|My sister and I left Halifax on April 3rd for a week long stay at the Iberostar Daiquiri. This was my third trip to Cuba and this was the most beautiful resort. What stood out the most was the excellent service. It couldn't have been better. The beach and pool areas were great and there was plenty of loungers. Early in the morning there was also staff on the beach helping guests set up loungers for the day. As soon as they could see you had selected a spot they would rush right over. Drinks were also served to you while you lounged around the pool and on the beach.
The food was great and they had a large variety daily.
While there I unfortunately became ill but I had Montreal ER nurses who came to my assistance when I fainted. Thanks again to them.
Also many thanks to the retired teachers from Truro, your kindness is greatly appreciated. I would love to hear from you. Wilmaross@eastlink.ca or 826-7141
I would love to go back to the Iberostar Daiquiri and I would absolutely recommend it to family and friends.
|We just got home from a one week vacation at the Iberostar Daiquiri. We stayed from Mar 15 to Mar 22/08. The weather was 28-30 degrees daily and mostly sunny with no rain at all. Evenings 23 degrees; warm enough for no jackets or sweaters. Light breezes most days with brisk winds on two days; not enough to stop beach bathing and getting sand blasted. Here are some of our thoughts on the resort.
We flew with Skyservice from Halifax. Flight was delayed 4 hours; partly due to a snowstorm in Halifax. The seating is close with very little room to move. Return flight was also delayed about an hour or more. Charter airlines; need I say more? They are running tight schedules and usually get behind.
Check in was swift and we just had to find our room on our own. With the help of a map and well marked signs this was easily accomplished. Stayed in HOLGUIN building on the third floor with a balcony overlooking the ocean (except for the couple of palm trees directly in front of the balcony). Room was basic but clean and no issues with water to speak of. Had one bug visitor early in the vacation that was stomped on and then the problem was simply fixed by stuffing a towel in the crack at the bottom of the door at night. Anything can crawl under the door (ants, roaches, etc.). Leaving food in the room should be avoided to lessen the chance of bugs coming into your room.
Maid did lovely towel designs daily. Bedding changed about every second day. Towels were done daily. The mini bar was restocked a couple of times throughout the week, but not every second day as posted. The beds were comfortable and mattresses seemed new and we saw many new mattresses being delivered to other rooms while we were there.
All staff are extremely friendly and try very hard to converse in English to you. Gardeners work hard and make things from palm leaves for the guests and sell coconuts on the beach. Resort area was well kept with no garbage left lying around.
We didn’t use the pools, however they looked clean and were busy. Not many empty loungers. The resort was full this week! The beach was very narrow at high tide. Lots of loungers but best to put a towel on one to “reserve” your seat early (8am). Water was clear and warm; not hard to spend the whole day in. I thought the beach at the Tryp Cayo Coco was better than here though because there wasn’t as good of snorkling and no coral to attract the many colorful fish we saw at the Tryp. There was a flying boat and parasailing offered for a price and hobby cats and peddle boats as well.
You will not go hungry. The buffets at the main building and beach bar at noon have lots of variety (pork, fish, chicken, and pasta). By the end of the week though it gets a bit repetitive. Food in general was good and desserts were also very good; unlike a previous post, we loved them. Ice cream was good with 4 different flavors at any time. Lots of fruit to choose from also.
A la Carte Restaurants:
We ate at the Mexican with no complaints. Didn’t get a chance to try the Cuban. Make sure you book reservations early for these two places or you won’t get in.
Many different locations to get a drink. The waiters are also around to take your orders at the beach, pool and the lobby.
Star friends group are working day and night to entertain you. Different games during the day such as volleyball in and out of the pool, basketball, bocci, frisbee games, etc. In the evening they have a half hour of dance lessons for anyone interested and then they dance with the guests before the main show at 9:30pm. Shows last for an hour and then its usually a disco I think after that, however we left before it began. Many more games, etc. to numerous to mention.
