logo Old Reviews - Breezes Jibacoa
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
YVRck 

December 2008
Travel dates: Nov. 28- Dec.5, 2008

Vancouver to Varadero via Calgary

Wholesaler & Carrier: Sunwing

Booking: www.escapes.ca

I'd like to preface this review by pointing out that we are multiple time, returning guests to this resort. The main attraction of this resort for us is the easily accessible reef for snorkeling directly off the beach. Our first visit to Breezes Jibacoa was back in early Dec. 2000 when the resort was just a year old. Much has changed over the years! As I have already previously posted reviews of the resort, I'd like to focus this review on what's new, different or changed at Breezes Jibacoa. We have also stayed at the Cameleon Villas Jibacoa resort which shares the same beach with the Breezes. If some of the Breezes changes I mention seem like “old news”, it's because we had taken a two year hiatus from this resort, although not the Jibacoa area.

We are a multi-lingual, self-employed, professional couple in our late 50's who have visited Cuba many times. The purpose of our vacations is rest and relaxation. Snorkeling is a very high priority activity for us. We are also certified divers although diving is now a more secondary activity for us.

Sunwing Airlines
This trip was our first experience with Sunwing as they only recently started offering vacation packages from Vancouver. We opted to upgrade to the Elite Plus class at a cost of $40 per person each way. This gave us a higher checked luggage allowance of 30 kilo per person as well as extra legroom seats and priority check-in at Vancouver airport. Sunwing charges $100 for sports/scuba equipment in a separate bag. We avoided this expense by packing our equipment into our suitcase. As my mask is prescription lens fitted, this item always goes into my carry-on. We were well within our luggage allowance which is a good thing because Sunwing charges $20 per kilo for excess and they are very strict about enforcing this. It's always wise to check the luggage specs on your airline's website!

Sunwing use Boeing 737-800 aircraft configured as three seats on each side of the plane with two washrooms at the back and one at the front. The seats are leather. We sat in an emergency exit row on the way to Varadero and in the extra legroom section (rows 1-4 on right side of aircraft) on the way back. My husband, who is very tall, was very comfortable in both seats although the emergency exit row does offer a few more inches of legroom space. Sunwing also offers advance pre-selection of regular seats at a cost of $15 per seat each way.

Our flight departed Vancouver right on time, stopped in Calgary to pick up what were the bulk of the passengers on this flight, and arrived in Varadero about 35 minutes early. Departure from Varadero was also smooth and pretty much on time according to the schedule. The pilot did however apologize as they would have arrived in Varadero early, so we could depart early, had it not been for the “stray” passengers who needed to be found as they were not at the departure gate in a timely fashion. Last time we experienced “stray” passenger delays, their luggage was taken off the plane and they ended up missing their vacation! Someone owes that Sunwing pilot a big thank you for waiting!! Due to very strong headwinds and a delay in Calgary, we arrived back in Vancouver almost an hour later than scheduled. A surprise for me were the empty seats on the plane- about 12-15- and yet I didn't notice any great last minute deals a few days before departure. I'm guessing the airlines are perhaps trying their utmost to discourage the last minute bargain hunters by opting to fly a plane with empty seats?

While the other charter airlines continue to cut back on services or “nickel and dime” passengers, Sunwing offers impressive service for a charter airline. We enjoyed free champagne, a choice of hot meals, free wine with the meal, complimentary hot towel service, free snacks and drinks such as coffee, tea, water or soft drinks. Both hot meals were delicious (by airline standards!). Beer and spirits are available for $5.00. Sunwing does not allow passengers to consume their own alcohol, so leave the duty free bottles closed until you get home! Sunwing does not offer on board duty free. Headsets are provided at no charge so remember to keep it for the return flight or pay $1 for a new set. We found all Sunwing staff to be good humoured and very professional. We have no reservations using Sunwing in the future.

The Sunwing brochure also lists some extra features/services for this resort- concierge service, beach chair reservations, advance a la carte reservations, express private check-in- however these services did NOT materialize once we arrived at the resort. To be honest, I hadn't paid any attention to these “perks” until a first time guest at the resort pointed out her disappointment in not getting advance a la carte reservations or concierge service.

The Resort:
Breezes Jibacoa has always been especially popular with Canadians, who make up about 70-80% of the guest contingent, along with some Brits, a few Germans and the odd travellers from South America. We were pleased to also encounter a few Cuban guests this time. We likened our vacation to a trip across Canada in a tropical setting. As immigrants to Canada ourselves, we continue to be amazed and fascinated by the diversity of Canada and its people. For the first time, we also found a larger presence of guests from Quebec. Over the years, Breezes Jibacoa has become very “canadianized” (if there is such a thing!). The food selection and preparation is geared to Canadian palates. Even the coffee in the buffet and provided with the room coffeemakers is a product of Canada. Full bodied, robust Cuban coffee is thankfully available in the form of espressos or cappucinos at the bars. Over the years, Jibacoa staff have become very familiar with our Canadian habits. Sometimes, you have to remind yourself that you're in Cuba!

Amenities & Hours of Operation:

Lobby Bar – 24 hours
Piano Bar – 6pm – 2am
Pool Bar - 10am – 10:30pm
Beach Bar – 10am-5pm
Disco - 11pm-2am
Internet cafe – 24 hours , cost per hour 8 CUC
Currency exchange (front desk) 9:30am – 4:30pm
Games Room – 24 hours
Fitness Centre – 7am-5 pm
Buffet – breakfast - 7:30am – 10:30am
lunch - 12:30pm – 2:30pm
dinner - 7pm-9:30pm
A la Carte - 6:30pm-9pm reservations required
Beach Grill – light lunch & snacks – noon-5pm
Lobby snack bar – 4pm-6pm
- 11pm – 2 am
Towel hut – 9am-5pm
Massage Hut – 9am-5pm
Shops – 9am-8:30pm
Moped Rental – 9am-5pm
Taxi available 24 hours
Car Rental – 9am-5pm

Our Room:
I am not in the habit of contacting a resort in advance to request any specific room allocation. When I booked our trip, I did however indicate to the agent I spoke with that we were returning guests, wished a room with a king size bed, on the ground floor in a building located close to the beach if possible. In advance of our trip, I had however contacted a staff member to let them know we were coming and to inquire if she needed replenishing of some medical supplies we had brought for her family in the past.

To say we were surprised at check-in to discover we had been allocated an oceanview suite, would be an understatement! Breezes Jibacoa offers only 10 such suites. There is no doubt in our minds that our resort contact had made arrangements for us to receive this room and we thanked her profusely.

The suites are about twice the size of a regular room with a double wide balcony outfitted with wooden loungers as well as regular wooden chairs and small tables. Pads for the chairs are on the top shelf of the entry closet. Our suite featured two bathrooms, only one of which had a tub and shower.. There is a kitchenette area with a sink, mini fridge, coffemaker & supplies, extra dishware such as cups & glassware and a dining table with four chairs. The livingroom area featured comfortable rattan furniture including an ottoman, tables & lamps, a flat screen TV and CD player. The front entry closet contained the iron & ironing board provided in all rooms at Breezes. Large umbrellas are also provided. We noticed a door to the adjoining room in the livingroom area and would highly recommend this suite to family or group travelers who would have the luxury of sharing the living/dining area but still have their own bedrooms.

We did get the kingsize bed as requested. For many people, the mattresses at Breezes are a bit too firm, but that's exactly the way we like them. In the bedroom closet, which is fitted with mirrored doors, you'll find a room safe and power converter. Lock and key for the safe are given at check-in. We also found two thick terry robes, but didn't use them as we had brought our own. There are ample clothes hangers provided and a small chest of drawers. A larger dresser was located next to the desk as well as a second smaller TV. Of special note was the selection of TV channels which included Global TV BC, CTV-Halifax, Deutsche Welle, an Italian station, a chinese language station, CNN and others. We were able to catch up with news from home as long as we remembered to consider the time zone difference!

The main bathroom has a rather narrow but deep bathtub and shower. Never a problem with a lack of hot water! There is a retractable clothesline located above the shower curtain rod. This resort provides facial tissues, facecloths and an assortment of toiletry items. We bring our own supplies. The two speed wall mounted hairdryer worked well.

The inclement weather we experienced for a couple of days was hardly noticeable because we were able to enjoy our lovely suite. We met some wonderful people at Breezes and invited our new friends up to the suite to share a few drinks. The beach bar was very close by!

The Changes:
Over the years, things change. That's a given!

Breezes Jibacoa has changed over the years for a lot of different reasons. Some of the changes are very subtle while others are more overt. Either way, I'll let the reader decide whether their vacation enjoyment at this resort would be affected. I'll try to remain as unbias as possible in my comments! Those who know me will realize this won't be an easy task

The resort has become a victim of its own success! The percentage of returning guests to the resort is very high- about 60-70% for our most recent vacation. Being a returnee has it's advantages because you feel “right at home” immediately upon arrival. However, that doesn't give a returning guest the right to feel they “own” the resort or get special/preferred service from staff. The resort already has a policy of trying to upgrade returnees by one room category and in our case, we were given a huge upgrade to an oceanview suite. It's getting much more difficult to accomodate this perk, so if you have your heart set on an oceanview room, pay the extra and book this room category with your travel agent. Returning guests are also treated to a cocktail party, which we couldn't participate in because it was scheduled for our day of departure. Previously, we had also been given a free tour to Matanzas but it seems the free tours for returnees have been dropped and I understand it's because of an insurance/liability issue.

Due to promotions of events like singles weeks, Oktoberfest parties, Halloween and other events, the resort has over the years been attracting a much younger, often more boisterous, clientele. The days of this resort being for “old folks” couples and honeymooners looking for a quiet relaxing beach vacation are long gone. Generally, the place is noisier and more active than it used to be but it is definitely not yet a “party” resort like some resorts in Varadero. Nonetheless, we were thankful to have brought along ear plugs and needed to use them. Our neighbours and their friends appeared to enjoy closing the disco every night and they weren't very quiet or considerate when returning to their rooms at 4:00AM. The age mix of guests during our stay ranged from about 16-80+ and there were many more groups. The teens tended to look a bit bored and we didn't see them often. They were part of a family who had come to the resort for a wedding. In fact, we saw three beach weddings during our stay, one nicer than the next. If you're considering getting married in Cuba, this resort has an amazing wedding coordinator who goes out of her way to make your special day perfect and memorable.

For the first time during our annual vacation to Jibacoa, the resort was at full capacity and in fact slightly overbooked. Single travellers were offered a 60CUC discount per night, if they were willing to share their room. Pricing for Breezes Jibacoa has dropped dramatically over the years. We paid the lowest price ever for our one week vacation departing Vancouver. Wow, what a deal! We noticed many more guests who seemed to be making it their mission to drink their all-inclusive money's worth. There were often line-ups at the bars and on more than one occasion, certain drinks were unavailable because some ingredients required to make them, had been depleted. This was the first time we observed intoxicated or unruly guests. While dining at Martino's a la carte restaurant, we were shocked to become witnesses to a domestic dispute which escalated into fisticuffs. Every vacationer is entitled to and has an individual right get the most from their vacation enjoyment (whatever that entails!), but rude boorish behaviour and a lack of respect for other vacationers is never appropriate. The concept of all-inclusive packages has given many more people, who would perhaps otherwise not travel due in part to linguistic and logistic challenges, the opportunity to travel.

Breezes Jibacoa has always offered a myriad of activities for guests to chose from, but it seems they have expanded their offerings so the selection is more extensive than ever. I can't imagine anyone of any age being bored at this resort! In addition to the regular offerings, there is now a schedule of organized rainy day activities, and yes, we did have one day of rain during our stay. We also noticed many more tournaments being offered- horseshoes, tennis, sand hockey, etc. Guest participation in the activities is much higher than it used to be! A schedule of activities can be found near the buffet main entrance.

For those who remember the band Akarey, it seems the original members have all retired. The next generation of Akarey are good and play the same songs, but it's just not the same band it once was. There is less live music at the resort , although they still have a house band.

Evening entertainment/shows are something that guests either love to attend or don't bother with. Breezes Jibacoa has a two week cycle of shows. Our daughter and her fiance had vacationed at Breezes three weeks before us and saw different shows than what were offered during our stay. The outdoor show stage is located by the pool deck but when it rains, the show gets moved inside to the disco. The disco is small and it gets loud and stuffy quickly. Due to late afternoon rain showers during our stay, several of the shows were rained out and moved to the disco, so we didn't attend. We aren't interested in audience participation type shows so we saw only one outdoor show this time. Compared to what they used to offer, the show we saw was in our opinion only mediocre. The Mexico and Cuba themed shows haven't changed much. For those who remember the dancing of Ricky and his wife, be prepared to hear Ricky singing rather than dancing. He is however still the choreographer and clearly works very hard with the dancers to put on the shows.

There has been a minor renovation to the salad bar/dessert area in the buffet which is not yet completed. Guests can now access the food offerings there from both sides which is nice, but there is confusion as to where the lineup begins. The hot food trays and carvery areas are still against the back wall of the buffet, so no changes there.

Many of the same/familiar staff who started at the resort in 1999 when it opened, are still working at Breezes. Some staff however have been moved to a different eatery, so if you don't see your favourite waiter/waitress in the buffet, look for them at the beach snack bar. We preferred to sit at a table in the outdoor section of the buffet restaurant as we found the service to be better here than it was in the main indoor sections. Generally, we found the level of service to be the same regardless of whether a guest tipped or not. As returning guests, we were recognized by some staff who immediately greeted us. Much as I hate to say this, some of the Breezes staff have become very spoiled over the years. Perhaps it's a matter of familiarity because the staff have become accustomed to receiving many gifts brought by guests over the years, but we were still surprised to experience a severe drop in the level of service from one of the waiters when he realized that we were not loaded down with gifts for him this time around. In fact, he totally ignored us!- so we moved to a different table. The child's baseball glove we gifted to one of the waiters for his 8 year old son was met with shrug and no thank-you. Others have become bolder! Several staff actually initiated unsolicited requests to us for large or expensive luxury gifts, to be brought down on our next visit. On the flip side, some staff were truly wonderful and a pleasure to deal with. I was surprised when on the last day, I exchanged $20 to CUC (came to 13,92 pesos) for our next trip. The clerk rounded the transaction up to 14 pesos to avoid giving me a lot of small change coins and thanked me profusely for my tip, while wishing us a safe trip home.

The non smoking areas of the resort have been expanded! No smoking is permitted in the indoor section of the buffet, all a la carte restaurants, games room, lobby bar, piano bar, internet cafe, fitness centre, upper level of the beach bar snack area and all public washrooms.

The numerous dogs and puppies (some of them diseased with mange, worms, etc) who frequented the beach at both Breezes and the Cameleon resort next door are now gone. Many guests were in the habit of feeding the dogs, bringing them into their rooms and generally “adopting” them as their pet for the duration of their vacations. I am aware of one guest who earlier this fall actually arranged to have one of the dogs shipped to her home in Ontario after she returned from Breezes. The issue of the dogs has been controversial! I would hate to see either resort faced with a dog bite lawsuit at some point in the future. There are still many cats and kittens at Breezes. The cats appear to be of “value” to the resort in that the population of mice and cockroaches remains under control. However, many guests are feeding the cats scraps from the buffet and although the animals appear very thin and undernourished (which I personally don't believe to be the case), the constant feeding will no doubt very soon render the cats useless for the purpose of pest control.

