just got back from our trip to Varedero Feb 15th, 2008. We stayed at Breezes Bella Costa. It's a lovely location, right next to an excellent golf course and the beach was fantastic. However the hotel is getting a bit old & tired (especially the beds). The food at the main buffet was just passable - the Japanese restaurant was pretty sad; a misguided interpretation if ever there was one (Miso soup = chicken soup, sushi = soggy rice, tempura = ???). In general though we enjoyed the place, the people were lovely (with 1 or 2 exceptions) as was the view from our balcony. If you go, bring a thermos/cup if you have one to avoid wasting all the tiny plastic cups you'll be served (you'll also appreciate not having to make as many trips to the bar).
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Susan 
Toronto
February 2008
ARRIVAL:
My best friend and I travel to an all inclusive each year. We've done this for over ten years, leaving work, husbands and kids behind for our "annual get away". Air Transat flight evening of Feb.2/08 on time. Arrival fine, no delays, transit bus via Nolitours ready and good time to resort.

Some confusion with check in - took us to main lobby check in, but then re-boarded us on bus and took us to another check in area. Took some time to get the luggage sorted out (had been unloaded at first location), but it all worked out.

ROOMS:
We booked relatively last minute, with "run of the house", i.e. we'd take what they gave us for room. Most delighted to be put on second floor in a villa, with a suite, 2 balconies and large bedroom. Rooms are dated, as we've come to expect in Cuba, but were kept very clean. The lights in our little living room suite area didn't work, but all others did. Shower and toilet worked well. Hot water was always available. Hair dryer was good. We had views of both ocean and pool. One night was very noisy due to drunks at pool area bar. Otherwise not bad.

RESTAURANTS:
Worst food I've ever had at an all inclusive. Ever. At beginning of week, we referred to it as institutional. By end of week, we were calling it "prison chow". Poor selection, often cold, sketchy items (as in "do you know what this tissue is we're eating because I'm not sure..."), sometimes poorly cooked. The restaurant service was, however, generally good. We ate at the buffet for breakfast and dinner, and at the outside buffet overlooking the ocean for lunch. Tried the Cuban specialty restaurant once - they were out of several menu items (what a surprise), and the small amount of food was cold and very basic - we sadly wandered over to buffet afterwards to see if there was anything else to eat, (much to our disappointment, knowing what we were in for). Tipping appears to be expected - we tipped for the service, certainly not for the food.

BARS:
Bars pretty good. Lobby bar the best. The bars serve great cappuccinos, which I suggest taking to breakfast in the buffet where truly terrible coffee is served. Pool bar is noisy, but fun. Tipping results in better service.

BEACH AND POOLS:
Fabulous beach! White powder sand. Clear, aqua ocean, with low, soft waves. We walked the beach twice daily for at least an hour each time and only saw a small part of it. Always loungers available in the "Nolitours" separate beach section (a nice surprise!), with plenty of shaded areas if desired. The beach was the saving grace of this trip. Didn't use the pool, although it looked okay.

GROUNDS:
Same dated appearance as the rooms and rest of hotel, but perfectly fine.

ACTIVITIES:
Didn't participate. Seemed to be many activities for those interested.

Internet access available for 5 pesos/half hour. Worked.

TOURS:
Took no tours. Other guests we spoke with really enjoyed the Havana tour.

CONCLUSION:
Great beach, good service, fair accommodations, absolutely terrible food. Not unhappy to have gone, but would neither go back nor recommend it to a friend.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Dan 

February 2008
My husband and I both loved this resort. The food was great lots of variety and lots of seafood. The beach was awesome and the water was blue! Yes the hotel could use a bit of updating but overall I found it to be a clean resort.

The only bad thing I have to say is the tourist themselves. Most of them were from ******* and quite loud and rude. very impatient people!!!
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Alex 

January 2008
Just returned (Jan. 28, 08). Breezes accomodation was very good. Meals excellent, including both the buffet and the specialty restaurants. Great beach.
Only issues: not good at letting guests know what is available and when. Also the entertainment is only fair and extremely loud.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Brian 

January 2008
We just got back from this resort on Jan.18 2008.

The trip was with Sunwing Vacations; the flight was 1 hour late leaving Ottawa but did make good time going there.

We were in formed when we arrived that our hotel did not have room for us that night so we were going to stay at Breezes Varadero over night.

The next day we sent to Bella Costa. The check in was fast and rooms were a good size very clean and every thing worked. We were also up graded to a room with a balcony. The resort is large and well run and is very clean. The beach is very nice, and big.

The food has improved greatly over the last 4 years and is good tasty and a big selection. The Japanese and Italian restaurants are very good, but the Cuban is so-so.

The reviews that say that it’s not clean or the food is not good are in my option not a true refection of this resort.

The flight back was 7 hours late in departing for various reasons depending who told you.

We would go back to this resort in the future it is a great vacation.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Norma 

January 2008
We travelled for the first time to Cuba with all of our kids 3 boys of drinking age and our 10 year old daughter.

We flew Sunwing which we will never due again as they pack you in like cattle. The inflight service was great and included a meal.

Upon arrival at the resort check in was fairly quick.

Our rooms were clean the bathroom very dated with paint coming off the bathtub as well all electrical outlets were 220 V. so blowdryer and iron were out of the question.

Food was adequate you can always find something to eat. Make sure you eat lots at dinner or take something to your room for later as there is no late night buffet. The older boys were disappointed in this.

The beach was beautiful make sure you get out early and place towel on lounge chair as they go quickly. Pool is small but very clean.

Bar service was ok but if you tip often it is great and you will get fast service and better drinks.

The hotel is in need of a makeover it is very dated and rundown.

All in all we loved our Cuba vacation and are planning to return to Varadero this winter but we are going to try a different resort.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
erieangle 

January 2008
Arrival - Flight was through Sunwing. Love flying sunwing. arrival was on time. Had reserved seats. Good food and movie.

Rooms - We were in room #445. Basic room two twin beds with balcony.Requested a king size, but did not get it. We over looked the golf course, nice view.

Restaurants - The restaurants were extremly crowded. Being over the holidays the entire hotel was very busy. Bella Costa was actually over booked for the holidays. WHAT FUN!!!!!

Bars - the beach bar was the best. Also had the best food besides breakfast in the main dinning room.

Beach and Pools - The pool was only OK. Too shallow. But the beach was amazing. I can't say enough about the beach it was just sooo beautiful.

Conclusion - I would never travel to this resort on another major holiday. But off season it should be a very nice resort. They offen over book this hotel in holiday season (Chistmas and New Years) We were in this resort for two days and we were offered a chance to go to their sister resort. Two resorts down, Breezes Varadero. We took the opportuntity to go the the other resort. It was the best thing we did. This resort was great. Please read this review on Breezes Varadero.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Feni 

December 2007
This is a great site and before I headed to cuba, I read a lot of reviews from the others and they turned out to be very helpful. We (a group of 6 girls) stayed in this resort from Nov 17-23 and had a wonderful time, we are planning to go back again next year, most likely stay in this same resort………

The flight:
We booked through SunQuest, the agents there are mostly helpful but if there were issues they tended to put you on hold for a long time (like 30min)…minor issues. We took SkyService, the original departure time was 5:45pm on Nov 16 but the day before the departure, I got a call from Sunquest telling me that due to some technical issues with the plane, our flight is delayed and the new departure is 7:35pm… ok, I am glad that informed us on time. Anyways, when we arrived in the airport, we found out that the plane is further delayed, at the end, we did not leave Toronto until 9pm and when we arrived in Varadero Cuba, it was 1am…

The airport there is so tiny compared to Pearson Airport.. We picked up our luggage and then rushed to exchange some Convertible Cuban Peso (CCP) (exit the main hall and turn left), our Sunquest representative was already waiting outside for us… the exchange rate for cuban peso against Canadian is about 0.9 (the cuban peso worth more than CAD), so for $200 CAD you can only get about 180 CCP. Count the money carefully before heading out since two of the friends got the wrong amount ( one is 6 bucks and the other is 8 bucks short).