All in all it was a great break from the winter weather. If you go with an open mind and not expecting 4-5 star standards of Canada, US, or Britain, you won’t be disappointed. If you want the Hilton, stay home. In my opinion this resort was nicer than the Tryp Cayo Coco that we stayed at 2 years ago. Both the food and the resort were slightly better. The Cuban people were friendly at both places. Iberostar Daiquiri wasn’t as large and spread out as the Tryp. The grounds at both were lush with vegetation. We enjoyed our stay at this resort and would return in the future. We hope you enjoy your stay at this resort as much as we did.
|Arrival and Flight
Flew to Cayo Coco via Sunwing. This is my third trip using Sunwing and I really like the service they give. We left Toronto at 6:20 am on Tuesday March 11th - actually 6:30 up in the air due to the fact that Pearson does not actually let flights go until 6:30 in the morning due to their curfew. Flight was uneventful - starting with a glass of Champaign to celebrate our vacation. There were many many teenagers on the flights as they were going on spring break trips. All were going to Tryp Cayo Coco so I was glad I was not going there. We arrived at Cayo Coco over 1/2 hour early and got through customs in a breeze (not like Varadero last year) even the luggage wait was not too bad.
I had requested a room in either the Camaguey or Varadero buildings of the resort however this was not available. I did request a top floor room which I received. I was in the Pinar del Rio building which was very quiet. It faced the beach and I had a view of the beach through the palm trees. This was one of the furthest blocks away from the pool - but then a little walking never hurt anyone evem fpr a 60 year old..
I dined mostly in the buffet. I had lunch one day in the beach grill as I was looking forward to spit roasted chicken. Unfortunately they chop up the chickens and put them in the bottom of the roaster to keep warm and all the grease from other chickens cooking lands on them. Don't know why I couldn't find any white meat chicken at this restaurant. The food in this restaurant - while typical Cuban fare cooked in oil - could do with a little more selection. Breakfasts were great - with omellets made just for you and there was always bacon. I did try the Churro's one morning but found them very greasy - albeit quite good. The desserts were probably the worst I have seen in any resort - with the exception of Mango Icecream which I ate daily.
The beach grill turns into the Cuban Restaurant for dinner (you need reservations for this) The food was no different to that in the buffet. The wine was no different either - undrinkable as far as I was concerned. For dessert they promised fresh fruits, which consisted of "canned" pineapple, orange slices, melon. No more selection than in the buffet.
The Mexican Restaurant is only open for dinner. I had fajitas. The chicken was at least breast meat. There was only one taco shell to make into the fajita and that was cut in half. There was no cheese
There was a band to serenade you while you ate at this meal.
While I was at this restaurant I noticed something really disgusting. The table is set with "charger" plates and after a guest had left the hostess took a wet cloth and wiped down the charger plate and set it up for the next customer. This was not too bad as you do not actually eat off this plate - HOWEVER, she took the left over cutlery from the previous guest, wiped it with her wet cloth and used it for the place setting for the next customer. I work in the food service industry and this would never be tolerated in Canada. i have written to the hotel to advise them of my concerns.
One day (fiesta day) there was a BBQ set up in the bar area behind the pool. Lots of bbq shrimp and actually quite a nice meal. I stumbled on this by accident, even though they did walk around the pool to say that there was going to be a BBQ today - but did not say where it was.
The best bar as far as I was concerned was the lobby bar as they made drinks up in a blender. At the pool bar they used a slush machine. One thing is that they did not usually mix alcohol in the blender but put it into the bottom of your cup. Usually your first mouthfull was pure alcohol. I took a thermal coffee mug with me and that kept my drinks nice and cool. also if I wanted ice water (which I drink a lot of) I could get my cup filled with ice.
One downsize to the lobby bar was that it has ponds around it and at night if you sat there you would get bitten by no see ums.