Perhaps it was our imagination, but it seems the beach in front of Breezes has changed. There are many more rocks and pieces of coral in the sand than there used to be. Pieces of glass were also common and one guest cut his foot quite badly. The beach at the waterline is however cleaned of sea grass, garbage and other debris brought in by the tide. The sand is raked daily, usually very early in the morning. Throughout the day, gardening staff also clear away fallen leaves and tend the vegetation. There is a shipping lane offshore and ships using the harbour in Matanzas sometimes illegally empty their bilges/ballast in the open water near the resort. One morning, blobs of thick, black oil washed up along the entire beachfront. Breezes staff immediately appeared in full force to clean up the mess, but it took a day or so for the oil blobs to be cleaned up in front of the Cameleon. Many unsuspecting guests walking the beach ended up with a gooey, sticky mess of oil on their feet/beach shoes. In our humble opinion, the beach in front of the Cameleon resort is nicer than that at Breezes.

One disappointment this trip was the lack of artisans who came to the resort regularly on a rotating basis sell their souvenir wares. Over the years, we had accumulated an interesting array of paintings, wooden crafts and jewellery fashioned from spoons and forks and I was looking forward to finding some new treasures to take home. Nada!! One day, I did spot a table set up by the creek which divides the two Jibacoa resorts, but the selection of souvenir wares being offered was meager. I have no idea why or when the resort stopped allowing artisans on the property. For those who do want to buy a few things to take home, Breezes has a cigar/rum shop, a sundry items shop and a shop selling T-shirts, beach wear and a few souvenir items near the lobby. Breezes guests can also access the shops at the Cameleon Villas Jibacoa resort next door via the roadway. Just tell the security guard at the gate you're going to the stores and he'll let you in no problem. Access to Cameleon via the beach is often met with their guard refusing you entry and telling you to go around via the roadway.

The beach bar renovation is now completed. The new roof appears to have been extended so there are more tables available. Over the years, many vacationers contributed special commemorative wooden plaques which were displayed at the beach bar. These are all presently in storage and will not be re-hung in the former location.

Two new hot tubs have been installed on the pool deck in the area by the stairs at the opposite end of where the pool bar is located. The hot tubs are quite small (maximum of 4 people comfortably) and they are not covered. The old, much larger, covered hottub located outside the a la carte restaurants is being dismantled/refurbished. We were told this area will become the location of the new wedding gazebo. The old wedding gazebo area is to become a spa facility. For now, great massages are available at a very reasonable cost in the open air, but privacy protected, hut on the beach near the fitness centre. I treated hubbie to a neck/shoulder/ back massage which lasted longer than the 20 minutes posted and cost 15 CUC. Full price list and massages offered is posted next to the hut entrance.

We were pleased to learn of a new programme recently implimented by the resort manager for the benefit of staff (and guests who will have the opportunity to meet more Cubans). On a rotating basis, staff are permitted to invite a family member to come and enjoy the resort for a day, usually on Fridays. This includes drinks, food services and all activities. What better way for resort worker's families to see first hand, understand, gain insights into foreign tourists, and relate to the stories brought home by their loved ones who work very hard to keep the guests happy. This is a win-win situation!

The Reef:-
The main reason for our numerous return visits to the Jibacoa area is the easily accessible reef and snorkeling directly off the beach. We have been photo and video documenting the reef for 8 years now and have seen some disturbing changes. Plain and simple, the reef is degrading and dying at a very alarming rate! While it is an accepted statistic in scientific circles that the world's reefs are raidly dwindling due to global warming, the problem at Jibacoa is primarily caused by humans. Aside from snorkelers standing on the coral, thereby breaking it, the much bigger problem is people taking bread, buns and bananas from the buffet to feed the fish. PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE FISH! The purpose of reef fish species is to clean the corals. When people feed the fish, they stop doing what nature intended them to do! The coral and sponges become clogged with detritus and start dying. Many of the fish living on the Jibacoa reef have become aggressive because they are so habituated to being fed. Novice snorkelers can be especially frightened when the fish swarm around them.

We were blessed with two green flag days upon arrival at Breezes and spent virtually all day snorkeling the reef. It was so calm that we were easily able to snorkel the outer fringe of the reef which is still quite healthy. More often than not, people don't venture out this far because of the waves. The closer you snorkel into shore, the more deterioriated the reef has become and it's pretty much dead nearest the beach. The reef formations in front of the Cameleon resort are in much better condition because they have not yet been subject to overuse/abuse.

We also snorkeled for a short time under yellow flag conditions, which quickly were changed to a red flag after jellyfish began appearing and several guests were stung. From previous visits, I was aware of the presence of a rather large barracuda- 4+ feet in length, who frequented the area. Shortly after entering the water in the area to the left of the beach bar, I encountered a large school of fish swimming back and forth erratically (sure sign of a nearby preditor!) and it didn't take long before I spotted “Pedro” the barracuda. Last we saw Pedro was in 2005, so it was reassuring to know he is still alive and probably scaring the wits out of unsuspecting snorkelers who might see him for the first time. As for the jellyfish, this was only the second time in our many visits to Jibacoa that jellyfish were a problem. Jellyfish are found in deeper, colder water and it's the high winds that bring them to shore.

With our professional credentials and over 30 years of experience in the field of aquatic ecology in hand, we requested an appointment to speak with the Breezes management team to discuss the reef condition and what can be done to educate guests and staff. Dive centre staff are among the worst offenders when it comes to feeding the fish which is why we refuse to partake in any dives, not even the free dive we are entitled to as part of the all-inclusive package. The reef, which we believe to be the crowning jewel of the Jibacoa resorts, can and must be preserved. To our surprise, we were granted a meeting and welcomed by top management. They listened politely. We were optimistic going into the meeting because several years ago, we had pleaded with management to find a way to ask guests not to step on or touch the coral. There is now a sheet in the guest information folder found on the desk in each room specifically informing guests in this matter. Unfortunately, many guests never bother to look at the contents of the folder.

We have always felt that if you want to offer suggestions, you have to be prepared to follow them up with deeds.No point in “talking the talk” if you aren't willing to “walk the walk”! With the blessing of Breezes management, we are in the process of preparing a multi-lingual information sheet, specifically about why guests shouldn't be feeding the fish, and some brief educational information about reef ecology. We have requested that this information be presented by all of the vacation reps at the welcome briefing, that Breezes staff (especially in watersports!) be educated in reef preservation and that staff also discourage guests from taking bread and bananas from the buffet. We can hardly wait to read future resort reviews indicating that our efforts have come to fruitition! We were pleasantly surprised to have a bottle of rum, along with the personal note of thanks from the Breezes general manager, delivered to our room a few hours after the meeting.

So what can YOU do to help? We ask only a small favour of all guests. Please don't feed the fish and if you see another guest entering the water with bread or a banana in hand, kindly inform them that this practice is only contributing directly to the degradation of the reef. During our visitor we politely educated about a dozen snorkelers, who did in fact leave their bananas on the beach, and I was soooo pleased to witness one of the newly educated snorkelers, educating a few others. Education is the key!

There are also an alarming number of lion fish being spotted on the reef in the Jibacoa area. These fish are poisonous and a non-native, invasive species. You'll find some more information at the following link:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionfish
We understand that several years ago, lion fish were accidentally released by a Florida aquarium shop and they have multiplied rapidly in Caribbean waters which is why they are seen so frequently. If you do spot any lion fish while snorkeling, please report the sighting to:- http://www.reef.org/programs/exotic/lionfish. And finally, for those who would like to identify those beautiful fish they see while out snorkeling, here's a reference to the most common Caribbean fish species:- http://www.reef.org/resources/galleries/caribbean . Happy & safe snorkeling!!!

Final Thoughts:
Much as we love the Breezes Jibacoa resort, it's changed a lot!

For many guests, the amenities and activities offered at Breezes are just the “right” ticket and necessary ingredients/requirements for their vacation enjoyment. There's a good reason for such a high percentage of returning guests and I don't honestly think that the offer of a free week after 5 stays at Breezes is the only reason people return.

We like a more quiet and casual beach vacation. The Cameleon Villas Jibacoa (CVJ) resort next door to Breezes is therefore probably more suited to our personalities. CVJ reminds us of what Breezes was like in the early years, but due to a lack of amenities/activities, the resort is not suited to all vacationers. Visiting our Cuban contacts and snorkeling to our hearts content- weather permitting of course- can be accomplished by staying at either resort.

We love Cuba, especially the Jibacoa area and will continue to vacation there, but whether our next trip will be back to the Breezes or Cameleon remains to be seen.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Susan 
Ontario
December 2008
This is our sixth time to this resort, so as you can tell we love to be here.

Since this was our sixth time, with this chain, you get one week free. What we did was pay for one week, and then add our free week to it. Now this isn't something that you can book on your own, and we had to 'give our first born' to get the free week, but we did get it. You need to have a fax letter proving that you indeed get a free week, and need to fax this letter then on to the travel agent. They in turn call Cuba to again prove this correct. Then the tour operator is called and see if they will have room for you to come back the second week. When all that is arranged, then a call to Cuba again is made to finally book that week. It is a long drawn out process, but stick with it, it is worth it. About a week later we were told that we were good to go.

We booked the Italian restaurant right away and left out the Cuban one. We talked to several people, and again, the Cuban restaurant did not get good reviews.

They have changed seafood night to Wednesdays, it is not Thursdays anymore.

We only did one tour and arranged it ourselves. We di

d a tour to Havana and it was great. A walking tour, and our guide was very knowledgeable about his city. We were able to dive 5 times during the 2 weeks there. The diving is pretty good here, not a lot of large fishes, but schools of smaller ones. Lots of eels, lobsters, and 2 dive spots we had some good size groupers. The coral is pretty good, but in some spots damaged. The dive masters try hard to make sure you see things, but don't expect long winded dive briefs.

One thing to be careful of, Portuguese man of war jelly fish. It had been calm several days and green flag out, and I went snorkeling. I didn't see the jelly fish, but got badly stung by them. The doctor banned me from diving for 2 days, so just be forewarned. It wouldn't hurt to take out the kayak and just make a sweep of the area to see if any are around. In this area from Nov-Jan. they blow in.

Also, as people have said before, count your money, after changing to CUC. They like to count your bills in $3 and a few people got scammed. It wouldn't hurt to bring a calulator or paper and pen to sum up all the denominations that they give you. At the airport it is common, and even at the resort there was some problems.

We didn't go on the moped tours, but everyone we talked to enjoyed themselves.

We didn't go to any of the shows. After diving or walking for the afternoon, we didn't feel like going.

We were disappointed though with the piano bar. They actually had a Canadian playing the one week we were there. More of a lounge lizard feel to the place. Just not my taste. The 7 year old rum was to be had for a few days, and then nothing for the rest of the time. They told you they were giving you 7 year old, but the bottle label attested to the reserve. Something small, but annoying just the same.

I lost my room key after the jelly fish problem, but was never charged for it. It did take 2 days to get a replacement, but that wasn't a problem for us.

If you need something plugged in or charged, most rooms have a reducer thingy from 220v to 120v, BUT it took time to find a plug to fit from the reducer to my battery charger. If you have bought a travel unit with the different plugs, bring it with you, can't hurt.

We really like this resort and would recommend this place in a heart beat.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Mark & Janice 

November 2008
We make our home in Ontario, Canada. We have travelled approx 12 times to Mexico, Cuba and Dominican Republic. All to 4 & 5 star all inclusive resorts.

Arrival and Flight: November 15 via Air Transat. Flight was perfect, spot on time. Only fault was it was an early morning departure from Toronto. Don't mind arriving in Cuba early in the afternoon, but very much dislike the departure in 7 days @ 7:00 a.m.

Rooms: Spotless, spacious and facing the Atlantic. Room was well appointed, with the exception of the mini bar. You are allotted up to two small bottles of water/day, and this hotel does not include cervasa in their rooms. If you want beer, it is off to the bar with you. Used the TV enough to remind me that I wasn't there to watch TV. Channel selection is a little meagre.

Lost room key = 15 pesos (CUC)
Lost towel = 15 pesos (CUC)
Lost safe key = 55 pesos (CUC)

Restaurants: The food for Cuba was very good, with service from the staff very very good. There should be no reason why anyone goes hungry here. Usually a generous choice and very well prepared. Table wines were generally good to very good. Nelson commands the omelette bar in the morning, and if you can find the corner of the buffet in the evening where Tony is to be your host, you will be well and graciously looked after.

Bars: Numerous and plentiful. The week started out with most having 7 year old rum available but by weeks end, the bartenders were apologizing that they had none left. Shouldn't really run out of rum in Cuba, and it wasn't my fault...entirely.

Beach and Pools: Shore line was inundated with Portuguese-Man-of-War all week. Numerous attempts to clean up the shoreline, but to no avail. On shore breezes brought a never ending supply. Not a pool type person. With the red flags up for the duration of our stay, I was unable to satisfy my interest in marine fishes with snorkelling among the reefs just off shore. Man-of-War are not uncommon here at this time of year. Remember to pack antihistamine, as after the pain comes several days of itching, which can be eased apparently with an antihistamine.

Grounds: Very tidy, mature and well groomed. The upholstered chairs outside are kept warm with numerous feral cats curled up on them. I am very much a cat person, but these kitties are not for petting.

Activities and Entertainment: We did not attend any of the evening performances at the resort, but did participate in a scooter ride into Santa Cruz del Norte. Marvellous way to spend 19 pesos. Tour guide was very informative and very patient, certainly never felt rushed. Used the trip to drop off a case of medical aide for the Santa Cruz hospital. This sent by Not Just Tourists, based in Toronto. My role was to satisfy myself that the suitcase contained medical supplies, then carry it as part of our luggage. A very easy way for us to perhaps help out a bit.

Tours: Overnight to Havana was a trip which we had planned for from the start. We were not disappointed. Cost, including a trip to Tropicana was 155 CUC ea. This includes dinner, following morning breakfast and lunch. The trip is not all inclusive. Meals included one drink of your choice. If you wanted water and a beer, that was two drinks, and you were charged accordingly. We checked in to very nice rooms at the Panorama Hotel. The trip to Tropicana was amazing. A very professional stage show indeed. Each table of 4 gets a bottle of rum, cola and ice. Assembly is up to you. The recipe is relatively straight forward. Equal parts of cola to rum, bit of ice and you are good to go. Work, work, work. Separated from the tour next a.m. for a quick trip to the fort on our own with Kevin...via taxi. Very much worth the 4 peso (CUC) taxi fare from the market, plus 5 peso (CUC) admission to the 450 year old fort. Next time, I will hire a guide and learn more of the fort.

Departure and Check Out: Left for the airport @ 7:00ish (Cuban time) Saturday a.m. This is 1/2 hour before the restaurant opens for breakfast. This essentially makes this a 6 day vacation.