We got on the tour bus, it is pretty clean and comfortable, about 30min ride took us to the resort area ( too bad it is all dark outside, you can’t see anything), we were almost the last ones to drop off since Belle Costa situated at the end of the long stripe, but all these resorts are so close to each other, so it is not a big problem. We went during the low season, so it was just the 6 of us staying in that resort… it was about 2:30am when we checked into the resort.. the girl in the counter was helpful and very quick… and a man just helped us loaded our luggage into our room. Before I headed to cuba, I read a lot of reviews saying you have to deposit 2 peso per day for the safe and 20 peso for the towels… well, maybe it was low season, they did not ask for any deposits for the safe and towels (they give u a separate towel card on top of your door card), which works out fine for us. The girls kept our passport for the night and said that we can pick it up in the morning.. When I lied down on the bed, it was 3am.. I found the room to be a bit cold for me and the air condition is making a bit of a noise (not very loud), so I just turned it off… somehow during the night, I can hear sounds outside of the window like the sound of the waves, did not give it too much thought…

I woke up at 9am (there is no time zone difference between Cuba and Canada), the first thing I did was running to the window, open the covers and right in front of me is the beautiful Caribbean sea. My room overlook the pool and the sea, the view is just unbelievable… the weather is nice too, sun was shining…. I called up the other girl and since we were too hungry, we decided to grab something to eat first. We had breakfast in the buffet, the omelette is very good.. and we can all find something we like, bacon, sausages….

After breakfast, we decided to explore the resort. The first person we bumped into is this nice and charming lady (forgot her name… ) in the towel exchange house.. she is soo nice, she welcomed us and asked for our names and guess what, in the rest of the stay, she managed to remember us each by name (there are 6 of us).. amazing isn’t it?

The resort
It is very big, with the main building and some villas sounding it, it has 4 restaurants ( buffet, cuban, Japanese, Italian), a pool bar (not swim up), a nice ,clean pool (we liked the ocean too much so we never swum in the pool), a tennis court, two Jacuzzi…. We stayed in the main building and it is about 1-2min walk to the beach. The resort looks kinda old and need some re-finishing, but overall it is very good. There are shops in the main floor and there is another bar there too. The rooms are nice and clean, the maids clean it everyday, how did I know.. well we usually did not make our beds and put the towels everywhere before we headed out, but when we returned , the room is always nice and clean… they made those nice art shape using the towels too.. I always left some small gifts to the maid and she appreciated it by writing me thank you notes.

The food
Before we headed to cuba, I knew the food there is pretty bland but well, we are not going there for the food, so mentally I prepared myself by not having a high expectation. I personally have no problem with the food though, I always found something to eat and some of the dishes are pretty yummy (the chicken noodle soup is my favourite) . Nobody got sick because of eating the food… However, after a few days, you found the dishes to be the same and especially towards the end of the trip, you kinda get tired of the dishes… but overall, I have absolutely no complain against the food. One note though, we checked out all the La Carte Restaurants and our conclusions is, stick with the buffet restaurant… (you make your reservation during breakfast in the buffet restaurant, there is a lady sitting in the corner), the Italian one, the portion is small, I am not a big eater but I found that I was still hungry after that.. the dessert, they said it’s tiramisu but I don’t think it is (I had tiramisu a couple of times in Toronto so I know how they taste), it is more like a dark forest cake to me…

The Japanese restaurant is a big joke, we ordered the soup (you can choose either the soup or the temperu), strictly speaking it is not soup, it is more like soy source plus tofu… I took a sip and I almost threw up.. so the appetiser is very disappointing, we put hope on the main dish.. well, the beef is soo chewy and hard to chew, it took some effort to swallow it… It is low season so not all the restaurants are open at the same time, for example, if the Italian and Japanese restaurants are open, then the buffet restaurant will not be open….

We stick with the buffet restaurant for the rest of the trip.

The people
All are very nice and helpful. The gardener (we called him papa, he said we are like his daughters) gave us flowers whenever he saw us. The entertainers are trying very hard to keep us happy and active. One of them took us out clubbing the first night we were there, and when we were lying on the beach, they always got us involved in the activities / games, it was a lot of fun hanging around with them. By the way, they all understand English, especially the entertainers, they are pretty darn good. We don’t tip all the time and we notice tipping or no tipping, the service is almost the same. They are all trying hard to make you have a good time there and they do appreciate it if you give them a few peso (3 or 5 peso). Another funny thing I notice is, there obviously were not that many Chinese (5 of us are Chinese and one is Filipino) doing this kind of tour, a lot of them seemed pretty exciting too see so many Asian girls. This guy in the resort actually told me that he has never ever seen so many Asian girls in this resort before.. A lot of the tourists we bumped into during the trip are from Canada (mostly from Toronto), Europe, a few from Russia, so far none from USA… Canadians are very welcome in Cuba….

The trips/activities
We did not stay in the resort everyday, we actually joined two day trips, one is the Catamaran and the other is Historic Havana and we also checked out the Plaza America mall and the Varadero market and the Tropicana Varadero show. The Catamaran trip is pretty cool, we took a cruise ship to a small island called Cayo Blanco, almost forgot to mention, we stopped for a bit and we snorkel and swim in the sea for about 1 hour, we did not see any fish though.. The island Cayo Blanco is pretty cool, we had lobster lunch in the island, I still think the beach in our resort is better than the one in Cayo Blanco. We took pictures and played a bit in the beach then we had to leave. We watched the dolphin show, we were glad that we did not sign up for this “swimming with the dolphin which costs you an extra 10 peso, since the water is pretty dirty, it is like a pond with not a swimming pool.. the total length of the show is less than 30min..

The day trip to Havana is good too, the tour bus that took us there has a lot of leg room compare to the room in Skyservice (that is my only other complaint for the trip, the leg room is very small in the Skyservice plane, consider the fact that I am an Asian girl but I still think the room is very cramped and small, we can not move basically, so I don’t know how the big guys can handle it, the service is pretty bad too, they occupy the place where it was intended for passengers to put their carry on luggage with their own boxes of towels and put the passengers luggage 4 blocks away from their seats , usually it should be the block right on top of your seat). We had a tour guy that speaks very good English. The bus stopped half way to pick up passengers from another Breeze resort (Jacobe ) that is stand alone and isolated from the rest of the resorts. We spent the morning touring around old Havana, there are quite a number of beggars that asked us for money but if you ignored them, they will not bother you again. We had lunch in a restaurant, the food is pretty good and they have a live band that play music for you, but they limit you one drink per person, if you exceed that, you have to pay for it yourself. We were given 1 hour to shop in the flee market in Havana… we went to the Varadero market and Plaza America mall to check out the gifts before so after comparison, we found out that the gifts in the Havana flee market are the best bargain. We bought a lot of gifts in the market, again 1 hour is way too little time to shop, and we were running and rushing back to the tour bus at the end… When we got back to the resort, it was like 7pm already… It took 2.5 hours one way to get to Havana.