Beach and Pools
I am not a beach person - but did notice that the beach is very narrow in depth and you can go out very far to get to deep water. The pools were beautiful. I never saw anyone cleaning them, maybe they did it overnight. At other resorts they always cleaned / vacuumed it before it opened in the morning. The pool is lined with tiles and could get slippery if it wasn't cleaned but I did not see any algae. There are three pools which are really together, but separated by walls. It was nice to have the activity pool away from the other pools. they were not as large as I have seen at other resorts but they accommodated those who wanted to use the pools fine. I didn't have any problem finding a palapa - as I do sit in the shade most of the time. Even on the first day arriving when i didn't get to the pool unitl around 10 am.
the grounds are beautiful and well looked after. My building had bourganvillea growing up the entrance and looked beautiful. always saw gardeners working hard and at around 12:30 each day they would bring fresh coconuts to the pool area and you could either have one to drink or sample the fruit.
Activities and Entertainment
I didn't take part in any of the entertainment. My one problem with all the resorts I have been at in the Caribbean is that the entertainment group, although they speak 4 or 5 languages, there announcements are spoken so fast it is hard to understand the english with their accents. I am sure that is because they make the same announcements every day.
I did see the "Star Friends" taking some of the kids on walks during the day and I did hear that they would take them to one of the hotels next door for a swim. One day there was a donkey with a little cart that they took the kids on a ride.
One night they had a black light show - the only one I went to see - it was extremely good.
Did not go on any tours - Would have liked to go to Moron but it was only offered on the day I arrived and thursday and by the time I found out about it on Wednesday, our Sunwing rep had left for the day so could not book.
Departure and Check Out
Check out was uneventful. Received a phone call the night before from the lobby saying that as there were many people checking out the next day I could settle up the bill that evening. Actually there were only about 4 groups of people leaving on our flight early Tuesday morning - but then I did see there list and there were at least 25 names of people checking out that day - so I guess they don't know what time people are leaving the hotel. It made things easier though.
Got to the airport long before the plane was to leave - as is the Cuban custom. Took about 1/2 hour to get our seats and luggage checked in. Customs again was a breeze. We were the only flight leaving at that time. The plane had already arrived from Toronto and sat and watched the luggage being loaded. We were supposed to depart Cayo Coco at 11:10 am and we actully left at 10:30 am.
Got to Toronto over an hour before our scheduled arrival time and natually they were not ready for us at the gate. What I don't understand is that when you finally get off the plane and they line up for customs and then on to the baggage carousel you still have to wait (in our case nearly 1/2 hour) for your baggage.
The one downside to my vacation was the fact that the day prior to my departure there were a group of about 30 plus Brits that arrived and they basically took over the pool area arranging their chairs without concern of other guests. They also received bar service at the pool which I had not seen before and even though there was someone taking their drink orders, he did not take orders for anyone else at the pool. I think that it may have been a wedding party and that is why they were getting special treatment. This was also the only day that I saw topless bathing at the pool. It is okay (in my mind) when you are on your beach chair, but to walk around topless infront of the many kids I did not think was that appropriate.
I had a wonderful week's vacation - and as I had read in many reviews I will definitely go back to this resort again (if the price is right). The weather was spectacular excepts for the winds that came the day before my departure. Next year hope to go for two weeks instead of one - to give a little more time for exploring. This was a relaxation vacation.
Prince Edward Island, Canada
|We were a group of 6 travelling from February 9 to February 16. Entry and departure from Cuba was quick and efficient.
Upon arrival at the resort we were checked in quickly. The reception staff seemed very nice.
The resort is beautiful; we had no complaints. There are some mosquitos there so bring some bug spray. A friend of ours got some bites on his legs and he had to go see the doctor. He got great service, they were friendly and they checked it every day for him. Great service there!!
The staff were great. They went out of their way to make sure you had everything you needed in order to have the best vacation possible. The food at this resort is good; better than other places we have been. Raphael in the main buffet is great.
The entertainment team, Star Friends, are absolutely fantastic. They work very hard to make sure you enjoy yourself. The evening entertainment is by far the best we have seen on our travels. The black light show is phenomonal. Yudanio and Dalita are a fantastic couple. We are going to miss them very much.