Conclusion: Sadly, my memories of this trip are very much coloured by the fact that of the 4 times I changed money, I was cheated three of the four times. This is accomplished by confusing the count with a never ending supply of three peso bills, or blatantly deducting 10 pesos from the total entered into the till during the exchange, so the total you receive appears correct based on a cursory examination of the receipt. Only when I inquired what the "minus 10 pesos" meant, did 10 pesos magically appear on the table, and then suddenly no one knew any English. This creative arithmetic happened; twice at the airport, once on arrival from CAD to CUC and again at the airport on departure, from CUC's back to CAD. The third time was at the resort itself. When I got out a piece of paper and started totalling the pile of 20, 10, 5, 3 and 1 pesos, mysteriously, out came a missing 6 pesos...so sorry senor. When changing your money, calculate ahead of time what you are to get, then count it yourself. If we return, I will decline the 3 peso bills. Makes it easier for me to count my money. Also, be reminded that you are assessed a whopping 11.5% penalty on your credit card purchases, based on USD.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Garnett/Denise 
Ottawa, Canada
November 2008
Food:
Not a bad resort Buffett. Hurricanes have limited fruit/vegetable growth on the island and that was a little disappointing. Great Lobster night... real big prawn type lobsters cut in half and then grilled. Turkey/pork and even beef (rare in Cuba) were all of decent quality. Vegetable selection poor , however. Bread was out of this world... and even salted butter ( A rarity in the Caribbean). Cheese, bacon and egg dishes were bountiful but repetitive.

Entertainement/Tours:
Shows were a little amateurish but enjoyable just the same. Played "sand hockey" and lost most of the time . Magic Show pretty good. Hiking Tour/Daily Walks free and good excercise. Colonial Tour to Havanna (51 C Pesos) is well worth it. Hotel well situated for Hvanna related trips including the Tropicana Night Club.
Disco sort of sucked but this hotel has an older clientele ... some having gone back 11 times ... kinda hard to believe.

Rooms/Pool/Beach:
Very clean, spacious rooms... no musty smell at all. Bottled water was not left daily and we found ourselves having to get bars to refill bottles (a little annoying).TV had 4 Canadian Channels so kept abreast of local news and we never missed a hockey score...AMAZING!! Great Maid Service. Adult only Resort. Only one big pool but well maintained with lots of lounges. Beach is not real long but shaded and has a natural Coral Reef... Great snorkling but Man of War Jelly Fish were bad ( hurricanes have driven them to shore). Beach furniture old and not very well padded.

Drinks/Bars:
Could get Canadian Club Rye, Jamison's Irish whiskey, Becks/Heineken beer and Mexican Tequila , French Pernod if requested as well as local brands in Lobby and Piano Bar. Beach "Bar/Grill" was pretty close to washrooms and served quick snacks.

A la Carte Restaurants:
Cuban was so/so... but Italian was great by Cuba standards. Both offered imported wines from Argentina and Spain. Wine in the buffet restaurant was Argentinian and actually much better than in most Caribbean buffet dining areas. Spanish/Irish Coffees were available with dinner and in all bars. Expresso/Cappucino coffee makers were in 3 locations. Wasrooms were placed in kinda weird places but the exercise (if timed well) was a plus. Restaurants are all in the main lobby area of Resort but easily accessible from any of the 15 odd buildings on Resort property.

Overall:
Cuba has the cleanest and most friendly people in the whole Caribbean. Janique, our sister in law, had given us a whole suitcase full of girls clothing. You should have seen the maids tell Denise the next morning about how their girls modeled the new clothes.

In one museum, Denise gave a purse to a very helpful young lady and we asked her to distribute the kids jewelry that was inside to her fellow staff. We have a great picture of five ladies sitting on a window sill , splitting up the riches for their daughters... PRICELESS. We distributed clothing to locals and received many hugs and kisses in return. Some Albertans actually buy bicycles unassembled , or take used ones apart and ship then down to distribute to locals. It was not uncommon for frequent patrons to be invited to the homes of staff. Cubans are a proud people. Surprisingly, very patriotic. This year the 2,000,000th tourist visited Cuba and this was announced to all resorts as a major economic goal achieved by Cuban Tourism.

Trips/Tours:
We visited Havanna for a day.. The Florid"ta" Bar (Hemingway's resting place), Revolution Square, The new and old House of The Republique, Che Rivera's shrine, Romeo/Juliette Cigar Factory, Havanna Club Rum Distillery plus a couple oh hours in downtown Cuba viewing the architecture, old Mobster Areas (Lucy Luciano's Place) etc. .. AND THOSE FABULOUS OLD CARS...saw a 56 Studebaker convertible, numerous 51/52 Chev's/Pontiac's, 57 Chevies are still a favorite of the Cubans...THEY CALL THEM HYBRIDS... not many parts are original and all cars have many parts from competitive models and car makers.

One more unique landmark is a hotel we found In Havana "HOTEL LOS FRAILES" which has all it's staff dressed as monks and nuns, and has an operative Chapel. This hotel reportadly makes the best "Mojitos" in "Habana" This experience plus a visit to "Romeo/Julliet" Cigar Factory and "Havana Club" Rum Factory are musts for first time Cuban visitors to Havanna Area.

Over all... A pretty good trip to an older, established 4 star resort. Canadian money is exchanged on site.. a little punitive, but no real alternative. Front Desk staff very efficent.. no problems not addressed promptly. We visit Cuba again in February, but this time the Cayo Coca region which is hurricanre prone in November time frame.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
escapeartist 

November 2008
My husband and I stayed at the Superclubs Breezes Jibacoa from Oct. 28-Nov. 6th. We arrived at the hotel around 11 p.m. and after a quick and easy check in were taken to our room. The room was spacious, well furnished and very clean. The next morning, we opened our drapes to see the most beautiful mountain, with turkey vultures soaring above it. It looked like something out of Jurassic Park. The resort is fairly small, only 200 something rooms, and is nestled at the base of the unnamed mountain facing the beach in a bay, with a coral reef within swimming distance. There is a nicely appointed lobby, with a 24 hour bar and snacks set out for late arrivals. The buffet served a good choice of food, with lots of meat, fish, veggies and fruit always available. During our time there we had two Seafood nights with lobster (!), an International night with turkey, roast beef, Cuban and Mexican nights and a beach BBQ. There was also a beach snack bar with hamburgers hot dogs and chicken. Two a la carte restaurants – one Italian and one Cuban. The Italian was good, with filet mignon, but we passed on the Cuban restaurant. On Halloween a man hid in a box under a soup tureen, and when the lid was lifted everybody jumped at the sight of his painted face smiling and talking. Lots of fun!

The pool is large and clean with two Jacuzzis, but at our time there the pool was freezing and the ocean was much warmer. However, this year there was a problem with Portuguese Man’o War jellyfish. November is usually when they appear, but this year there were many more than usual, and the red flag was up at the beach for quite a few days of our stay. The jellyfish were relatively small, but one woman got badly stung when she was snorkeling near the shore and ran into a bunch of them. A trip to the infirmary was in order as was a shot of Benadryl (remember to always pack antihistamine when you are in another country), and the woman was OK by the second day but still sore. I found the best way to snorkel was to take a paddleboat out to the reef and jump off there. Yes the beach can be rocky in places, but if you read the reviews you knew to take water shoes.

We took a private trip to Havana with another couple (hello Willy and Laura!) and our driver was very informative, nice and spoke good English. Old Havana is fantastic, and reminded me of a cross between Paris and Rome with beautiful architecture everywhere and a carnival like atmosphere. We visited a perfume museum, coffee factory, fan store, lots of museums and went up to the rooftop bar in the hotel where Hemingway stayed on and off for 7 years – best mojitos in town. Had lunch in a Cuban restaurant (translated as the Working Man’s Restaurant, where we had the seafood special with lobster, calamari shrimp and paella. Lovely! On to the market, however I am finding that in Cuba all the markets sell pretty much exactly the same souvenirs, clothing etc. On our way back to the hotel it poured, and we stopped at a roadside bar where we had the best, freshest pina coladas ever. The hotel is only one hour from Havana, and a trip to the city is really not to be missed.

During our stay we had a group of young singles come in. Unfortunately, it was obvious that some of the lads were out of control, and had no idea how to behave. I think a couple of them were booted out because by day three some were missing! Please kids, when you travel, don’t act like idiots - you spoil it for the rest of us. All in all, my husband and I loved this hotel. For those that moan about lack of pure luxury, remember you are in Cuba and there are shortages throughout the country due to recent hurricanes. If you are looking for 6 star service, go to another island and pay big bucks. I highly recommend this resort and would go back in a minute.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Carolyn & Ted (mommaroach)  

November 2008
Just back from Superclubs Breezes Jibacoa. We left Toronto on October 25/08, flying CanJet with Conquest Holidays.
Flight was fine and on time..no wait at the airport in Varadero. No wait for the bus to the hotel,arrived about 11 am, hotel check-in was quick as well. However our room wasn't ready, probably not till 3 pm..bummer.
However the tour rep was in the lobby and kept an eye on everyone's bags. Suggested we wander and have some lunch. So we changed into shorts etc. headed down to check out the beach, talked to the guys at the dive shop, sat and had a few drinks, wandered back to the lobby, had lunch at the buffet. Checked again at the front desk , and our room was ready!!! at 1:30!!

Room was nice, 2nd floor as requested , at the end of building 16..nice and quiet, very clean.

The beach is the main reason we decided to return to the Jibabcoa, we love to snorkel and Hubby scuba-dives, however we had a cold front blow in on Monday that stayed the majority of the week, so we could only enjoy the ocean Saturday afternoon and Sunday. It was red-flagged the rest of the week. However we braved the wind and still enjoyed sitting on the beach..even in the rain..LOL

The fact that we still had a wonderful holiday speaks volumes for this resort. The staff and fellow guests are what makes this place. Everyone is so friendly, very laid-back. you can't help but have a good time. We met soo many nice people from parts of Canada and the UK. We did have a 'Debbie's meet and greet' in the piano bar..was good to put some faces to the names...really enjoyed meeting all of you!! And Halloween was a blast too, wishing I had brought more of a costume.

This was our 2nd trip here, but we have been recommending the Jibabcoa to friends and family since our first visit a couple years ago. They also had memorable holidays here. I can see why guests come back time and again!
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
eeeefarm 
Ontario
October 2008
Getting there: Travelled with Conquest Vacations. Departed 6:20 a.m., so arrived in daylight. I prefer this when going to a new location. My first flight on Canjet, and I was pleasantly surprised. More room than some of the other carriers, and even a decent snack en route. (fruit, yogurt, cheese & crackers, muffin) There is no inflight movie, no great loss IMHO. At Varadero Airport I discovered I was the only one from my flight going to Jibacoa, so they sent me in a taxi.....bonus!

Reception & Room: No lineup checking in. I received a 2nd floor room in a decent location. No help with the bags, though. (perhaps if I had waited longer.....too impatient to get to the beach!) The room was nicely appointed and clean. I wasn't crazy about the shared balcony....no barrier between my side and the next unit. Air conditioner worked well, if slightly noisy. That was actually a good thing at night, since there is some transference of sound between the units. Turning on the air tended to mask it effectively. There is lots of closet space and drawers, also a safe, a fridge, and of course a T.V. The room requires your key to lock it.....both from the inside and the outside. Advantage: you won't lock yourself out by closing the door. Disadvantage: you won't lock other people out by closing the door. Leaving the key in the lock after you have secured it avoids hunting for it when you wish to leave.

Beach: The reason I came! I've been here before, next door at Cameleon Villas, and I know the snorkelling is fabulous. With perfectly calm weather most of my week, I had ample opportunity to explore all of the reef. Green flags every day. More cloud than I would have liked, but you can't have everything. Most days it would rain in the late afternoon, but by then I was tired and didn't mind. A couple of days were windy enough to sail, my other preferred activity. This is not a swimmer's beach.....rocks and reef make the footing difficult without water shoes.....but it is a snorkeller's paradise! There are lots of chairs and palapas on the beach. Also trees. No problem finding a shady place to sit.

Pool: Looked nice. I never used it.

Grounds: Nicely kept and showing little sign of Hurricane Ike.

Restaurants: The buffet was fine, probably an average to better than average four star. Some reduction in variety due to the recent hurricane.....I was disappointed to find few tomatoes, as they are so good in Cuba. I had no problem getting lots to eat, although I do wish they would have the pasta bar at night instead of at lunch! I tried both a la cartes and found the Italian very good. The Cuban was not so much to my taste. Both are air conditioned, but the buffet is not. It also has an outdoor section where unfortunately people smoke....and the smoke tends to drift in through open doors and windows. The indoor portion is non smoking, but allowing smoking outdoors negates this if you sit close to the windows.

Bars: The beach bar and snack bar are currently being run out of building three. However, the new beach bar is nearing completion and should be up and running shortly. At noon there are burgers, hot dogs and chicken available, also french fries. There is a small area with chairs set up, but it usually fills up quickly. Table service is available if you are lucky enough to get a table! The piano bar is something I was looking forward to.....however, the pianist doesn't arrive until fairly late (after 8:30 the nights I checked) and he plays jazz, not my favourite style, so I didn't end up spending much time there. I never tried the pool bar. The lobby bar seems fine and is often busy. There is a non smoking area around it. I don't do mixed drinks much, so cannot comment on that.

Activities: Some things, like the hike up the hill, have been curtailed as there has been a lot of rain and the hillside is muddy and slippery. They were doing the customary walk in the afternoon. I was at the beach much of the day, and with the frequent late day rain, I didn't partake of the activities other than sailing and snorkelling.

Tours: Didn't bother with any this trip, but the usual tours appeared to be available.

Entertainment: There are nightly shows which many guests found enjoyable. I was tired by the end of the day, and as I'm an early riser I didn't attend.

Staff: Attentive, pleasant, very nice people. I have no complaints about service.

Other guests: Other than Canadians from all over, most guests seemed to be from England. There were also some Germans and a few Cubans. A great many were multi repeaters. This is a very popular resort that people seem to get addicted to and return again and again. Quite a few were middle aged or older, and many were friends with staff members.

Internet: Three computers available, usually no waiting. Four CUCs for 30 minutes, which was enough time for me to send and received email every day for the week. Internet here is fast for Cuba. The service was only interrupted once during the week, after a thunderstorm. It was up and running again the next day.

Departure: Again by taxi, this time with a driver who thought he was Mario Andretti! A very fast trip to the airport! Flight back uneventful.

Miscellaneous: Dogs and cats are numerous and often begging for food, which unfortunately is offered to them by guests. They are becoming a nuisance and of course they are also multiplying. A Cuban staff member was attempting to catch some of the dogs but was unsuccessful while I was there. I am sure these strays will meet with an unpleasant fate when they are caught. Do them a favour and don't feed them. They will likely go elsewhere if they aren't fed, which should improve their chances for a longer life!

Conclusion: This is a very nice four star hotel with a fabulous location for snorkellers or for people wanting to visit Havana. I enjoyed my week here and would recommend this resort.

Photos: http://s11.photobucket.com/albums/a179/eeeefarm/Breezes%20Jibacoa/
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Brianne 

September 2008
My husband and I just returned from this resort on Saturday September 20. We stayed for 7 days for our "honeymoon" which was much delayed after getting married at the Iberostar Varadero in May.