The Tropicana show Varadero is a huge disappointment. There are 3 options in the Havana trip, one is seeing the Tropicana Havana show after the historic trip, but it’s pretty pricy. So we chose to go for the Tropicana Varadero Show since the tour representative said it was almost the same thing. Tropicana Havana is famous internationally and Tropicana Varadero is famous nationally. Well the Tropicana Varadero turned out to be a big disappointment, the show was held in an open area, mind you, it was still chilly at night (like around 18-20 degree) and especially when you are wearing a dress, it is cold… When the show started, this mid-aged bald guy was on the stage singing in Spanish for 15min.. he disappeared, the stage was empty and silent for 10min and then finally it was the show… I think they had technical difficulty that night but they never communicated this message to the viewers… and they were talking in Spanish all the time… WE all think the show we had in the resort (they have shows in the resort every night starting at 10pm, dancing, singing, acting, very professional and entertaining) is a lot better in terms of quality… this whatsoever Tropicana show is famous just because they have more people and their clothes look better and all you can see is a whole bunch of people dressing nicely walking around the stage and these two old couples singing in the background…. For 49 peso per person, this show is a rip off…Oh you have to pay to go to the washroom too..

This review is way too long, in the end, this is what I will suggest for those travelling to Cuba for the first time, always have an open mind and remember that you get what you pay for. If you treat others with respect and for sure you will be treated with respect too. One last note, buy all your gifts in the Havana flee market, the rum, you can get it in the resort or plaza America or the airport, all the same price. The cigar, make sure you get it in the airport, it’s a LOT cheaper in the airport. Good luck and have fun! Viva Cuba!!
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Deanna (tvdeanna) 

November 2007
I just got back from the Bella Costa (stayed November 15-22, 2007)

Hotel: The hotel was a little dated, but our room was clean. The pool and beach were great, and the other ammenities were just fine. We did notice them spraying bug spray(pretty much fumigating) in the shop that sold cigars, so we chose to buy them somewhere else. There was only one elevator that worked, but you are on vacation, so the extra wait didn't bother us.

Staff: AMAZING! The bartenders at the Lobby Bar were awesome (especially Vladmir and Manuel!) The animation staff were really good too, and always remembered you, so that was nice. Lourenza, the towel lady at the pool also stands out in my mind.

Food: Hit and miss. You can't really screw up breakfast, we never had a problem with that. We rarely ate lunch at the hotel, but the pizzas were good. The italian a la carte was good, the the japanese was ok. The last night we were there it was Mexican night at the buffet, and it was pretty good. I do have to say, that our best meals were at restaurants in town. (sorry, I can't remember the names)

Tours: We did the Catamaran and the Jeep Tour. Both of them cost us around $100 CDN, and were worth every penny.

Overall: We would go back to Cuba without a second thought! I would visit the Bella Costa again, but if I could get a better deal somewhere else, I would be up for trying a different hotel.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Sabrina 

November 2007
October 24-31. Families with teenagers.

Flight was with Sunwing and was excellent. New plane that included leg room, hot meal and a movie. Staff were excellent and everything went smoothly.

Check in at Bella Costa was smooth and friendly. Room was clean and pretty big for a standard room. Because of off season we were upgraded to a room with a balcony. Fridge only had water in it, but wasn't a problem for us. If we had asked to bring up soda or alcohol it was no problem. Housekeeping was efficient and lovely decorations with towels daily. Housekeeper wrote daily note which was very personalized. Very nice.

Beach and pool were awesome. Pool was small, but no problems getting chairs, drinks and fun. Great for families.

Food was average Cuba food. Pastas, rice dishes, fruits.. breads were homemade and awesome, meat were cheap cuts but good all the same. Not a lot of variety throughout the week, but no one went hungry or disappointed. Drinks were good, nice variety and top shelf liquors in the lobby bar.

Public washrooms need some maintenance and TOILET PAPER..this was my only complaint..bring toilet paper from your room in your bag at all times!

Night life consisted of a show at 10 pm which was pretty amateur, but the people were awesome. Others waited for a nightly bus to take them to the local discos which left many hung over in the morning. lol. The staff were amazing. Always friendly and ready to chat with you. Take the carriage ride into town for shopping, what an education! We also did the Catamaran Cayo Blanco. Unable to snorkel at the coral reef because the sand was stirred up, but had pics taken with dolphins, seafood lunch at an island and a wonderful boat ride. The Bella Costa is in need of some professional maintenance, but I don't know if it is available in Cuba. Just a bit worn out..but clean and situated on a beautiful beach. Great for families and singles. Would go again.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Arlene 
Alberta
July 2007
My family and I holidayed at the Bellla Costa the last week of June. We had a fabulous holiday. We travelled with my 17 month old granddaughter. Everyone went out of their way to help and make the trip more enjoyable. Westjet was very good at making sure there was a seat available for the baby and I was given a seat across the aisle. The staff at the hotel was exceptional. They were very friendly and went out of their way to help whenever we arrived for a meal. One kind waiter even went to another restaurant in search of a banana for the baby.

I do not understand all the complaining about cleanliness and the food. We stayed in the villas and they were great rooms. There does need to be some upkeep done as the humidity takes its toll on woodwork. But the rooms were clean and I never had any unwelcome visitors. We enjoyed the food. There were some things I hesitated to try but I was in a different country. I would hate to go on a holiday and only eat what I eat at home. How boring!

I would definately recommend this hotel for a family vacation. The pool was great and the beach and ocean amazing.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
 
Canada
May 2007
Instead of enjoying my final day I spent the day arguing, complaining and going insane seeing what was happening.

Upon our arrival the bell boy opend the room and tried to kill a bug , we did not realize at this point it was a HUGE cockoroche. A few minutes later my wife was screaming there was another in the bathroom. I then went down to the lobby to question the infestation problem wanting to know if it was local to this hotel or to all of varadero. I was told " THIS IS CUBA " !! I then told him if I saw another I would take a picutre and bring it down for him to see it. Sure enough AS SOON as I entered the room there was another.

I was in Caya Coca last year and the year prior I was in The Domenican republic, I was born the the Azores islands and am well aware when there is POOR hygeine. My son suffers from a poor imunane system so hygene is VITAL to him.

The front desk called the bell boy via hand held radio to question wheather he indeed say a cockoroche in the room, being Portuguse I was able to understand clearly the converstation. I was told some one would be coming up to disinfect the room. A few minutes later a nice lady came into the room with a large can of bug spray ………. she sprayed the corners, behind shelves and the closest. She did an EXCELLENT JOB !

The lady then leaves and asks if we want to keep the can ?? A few minutes later my wife and I are sitting in the room looking at each other WE ARE SITTING IN A ROOM THAT WAS JUST SPRAYED WITH PESTISIDE AND ARE EXPECTED TO SLEEP HERE THE NIGHT ?? I went down to front desk again and was FURIOUS ……….

The next day we spoke with the sun wing rep. and explained what happened and asked to be changed to another hotel then went to get some thing to eat. After having breakfeast we decided to make the best of it as it would be too much trouble to repack AGAIN move my self, wife, mother, daughter and son.

From here on in everything was fine, everyting OUT SIDE of the hotel. DO YOU REALIZE THEY DO NOT HAVE TOILET SEATS in the lobby ??? And no this is NOT cuba thank you……

Our last day was the final nightmare. I was told I HAD to leave the room at noon…………. this was our LAST day the day we had been waiting for and the day to really appreciate. Instead I spent the day arguing, fuming and writing a letter of complaint. I asked the sun wing rep and the Manager at front desk to read and signe my complaint letter, they did read it but declined to signe any thing.