The beach is smaller than expected but still had no problem finding a spot or a chair. There is a bar that opens around 10 on the beach and they actually have waiters that will come onto the beach and take your drink orders. The gardeners also come around mid morning with coconuts. You can either have coconut milk or a piece of coconut. Very good!!!!
The rooms were clean and our towels were changed every day. Not much else I can say about the rooms!
One thing about Cayo Guillermo. There is nothing there except for 4 resorts and a beach, Playa Pilar, at the tip of the island. If you don't like to be isolated this might not be the resort for you. You can get to Pilar by taxi. Reception will call one for you and it only costs 5 pesos per person, round trip, and you don't pay till you get back to the resort. Just let the driver know what time you would like to be picked up and he will come back for you. The beach at Pilar is amazing. While we were there we saw four starfish; one of them was very big. It was amazing!!!
All in all we had an absolutely fantastic time and wouldn't hesitate to return there again. I highly recommend this resort to anyone.
|My wife and I were at the Daiquiri from January 5 to 19 along with 8 others. This was our 4th January in a row. Accompanying us were a friend who was also there for his 4th time, 2 couples for their 3rd, 3 others for their 2nd time. Obviously we all like this place.
We all travelled with Sunwing. Having read numerous nightmare stories about this carrier in prior years we were a little apprehensive but their price was the cheapest we’ve seen. We should not have been concerned at all. Everything about the flights to and from Cayo Coco was excellent. We were on time, the seats were reasonably comfortable and the meals and service were very good.
Food and Bars – There was absolutely nothing wrong with the food whatsoever. It was always hot and somewhat varied. If, like me, you’re not a big fish fan you may find the food a little bit repetitive in a 2 week span but I never went hungry. My wife on the other hand never ate the same thing twice. We went to both the Cuban and Mexican restaurants and again the food was great. One nice surprise this year was that the beach buffet which is now re-opened has a new rotisserie. At about 1 o’clock in the afternoon the rotisserie chickens are ready and they are very good. I think I ate the rotisserie chicken at least 6 days in a row I liked it so much.
Our favourite bar is the lobby bar and this too provided a nice surprise. It is now open 24 hours, but from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. they can only serve beer or wine, all liquor is taken off the shelves by 1 o’clock. This is reasonable since only 1 server is there to man the bar at 1 o’clock. All the same servers from years gone by are still there and as always they’re very good at what they do.
Grounds – To me, what sets the Daiquiri apart from all of the resorts I’ve actually seen in Cayo Coco/Cayo Guillermo is the appearance of the lobby and the grounds. The gardeners are friendly, very hard workers and do a fantastic job. If life were really fair these individuals would be the highest paid workers at the resort in my opinion.
As other people have said there does seem to be a sea weed problem some days, but there are workers who regularly clean it up. Some days very little washes up, other days there is significantly more. Regardless, the beach is still great.
Staff – As always the staff are incredible. I walked into the beach bar one afternoon and as I went in a strap at the front of my 4 year old sandal that I had purchase at the Daiquiri broke. A waitress saw this and asked me to give it to her so that she could take it home at 3 o’clock, fix it and bring it back to me at 8 o’clock the next morning. I insisted she take 5 CUC for the gesture and told her not to rush. Sure enough, the next day she met me in the lobby and handed me the repaired sandal along with a gift. I gave her another 10 CUC even though she insisted that she did not deserve it. Try getting this kind of treatment in Canada, anywhere other than Newfoundland. This is only one example of many of the staff that go above and beyond.
Rooms – The worst part of the rooms, at least in our case, was the beds. They’re low to the floor and I could feel every spring. This is not the case in all rooms though as at least one of my friends had what appeared to be a new bed. While I’m on this subject I’d like to say that I’ve read a number of posts where people complain the mattresses are left in the hallways for a number of days. I wonder if it might be because individuals get too impaired and don’t make it to the bathroom. Food for thought. Anyway, everything else about the room was very good. The maid did a great job daily, our minibar was replenished every 2 days, and there was always some artwork with the towels and hand towels. There are no face cloths, so anyone who’d like one should bring their own. The water pressure was so strong that if you let the shower head fall from your hand it would fly around the washroom. The water was also pretty hot. We did have a couple of hours one morning when there was no water.