The resort is approximately 45 minutes from the airport. Check in was very quick. We were upgraded from room 2222 to room 1197 ( an ocean view room ) when I advised that we were on our honeymoon. We had to provide a copy of the marriage certificate of course. Room was very nice and clean and the maid did a great job of cleaning it every day.

I think this resort is one of the best laid-out resorts I have ever been to. It really makes good use of the space it has. We loved the piano bar but didn't discover it until we had been there quite a few days.The main buffet is good as are both a la cartes. I really liked to sit on the balconey and look out over the gardens at meal time. We liked that they really tried to do something different every night, for example Monday night is Mexican night and it was really good. Another night was Seafood, they served lobster and it was fantastic. We really enjoyed Martinos (the italian) and the white wine from Spain was delicious. The beach bar is in the process of being rebuilt so for now, they are making do using two ocean view rooms. Service at the main restaurant was fine, sometimes a little slow but then the servers have really large areas to cover so they are doing their best. We never felt that we had to tip but we do tip quite a lot. I don't understand why people find it so hard to tip. I know you pay sometimes quite a bit for your trip, but a peso or two for this people really helps them out.

The beach is definitely not the powder sand like the Varadero Beach but hey, it's still a beach in Cuba. The snorkelling is fantastic, if you go out far enough you see the beautiful coloured reefs and colourful fish. The first day we arrived was a red flag day and the water was really churned up but the rest of the week, the water was super clear and calm. Really beautiful colours.

The pool was good but we only spent our last day at the pool. It was amazing to lounge in the pool and then look up and see the beautiful mountain view behind you.

The resort is really not a party resort and was a great place for a honeymoon or to unwind from everyday life. I will be honest, we only watched one show because we prefer to get up early and enjoy the day. The show we watched had band singing and dancers dressed in early Cuban attire. It was ok. We don't really get involved in any of the entertainment as we enjoy just people watching or reading.

The only excursion we did was the Bellamar Caves and City of Matanzas. We went to a beautiful Church in the city of Mantazas and then off to the caves. The caves were so amazing, not your typical tourist attraction and so they are still very "Cuban". It was very cool in the caves but very humid there (approx 98 to 100% humidity). The walk in the caves goes pretty deep and the walk back up the stairs is very steep. After the caves, We went to the Museo Farmacéutico (the Pharmacy Museum) which was really interesting. After this, we went into the countryside to a restaurant called El Rancho and had a really nice lunch and then back to the resort.

We were scheduled to leave on Saturday at 6:45 pm. Check out time is 12 pm and we requested a late check out and the front desk was kind enough to let us have our room until 6 pm which meant we really go to enjoy our last day. The resort really is special and we met many people there who are repeat guests including one gentleman who is staying at the resort while he works in Cuba. He's been there off and on for over a year and a half. One lady we met was on her seventh stay and another her fourth. I can understand why.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Alana 
Vancouver
September 2008
FEB/MARCH 2008
My husband and I flew out with two other friends from Vancouver with Signature Vacations. We decided to get married in Cuba and chose this resort by the reviews on this site. ? The flight was wonderful with no delays whatsoever. The resort is a hour from the Varadero Aiport so we're driven there by charter and ended up arriving at about 4 in the morning. ?

ROOMS
The rooms were immaculate. ?We were upgraded from a garden suite to the ocean/honeymoon suite which was very nice and about a 30 second walk from the beach. ?The maids were very efficient and always did a wonderful job of cleaning and left swans made out of towels on our bed.

BEACH
The beach was amazing. ?The reef was so close to the shore. ?We did have a few red and yellow flag days so were not able to snorkel and swim all of the 2 weeks that we were there, so used the pool on those days. ?We had no problems with jelly fish but was stung by something while I was out in the water which was nothing too serious, just developed a rash on my back for an hour. ?No problems after that.
The weather was perfect. ?There were some days that were windy, and rained the day before we left.?
We got married on February 28th and were scheduled for a beach wedding. ?Our coordinator, Sara, was so wonderful! I think I has the most stress free wedding in history! ?It was very windy that day, so we decided to get married in the gazebo which was just as amazing and then had photos at the beach wedding site.
She arranged everything from flowers, dinner, cake you name it. ?It was such a wonderful day. ?There were no other weddings that day or for a week there after, so really felt special.

RESORT
The resort itself was very well maintained. ?The lawns were beautifully manicured. ?There are a few stray dogs and cats that live on the grounds and was very nice to have them around. ?We would keep some of our dinner scraps and feed them as they are hungry because they are strays. The nightly entertainment was great, and ?had something different every night.

FOOD
Was great. ?They had a plethora of choices and had theme nights everyday of the week for dinner...Loved Mexican night! ?They also had Cuban night with fresh lobster..all you can eat.
Breakfast buffet was always the same and I really like cereal which they didn't have a lot of and the milk was warm the one day that I tried it, but other than that I have no complaints.

I would definately come back to this resort. ?I am glad that we chose to stay here and not in Varadero as it is more tourist based and populated.
I couldn't imagine having my wedding anywhere else but here and am so glad that my husband and I decided to go there. ?Our friends also really enjoyed it.

I would recommend this resort to anyone who is getting married or just wanting a really nice, quiet and relaxing vacation.
I also recommend doing the catamaran tour while you are there.
Great trip, can't wait to go back!
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Maureen 

May 2008
Well contrary to popular opinion about food in Cuba,the food at the resort was amazing. We weren't able to sample the sea that often as it was red flag day nearly every day but the weather was sunny and dry, no humidity or mosquitos in April so I'd recommend that as a time of year to go. I didn't like the tours that much because the tour guides were quite young an inexperienced and we got hassled to death by vendors as a result, but the people were friendly, the resort was ace and the food was amazing. I will be going back as soon as I save enough money.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Tom and Lianne 
Niagara Region, Canada
April 2008
Return visit was great- we'll definitely do a third!!!!

We spent a marvelous week (again) at Breezes Jibacoa from March 25 to April 5 and can’t wait to go back a third time! Everything was a positive experience from start to finish! Again, we had a spotless second level ocean front room. The view was a pleasure to wake up to every morning and the balcony was a perfect quiet place to relax in peace, quiet and shade- or watch the stars and listen to the surf at night. All of the staff, from the restaurant, front desk, room service, bar tenders, to the groundskeepers were very friendly, polite, and professional. Truly service with a smile!!

Food: My wife and I both have pretty high standards as far as food goes and found the whole eating experience very pleasurable. The food in the three main restaurants (the buffet, plus Mario’s Italian and La Taberna Cuban à la carte) was terrific in all respects. The beach bar serves a terrific lunch (grilled fish, chicken, pizza and hamburgers) as well. Thursday is “seafood night” dinner at the buffet. I was amazed at how the kitchen staff could cook so many lobster tails at once and not have them go “rubbery”. Even if you are a strict vegetarian, there is a great variety of cuisine. We spoke with a couple of vegetarians who were very satisfied! There really is something for everyone! Give the Cuban “Soroa” wine a try at La Taberna. Both red (blend of Cabernet and Merlot) and white (blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc) are quite enjoyable!

I strongly suspect that those persons who have written negative things about the food are themselves negative closed-minded types who aren’t happy with most things they eat!

The water at the resort is treated with modern high-tech equipment and is safe to drink right out of the tap (We did regularly the last two visits with no problems), so eating the fresh fruits and vegetables washed in it is not an issue, unlike other resorts

Activities: If you want to just rest and relax, you can do so in peace and quiet. If you wish to keep active, you can do so both on and off the property. A reef just a few yards off shore provides tremendous snorkeling. A few pieces of bananas or bread will attract plenty of colourful fish- be sure to bring a camera! There are organized walks of the “mountain” (actually a big hill), from where you will see the same breathtaking view of the resort and ocean that is pictured in travel brochures. If you are not inclined to climb a steep trail, you can reach the same location on a more gradual well-paved road, strolling by farms, where genuinely friendly locals will greet you. The beach is not quite as spectacular as you’d find in some other famous "beach" destinations such as Varadero or Cayo Coco and does not “go on forever”, but the fact that there is great snorkeling right off shore and many trails and roads to walk more than makes up for it. It is still a great beach! We’ve never experienced a shortage of chairs/lounges on the beach and if you want to get out of the sun, there are many palm-leaf roofed palapas right there for shade. There are many shady shelters by the poolside, too. Other activities include cycling, volleyball (beach and pool), beach hockey, tennis, dance and Spanish lessons. Scuba diving (including a free lesson), catamarans and kayaks are there as well.

Guided scooter tours are available for eighteen CUC per scooter. For three hours, it is a tremendous way to see the surrounding areas, which include beaches and picturesque small towns. The region has no shortage of historically and otherwise significant points. Evening entertainment (9:30 to 10:30 p.m.) ranges from Cuban music to a fashion show. Surfside massages are available for a reasonable charge from a highly qualified lady at the beach hut and there is a good workout facility as well.

Don’t miss the chance to go to Havana, which is less than an hour away. Some went by tour bus and we went by taxi, which cost 90 CUC total for six hours (one hour with some scenic side trips each way and four hours in the city). Highlights included Old Havana, the market, malecon, Revolutionary Square, Floridita bar and the Cristóbal Colón Cemetery, which is so large and has so many massive monuments, it’s like a town in itself. We easily could have spent a couple of days in the city, but because we were in Cuba for only a week, there just wasn’t enough time. We did not take in the Tropicana show, but those who did said they’d enjoyed it very much.

This resort is not a loud “party place”, but it still has a lively energetic atmosphere. I would guess that the average guest would be in their mid forties. Late in the evening, it quiets down quite a bit.

Otherwise: Vivian at the cigar shop is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to tobaccos and there is a huge variety in her walk-in humidor. Mimi rolls great cigars right in the shop as well. Both ladies are fun and interesting to talk with. I found cigars, coffee and rum to be less expensive there than at the airport.

I recommend that you bring a thermal plastic cup or mug or cup for getting drinks at the beach and pool bars. Otherwise, you are served drinks in small disposable plastic cups. From an environmental standpoint, I invite you to think about the amount of plastic waste that produces. We are talking about a relatively small (compared with some) resort of approximately 240 rooms. If everyone there (at two persons per room) in one day used just six plastic cups each, it would amount to 2880 cups per day, or 1051200 (one million, fifty one thousand and two hundred) cups per year. Pretty alarming, when you consider that they are derived from petroleum and end up in a landfill site after only just one use!

As so many others and I have indicated, the snorkeling at the resort is just great. The reef is so close by and is home to so much beautiful marine life. I was so disgusted though, with some snorkelers who would get out there and decide to have a rest by actually standing on the coral. If you go out there, please DO NOT STAND ON OR TOUCH THE CORAL- IT IS A LIVING CREATURE! If it dies from constant misuse, all of the creatures that depend on it will go with it, as will the pleasure it provides the visitors.

Go and enjoy- we did a second time and will again, definitely!!!
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Sandy 

April 2008
Having just returned from Breezes Jibacoa and would like to share the following review of this property.

The location of this property is 1 hour from Varadero and 1 Hour from Havana being at the half way point. For this reason we found it great for all tours and excursions offered.

Smaller resort 240 Rooms laid out in 18 - 2 storey buildings on beautifully landscaped grounds. Rooms either include one king bed or 2 3/4 beds that can comfortably be pushed together. Tastefully decorated, television and small table all with balconies. Never had any problems with shortage of hot water. Bathrooms with tub and shower clean. Mini fridge in rooms although only waterfront rooms were stocked with beer and water daily. Saying that water on resort can be drank right from tap, or they do sell water in gift store for 60cents a bottle. rooms that are not ocean front have fridges not stocked by housekeeping however was never a problem getting beer or water from any bar to take to our room. All rooms have safe and power adapters in room. Very Clean and well kept. Hotel was sold out during our week and never felt busy or crowded. Rating is a true 4 star for Cuba we were very pleasantly surprised with this resort.

It is adult family resort minimum age being 14 plus. Great for couples of all ages looking for a lower paced resort. Saying that there were many singles of middle age while we were at resort. Very safe and secure feeling within resort and on beach. Three weddings also took place during our week stay, 2 being on the beach and one being in the garden gazebo area.

Breezes Jibacoa has one buffet restaurant and two al a cartes as well as a beach grill. The food was good for Cuban standards in all restaurants, each night of seven consisting of a different theme.

Plenty to choose from in the buffet and something for all , from fish, chicken, pork, turkey, lobster to pasta cooked to order, pizza, veggies, soups, Panini grill for sandwiches at lunch to an omelette station for breakfast and eggs Benny. Always plenty of fruit. Salad bar was fresh, somewhat limited but good.

Martinos the Italian Al a Carte offered Red Snapper, Prawns, Pork tenderloin, Filet Mignon with 6 different pasta dishes. Soups and Salads and Great Deserts.

La Taberna the Cuban Al a Carte offered Tapas, soups salads with a choice of main dish of fish, chicken, pork, tenderloin

All Inclusive options include one night reservations at both al a carte restaurants.

Beach Grill has great hamburgers, Barbeque chicken, and pizzas made to order.

Must add Coffees at Jibacoa are wonderful their offering include regular, lattes, cappuccino, espresso, Americano and of course Spanish coffees.

Bars include: Lobby bar, Piano bar with premium liquors, Pool bar, Beach Bar, Tavern Bar and Night Club.

They advertise 24 hr snacks which consisted of a small assortment of sandwiches and fruit offered in the lobby bar.

Small menu for breakfast only room service.

Gym very up to date equipment located beach front, Aerobics daily. Yoga, free weights. Bicycles available, canoes, paddle boats, windsurfing, hobby craft sail, snorkel equipment all in very good shape. Scuba diving available at extra cost for those certified. Beach Volleyball, Tennis courts instruction and equipment included. . Games room in lobby with assortment of games as well as ping pong, fuse ball, pool table. Beach massage. Never a problem gaining access to any equipment. Golf was also included at Breezes varadero if you choose, however you provide the transportation 90.00 CUC by taxi. One pass for two per week.

Internet available upstairs of lobby 3 computers never a problem getting on line $ 8.00 for one hour.

Dress Code somewhat relaxed atmosphere for buffet. With al a carte requiring no shorts no jeans, no sneakers, no tank tops.

Very large and well maintained pool with cabanas. Pool has deep end.

Safes in room, key provided. Note lost key is 50.00 charge.

Towel cards provided. Never a problem getting. Turn towel cards in at checkout or 15.00 per towel charge.

There are three stores in resort with limited selection of snacks, water, beer, liquor, cigars and t-shirts with souvenirs. Open limited hours.

Beach very nice, Not Varadero but happily surprised. Great powder sand, Lots of huts and natural trees for shade. Only one other resort next door. Gran Caribe Villas Jibacoa, quite run down rated as a three star. We spoke to guests that were happy with what they received there. Can walk beach safely without rocks for about 1/2 hour one direction , We walked one hour to end and back. Local camping area at far end. But to rocky to walk past there. Snorkelling was good directly in front of resort we swam out approx 400 meters onto last reef and saw good assortment of fish. There are 2 reefs with weed beds in between. Can walk out without water shoes shallow for quite a distance.