I never agreed to be kicked out of the room at noon. Our bus was arriving at 6pm. what were we suppose to do fo the whole day ?? How would 5 people bath, changed ? What was I to do with my 70 year old mother who walks with a cane ? How was I suppose to wake my son who has epelipsy and previously had a bad night ? He needed to sleep to recopourate ! I explained all of this to front desk but they wanted nothing to do with it , they demanded we be out of our rooms by noon.

I compelty refused saying it was impossible………………. I was then told arrangements would be made to put the FIVE of us in one room ( A COURTESY ROOM). So now we had to pack, get my mom ready and FORCE my son to wake up. When then went to the " COURTES ROOM " unpacked AGAIN and TRIED to relax for the remainder of the day.

Before going to The Breezes Bella Costa I had read the reviews on trip adviser and read about there being no toiled seats in the lobby ? Knowing people are strange I disregarded this. I ALSO read a message from some one who had beeb there " TWO WEEKS " prior to us and complaing about BLOOD soaked pillows ??

What are the odds WE WALKED IN TO THE " COURTESY ROOM " LIFTED THE BLANKETS AND WERE HORRIFIED / SICKEND TO SEE A BLOOD SOAKED PILLOW !!!

I have pictures to prove and VERIFY all of the above !

I appauled that sun wing would give this resort a GOLD rating ? What happened to the advertised 24 hour drinks ? I can read as far as six months back that there are NO 24 hour drinks. The rating and advertising on sun wings site needs to be updated and SOON !
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
 

May 2007
We just got back from a week at the Breezes Bella Costa in Varadero Cuba. We had a wonderful time! I will start my review by saying that it is incomprehensible that anyone could have a negative opinion about this hotel.

The staff is very kind and polite, the food was fantastic. Like the odd mosquito, the only annoyance was having to listen to the incessant belly-aching of my fellow Canadians. Wake up and quit believing that your miserable existence is sooo important. Don’t take yourself so seriously (no one else does). Be grateful that you have the ability and the means travel and see the world and, most importantly, quit talking down to others who cannot. Canadians can be polite but they sure are not kind.

The hotel is a 4 star. That being said it is neither the Waldorf Astoria nor the Ritz. If that is what you are used to, and expect, then yes you are in for a surprise.

We were in one of the bungalows beside the pool which got a bit noisy as some people decided that drinking by the pool at 3am was a good thing. (roll eyes here). There are children at the resort as well as a kiddy activity centre.

FOOD:
The food is good quality and it is tasty. I have read and heard so many people say that the food is bad?????
They try to vary the selection every night. I saw lobster, fish, pasta, steak, stews, vegetables, omelettes, soups, salads as well as ice cream, fruit (good papaya) cakes, tarts, squares etc, etc. If you cannot find something to your liking, than YOU are the one with the problem. One (drunk) fellow Canadian commented on the bus ride back to the airport (so everyone could hear) “the food sucked”. He quickly followed that comment by “…when I get back the first thing I’m doing is ordering lasagna from Pizza Pizza…”
With that statement, he told the world his level of culinary prowess.

ROOMS:
I can only comment on the bungalows we stayed in as we did not see the other rooms. We (2 couples) had a bungalow with a common room and (up the spiral stairs) 2 bed rooms, toilets in each and each room had 2 beds. The beds were soft and yes the pillows were flat but I did not lose sleep over it (no pun intended). You can always ask for an extra pillow. The rooms had a hair drier, air conditioning and a small fridge. 2 night tables 2 chairs, TV, (with English, French and Spanish language channels. CNN etc) coffee table and an armoire were also in the room. It was clean but not spotless. (Again did not loose sleep over it). The shower had a lot of pressure and instantaneous hot water. When standing in the shower you can look out the (opening) window at the pool. I liked that a lot. The common room downstairs had a TV, a coffee table, a wrap-around balcony (4 chairs on balcony) a sofa, 2 chairs, a dinner table for four.

BEACH:
Beach is world class. I would venture to say it is one of the top 10 beaches in the world and I have seen a lot of beaches. One world of caution, if there is a cold front blowing, there is a good chance that there will be Jelly fish. These are the Portuguese Man-O-War and are very venomous. I personally had to assist 3 different children in getting first aid. Watch when you are in the water. If there are any you can clearly see them. They look like a blue plastic bubble floating on the water. Stay well away as the tentacles are very long.

ACTIVITES:
The animation team does a great job around the pool and the beach. They have games, aquacise etc.
We rented mopeds (scooters) on 2 different occasions and had a wonderful time. If you have never been on a motorbike, then I would not recommend it.

WALKS and SHOPPING:
Can you walk to Varadero??? YES!! It will take you about 25 to 30 min. One option is to walk there and cab it back. There is a side walk all the way to Varadero.
An excellent Beach walk to do is to go towards the Dupont mansion just north of the hotel. Do this with your walking shoes in hand (I had flip-flops and they worked fine, and bring your camera) Walk until you reach the rocks.
There you will see a natural opening that allows you to go up on the top of the rocks (any reasonably fit person can do this). Follow the shore parallel to the gulf course until you reach the Dupont “Xanadu” Mansion. There is a nice beach on the other side and the shoping mall called “Plaza Americas”. The mall has clothes, food, alcohol, tobacco etc. This was the place we saw the cheapest RUM. The cheapest tobacco was at the airport. Buy your Cigars at the airport! For that matter buy your RUM their too! I repeat, buy your cigars and rum at the airport after you pass customs!!

TOURS:
We did a daytrip to Havana. We paid $40 per person in a small group of 8. I prefer this to the large buses of 50 people where you never can hear the guide. Ask around (or google the web) as there are many options for Havana tours. The only down side was the belly-aching by a few (Canadians) people in the group. They “looked” like adults but whined like children. They wanted to cut the tour short. Look, you are going on a day trip, you will be in Havana, you will see buildings that need a coat of paint, you will see some broken down cars….etc. If this is too much out side of your comfort envelope, if this is way beyond your limited universe, than stay by the pool with your Tim Hortons mug and talk hockey but don’t ruin it for others.

I was never hounded or bothered by anyone, no one asked me for my hat as I have read in so many reviews. There are people who will draw your caricature and ask for a donation, you give “what you wan”. Others are ladies that are dressed in traditional dresses, holding great bunches of pretty flowers and what you to have a picture taken with them. Same goes for older gentlemen dressed in their Sunday best with Bowler hats and smoking cigars. Others simply want to change Loonies and Toonies (1 and 2 dollar Canadian coins) to Pesos. Folks, if you are going to tip people in Cuba please do so in Cuban money. Your Canadian change has value only in Canada and cannot be changed by the Cuban people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Furthermore, if someone comes up to you please, at least LISTEN to what the person is saying. It is just respect for fellow man!!!!!!! I see tourists brushing off people without even hearing the first syllable!!......Nice.

CONCLUSION:
We would stay in the Bella Costa again and as a matter of fact we are already planning our next trip. Bring sunscreen, a thermal mug and ear-plugs to block out the early morning parade of drunks.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Allan & Louise 
Kingston, Nova Scotia
April 2007
FLIGHT:
Our “Sunwing” flight (both ways) departed pretty much on time. We booked our trip through “Sell Off Vacations” and our flight times changed twice. We were not notified of this right away and only found out by accident through acquaintances who had booked through another agency. The plane was cramped but the food was quite good!