Entertainment – We’ve seen all the shows in prior years and gone on all of the excursions that we’d like to go on so we didn’t go to the theatre other than to see the renovations nor did we venture away from the resort except to once visit the Melia next door, which appears somewhat run down relative to previous years, and once to the bowling alley between the Daiquiri and Melia. The theatre is now completely enclosed and has a strong air conditioning system. The bar is also longer. The one thing that my wife did was to go on the flying boat ride. It cost 30 CUC and lasted about 10 minutes. She loved it and she doesn’t even like flying.
Overall, the renovations are very subtle and for the most part are complete. Apparently, a couple of the buildings near the theatre are still being renovated but the renovations are not at all intrusive. When we arrived, a number of people that were on our bus had been transferred over from the Blau due to lack of water. One who had been to the Blau before said that she much preferred the Daiquiri. We had one grey day which cleared up around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. When we returned home it was almost minus 40. We’ll likely be back next January for a 5th time.
Oh, I can't forget to mention the bug bites. I don't know what they are but something got me good 2 or 3 nights. A few in our group were bitten but not all. The common denominator seems to be sitting around the lobby late at night near the indoor pond. Unfortunately, we could find nothing that provided 100% relief from the itching.
If anyone has any questions please feel free to e-mail me.
|Diane & Bill |
| Just got back from the Iberostar Daiquiri, Cayo Guillermo. We were there for 1 week, Apr. 6-13. The resort was pretty much exactly as expected and we both loved it.
There were only about 20 of us to check in and it was late when we arrived, but it was the fastest check in ever, wow, 10 mins. maybe. The porter took our bags and showed us our room. It was newly furnished & painted, with new beds & matresses, new puffier pillows (like body pillows) I remember reading previous reviews where people complained of the terribly flat old pillows (They're still there, just in the closet as extras) The bathrooms are still to be renovated. Yes, they're showing their age, but everything worked fine.
Next morning we checked out the grounds and they are lovely. The flowering climbing vines are breath-taking and a favorite picture oppourtunity.
One thing we really liked was the compact design of the resort. It is directly on the beach (we had an oceanview room, fantastic). Everything is so close at hand and easy to get around. Perfect for us lounge-lizards at the beach.
The beach, what can I say...
I thought it was perfect. It is narrow but there were plenty of chairs for everyone. You did have to play the towel game to get a palapa. I loved the shallow water and it was so warm. We fed some fishes, swam, played and loved to watch the kitesurfers. It was one of the best beaches we've been to and we would love to return to this area of Cuba. A nice long beach for taking walks and soaking in the sunshine. We had great weather everyday except one day we had a half day of rain - and did it rain. But we managed to get in our beach time in the morning from 9 til around 2 or 3 before the weather moved in.
The food was good in our opinion. It was better that last year at Barcelo Marina Palace, but not as good as I've had at Playa Costa Verde. The selection was overall very good for vegetables, but the meat selection could have been better. I love white fish, so I was content, but everyone knows beef is hard to come by in Cuba. And I didn't find very many pork dishes. Loved the cappucino and pasta station. If you have a sweet tooth you'll be satisfied with the desserts.
The staff was top notch and the service was terrific. We never felt pressure to tip and got good service regardless.
We did take some gardening tools for the groundskeepers and they seemed genuinely surprised and sincerely grateful. They made us each a gift to take home. A woven grasshopper and a dove made of palm leaves. Our chambermaid was Judith. She was excellent and left us water everyday and beautiful towel art. I thought the resort was very clean and well kept.
It will be great when the beach restaurant is completed and the resort is finished its renovations.
We never went on any excursions this time. Just wanted to chill on the beach. But we did take the Flying Boat ride. What a great view from the air...many little islands and water that is so turquoise it's like a dream. The beach down at the Sol Cayo Guillermo looks like the best area, very clear with no sea grass for a long way out.