Breezes standards are no tipping, the staff expected no tips, yet a few guests were tipping , It did not make any difference to service , Which was very good. Staff Friendly and very eager to please. Vivian the hotel manager was great to deal with and Mikta the Conquest Rep was exceptional. There were 3-4 tour operator reps on site daily from 9-4.

There is taxi available 24 hours a day it is 90.00 CUC to Havana and the same to Varadero. Moped Rentals available on site as well as car rentals. Doctor and nurse on site 24 hours, actually needed to visit for bad sunburn and very good English and service provided.

Remember Canadian dollars to Cuba. No bank cards and Credit cards were hard to use. The hotel had currency always on hand and exchanged at the going daily rate.

The hotel manager, Vivian also arranged for us to tour Breezes Bella Costa in Varadero and Breezes Varadero. My preference was Breezes Jibacoa by far. Anyone wanting info on the other two, Feel free to email me.

Would definitely recommend this resort. As a first time traveler to Cuba and a very fussy husband, We normally only stay in 5 star resorts. We would go back in a heartbeat.

The resort is closing for 3 weeks this June to do maintenance to their pool bar, beach bar and Jacuzzis. From appearances do not seem necessary.
smclary@travelonly.com
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Stephanie 
British Columbia, Canada
February 2008
This was our 3rd two week stay during the month of January at Breezes Jibacoa. Why do we return to Breezes Jibacoa when we have never done that with any other vacation spot we have visited? Simple; we have found a destination that fills all our requirements:



  • adults only


  • small, compared to the large resorts in Varadero


  • great reef for snorkeling and diving


  • clean, well kept, beautifully landscaped grounds<


  • well maintained accommodations with great views no matter which category you choose (garden, pool or ocean). You can’t beat those ocean views, though!


  • friendly, happy staff throughout the entire resort from security on the grounds through to the back offices.


  • close to Havana with easy access


  • great hiking/walking opportunities from the exhilarating morning hike to the view spot on the hill overlooking the resort to leisurely strolls on the beach or farm road. All offer great photo ops and the farm road is very safe to wander on and the farm folks very friendly. We even walked down it in the dark with no fears for our safety.


  • accommodations: we book Ocean view Tropical Suite. The suite is made up of 2 large rooms, 1 ½ bathrooms, closets in both rooms; a double balcony accessed by patio doors from both the living/dining room and bedroom and has 2 wooden chairs and table off the living room and 2 padded lounge chairs off the bedroom. Both rooms have full dressers with loads of room for clothing, a desk in the bedroom, cd player in the living room and a t.v. in both the living room and bedroom. The bathroom off the entryway contains a converter for our electrical appliances. The dining/kitchen area contains a glass topped table with 4 chairs, a fridge, sink and cupboard space upper and lower with a coffee maker, cups and saucers, wine glasses and water glasses, 6 large bottles of water, a complimentary bottle of red wine, and the fridge is stocked with juice, small bottles of water and sparkling water and cola. It is restocked, daily, as you use these items. The living room area contains a love seat, coffee table, side table, large arm chair and ottoman and 2 umbrellas in a stand by the patio doors. The suite is large, airy and bright and the views breathtaking. We would spend many hours on our lounge chairs reading, soaking up the views and people watching. Truly, you were a stone’s throw from the beach! We stayed in the ocean view rooms on our previous visits, until we upgraded, and the rooms are great but rather than having a fridge they have a mini fridge and a smaller converter, a couple of plastic chairs on the balcony with a table but the same incredible view. The suites are on the ends of the buildings, 2nd floor. The ocean views are between the suites with some people preferring ground floor and some 2nd floor. Our preference has always been 2nd floor.


  • As for dining, the buffet restaurant is large, airy, bright, well maintained with a patio area and lower area (dinner only) in the courtyard where you find the smokers (no smoking indoors anywhere on the resort). We have always found the food good and plentiful and get fed up with those who complain that “it’s not like at home”. Guess what, you are in a foreign country…what do you expect? The wait staff in all the restaurants are so friendly and you can easily strike up conversations with them. This resort has many employees who have been there since the resort opened and really enjoy their work and it shows in the general air of happiness throughout the resort.


  • The piano bar is a popular after dinner watering spot. Smokers can go out on the large balcony just off the bar. There is seating out there. The 24 hour lobby bar does a thriving business as people are arriving and leaving the resort at all hours of the day and night. You can get great cappuccinos at this bar. The Ranchon, on the beach, is popular for drinks and meals of chicken, fish, pizza and fries; all really tasty and the drinks aren’t bad, either! The other bar to check out is at the pool. I would recommend taking stainless steel coffee mugs with lids for your drinks. They keep your drinks cold and hold more than the little plastic glasses so you don’t go back as often and, if they tip over in the sand, your drink is still safe!


  • If the weather is inclement, the games room is very popular with a pool table and ping pong tables. There is a library of used books here, also. This room attracts people at night, also.


  • Upstairs, you can get your computer fix and communicate with the world in the Internet Café. You will have to purchase a card at reception to allow you to log onto the computers.


  • This resort is NOT for everyone. It is quiet, out of the way and if you want lots of variety and activities off resort you had best look at resorts in Varadero. This resort is perfect for escaping the world, kicking back and relaxing in a gorgeous setting with great snorkeling right off the beach. After the evening show ends, around 10:30 p.m., the resort is pretty quiet.


  • We are already planning our return to Breezes Jibacoa for January 2009. This is a very popular resort, with good reason, and fully booked through the high season so, if you are interested in this resort don’t wait around for last minute deals. You’ll be out of luck! Book early is my recommendation.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Janice 

February 2008
My husband and I stayed at Breezes Jibacoa from January 21-28, 2008. We flew Air Transat from Winnipeg - a four and a half hour flight and booked directly with Nolitours after researching prices on-line. We were one of the youngest couples (late 20s) at the resort during our stay as the demographic is more 40+.

I was not impressed with Air Transat at all. The plane was small, the 'breakfast' was frozen (bagel frozen solid, cream cheese frozen solid, orange juice frozen solid, yogourt frozen solid) and they had to hand out all the meals to see if they would have any left over before they would give us a thawed version. On the way back, the flight was delayed for six hours due to the crew spending too much time in the air the previous day.

It's not a terrible thing to spend another day in Cuba, but when you expect to be home at 6pm because you have to work the next day, the last thing you want to is arrive back in Winnipeg at 2 am. We were also not notified of the flight change (it was not in the binder the night before and all other passengers on our flight, minus the other two in our building, got messages under their doors on the morning of departure). We knew nothing until we spoke to several other people on the same flight who got the flyers under their doors, which started my day off on the wrong foot.

Breezes Jibacoa, on the other hand, was a serene place to spend a week away from the everyday. The weather wasn't ideal when we were there (no green flag days) but we still managed two days of snorkeling on yellow flags and saw many schools of fish on the reef just steps from the shore. The snorkeling was quite good and is a great feature of this resort.

The rooms/beds were average and dated, but big. We were in a pool view room and could see the ocean from our balcony, which was a nice bonus. The bathroom featured good water pressure and hot water, which is always a bonus.

The grounds are well kept and the facilities (bars, restaurants, pool, towel service, etc) are very, very clean. We ate lunch everyday at the beach bar, where there is fresh-to-order pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, fish, chicken and fries. Very tasty! The buffet food in the main building is decent (my husband loved the fresh omelettes and the lobster night - Thursday, while I loved the fresh pasta station and the fried ham and cheese sandwiches, which sound sick, but were oddly addicting). Martinos, the Italian restaurant, features great wine and very good food. The appetizers are mainly seafood based, which wasn't ideal for me, but my husband enjoyed them. We also enjoyed the other a la carte, which had an excellent selection of great desserts (and a better selection of appetizers).

The bartenders serve some strong drinks - not watered down at all - and are very, very friendly. Try the Spanish coffee after dinner. It's very popular and very tasty. My stomach didn't like the draft beer served in the lobby or at the beach, but bottled beer is available upstairs at the piano bar.

The entertainment team is fun and we played beach volleyball for a few hours with them one day. There was also a sand hockey game, which looked almost dangerous, and a few fellow Canucks moved the hockey nets to the basketball court the next day for some almost "street hockey." My husband played all morning in the hot sun -- a nice change from Winnipeg winter! We watched two 'shows' and they were fine. Better than some we've seen, worse than others.

Off resort, we did the day-long Havana Special tour ($101 CUC) which featured a night at the Tropicana. It makes for a long, long day. We had a bit of time between the tour and show at the old Hilton hotel in Havana, where we had a buffet supper and the buffet at Breezes Jibacoa was much, much better.

In all, it was a great trip away, but I will never fly Air Transat again (no matter how good the deal is). I highly recommend the resort for couples looking for a quiet vacation as there's not much for nightlife and it's a nice, small property perfect for some quality time away from the daily grind. We met couples who have gone year after year and love it, and can see why people return. We won't go back (not due to the resort or the country, but because we're always exploring new places) but recommend it for others.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Camille 

January 2008
At Breezes Jibacoa only 2 nights Jan 14 but will gladly return, much more laid back than Varadero, closer to Havana. Pool nice but cold. Beach area is fantastic, well-laid out with lots of shade areas - even trees! Music is not too loud, animation is low-key but there if you want it. Sand is terrific for an area with a reef - some rocks but lots of areas where you can walk right in w/o shoes.

The best part is being able to snorkel 30 feet off the shore - no tour needed, reef is shallow - great visibility, tons of beautiful fish. Try to swim out to the edge of the reef, it's very shallow, then all of a sudden it drops off 50 feet or so for a great vertical with lots of slots for fish to hide in. It was an awesome site (same place they take the dive tour) I was very saddened to see people walking around with their flippers on top of the coral. If you touch coral, you kill it, please be careful.

Buffet food is not great, we were not able to get into the restaurants. If you are only there a short time, try to email to see if you can reserve at the restaurants beforehand.

Staff really friendly, funny, and remembered things about us after only 1 day.

I was surprised when our travel agent (cuban) told us that Breezes includes pick up and drop off at Havana, Varadero, the airports... Perfect if you're going places, not with a package. The Breezes website doesn't say that. The agent was also able to get us in when it was listed as fully booked, at a better price too - check them out, they speak english and french (umbrellatravel.com).
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Ross 
Ottawa, Canada
December 2007
Flight
We flew SunWing direct from Ottawa to Varadero. The flight originated in Quebec City and was about half an hour late. Not too bad considering the weather. The service onboard was great. We pre-booked our seats and were allowed to book the emergency row seats; an excellent investment on a charter flight.

Bus to resort
The resort is an hour away from the Varadero airport, the bus ride was uneventful.

Reception
It was well organized; all the arrivals had an envelope waiting on the reception table with our room key, safe key, and beach towel cards. We had a cocktail in our hands before we even could say Hola. I’d read in some reviews of a front desk staff that was cold/unfriendly. They were very cordial with us at check-in, as well as when we changed money, and bought internet cards.

Room
We e-mailed the resort asking for a room on the second floor with a king-sized bed. We had booked a garden-view room, and we certainly lucked out. Our room was in building 16, the closest (non-ocean-view rooms) to the beach, we could see the ocean from our balcony and side window (we were the last room in the block). The rooms are spacious, have a mini-fridge, and small safe. The bathroom has a full bath and shower, as well as a hair dryer. The room also had an iron/board. The electrical power in the rooms is 220V, 60Hz (not sure why, 80% of the clientele are Canadian and the standard power in Cuba is 110V, 60Hz). The electrical sockets in the rooms are the standard North American outlets. The cleaning staff does a great job with the rooms. They were very friendly and appreciated the small gifts we left.

Restaurants
We understood why the food got such mixed reviews. Generally the breakfasts were quite good with a fairly good selection and good quality, especially Nelson at the omelette station. We ate all our lunches at the beach grill: choice of grilled fish, chicken, hamburger, or pizza. Suppers were a real mixed bag, some good, some not so good. The desserts were ok, they love their cakes, a bit too rich for me. We went to the a la carte restaurants; both were ok, much nicer than the buffet. The food was better and the service was fantastic. We liked both restaurants, but preferred the Italian one: Martino’s.

General
The grounds are beautiful: greenery and flowers everywhere. We only participated in one organized activity, my wife walked up to the top of the nearby hill to get some pictures of the resort. It was somewhat steep and strenuous going up and they walked down through a local farm; you should bring along a peso or two or a small gift for the farmer. We went to several of the evening shows. As many have mentioned, they are very amateurish, but with a few drinks most seemed to enjoy them. We did enjoy the one show with the two dogs doing tricks. The resort has a huge pool, but it is quite shallow throughout. We found all employees to be very friendly and tried very hard to speak English with us. We played pool ever night before supper, it was a lot of fun and the tables and cues were in good shape.

Beach
Like the food, I’m sure this can be a love/hate point about SBJ. If you want kilometres of soft white sandy beach with lots of swimming and body surfing, you’d best go to Varadero. The beach here is relatively course sand with some rocks and old coral. It only extends in front of two resorts, SBJ and the one to the west. It is difficult to swim because the reef is so shallow; however, that makes for excellent snorkelling. Essentially the entire front of the resort is one big reef. There are hundreds of species of fish including: lots of snapper, grunts, squirrelfish, butterfly fish, wrasse, needle nose fish, sergeant-majors, etc. We also saw a few smaller barracuda (up to two feet long), several yellow stingray, and on the last day a small spotted moray. The best place to snorkel was about 30-50m straight out in front of the beach grill. A few times the beach was closed, not because of waves/weather, rather several Portuguese man of war blew in. These jellyfish have barbs on their tentacles that are venomous. We met one man at the restaurant that ran into one and was stung on his cheek, arm, and leg. They left one heck of a mark, even a week later. He said the stings were extremely painful; he went to the doctor to get them cleansed in a vinegar solution and he also received an injection (anti-toxin maybe?), pain killers, and topical calamine. Stay clear of these jellyfish.

Diving
I went on five dives while there. One free dive is included and subsequent dives are CUC25 per dive if you have your own equipment. The rental equipment available looked pretty decent. The o-rings in a few of the tanks were rather worn and had slow leaks, not enough to affect bottom time by more than a minute. The water temp was quite warm, 82F each day I was there. There are typically two dives per day (closed Sundays, no night dives), the first dive at about 20m and the second about 15m. The dive masters are excellent, lots of experience and do everything by the book. We had a 5m safety stop on each dive of about 3-5minutes. They have a small 20’ boat at the resort and don’t overbook it, a maximum of eight divers plus DM and safety diver. The coral reef isn’t a wall like Cozumel, but it is almost as pretty and I think there are even more species of fish. We also saw quite a few morays, yellow stingrays, lobsters, and one very large crab. I would go back to this resort just for the snorkelling and diving.

Havana
We took a daylong tour of Havana including the Tropicana Show at night. Beforehand I was a little sceptical about the value of the Tropicana show, but I was very impressed. We loved our day and evening in Havana. On our free time we went to the Museum of the Revolution. It was nice to see the Granma and parts of the U2 shot down during the early 60’s, but the museum itself is a series of photos and explanations of the revolution of independence from Spain in the late 1890’s and defeat of Bataista in the 50’s. There was nothing that couldn’t be read in a history book. The market was very good, great prices on local handicrafts.