CHECK-IN & ROOMS:
Checking in was painless and moved along at a fairly good pace considering the large amount of people. The staff was courteous and explained everything in detail. By the time we and the other two couples we were traveling with got to the counter our rooms had been given away due to overbooking and we were immediately upgraded to Junior Suites at no extra cost. The suites were great – large sitting room with TV, large bedroom with king size bed and TV, full bathroom and a wonderful stained glass window in the bedroom looking out to a private balcony. Our friends had a double Junior Suite with large sitting room and 2 large bedrooms on the second floor. They had a large wraparound balcony with ocean view (ours was a garden view) and at first we were a little disappointed that we had no ocean view but “their balcony was our balcony” and besides, we didn’t spend a lot of time in the rooms anyway! The maid service was excellent – we left little gifts for her on a daily basis and in turn, we were treated very well. Maintenance was great too. We had trouble with our toilet one day and after only mentioning it once, it had been fixed and was working beautifully by the time we went back to our room to prepare for supper.

RESORT:
The resort was large and roomy. We never felt boxed in or cramped at any time. With thousands of people tracking beach sand in and out, we were amazed at how clean they actually kept everything. The lobby area was spacious and airy. We never saw beggars anywhere in the resort or lobby area. The lighting was a little dim at night and the lobby furniture was a bit worn but we didn’t pay money to sit in the lobby! We took in a little of the evening entertainment. Cubans love their music and dance! Thought it bordered on “manic” at some points! But it was fun!

RESTAURANTS:
The common buffet restaurant was very large and we found it quite noisy with so many people dining at the same time. There was always plenty of food and if you couldn’t find something you liked, it might be time to hang up your passport and stop traveling! You have to remember you are in a different country and you may not find that perfect cheeseburger or Timmy’s double double! Try something new – you may be surprised! There were 3 ‘a-la-carte’ restaurants. We booked the Cuban Restaurant two nights. It was a much quieter atmosphere and not as hectic. The food was very good and the wine glasses were continually filled. We booked the International Restaurant one evening. We didn’t find it as “friendly” as the Cuban and we think we would stick to the Cuban on subsequent trips. We didn’t try the Italian restaurant. Note: We were very impressed with Miguel in the buffet restaurant – He served us two nights in a row and remembered exactly who had red wine and who had white wine from the night before!!

DAY TRIPS:
The 3 guys took the half day Jeep Safari trip. We toured the back woods of Cuba and had a great tour guide. We learned a lot of history and gained an appreciation for a local farm family who existed on practically nothing at all. The horseback ride was a bit lame but ended none too soon for our buddy Stan. Stan walked funny until we got some rum into him! We had a great discussion with a local music group (being musically inclined ourselves) and had time for photos with these musicians. Did some of that “male bonding” while the girls enjoyed the day at the beach!

The “Havana” day trip was fantastic. “Old” Havana was awe-inspiring and showed great old architecture. “New” Havana was more up to date and the endless array of antique cars that are used for daily driving was mind boggling. It was definitely worth the trip. One can’t visit Cuba without visiting Havana. (Remember to carry Kleenex packs with you as there is usually a bathroom attendant at the door waiting to sell you toilet paper!)

MOPEDS:
This was my only real complaint with the entire trip. The mopeds have approximately 1 litre of gas in them when you rent them. We were told this when we rented them but we still ran out of gas. The mopeds should have full tanks when rented and be returned with a full tank. It’s no fun to head out and you are instantly wondering where the garage is. The cost for rentals is very reasonable but you must provide proof of a motorcycle license before renting. No motorcycle license, no moped.

CONCLUSION:
Even though it was quite windy every day, the wind was warm and did not affect our beach time! The sun shone every day (one rain shower while we were having supper one evening). We saw no jellyfish whatsoever! The beach was beautiful and we had a great time in the waves! We felt like kids again! As this was our first trip to Cuba we have nothing to compare the resort to but I think our traveling companions (who had been to Cuba before) would agree that we had nothing to complain about. We were treated like VIP’s from the very beginning. We went to Cuba for sun, surf and R & R – that is exactly what we got. It was a trip that was good for the soul.

In conclusion – we were 3 couples traveling together; the airline seated us together; the resort gave us rooms together; the restaurants seated us together. It was a fantastic trip. Super beach, lots of beach loungers, lots of rum – the Breezes Bella Costa has our vote. We will definitely be going back – hopefully with Pete & Bonnie, Stan & Dee!!
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Sonya 

April 2007
We flew Air Transat and I enjoyed the flight to Cuba, especially since the flight attendant gave me free drinks!

FLIGHT
We flew Air Transat and I enjoyed the 3 or 4 hour flight to Cuba, especially since the flight attendant gave me free drinks The seats are very small! Luckily I was seated beside the emergency exit, so I could actually stretch my legs out. Despite living in Halifax, we drove 2.5 hrs to Moncton since the tickets cost $225 less this way. Departure from Moncton was on time. Coming home, though, there was a delay. We waited over an hour when the pilot finally announces we had been waiting for a passenger who had just arrived in Cuba that morning and been denied entry by Customs, he had to hop back on the plane and go back to Canada! Wonder what that was all about?

ROOM
We had an upper floor villa room with a wrap-around balcony and 2 bedrooms upstairs. Each room had large beds, one room had 2 beds - one for each of the 15 year old boys, and the other room had 3 beds, one for me, one for my cousin, and one for her 10 year old son.
The people at the reception desk were very friendly but did not have a very strong grasp of the English language. Fortunately, I am capable of speaking passable Spanish, and was able to translate when we needed to have the room sprayed for tiny ants in the bathroom, (they sent someone immediately to resolve the problem) or when we needed an iron to prepare our clothes, or any other minor catastrophe.
It was a fantastic second floor, pool and beach-view villa room with a balcony, king-size beds and a separate sitting room. It had a bathroom downstairs and each bedroom had a full bathroom (including bidet), and 3 satellite TVs (one in each bedroom and one in the sitting room). It was fairly clean. There was a mini-fridge in each bedroom (not stocked) that came in handy for bottled water.
Overall it was a good resort. Some things that I suggest: ask Animation/Entertainment staff to wear nametags. I found myself embarrassed at having to repeatedly ask their names ( faulty memory due to excess rum consumption?)
Another suggestion would be having the fridge filled with water, pop and juice. But reception pointed out they don’t encourage much food or drink be kept or consumed in the room, to prevent attracting insects. However, you are only given one large bottle of water and it is your responsibility to refill it throughout the week. If you lose your water bottle, you needed to contact the maid as they are the only ones who have access to the water bottles, irons, towels or anything housekeeping related. Front desk cannot get anything once maids leave in afternoon.

It was a very spacious suite with a sitting area with table and chairs .There was a hairdryer. Remember if you treat your maid well, she will go out of her way to ensure you have a good stay. I also gave her kids clothes, which she greatly appreciated. Don’t forget the basics, toothpaste, hygiene products, soap, shampoo etc. Bring a travel mug for convenience. You can get the bartenders to make your drink in your own mug, instead of being served in tiny plastic cups. But be prepared to part with your mug – many locals approach asking if they can have it, because they can’t buy them in Cuba. I promised mine to a young girl on my first day there, and she hounded me until my 2nd last day, when I passed it over willingly.

FOOD / RESTAURANTS
The main buffet restaurant is inside the hotel, just steps from the pool and it resembles a cafeteria. It’s very brightly decorated and lots of charm to match. I liked especially the bands that would come to play music for you while you ate, and the waiters always ensured my wine glass was full and the kids had pop or water. They were not at all pushy for tips. The buffet food was acceptable… We always managed to find something to eat. The kids were more picky than the adults, but I considered it to have plenty of quasi-Canadian fare. Mornings I survived on watermelon, pineapple, omelets, fresh sliced bread, and lunchtime I usually picked at a lot of different things if I couldn’t find one main dish I enjoyed. We went to à la carte restaurants 4 times, thus only had the buffet at night a few times.