Overall, this vacation was just about perfect....just not long enough.
|Bernard & Jackie |
| We returned last week from a week at this beautiful resort. This is our 5th time going south and our third stay at an Iberostar resort and we were not disappointed one bit.
We arrived about 11.00 pm at night . Fast check in as our tour rep had given us papers to complete before we got to the resort so we passed these to reception and got our room key within minutes. We had emailed ahead and got rooms on the second floor next to our friends.
I will make this as brief as possible.
Rooms.. Nice and clean. Good showers. Partial view of the beach from balcony. Our building was Varadero which was close to the main building and the beach. Perfect location.
Service......Fantastic. Elien and Rosa were superb in the buffett and reserved our table everyday. Great food. Ary and Alifrey in the lobby bar were great. All staff were perfect and always there to get us a drink whenever we wanted one. The best service ever.
Beach..........Beautiful beach. Lots of chairs and shade and the water is soooo warm.
Lobby............Wow. Beautiful plants and lots of places to sit and relax.
Tours........Went to Moron & Ciego De Avila on the tour. Had a great time touring the mangroves,cigar factory,sugarcane factory and the cities by horse & buggy and bici-taxi.
Overall we had a great vacation with great friends from Nova Scotia whom we met last year in Punta Cana and travelled with this year. The weather was perfect. Sunny & 85 every Day. We would definitely return to this resort again.
|Theresa (torah) |
| OK were to start....So this was my first time ever at the IB DAIQUIRI and also my first time ever down south(went with my boyfriends mom and her friend( NO BOYS lol).........I will just list everything as it comes into my head so here goes nothing...Also this will be a long detailed review...lol so be prepared...
March 16th -23rd 2007
We left from Toronto Airport...No hassles minus being told out flight would leave at 6am but we were told there was a no fly rule and couldn’t leave till 6:30..To be honest I was asleep before take off and don’t remember it lol.. Anyways the ride was a bit bumpy but I slept on and off the whole flight...Food wasn’t the greatest but this can be expected...airline food is never great...Through security in Cuba no problems everyone was decent changed our money over while waiting for our bags...I was a bit disappointed when I saw my luggage as it was a bit scuffed up (my own fault for wanting a lime green suitcase lol ) and even more disappointed when I opened my luggage and found my carton of smokes missing(we concluded this happened in Toronto as they are having major problems with this recently. also this was my own fault I didnt lock my luggage)Anyways...Bus ride was uneventful we had a beer on the way. Got to the hotel check in was a breeze we were told our rooms would not be ready until 1...No Problem we just went to the bar for a beer and down to the beach for a look around...
Honestly I don’t understand why people in other reviews give the rooms such a bad rep...They weren’t bad at all. There were 3 of us so we had the standard 2 beds and a cot which was great...We had a/c which worked awesome and great water pressure and warm water in the shower...Also the blow-dryer wasn’t to bad...I just wore my hair curly the whole time anyways as it is so hot it would have been frizzy anyways...So when we arrived in our room we found a bottle of rum and a plate of food also 2 beers and pops...(the other 2 I traveled with were return guests hence the rum and fruit) We had no problems with water as they replaced it in our fridge almost everyday! TV worked great it had TBS which is great for watching movies when falling asleep...The room was also bug free minus one lizard which didn’t even bother us lol we just laughed it off.
OK so I am the worlds fussiest eater and guess what I had not one problem with the food...As long as I could tell what it was I ate it...Everything tasted good and was well prepared...One thought...If you are accustomed to eating salted butter...Salt yours here because it doesn’t come that way in Cuba. We went to both restaurants the Cuban and the Mexican...Both were excellent...But by far I loved the Mexican the food was sooo good there! Great selection for appetizers there as well! I suggest trying to get into both of those but make sure you book your slots the day you get there otherwise you wont get in or you will wait till 9pm(which happened to us at the Cuban one)Make sure you get a omelet in the morning...It is delish!!!! The cheese is way stronger then we are used to so if you mind that ask for less cheese Hector will make it anyway you like it!!!