If you have any questions, you can reach us at: rossmtbiker at netscape dot net
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Tina 
Hamilton, Ontario
November 2007
Arrival - We flew from Toronto with Sunwing leaving at 2 p.m. on October 31st and arriving at the Varadero Airport at 4 p.m. Cuban time. They had already turned their clocks back 1 hour meaning, we thought it would be 5 p.m .It was busy in the airport, but we were processed in good time. Once we located our luggage, we were sent to the waiting coach which would take us to our resort. There are men with trays of Cristal beer in the parking lot to help you start your vacation with a Cuban beverage. Bring Loonies and Toonies with you as they will accept them. We were lucky enough to see the countryside in the light and our bus had a guide pointing out the landmarks as well as the history of the country. When we arrived at the hotel we were registered promptly and there was a porter ready to take us to our room. They served us a welcome drink while we were waiting which I thought was a nice touch.

Rooms - This is my second time at this resort and my husband's first. When we entered our room, my husband was very impressed. It is spacious, clean and had a great view of the pool. Being a second time guest there were cigars and chocolates in a basket as well as special soaps in the bathroom. I had booked a VIP garden and we were upgraded to a poolview room.

Restaurants - The buffet restaurant has both inside and outside seating. The food I think is very good. There is a great variety and they even have food for diabetics. Every night is a theme night from different countries and Sunday is roast turkey night if you are feeling homesick for Canadian food. We would recommend the Italian al a carte restuarant but definitely NOT the Cuban. We missed the great roast turkey night as we had reservations in the Cuban restaurant. If we had enough nerve we would have left the Cuban restaurant once we looked at the menu. BUT... we all know how we Canadians can be! I spoke to the head chef about the Cuban restaurant and he welcomed the feedback. The beach grill bar has a limited menu but the fish is always wonderful if you don't feel like leaving the beach for lunch. We were lucky to have good weather and on Tuesday they had a pig roast at the grill bar that was excellent.

Bars - Lobby Bar is great for specialty coffees and drinks before dinner. The pool bar is good and one of the bartenders are always coming around to ask if they can get you a drink. The piano bar is a nice place to go for before or after dinner drinks and is air conditioned! The beach bar has good coffee as well as good service for cervezas and specialty drinks.

Beach and Pools - The pool is just wonderful. There is always someone cleaning it and the surrounding area. The chairs are very comfortable and the best part- the water level isn't over my head! There is a volleyball net in the pool and very afternoon there was a great game going on with the guests.
We arrived just after the last tropical storm which unfortunately whips the ocean into a frenzy. There is a wonderful coral reef not far from the beach, but it was a red flag every day and we weren't able to enjoy the snorkelling. Beach combing was awesome as the storm sent some interesting shells, coral etc. onto the beach.

Grounds - My husband and I are avid gardeners and can appreciate the work of the staff that are maintaing the grounds of the resort. The grounds are immaculate! When you are thinking about who to tip please remember the gardeners as they too have families and don't make the money most of the staff make.

Activities - The staff are there to help you have a great time on your holiday. If you want to participate in all the activities..No Problem. If you would prefer to have a quiet holiday..No problem. There is never any pressure to make you feel you need to be involved. They give you "funny money" every time you participate in one of the activities of the day and every Thursday they have an auction to exchange your funny money for goodies. eg. rum.

Tours - We are not the best people to ask about tours. We travel once or twice a year to warm countries and don't very often go on tours. Last year I went with my girlfriends on a tour to Havana. It was expensive and not what I would have liked to do in Havana. This year my husband and I hired a private driver and interpreter for the day and had the most amazing day in Havana seeing the places and most of all, the way the REAL Cuban people live as well as the small villages in the farming area around Havana.

Conclusion - As a returning guest to this resort, I was surprised that some of the staff remembered me from last year. What I love about this resort the most is the size of it which also means if you meet a person or couple on the beach or wherever, you will have no trouble finding them the next day. This resort is also wheelchair accessible.
My husband and I would have no hesitation returning to this resort.
We met more people at this resort than we usually do, but we contribute that to the size. If you want a relaxing holiday with very little stress, than this is most definitely the best place in Cuba.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
fishfanatic 123  
Quebec
October 2007
Jibacoa: Snorkellers paradise.

I stayed for two weeks at Breezes, Jibacoa was between Sept 29 and October 14 2007. Flew in to Varadero with Sunwing. Good flight, leg room seemed adequate, hot meal and snacks served on board. This was my first time at the resort.

The resort was about an hour from the airport and is located midway between Havana and Varadero. The resort is adults only. 99% couples make up the clientele. Not a party place. Lots of Canadians, Brits, some Germans, Russians, etc. If you want quiet, this is for you. Lots of people are out on excursions to Havana and other places during the day.

Check in was painless. You are given an envelope with your room keys, a map, other info. Someone will bring your bags to your room if you request it.

A had a gardenroom view. I was actually facing the pool, but not important. The room was equipped with an iron, ironing board, cd player, coffee machine, mini fridge (not stocked) TV with cable, small retractable clothesline in bathroom, safety deposit box. Room is clean and bright. I had a little treefrog as a guest one night in the bathroom. Named him Hoppy, took some photos and placed him outside.

The resort is surrounded by lush green hills, with Turkey Vultures constantly circling. My last couple of vacations were in the various Cayos and it was nice to see have a change of landscape. Area around the resort is great for taking walks. The countryside has many small farms. Lots of cows, chickens, horses and other animals walking about, on and off the road. The local people are friendly and a "Hola" and a smile are welcomed by them. The scenery and the people off the resort is worth the effort. It is a good opportunity to see how people live.

The beach: Out of 14 days, there were two green flag days, 6 yellow flags and 6 red flags. On the first day thick globs of oil washed up on shore and staff spent the day cleaning up. On the first day, some tanker decided it was cheaper to dump their oil in the sea rather than pay at the port for a cleaning. It could have been a lot worse, but it was taken care of quickly.

The whole time I was there I never had a problem finding a palapa, shade or chair on the beach. Lots of chairs around the pool but not that much shade to be had.

Activities: In the morning (9:00am) and afternoon (4:00 pm) there are walks up the hill to a lookout where some great photos of the resort can be taken. The path leads through a few small farms where you will be offered coconut and sugar cane to try. Brings some small gifts in exchange, not necessary, but definitely appreciated.

Beach volleyball, sand hockey, soccer and other games in the morning on the beach.
Spanish lessons at noon near the pool bar. (The staff would appreciate if anybody could possibly bring a hockey stick or two to leave down there for the sand hockey games)

Throughout the day at various times and locations there is water aerobics, pool volleyball, dance lessons, etc. Massages ($) are available on the beach near the gym

At the aqua center, staff will take you out on catamaran for a ½ hr ride. I didn't do it but others told me it was fantastic. They also have sea kayaks and pedalos available, all free. Snorkelling equipment is available, but they run out quick and you have to reserve advance.

There is clean, well equipped weight room beside the aqua center. Lots of new equipment.

Evenings, at about 9:30 there is entertainment usually outside near the pool. Sometimes there are musicians, dancers, but often it is the staff lip synching, or performing skits, or audience participation. Kind of hit or miss in my opinion. I rarely stayed for a whole show.

Snorkelling: This is the reason why I booked this resort. It has a well deserved reputation for easy access to coral reefs from the shore. I always bring my own snorkel, mask, flippers and life vest. The main area in front of the Beach grill is quite shallow (3 to 4 feet deep) A few hundred feet from shore the depth drops and there is a very large circle surrounded by corals, the depth dropping at some places to about 40 or 50 feet . I identified a minimum of 50 different species of fish and countless others that I didn't see well or long enough. The best technique when snorkelling is to relax and just float, the fish will be less nervous and many interesting species will come out from underneath the ledges and rocks for brief appearances. There are also some species that camouflage themselves very well, such as the Peacock flounder and Scorpion Fish. If your just thrashing about, you'll miss them for sure. There is bit of a current that seems to pull you west, especially on yellow flag days. I spoke with another avid snorkeller who had seen a small octopus in the grassy area near shore. I was extremely jealous of her. Anyways what can I say, The corals are beautiful, the underwater landscape changes all the time while you're moving about. Lots to explore. I was in heaven and spent many, many hours in the water on the days that were not red flagged. On a bitter note, There were too many people actually walking through the small corals, kicking them off the sea floor with their feet. I could see this while I was under the water. Not only is this bad for the eco system, it is also dangerous for the person walking out there. They could step on some very sharp rocks, sea urchins, cone shells and Scorpion fish, all guaranteed to bite, sting or cut you in some way. I also would recommend to not feed the fish, some are becoming a bit aggressive, especially the Chubs. The tour reps should be explaining how fragile the reef is, as part of the orientation for the tourists. An amazing experience. Some of the more interesting species for me, were Rock Hinds, Porcupine Fish, Spotted Scorpion Fish, two types of eels, Puddinwife.

If you are someone who likes to snorkel, it is strongly advised that you bring your own equipment. The aqua center was constantly running out of equipment. You could make reservations, but when people went for the equipment, it hadn't come back yet or was handed out. Also you can only reserve the equipment for short periods of time. The best time to snorkel seemed to be in the morning, the water appeared calmer than in the afternoon and early in the morning certain species were not as shy.

Food: Plentiful and usually pretty good. Lots of variety, too many desserts, Even with all the walking, bicycling and swimming I did every day, I gained 5 pounds. Best place for coffee was at the Beach Grill and the Lobby bar. Fantastic!! Different theme nights such as Cuban, Italian, Seafood etc. There were two a la carte restaurants , Cuban and Italian, never ate at either, but heard great things about them. The service was apparently excellent.

Excursions: Havana Colonial cost: 52 CUC. One hour drive in air conditioned coach To Havana. The tour guide leads you around Old Havana. It really is a feast for the senses. Amazing old Spanish architecture and full of history. There are a lot of people doing what they can to get a dollar out of you. They will draw a caricature of you, women dressed in bright costumes will pose with you, lots of street performers. All interesting and part of the experience. Also included is a walk through the older, but not fixed up areas of Havana. An eye opener if you want to see how people really live. We are far too spoiled in Canada. We had lunch across from the Malecon near an old Spanish fortress on the water with a great view of Havana. In the afternoon we drove around and saw some sites such as Revolution Square, etc. A really great trip. There are several other excursions to Havana available with different itineraries, some include an evening at the Tropicana.

Rio Canjimar: around 54 CUC Includes snorkelling of a beach (not very good, too many waves, zero visibility) Snorkelling or swimming in a cave. (great experience). A boat ride down the river, stopping for swimming and then to a beautiful area where we ate and spent the afternnoon, swimming, riding horses, playing with reptiles, rowing boats, and lazing about. A great day and my fellow guests from the hotel were a pleasure to be with.

Catamaran: around 102 CUC. Very large catamaran, about 80 people on board, We stopped for swimming with the dolphins, A bit short I thought, then snorkelling for an hour at a coral reef, but it was more like forty minutes. Nice reef though A few species of fish that I had never seen before (Black Durgeons, what a fish!) They didn't have enough snorkelling equipment for everybody so people had to go in shifts. They only had small Styrofoam belts as floatation devices. Inadequate in my opinion. Nothing is as good as a real safety vest. Because of the poor flotation devices some people wouldn't snorkel, a real shame. Dinner and drinks on an island with lots and lots of other people and way too much time spent there waiting to get back on the boat. Most of my previous experiences with catamaran tours have been more intimate with a smaller group and boat. It felt more like cattle being processed this time. Most cat tours are 72 CUC.

People can email if they want to ask questions at vernmontpetit@hotmail.com
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Victor 
Vancouver, BC
September 2007
My wife and I stayed at SuperClub Breezes Jibacoa (4 star rating) this past week (Sept. 8 - 16) 2007. We were celebrating her birthday and a long delayed (and deserved) honeymoon - as we were married two years ago, but she was pregnant soon after the wedding so she couldn't really enjoy our first (trial) honeymoon. We had a wonderful time and would summarize my experience in the following ways:

Food - Great. The food in the main buffet dining area was good; there was quite a bit of variety to choose from each night. Omelets for breakfast is a must have (and was our main/only staple). Lunch was usually spent at the Beach Grill. The Pizzas, Hamburgers, Grilled Chicken and Grilled Fish were great. Both A La Carte restaurants were very good. Bottom line, if you're going to Cuba for the food, you may be disappointed. Thankfully, my wife and I are indiscriminate and enthusiastic eaters...we didn't lose any weight, and never went to bed hungry.

Weather - The weather was absolutely wonderful. Upon arriving to Cuba under the midst of thundershowers and lightning, I was a little nervous. Being from Vancouver, I was used to rain and a warm shower beats a cold one any day. Thankfully, the days were nice every single day. In fact, more than nice, it was hot and sunny during the days and only rained one night. It was great because we were often surrounded by lightning storms, but had a starry night overhead.

Staff- The staff was very friendly and was great to be around. They were very hospitable and showed their pride at working at this resort. This warm hospitality was felt throughout the resort never having a "Hola" not returned with a smile. The Piano bartenders (Oddieity and Hector) were a formidable team; super friendly and accommodating. The Entertainment staff were very hard working and seemed to never stop working. On my wife's birthday, they made a birthday cake and had a bottle of champagne sent to the room. It was a very pleasant surprise and showed me how they really cared about their patrons.

Beach - The resort is on the beach which is very clean. It has a wonderful reef which is great for snorkeling (I started my own "CC Reef" by picking up any loose coral on the beach or in the surf - coined by the Brits as the "Crazy Canadian Reef"). The actual reef doesn't come to play for about 50 meters so those of you who want to enjoy wading in the shallow sandy waters need not be afraid. The beach volleyball was our daily exercise and fun activity that we enjoyed everyday. "Sand hockey" and "Sand Soccer" was too ambitious for me...to much running in that blistering sun.

Entertainment - Nightly entertainment was great (other than the painfully long "fashion show"). Having said that don't expect Vegas style shows or "Cruise" Shows because once again, you'll be disappointed. The shows were campy and fun. Though the staff must be sick of the "Sun Dance" having heard it 150,000 times (though you'd never notice), I enjoyed hearing it every time.

Accommodations - The resort grounds were well kept. The rooms are pretty much like all the others in Cuba, very minimal, but blissfully air conditioned. We had an Ocean view room with mini fridge. It was great for storing our water and juices. The TV was old, but I watched more Hollywood movies in a week than I have all year!

Excursions - We rented scooters and a number of Canadians went on an impromptu scooter tour to Hersey. Since there were 8 of us, we had two guides (one at the front and one at the back). It was a lot of fun and a highlight for many of those who've never ridden a scooter. We also hired two private cars (through the helpful staff) to take us on a tour of Havana. For me, this was the most interesting part of the trip. As far as shopping, there's not much worth buying other than rum, coffee and cigars.

To sum things up, we had a wonderful trip to Cuba and Super Breezes Jibacoa. We went to this resort on the recommendation of some other friends who stayed here and I was not disappointed in the slightest. We met some wonderful new friends there and look forward to returning.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Kadi-Ann 

September 2007
I stayed at SuperClub Breezes Jibacoa (4 star rating) just this past June 2007. I had a wonderful time and would summarize my experience in the following ways:

Food - Great. The food in the main dining area was good however the food at the A la Carte was fantastic. The food was well prepared full of flavor. As well, there was quite a bit of variety to choose from each night. Omelet's in the main dining area is a must have. The Red Snapper at the Martino's is a must have and I hear the Fillet Minion was to die for.