The beachside buffet/bar was great too, as an option to eat outdoors. Careful of the various levels, the first time I went there for supper, coming back from taking pictures of the sunset, I missed the step up and fell in front of everyone. At first I was mortified, but as I witnessed many others doing the same thing throughout the week, I realized I am not the only klutz from Canada!

Despite other peoples’ reviews, there ARE indeed 24-hour snacks available. The main buffet closed the glass doors every night between 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. but you cold still walk in through those doors (many people did, I noticed the first night) and pick from fruit and many other things on the buffet, and if you found a cook around, you could request he cook up a few hamburgers or something easy on the grill. I found the service so wonderful, they only want to please. One morning after turning in fairly early, I awoke at 4am dying of thirst, so I went to the cafeteria/buffet and helped myself to plenty of juice and water.
Pool Bar “Las Brisas” – 10:00am – 10:00pm
Lobby Bar “La Fuente” – 10:00am – 1:00am

Snacks in the Buffet – 10:30pm – 6:30am then closed until breakfast at 7am

INDOOR Buffet: Breakfast is served from 7am – 10am, Lunch 1 -3pm and Supper 6:30 to 10pm

“El Mirador” Outdoor Buffet/ Beachside restaurant/Bar hours: Drinks served 10am to 6pm; Continental Breakfast 10am to 12 noon; Lunch 12:30pm to 4pm and it was only by reservation in the evening for supper/dinner whatever you prefer to call it.

“La Parilla” is the International restaurant located inside the hotel. Reservation required, you have to line up before noon near the entrance to the restaurant to hope for a seat. We ate there once and it was quite nice, highlight being that the nearby ladies room actually had toilet seats and tissue paper!!!

The best was supposed to be the Italian Restaurant, “Don Alfredo” but I had 2 tasteless meals. Can’t say I was impressed… You were offered the chance to buy lobster tails and scampi for $25 pesos, but being from the Maritimes, I can tell you that it did NOT look appetizing, especially with the flies buzzing around the plate. Needless to say, I passed on that opportunity.


DRINKS

I am not usually much of a drinker, but with an open bar, who can resist something cool in the sun near the pool?!! My favorite: Strawberry Daiquiris. I also tried Mojitos ( only when fresh mint is available) and cerveza, of course. Plenty of red and white wine served everywhere, poolside, buffet, lobby bar, at the entertainment show bar at night. In Canada, I drink a lot of Kahlua, Baileys and so on. So while in Cuba, I tried several different cream liqueurs, and found that the bar in the lobby usually only had a bottle or 2 per evening – they ran out early every night!

BARS

Beachside buffet/bar: It’s outside but covered. There were lots of seats available and the view was lovely. Too bad they closed every evening for use as an a la carte restaurant.
Pool bar: My favorite spot to hang out! It is only open until 10pm, and then more people seem to hang out in the lobby bar anyway. A few nights at 4am, we had a group of drunk young people by the pool, partying loudly beneath our window, but I didn’t have the heart to ask them to keep it down. They were there to have fun too!
Lobby bar: Located, as it indicates by name, in the lobby of the main building, open until 1:00 a.m. It’s a horseshoe-shaped room with about 10 booth-type tables, and stools at the bar. Needs more tables. Smoking is allowed, but windows are open to allow some of the smoke to dissipate. Service could be slow, but remember, they are on Cuban time! I found if I gave a generous tip at the beginning of the evening, I had no trouble catching my bartender’s eyes to get another drink!

BEACH/POOL
The beach is beautiful and clear. After storms at night though, there were lots of jellyfish washed up on the shore the following days. I met a little boy who had been stung by a clear jellyfish, and he was afraid to go back in the water at the beach. There were lots of available chairs at the beach and poolside BUT I did get up early every morning to reserve a chair with my towel. On the few days I did not do this because I had excursions in the morning, by afternoon, it was impossible to find even 2 chairs together at the pool, let alone 5 chairs for our whole group.

ACTIVITIES
Don’t be alarmed if people honk as they pass you. It’s their custom to alert drivers when they’re about to pass; honking is not an aggressive or angry reaction like we’re used to in Canada. Bring a waterproof camera if you want to get shots of swimming in the cave.
JEEP SAFARI ADVENTURE - $60 CUC – for half a day. Normally people go for a full day, but we had heard that the full day is rather long, and you get to do all the same activities if you buy the half day tour (except for the lunch, of course). We drive a Standard transmission jeep ourselves for about 1 ½ hour through the back roads and country. We stopped for pictures in the banana plantations, then went to a place for a washroom break and drink, then got back in the jeeps to go to a ranch. We then hopped in speedboats and went down the river for a 45 minute drive. Did a little 10 minute horseback ride, held a baby crocodile & tree rodent (called a hojilla) and had a snake wrapped around me, also rode a bull (very tame. Once we were done, we returned via speedboat and then got back into the jeeps and drive to a cave for swimming. We visited the cave for about 20 minutes, had a swim and them headed back to return the jeeps. Throughout the driving we not only saw the back country, but we saw a bit of the town as well. I found it very safe and there was no way you could get lost. There were only 2 jeeps in our group, since it was an afternoon only excursion. I was sitting along with the tour guide at the front, and he was friendly and willing to answer any questions. Along the way, there were some children looking for stuff, but they were very calm, not like they expected anything, but very appreciative if they did receive something. We threw one little boy a baseball, and his expression looked like something had just fallen out of Heaven!

STAFF
I loved the entertainment staff ( animacion) because they went out of their way to make sure people had fun! The gardeners deserve good tips, they are the ones doing backbreaking labour in the hot sun, to keep the grounds looking good. The gardeners also use a lot of physical exertion to cut open fresh coconuts for us to drink. They bring flowers to the ladies.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
G.M.  
Nova Scotia, Canada
April 2007
Date Visited:
Last week of March, 2007

Flight:
Flew Sunwing Vacations, it was an uneventful flight to our resort. The only complaint I have with the Sunwing is they are obviously running old planes. The seat cushions were very uncomfortable.

Check-In:
We arrived at the check-in counter about 3:00 PM there were approx 30-40 persons checking in ahead of us. It only took about 30 minutes to clear the Check-In counter. The staff was friendly, professional and helpful.

Resort:
The thing to remember about this resort is you probably did not pay top dollar to stay here! This resort is all about compromises. This is a middle of the scale resort. If your looking for a good 5-Star resort then you better pay up because this is definitely no better than a 4-Star.

Check-In/Lobby Area:
The problem with this area is that “first impressions are lasting impressions”. These areas are not as attractive as other resorts I have stayed. The furniture is badly worn in the Lounge and the Check-In area is very dark and uninviting.

Rooms:
We were assigned a room on the 3rd floor over looking the entrance side of the resort. It was very noisy in the mornings with vehicles coming and going. We did not experience much late night noise except with a couple of nights when people were returning to their rooms late. The view from our balcony was good, it over looked the golf course and the bay, the sun rises were always worth getting up early for. The room was clean and well made up each day. The electrical system was always a challenge. We never knew which circuit would work on any given day and the air conditioning did not work. We did not bother to complain about this and did not ask to be moved to another room (remember compromise). There was always plenty of hot water and the pressure was very good.

Restaurants:
We ate in all of the restaurants during our stay. All of the food I ate was good. The Buffet restaurant was a bit like a cafeteria with not a lot of décor. The buffet area was not very efficient. There were a lot of waiting in lines, an example of this was you had to stand in line to get pre cooked boiled eggs because the Omelet Grill was at the end of the line. You could push your way through but this was not always convenient. The biggest complaint I have about the buffets in this resort was nothing is labeled. In all of the restaurants we received acceptable service.