Staff- The staff was very friendly and was great to be around. They were very hospitable and always showed their appreciation for having us in their country and at their resort. This warm hospitality was felt from the front desk clerk to the kitchen staff to the maids to the entertainment staff and even the towel lady.

Beach - The resort was right on the beach and it was remarkably clean. Never once did I encounter seaweed or any other debris. It was great for snorkeling and I was often greeted by small fish - be sure to bring them banana. Yes, banana - who knew fish like banana.

Entertainment - Nightly entertainment was great. We were entertained by the staff and they often brought on nightly entertainment. The staff kept our attention and often found ways to engage the audience - you'll learn how to do the "sun dance".

Accommodations - The resort is located in the province of Haba (1 hr from Havana & 1 hr from Varadero) right behind some hills. The resort was quite scenic and the grounds were well kept. It looked like something out of a magazine- in fact that's where we found it. . The rooms were clean and quite comfortable. There was lots to see even with a Gardenview.

Activities - I enjoyed the Catamaran trip and the day trip to Havana. I heard great reviews about the Tropicana show. The hotel also rents scooters.

Overall, I enjoyed my stay in Cuba (especially at the resort) a great deal. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to relax and enjoy the tranquility the scenery provides. It is a great resort for couples and honeymooners. I must say that singles can have a great time because I went with a friend and we had a lovely time. If you are looking for all night partying you might want to try a resort located in the heart of Varadero.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Ari 
Ottawa, Canada
August 2007
As multi-time cruisers, we had not previously sought out an all-inclusive resort vacation.

"Too confining," I'd say, with more than a twinge of irony, as that's what so many people seem to say about cruises. 'Too limiting to one area, too beach-focused, and not diverse enough either in cuisine, fellow guests, or scenery.'

And yet cruises don't go to Cuba – not yet, anyway. So a visit to the land of Fidel and old cars, good rum and great cigars (yes, there's far more to the island than these!) means either a land vacation like we'd do in Europe, hotels and meals on our own; or staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts popular with so many Canadians and Europeans.

For the relaxation factor (and a bit of a bargain) we opted for the latter, and soon after embarked on our voyage with the best of intentions NOT to compare this to cruising.

Of course we all know what they say about good intentions.

Within hours of landing, we knew we weren't on a cruise anymore, to paraphrase Dorothy. This doesn't have to be a bad thing, it's just that the comparisons and contrasts were always near the forefront.

First off, despite the hour of 3am checking into the resort – Breezes Jibacoa, in Havana province less than an hour from the city – I had my first mojito, and didn't have to swipe my sea-pass or sign for anything. Drinks are included in the package, a refreshing departure from having to pay up front for each beverage (and add 15% gratuity), only to see a staggering bar bill at the end of the journey. In fact we didn't even have to present a credit card upon check-in, as everything was already paid for – only excursions would be extra, and those are paid for in cold hard currency.

Our accommodations, however, would be a bit of a letdown. Yes, it was twice as large as any cruise-ship cabin we'd ever stayed in, but it had neither charm nor convenience. The air-conditioning could not keep up with the tropical heat and humidity of Cuba in July, making for somewhat sleepless nights. The bathroom was utilitarian, with a harsh fluorescent light and outdated amenities that went unreplenished during our stay. And the room itself was spartan in appearance, with cold white tile floors and minimally decorated walls, not ideal for more than sleeping.

Further disappointing, though, was the food.

Breakfast the first morning, we wrote off to coming in at the end, as the buffet was being taken down. By lunch, however, we began to get the impression that the food being put out was simply not of an acceptable quality. Hard rice, lukewarm beans, I mean these are the basics – if you can't get rice and beans right, things aren't looking good. On top of this, the buffet is indoors, but is open air with poor circulation (and flies), meaning that lunch time is like a sauna, while dinner is more of a steam bath. The outside patio is a bit better, IF a table is available, but at dinnertime the influx of mosquitoes makes the patio less than bearable.

(A bit of background: we don't eat out so often, and when we do it's usually nothing fancy; in the past we have enjoyed meals at basic buffet and family restaurant places – in fact would have gladly paid extra to get that level of dining experience at the resort.)

It wasn't a total loss, mind you. It's simply that the comparisons with our cruises came early and often. On a cruise you don't usually have to eat in the buffet, and generally one has a choice of indoor, climate-controlled seating or a table on the patio with a fresh breeze. So even the best of food would have been met with this challenge for us. We did, however, find a few items that we stuck with – fruit in the morning was nice, and the mangoes were some of the best we'd ever had. And the pasta at lunch and dinner was cooked to order and usually acceptable. Some nights had themes such as "Asian," "Mexican," or "seafood," and these were pulled off with varying results. The seafood night was of particular disappointment, as the ingredients were fresh and of good quality – lobster, shrimp, scallops, and stone crab – but the preparation was mediocre. How disheartening to see a mountain of stone crab claws – prized in Florida and fetching top dollar – only to find them lacking in flavour and thoroughly overcooked.

We did have some decent meals, two of which would have been acceptable by international tourism standards; these, however, were off property and in Havana itself. The resort's saving graces were the beach bar, where lunch is cooked to order and features passing hamburguesas and a nice grilled fillet of fish, with fries (chips for the Brit guests); and one of the two specialty restaurants.

Once per week, at each of the two specialty venues, guests can sit down in an air-conditioned (aaaaaaah) dining room and have a proper, cooked-to-order meal. One of the restaurants is Cuban, or at least Cuban-esque, though it cannot hold a candle to the Cuban restaurants we've enjoyed in Miami and elsewhere (perhaps an unfair comparison, but so be it). The other is the Italian eatery, which offers a passable Spanish wine as well as antipasti and entrees that were pleasing. Would that we could have dined here more often, but alas, it was limited to once per week.

Back to the positive side, lest you should think that we had a horrible vacation – we most definitely did not. The resort grounds were well maintained and provided a lush tropical ambience. The pool was more than adequate in size for this resort, and although some complained about not having a swim-up-bar, this was a nice spot in which to cool off. Occasionally the bartenders would come around to take orders, but we certainly didn't mind the short walk to the bar where decent mojitos, fresh pina coladas and daiquiris, and other tropical drinks were skilfully prepared. The booze was flowing at Breezes, and alcohol was never skimped. Quality rums such as Havana Club, Santero, Caney, and Santiago were always available at the various bars on the property, as were other spirits. For those who drink – and unfortunately my wife does not – this aspect of the all-inclusive resort means a good value can be had overall.

The staff were generally friendly, especially those in the restaurants and bars. Speaking Spanish helped, and more than one employee went above and beyond in trying to make our stay a pleasant one. The front desk and management were mainly indifferent, something that came out early when we had a petty theft incident at the beach – in the end we were not charged for the towels that had been stolen from the hotel's beach chairs, but it took some negotiating to get to this point. We gave gifts to the housekeeping staff, as well as to some in the restaurant, as despite the no-tipping policy at the resort, we knew that basic items – toiletries, t-shirts, school supplies, baseball gear, etc, common place to you and me but scarce in Cuba – would be welcome.

While cruises offer theatrical productions, cabaret revues, and varying musical lounge acts, the entertainment at an all-inclusive resort is low key. Breezes' entertainment and animation team comprise but a handful of members, and shows are smaller in scale, more home-grown, and a bit reminiscent of camp.

In fact, for those who enjoy camping, the resort may be a better alternative, as it offers a connection with nature, whereas cruise ships are more urbane and indoor in their offerings. Much of the time we felt as if we were "roughing it" and that the resort simply lacked the feeling of elegance or refinement that we get from the ships. Though I must emphasise, this is a highly subjective point. Fellow guests, many of whom were repeat visitors to Breezes Jibacoa and mainly spent their holidays at all-inclusive resorts, largely said they did not care for the cruising experience. To each his or her own.

It was nice not having to trek to the beach – open the door, walk 30 seconds, and voila, there it is. The snorkelling offshore was pretty good, I might add, a nice reef just meters from the hotel's beach. But for the attention-deficit traveller, accustomed to getting variety of locales on a cruise or land holiday, the resort felt limiting at times. The stifling heat and humidity may not have helped, either, as it was a disincentive to wandering very far. We did spend two days and one evening in the city of La Habana, an amazing place, and all that is featured in a different review.

Back to the AI. Was our experience a viable reflection of all-inclusive resorts overall? Maybe not. Friends, colleagues, and fellow travellers have noted that this may be typical of the resorts in Cuba, but that other holidays in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and elsewhere could be more our thing. They used to say that you couldn't get good Chinese food in China – this was due to ingredient quality issues, as well as a lack of experience in the service industry (much different today). Cuba seems to be in that phase, opening the door to tourism but not quite capable of handling it all, at least on the culinary side.

Would we go back to Cuba? Most definitely. It's an amazing place, and I have so many thoughts that will be posted shortly on our blogs. We would simply do standalone hotels – or better yet, B&Bs – and dine in more local establishments.

Would we consider another all-inclusive resort as a holiday? Yes, perhaps someplace like Costa Rica where cruises don't really cover the best the country has to offer, and whose resorts get favourable reviews from even seasoned travellers.

Our next holiday? No brainer, really. As I said to my wife, "we've gotta get our cruise back."
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Fiona & Phil, Toronto, ON - (forum user name “florita”) 

July 2007
Although the resort was very quiet at this time of year (maybe 20% full), we had a super time. The resort is very pretty with a lovely beach. You can walk out on soft sand in most places, but there is also excellent reef snorkeling right off the beach with multitudes of different fish. Lots of palapas and trees on the beach for shade, too.

The majority of the guests were over 35 and I wouldn’t recommend the resort for singles looking for a wild time. But we met a whole bunch of fun people, mostly from Canada and the UK.

The beach restaurant has excellent grilled fish and salad. The Cuban restaurant also had some great food with superb service. We never did succeed in getting a reservation at the Italian restaurant. The buffet was not the best we have experienced in the Caribbean, but there was something interesting and tasty for dinner every night, and Nelson the Egg Maestro made every breakfast worthwhile. Our only criticism is that the buffet restaurant was hot and lacking air flow. However, June is very hot in Cuba so that would account for part of that problem.

The rooms were not luxurious, but very comfortable. Every single aspect of the resort was very clean and well cared-for, including the large pool. The pool area has some really nice shade canopies available.

The staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful. They not only met our needs, but were charming and entertaining if given half a chance, especially if I attempted to communicate at all in my fractured Spanish.

The daytime activities were kind of low key because there were so few people there, but the staff certainly offered things to do for those who weren’t comatose on the beach. The shows were mostly pretty good, although we felt that the Cuban night was not so much genuinely Cuban as very pretty Cuban girls dirty dancing. Depends on your viewpoint if that was a great show or not!

There was a steady stream of people going scuba diving every day and coming back with smiles on their faces, so I have to assume that it was a good experience for them.

The only part of the resort which was not up to par was the Disco, which desperately needs renovating.

We would not hesitate to recommend this resort to friends and family, and will probably return ourselves.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Canada 

July 2007
Just returned from Breezes Jibacoa and had a wonderful time. My fiance and I and another couple enjoyed a great week of sun and good food and relaxation. This is my second time at the resort and we happened upon some old university friends who happened to be there for a wedding. We were also pleasantly suprised to hear that the Canadian band the Trew's were playing at the resort later in the week. i can't say enough about the resort and Cuba in general but we were totally unhappy with Sunwing. We paid for a 7 night vacation and our flight times were fine at first. Then they changed them so that we were leaving later and coming home sooner. We paid for a seven night vacation and got 6 days. Sunwing basically said too bad theres nothing we can do about it. So we let it be and enjoyed our week. Then two of our bags went missing on a direct flight home from Varedero to Halifax and ended up in Austrailia. A week later we have one bag back and not the other with no help from Sunwing. They have just recently started offering flights out of Saint John where we live and we plan on writing to the local paper about our experience. They have been no help at all. Otherwise we had a great vacation at a wonderful resort and I'm sure we will go back just not with Sunwing.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Phyllis 
Prince George, BC
July 2007
We have been to Breezes Jibacoa five times now and love it! (Obviously.) The hotel staff are wonderful. The resort is clean and beautiful. We especially love the water sports and the scooter tours. It is a great way to get to know the area and some history.

The food is good and there is variety, if you can't find something you like then you are too fussy. (If you want gourmet then Cuba isn't the place to travel to.)

We are heading back this August and can't wait. We heard rumours that the scooter tours may not be operating, we hope they are still there. They are wonderful!
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Fiona & Phil ~ Toronto, ON - (forum user name “florita”)  

July 2007
Although the resort was very quiet at this time of year (maybe 20% full), we had a super time. The resort is very pretty with a lovely beach. You can walk out on soft sand in many places, but there is also excellent reef snorkeling right off the beach with multitudes of different fish. Lots of palapas and trees on the beach for shade, too.

The majority of the guests were over 35 and I wouldn’t recommend the resort for singles looking for a wild time. But we met a whole bunch of fun people, mostly from Canada and the UK.

The beach restaurant has excellent grilled fish and salad. The Cuban restaurant also had some great food with superb service. We never did succeed in getting a reservation at the Italian restaurant. The buffet was not the best we have experienced in the Caribbean, but there was something interesting and tasty for dinner every night, and Nelson the Egg Maestro made every breakfast worthwhile. Our only criticism is that the buffet restaurant was hot and lacking air flow. However, June is very hot in Cuba so that would account for part of that problem.

The rooms were not luxurious, but very comfortable. Every single aspect of the resort was very clean and well cared-for, including the large pool. The pool area has some really nice shade canopies available.

The staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful. They not only met our needs, but were charming and entertaining if given half a chance, especially if I attempted to communicate at all in my fractured Spanish.

The daytime activities were kind of low key because there were so few people there, but the staff certainly offered things to do for those who weren’t comatose on the beach. The shows were mostly pretty good, although we felt that the Cuban night was not so much genuinely Cuban as very pretty Cuban girls dirty dancing. Depends on your viewpoint if that was a great show or not!

There was a steady stream of people going scuba diving every day and coming back with smiles on their faces, so I have to assume that it was a good experience for them.

The only part of the resort which was not up to par was the Disco, which desperately needs renovating.

We would not hesitate to recommend this resort to friends and family, and will probably return ourselves.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
John & Christine  
Montreal, Canada
June 2007
This was our second 2-week vacation at Breezes Jibacoa, having vacationned there at the same time last year. It's sometimes difficult to repeat a wonderful experience since your expectations are so high, but if anything, our second visit was even better than the first.

Because it's a smaller resort with many repeat guests, we remembered and were remembered by some of the staff and other guests, which added to the general warm, friendly atmosphere.

This trip we paid extra to fly Club Class, Air Transat. Not only was the seating comfort vastly improved, but we were allowed more than double the weight allowance. It was well worth it.