Resort Comparisons:
This was our first vacation experience in Cuba. We previously stayed at the Super Clubs Breezes in Punta Cana (2003/2004/2005). This resort is rated 5-Star or at least it was when we stayed there.
For the money I would stay at Bella Costa again before going back to the one in Punta Cana. The Bella Costa resort is only about half the size of the Punta Cana resort but was still a better value. At the time we paid approx $400.00 each more for the resort in Punta Cana. The beaches were nicer in Punta Cana. I however enjoyed our short trips into the town of Varadero and found the Cuban’s left you alone and did not continuously hassle you like they do in the DR.

Recommended Day Trip
We rented mopeds and went to the town of Cardenas. This town is well worth the trip. You should allow yourselves at least 3-4 hours rental time. It’s a town that is best described as “a town lost in time”. It seems to be out of the “tourist trap” loop.

In Conclusion:
I would definitely consider returning back to Bella Costa. This resort is good value for the money we paid. If you are looking for a resort with the finest meals, rooms, and other qualities this is not the resort for you.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Jake & Lynn 

March 2007
Well we didnt really know what to expect from Breezes Bella Costa Cuba but it surely wasent this. When we first walked in we saw the lobby lounge furniture was so worned out they were ripping.The pool table carpet was also ripped ect.This resort is definitely not a 4 star. (maybe a 2 star)The food was not very good and cold but that was to be expected.The beach is not bad but dirty ,full of garbage straws and plastic cups.The resort is also very dirty, the table cloth were always stained from the breakfast,they never change them.The entertainment at night really sucked and I cant beleive they let begger in the resort lobby to bug you for pesos.I also want to mention the exchange on your money is 1.31 canadian for one of there pesos, so you dont get much for your money. My wife and I went on a catamaran tour for 85 pesos each payed for on the visa, the cost at the end was 225.00 canadian,quite pricy. The personel at the resort are very friendly. Would I recomend the Breezes Bella Costa to my friends (NO). Jake and Lynn Ontario Canada PS: If you go off the property on a tour bring some pesos you'll need it to go to the washroom .
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Colin & Jennifer 
Ontario, Canada
February 2007
My wife and I, both 33 years old, stayed at Breezes Bella Costa from February 13th to 20th. It was a Sunwing package and we booked through our very helpful travel agent at CAA.

FLIGHT
Departure from Toronto was about 30-45 minutes late. Coming home everything was on schedule and the meals both ways were very good. The seats are tight! If you’re bigger than a small teenager, you’ll be uncomfortable. If you’re a 200-pound man, you’ll be in trouble… request an aisle seat.

ROOM
We requested an upper floor villa room with a balcony and a king-size bed, but when we arrived we were given a ground floor room with 2 twin beds. It was a nice room, but not what we’d asked for. The woman at the reception desk was very friendly and quick to resolve our problem.

In the end we settled in room #760. It was a fantastic second floor, garden-view villa room with a balcony, king-size bed and a separate sitting room. It had a full bathroom (including bidet), a separate vanity area, and 2 satellite TVs (one in the bedroom and one in the sitting room). It was clean and bug-free.

There was a mini-fridge in the sitting room (not stocked) that came in handy for bottled water.

There are no 3rd floor villa rooms, but some of the 2nd floor rooms have an upstairs! (This would explain why the villas are 3 storeys tall.) We noticed a few of these rooms as we passed by during housekeeping hours. I regret not writing down the actual room numbers.

BUFFET
The main buffet restaurant is inside the hotel and it resembles a cafeteria. It’s very bright with lots of tables but zero charm.

The beachside buffet/bar, on the other hand, was awesome. Lots of seats, an amazing view and only steps from the water. They serve breakfast and lunch but close in the late afternoon.

The buffet food was acceptable… We always managed to find something to eat.

Despite what you might read, there are no 24-hour snacks. The main buffet closed every night between 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. and there was no food available again until breakfast.

DRINKS
Lots of options: Wine, beer, margaritas, daiquiris, mojitos, and my personal favourite… Cuba Libres.

BARS
Beachside buffet/bar: Easily the highlight of the resort. It’s outside but covered. There were lots of seats available and the view was postcard material. The only problem: It was closed every evening so it could be used as an a la carte restaurant.

Pool bar: A nice setting, sun and shade seats, a good view of the beach, pool and daytime activities put on by the animation staff. The only problem: It closes at 10:00 p.m.

Lobby bar: Located in the main building, open until 1:00 a.m. It’s a horseshoe-shaped room with maybe 10 booth-type tables, and stools at the bar. Smoking is allowed. It was crowded and the service was slow during the evening. It was definitely the most “happening” place on the resort but an outdoor option would have been better.

BEACH/POOL
The beach is beautiful. Blue water, white sand, no seaweed. There was a storm one night though, and there were hundreds of jellyfish washed up on the shore the following day. There were lots of available chairs at the beach and poolside. No need to fight for space or reserve a chair with your towel.

ACTIVITIES

Scooters: The price varies depending on how long you rent them. It’s a nice ride to Varadero and back and you can do it without using the highway. Bella Costa is the last of a stretch of resorts on a side road parallel to the highway and connected to town. Don’t be alarmed if people honk as they pass you. It’s their custom to alert drivers when they’re about to pass; honking is not an aggressive or angry reaction like we’re used to in Canada.

Snorkelling: $15 CUC per person. One guide and up to 4 people per catamaran. They sail or row you out to a good spot and throw bread in the water to help attract the fish. It was very cool. But watch out for jellyfish. I nearly jumped on top of one and our guide (Miguel) got stung on his arm. Bring a disposable, waterproof camera.

Water tower: Located beside the Meson del Quijote on the road to Varadero. A local man (name withheld) offered to walk us to the top and show us the view. More or less a tip scam because the door was open and we were free to walk up on your own, but in the end I was glad he came with us. Many of the platforms had huge rust holes and were covered with wood or cardboard… meaning it was a dangerous climb. But our ‘fren’ seemed to know where to step and where not to step. The view from the top was great, but getting up there was definitely a safety hazard. Cheating death was a rush, but I can’t recommend the excursion. If you fell through a platform near the top of the tower, you’d be seriously hurt or worse.

Plaza Americas: Over-priced tourist junk. But there’s a bank there if you need a credit card cash advance (be sure to bring your passport).

Havana: A must do. And rather than paying for the organized and likely boring bus tour, we took a government taxi. The cab driver’s name was Daniel and he was referred to us by an acquaintance. We weren’t interested in the typical stuff… we’re not the museum-going or statue-gazing types. We just wanted to spend an afternoon there, take some pictures, drink a few cervezas on a patio, etc. Daniel was an encyclopaedia of information. The 2-hour drive to Havana flew by as he told us about the history, industry and lifestyle of the areas we drove through. He took us on a walking tour of Old Havana and sat with us for a drink (we had beers, he drank cola) and some live music on a shaded patio. It was cool getting to know him and learning about his family and what it was like growing up in Varadero. We paid $150 CUC round trip, plus tip. (Considering that a taxi tour will consume most of the driver’s day, and that you’re saving a considerable amount of money over the bus tour while getting personal attention, the tip should be generous.)

STAFF
Nearly everyone working at Bella Costa was friendly. Sure, they’re on Cuban time, so you might wait a bit longer than you expect to get that drink or pay for that postcard… but that might be a good thing. The team at the reception desk should get high marks for hospitality. And our housekeeper was also very nice.

CONCLUSION
We had a great time. Highlights would be our villa room, the beachside buffet/bar, the staff, nearby activities and proximity to Varadero. Low points would be the food and outdoor bars that close way too early. We’ll definitely return to Varadero someday and I could safely recommend this resort to a friend. Of the resorts near town, Bella Costa seemed to be one of the best options.
SuperClubs Breezes Bella Costa
Jen 
Ontario, Canada
February 2007
Breezes Bella Costa – formerly Iberostar Bella Costa

Date of trip – Jan 27 - Feb. 3, 2007 – great weather 87 degrees

HOTEL
Overall it was a good resort. There were some things that I thought would be included, for example, having the fridge filled with water, pop and beer. However, you are only given one large bottle of water and it is your responsibility to refill it throughout the week. Friends that we were staying with had their bottle thrown away by their maid and they talked to the front desk about it. The front desk could care less and said that they needed to contact their maid as they are the only ones who have access to the water bottles. Not a big deal, but something you should be aware of. My husband was disappointed that there was no coffee maker in the room.

Pool Bar – 10:00am – 10:00pm
Lobby Bar – 10:00am – 1:00am
Snacks in the Buffet – 10:30pm – 6:30am

 

Breakfast is served from 7am – 10am. A fairly good selection of food. Sometimes we did find that you might not be able to find plates, glasses or cutlery. So we found if we went before 8am this was not an issue.

Lunch is available from 1pm – 3pm in the beach restaurant. Again, very good selection of food.

Dinner – you have a choice of 3 a-la-cartes – reservation times: 6:30, 7:00, 8:30 or 9:00PM. By the looks of it they only fill 15 persons per seating. The Italian restaurant is the best a-la-carte choice. The International buffet (6:30pm – 9:00pm) had a good selection too. Pool – 7:00am – 7:00pm
Gym – 8:30am – 7:00pm

ROOM
When we checked in they asked us if we were on our honeymoon. Apparently this was the best room in the hotel. I did email them ahead of time and requested an upper floor overlooking the ocean. We had a junior suite (#753) that was close to the pool and beach. Our balcony overlooked the beach. It was a very spacious suite. Two washrooms, a sitting area, 2 TV’s, king size bed, table and chairs in the bedroom, hairdryer. It was very clean. I think they must have refinished the floor as it appeared new. Remember if you treat your maid well, she will go out of her way to ensure you have a good stay. Don’t forget the basics, toothpaste, hygiene products, soap, shampoo etc. I also took down some of my kids old soccer uniforms which she greatly appreciated.

BEACH
Absolutely gorgeous. It was great not having a resort on the one side as we had plenty of room to find a place to relax. I did find the area by the beach bar busier, but if you went down closer to the DuPont Mansion, you would have no problem finding a lounge. Bring a travel mug for convenience.

EXCURSIONS

JEEP SAFARI ADVENTURE - $73 CUC – well worth the money. We drive a jeep ourselves for about 1 ½ hour through the back roads and country. We stopped for a washroom break and drink. Got back in the jeeps to go to a ranch. Did a little 10 minute horseback ride, held a baby crocodile & tree rat and my husband rode a bull (not to worry, very tame). Lunch was provide with one drink. (very good food) We then hopped in speedboats and went down the river for a 45 minute drive. It was great, but seriously just be cautious of others when driving. One guy didn’t know what he was doing and thought he could race everyone (we were suppose to be single file) and did donuts and nearly hit us (very close call). Another crew was so close to each other in the water, that we thought they would hit each other. Once we were done with the boats we had another break and then got back into the jeeps and drive to a cave for swimming. We visited the cave for about 20 minutes, had a swim and them headed back to return the jeeps. Throughout the driving we not only saw the back country, but we saw a bit of the town as well. I found it very safe and there was no way you could get lost. There were about 7 jeeps in our group along with the tour guide at the front and back. Along the way, there were some children looking for stuff. I was kicking myself for not knowing this ahead of time as I would have brought stuff along. They were very calm, not like they expected anything, but very appreciative if they did receive something.

HAVANA TRIP – Before I left Canada I had emailed Jorge (jorgeguide2004@yahoo.es) to arrange a day trip. This was so worth the money. I am sure we got a better experience than what you would on a tour bus. There were four of us that traveled together. Jorge arranged for the taxi which picked us up at 8:30am. We met our guide, Martha at 10:30am in Havana. Martha is an excellent tour guide. Just a sweet, personable, very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. We had her for 5 hours to take us around. She walked us through the Museum of Revolution and the Capitolio. I talked to people who did the bus tour and they just walked by these buildings. One thing with having your own tour guide is that she did what we wanted to do and she looked after us. The staff at the Capitolio were going to overcharge us for admission. The cost of admission is $3CUC without a camera and $5CUC with a camera. So she saved us a few $’s there. She took us through a residential street so I could hand out some toys to the children. There were a few beggars, but nothing that made me feel threatened. She showed us the store were the Cubans receive government assistance. The Cubans only receive enough food to last them 15 days into the month. They only receive toiletry items (soap, shampoo, toothpaste) once every three months. That is why it is so important to bring these items down with you. Our guide took us to La Bodeguita Del Medio for the best Mojito we have ever had. Again, I think she saved us money because we gave her the money to purchase the drinks. I am sure tourists paid more. We went to a restaurant for lunch which was very good. We ended the day at the market. Which by the way, we were told that the best time to do the market is after 4pm as the vendors will negotiate on prices as the market closes at 6pm. HORESBACK RIDING - $15CUC for 1 hour. They bring the horses to the resort and you go out front of the hotels and go to the end of the beach for a picture opportunity.

TAXI/COCO TAXI/HORSE CARRAGE/VARADERO TOURIST BUS – Before getting in the taxi, coco taxi or horse carriage, please ensure you agree on a price. Be specific if you want return trip and also includes all persons that you are traveling with. I saw one family of 4 get off after their horse carriage ride and all were in shock when the driver said “each”. Our tour rep told us the rule of thumb for the Coco Taxi was 1CUC for every KM. The Varadero double decker bus was well worth the money - $5CUC for the day. My husband and I went into Varadero to deliver a medical bag (more about that later) and then visited the market (great prices by the way). We went back to the resort for lunch and then hopped back on the bus in the afternoon to go to the Plaza America mall (good prices for liquor). We shopped there for a bit and then continued on the bus to the other end of the Pensula (1 hour) and saw other resorts and scenery.

EXCHANGING MONEY
I changed the majority of my money at the airport without any issues. You were automatically given a receipt. I changed $60 at the front desk at the hotel and was short changed $2. My own fault as I did not request a receipt. The second time I went to exchange $40 (with my calculator), I witness the staff ripping off the 2 people ahead of me $2 each. When I showed my calculator and asked them the rate, I got the correct amount the second time around . . . hmmm

NOTJUST TOURIST – I had read other reviews about this organization and decided to sign up and take down a donation of medical supplies to Cuba. I arranged to pick the bag up in Toronto which was filled with lots of medical supplies. I called my airline ahead of time to ensure that they would allow me to bring on this piece of humanitarian aid for free. No problem – they package the bags so they do not exceed the 10kg allowance for humanitarian aid. Honestly we were questioned a customs and it was quite entertaining. They called the airport doctor from her office and they asked if my husband was very sick. Once we showed them the letter (in Spanish) from NOT JUST TOURISTS (www.njttoronto.ca), the doctor gave a big smile and thanked us for brining this much needed medication down to Cuba. On our 2nd day in Varadero, we delivered the medical supplies to the clinic which was very easy to find. The doctor at that clinic was very appreciative.

My apologies for the long review, however I hope it was helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me powlz_canada@yahoo.ca