We found that the wine was quite improved over the previous year, and the Jamaican chef continues to provide a wide variety of highly palatable food in the buffet. We thought that the food in the 2 a la cartes was better than last year, and both had lovely atmospheres with excellent service.

We were very diasappointed that the red flag was up on the beach until our last few days and it was extremely windy, so we spent more time at the pool. We were later told by a local family that March is the windy month in Jibacoa.

We found the afternoon activities at the pool to be quite entertaining. John won the arm-wrestling on our first day, including taking out 2 Cubans at once, so he became instantly famous and revelled in the attention. The same day, he accidentally locked us out on our balcony (be careful of the automatic lock on one side), but it became an opportunity to meet our neighbours who were part of the Trews' group who later put on a wonderful show for the resort guests.

We also participated in the weekly auction, and through the generosity of another guest, were able to enjoy an extra a la carte dinner.

The evening entertainment was an improvement over last year, too. There were more Cuban talent shows, and fewer stupid guest tricks, although the Nova Scotia gal who did the lip syncing was the single greatest star. I hope she's back there next year, but apparently she didn't remember a thing the next day!

There was some really excellent live music some evenings in the buffet. There was a very good Cuban pianist in the Italian a a la carte, but only on one of our three visits there, also good live music at La Taberna. The piano bar was rocking for our first week because they had a very entertaining pianist from Winnipeg who encouraged (talented) guests to participate, but once he left, it became totally dead, with no pianist that we ever saw. We think it's a shame that Breezes doen't have more consistent entertainment in the piano bar, an opinion that other guests have shared with us.

The only excursion we did was a bus tour of Havana, a nice compliment to the taxi trip we did on our own the previous year. We did spend a fair amount of time visiting local families on the farm road, and being welcomed into their homes.

The staff is exceptionally gracious and friendly at BJ, whether you tip and "gift" or not. We do, but not to everyone all the time.

We will be going back. We love the relaxed atmosphere, the easy accessability to Cuban neighbours and to Havana, the snorkelling at our doorstep, and the general friendliness and lack of pretension. It's a clean, well-kept, well-organized resort with a very professional but extremely friendly and accomodating staff. We also enjoy the fact that the majority of guests are in our general age group (mid-aged), but with some of every age, except for young children.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Bill & Mary 
Ontario Canada
June 2007
Sorry for the delay...back to work and real life once we got home!

We stayed at the the beautiful Breezes Jibacoa from March 16-23, 2007.
I won't go into the details of the flight etc because I know you don't care about that.

The resort was everything we had hoped for. It is clean, quiet and the food is excellent. My husband will return here, just for the food. We had emailed ahead requesting a specific building (based on what I read here and from asking) and our request was fulfilled. The activities team wasn't pushy (which I hate), everyone was friendly. In fact we enjoyed our time at the resort so much, it is definitely on our must return list...if not in 2008, then definitely in 2009.

If you are looking for a child free, relaxing holiday this is the place for you!

Our only complaint regarding the entire holiday was the airport. The whole process of getting through customs in Varadero upon our arrival was agonizing. We stood in a line for close to 2 hours!! This business of going through immigration individually, when many people travel in pairs, was extremely slow! Also, they wanted to see our return documentation and hotel accomodation voucher...in this day of e tickets, all the information for each person that travels together is printed on the same sheet, so as 1 of each pair had their documents inspected, he/she would pass it back to their travel companion so it could be inspected again. What a time consuming operation!!!
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Hugh and Louise 
Ottawa, Canada
May 2007
Overview:
We are a married couple in our early fifties. We had chosen Breezes, Jibacoa, on the recommendation of a relative. We decided to spend a week there, commencing end of April 2007. This is our first all-inclusive trip and our first trip to the Caribbean. We chose Air Canada Vacations as the legroom on an AC flight should be better than the average charter flight. I’m 6’5”.

Flight Out:
We were the first to check in at Montreal. We had tried to check in on-line the day before hoping to get good seats but there was not much seating choice available on-line. We asked for and were given two seats by the over wing exit – this gave us excellent legroom.

Varadero Airport arrival:
I was quizzed by the Varadero immigration authorities – they must have never before seen a British passport with Canadian, USA, and Saudi work visas in it. We proved the first-on-last-off theory – an early check in meant our cases were the last off the aircraft, the last to reach the carousel. We were met by the Air Canada rep and sent on our way in a taxi as we were the only two going to Jibacoa.

Breezes arrival:
When we arrived at Breezes at around 11:00am we were told our room was not ready, but we could use all facilities, and to check back at 2:00pm for the keys. We explored and then settled in the beach bar for lunch and refreshments. When we got back to reception our key was waiting with a porter to take our cases to the room. We’d booked a “garden” view room but were given a second floor pool view room. We were very pleased.

Mealtimes:
Breakfast time was OK; fruit, cereals, eggs, bacon – and of course the omelets made before your eyes. Loads of good coffee and juices – orange juice had pips in it; it must have just been squeezed!
Lunchtime was good at the beach bar, the grilled fish was awesome! Made me feel a bit guilty snorkeling with their relatives shortly later… lunch at the buffet was a wider choice with cold meats and salads etc.
We were not 100% thrilled with the supper in the buffet. While it was OK, it didn’t set your mouth watering. Every day is different choices or themes, but at least once I missed my wife’s home cooking, for instance one night there was chicken done like six different ways, roast / fried / barbecued… another night was oriental with loads of sushi, but again it seemed just a bit – plain. We ate at the Italian a-la-carte restaurant one night, this was really good, but the bottom of the food was a little crisper than the rest as if it had stood on a very-hot plate until being served. We could also have eaten at the Cuban restaurant one night during our week but didn’t fancy it.

Beach and sea, pool
The beach and sea are awesome. Every time we went down we could find free sun loungers in shade – either an umbrella or a tree. The dive center will lend masks, snorkels and fins. You can have SCUBA diving lessons in the pool and as I’m a qualified diver (but not dived in seven years) I took them up on a refresher dive in the pool. I was offered a dive out at sea as this is included if you are already qualified but didn’t take them up on it. Just snorkeling around the reef was awesome. This is something that every visitor to Breezes, Jibacoa should do at least once; it is like swimming in a tropical fish tank. We were advised to take a waterproof camera and I am glad we did. The beach has volleyball everyday at noon, and several other activities: pig roast on Tuesday, dance lessons, sumo wrestling for the more energetic. No signs of jellyfish or other wildlife that we need to be worried about. The yellow flag was out everyday as it was a little windy.

Staff:
All the staff are desperate to please. We gave surreptitious tips to waiting staff, and left presents for the room maids. They were all very grateful – but I’m sure service would have been equally good had we not tipped.

Trips:
We went on a scooter trip (about three hours) and a jeep safari (about eight hours). The scooter trip was good fun, we saw the bridge between Matanzas and La Habana provinces, a fishing harbour, and we visited a lady who weaves hats and baskets. The jeep safari was awesome. You can drive if you wish, and we shared with another couple. You are taken to visit the bridge again, and then through Matanzas city to a coral beach where you snorkel, you are led around by a guide who shows some amazing fishy sights. Bring the waterproof camera here! All snorkeling equipment is available and included in the tour price. Then back to the jeep and you are led inland to a flooded cave, where you can snorkel in fresh water. Again all gear is included. Swimming amongst stalactites is amazing. From the cave you are led cross-country (now you learn why the jeeps rattle) to a coffee farm for lunch. This food is really good, and is served under cover from the sun, but in the open. When finished you can ride some horses or just explore the farm. From the farm you are led in the jeeps to explore an underground cave system which is huge. This cave system reportedly goes so deep you go below sea level.
We didn’t try the Havana trips; I’m not one for sitting in the bus for hours. Due to our timing, we were there for May Day. Everything is closed on May Day, so this was the one time we saw the hotel bars, beach, etc busy. No-one went on trips this day!

And finally:
The bad points. We were surprised to see three or four dogs roaming the hotel grounds and beach. They would even come into the reception area. Many guests could be seen to be giving them treats – no wonder the dogs were so brave. I really think that the guests should be discouraged from feeding them and the dogs discouraged from being there. One dog appeared to have an injured leg. I love animals and I was saddened to see this dog hopping around. We saw several fights between the dogs over scraps, perhaps this is how he got his injury. Dogs and a four-star hotel do not mix.

Did we enjoy our week? Very much.
Would we go back? Yes – tomorrow if we could.

Feel free to contact me at hugh_d_evans (at) yahoo (dot) com.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Gabriela 
Toronto
April 2007
This was our second trip to Breezes Jibacoa, and again, we were very pleased with everything.

We were actually advised that we came at a good time because there are normally many jellyfish washed up on shore in late March. We didn’t see any during our stay in early April. We had one day of rain.

As in the past, all of the staff were wonderful, especially the housekeeping. They now phones in the rooms, which I don’t recall seeing a few years ago.

For all of you “foodies” – the buffet serves a nice Mexican theme dinner on Wednesday, and lobster with hot butter on Thursday.

Each Tuesday there is a pig roast on the beach, but make sure you arrive before 1 PM. We skipped the Cuban restaurant this time as we didn’t care for it much the first time.

There was always plenty of choice on the menu, and lots of drink choices at the bar. The bartenders working at the beach bar were especially fun and enjoy inventing new cocktails.

You will not be disappointed with this resort! It’s clean, friendly, safe, the food is good…and there is still plenty of nature around to make it feel like you’re in the tropics.
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Tom D. 
Ontario, Canada
April 2007
Hello everyone. I've always found reviews here to be quite helpful in choosing a destination, so here's my review of Superclubs Breezes Jibacoa.

We spent a week (our twentieth wedding anniversary) at Breezes Jibacoa from April 27 to April 3 and can’t wait to go back! Everything about the place met or exceeded our expectations. It’s the kind of place that has something for most people’s tastes and lifestyles. You can either keep yourselves active (as we for the most part did) from start to finish with numerous activities available both on and away from the resort or just relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of a beautiful oceanside paradise.

We had a spotless second level ocean front room. The view was a pleasure to wake up to every morning and the balcony was a perfect quiet place to relax in peace, quiet and shade- or watch the stars and listen to the surf at night. The grounds were kept immaculately. All of the staff, from the restaurant, front desk, room service, bar tenders, to the groundskeepers were very friendly and always smiled. They really were a joy to be around. We had bought plenty of clothing, toiletries (soap, toothpaste/ brushes, band-aids), school supplies and other useful things to give to many of the staff and locals and we gave bar/restaurant servers moderate tips. Food: My wife and I both have pretty high standards as far as food goes and found the whole eating experience very pleasurable. The food in all three restaurants (the buffet, plus Mario’s Italian and La Taberna Cuban à la carte) was terrfific in all respects. Thursdays are "seafood night" at the buffet and I was amazed that the kitchen staff could cook so many lobster tails at once and not have them go "rubbery"- they were great, as was the fish and other "mariscos". The seafood soup, along with all of the other soups for that matter, were really tasty!. The beach bar has great food too- try the grilled fish, it’s outstanding! There really is something for everyone- even if you are a strict vegetarian! The water at SCBJ is treated with modern high-tech equipment and is safe to drink right out of the tap (I did regularly with no problems), so eating the fresh fruits and vegetables washed in it is not an issue, unlike other resorts. I strongly suspect that those persons who have written negative things about the food there are closed-minded types that aren’t happy with most things they eat!

Activites: We’ve been to Cuba twice before (Cayo Coco both times) and found that Breezes Jibacoa was so much more enjoyable, because of it’s proximity to small towns and local people, not to mention Habana. We went on three, three- hour guided motor scooter tours (Bacunayagua/ Puerto Econdido, Santa Cruz and Hershey Town) and would have gone on many more if time permitted. Only 15 pesos per scooter, it’s a tremendous way to see the the countryside, villages and meet local people with a knowlegable guide! Lots of history! While on the road, your terrific guide (Adrian or Javier) will warn you of upcoming bumps, sharp turns and other hazards which you would might not otherwise see until it is too late. For that reason, I would not recommend you take out a scooter by yourselves unless you really know the area!

Don’t miss the chance to go to Habana, which is less than an hour away. Some went by tour bus and we went by taxi, which cost 90 pesos total for six hours (one hour with some scenic side trips each way and four hours in the city). Highlights included Old Habana, the market, Revolutionary Square and the Cristóbal Colón Cemetery, which is so large and has so many massive monuments, it’s like a city in itself. We easily could have done a couple of days there, and will next time.

At Jibacoa, a hike up the mountain is great and rewards you with a breathtaking view of the resort and the ocean. If you are not inclined to climb a steep trail, you can reach the same location on a more gradual well paved road, strolling by farms and other interesting sites along the way. As so many others have indicated, the snorkling at the resort is just great. The reef is so close ay hand and is home to so much beautiful marine life. I was so disgusted though, with some snorklers who would get out there and decide to have a rest by actually standing on the coral. If you go out there, please DO NOT STAND ON OR TOUCH THE CORAL- IT IS A LIVING CREATURE! If it dies from constant misuse, all of the creatures that depend on it will go with it, as will the pleasure it provides the visitors.

Go and enjoy- we did and will again, definitely!!!
Superclubs Breezes - Jibacoa
Nanika 

April 2007
Hi Everyone:

After reading all the positive reviews my husband and I and our friendsdecided to try this resort. At first when we arrived ,we were lukewarm to the place as it was so quiet but after a day the serenity grew on us and we decided that a week here is not long enough.

There is no shortage of chairs at the beach or pool and no long lineups for food, the bars or anywhere.

All the people are fantastic. The animation team very friendly, the bartenders exceptional, the chambermaid Janet a delightfull woman, Mario with the horses very friendly, Adrian at the scooters always had a wave for us. The staff at the front desk always had a smile and courteous. We met the Jamaican chef and he said it can be a challenge working in Cuba but he always had fresh fruit and meat , the freshest fish and tasty pastas, turkey, pizza, burgers and hotdogs and chicken and the lobster night was exceptional. I can not say a bad word about either of the a la carte restaurants or the buffet. You would have to be an extremely fussy person to not like the food here. The only things that they don't have here is maple syrup--they use honey to drizzle on the pancakes and french toast, and they don't have relish just ketchup and mustard for the burgers.

We did not find a need for insulated cups. The bars are everywhere so no big deal to get off the derriere and get another drink. I also dislike the Bubba mugs. They make us Canadians look like glutons. We didn't see any obese Cubans. Guess it is because they ration their food. Perhaps we could use a lesson here.

We had an ocean front room. From the balcony to the beach it was 45 yards. How amazing is that. The rooms are very large with king size beds and large bathrooms with a bidet type attachment. Deep tub and shower and no shortage of hot water.

Last week it was windy at the resort. People only went in the ocean 4 out of the 7 days we were there as jellyfish could be found. Snorkelling here was great for beginners and the more advanced if you swam out a bit.

Don't miss Havana. Thankyou to Jorge"s operation. Edwardo a great taxi driver and our guide Ariel a real super person. It was almost the best day of the trip.

We met some honeymooners here and they said it was a bit quiet with a definitely older crowd but they wanted a place that was peacefull. Don't get me wrong, they have great music with dance classes and beach games and lots to do if you are so inclined. This is a super place to go. close to Havana .and not too far from the airport.