THE BEACH IS PHENOMANAL!!! I have never ever seen anything like it in my life!!! Soft white sand...Crystal clear water...Omg I cant even explain how much I loved the beach...Just sitting out on loungers in the sun or dragging them into the water and laying there....We spent alot of time at the beach...There was 2 days where a cold front moved in and it was far to cold to go down to the beach so we went to the pool where it was extremely hot still lol...When it became to hot we just jumped in and swam over to the bar for a beer and a smoke lol...We never had any problems getting a lounger...We just went before breakfast and threw some towels down(note: bring some old towels instead of using that IB ones. that way if anyone steals them you dont have to pay to replace them!)The weather could not of been better I think the only day it rained was the day we went on an excursion in town and it didn’t even rain in town so we missed it!!!BONUS! lol...
This hotel is beautiful....I understand that this hotel is undergoing yet another set of renovations in may and it could last up to 4 or 5 months according to some of the staff...In my opinion its fine the way it is...The front lobby is amazing we sat there sometimes waiting for the shows to start and just looked around I loved it in there...There is also little ponds in and around the lobby with fish in them. Grab some bread to feed them if you want! The grounds at this resort are absolutely stunning! The gardeners really take pride in their work and it shows! Lots of mature Palm trees and other plants! It was funny to see how huge the rubber trees here grow when the one in my living room in a baby in comparison lol...The gardeners will also give a little gift to you if they see you...One day we received a flower each which was nice...Honestly over its just a wonderful resort..
We went on the full day Sugar Cane Express excursion...It was wonderful...Bus ride to the mangroves with a boat ride through them which was nice, then on the bus again to Moran which is a lovely town and a horse and buggy ride then a short walk around mingling with some locals (who didn’t bother us btw) Then we stopped and had a beer in a shop. On the bus again to the Sugar Cane Plant which is no longer in use ( If I remember correctly it was closed in 1999) We had a tour of that watched a movie and saw a reenactment of the slave treatment, then on to the steam train...(NOTE: DO NOT wear white to this excursion and bring lots of wet wipes as you get covered in soot from the train and we all looked funny getting off of it lol) We then got back on the bus and took a vote on the crocodile farm...the majority was no so we didn’t go. We then went to lunch at some open air restaurant...It was nice but we were unsure of the meat we ate...either pork or chicken lol it was good. The food was included but the beer was not I think it was 1cuc each for the beer...On to the bus again and into Ciago Di Avlia(sp) THIS CITY IS AMASING...All of the people and the buildings. Its beautiful...We were also not bothered in this city...We walked around for a bit stepped into a store for a beer and back on the bus to the resort I think we got in the resort around 5..There is alot of sitting on the bus for this trip...If you are not one to like that this trip is not for you..Take the half day Moran trip its not as long but I recommend the full day...We were also booked to go on the Catamaran full day but as the cold front blew in it became way to windy to go out onto the water...They offered it for another day but to be honest we just cancelled and went to the pool. I was a bit disappointed but that just gave me a reason to go back again lol...both trips were 75cuc...Make sure you go see your rep for the welcoming because he/she has lots of info on all of this our rep was amazing from signature!
Honestly besides the beach and relaxing this was the best part of the trip. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN AT THE SHOWS EACH NIGHT! We sat at the front for each show so often we got called up...lol while it was VERY embarasing it was fun!I was picked to be a judge in the MR.IB Pagent! That was fun ...Then Leo (star friend) took me up on stage and made me sing with other guests (see pictures) As I can not sing this was rather embarrassing but oh well it was in good fun and I’m sure I was 2sheets to the wind anyways lol...We only missed two shows the night we got there (after being up for over 24 hours that was expected) and the show the day of our excursion...But the shows we went to were amazing!!! They are so well done!! The dancing is amazing and everyone always has a smile on their faces! We really loved the Cuban show and the skits before the shows lol!!! They were howels! After every show the place becomes a Disco...IF you done like to dance LEAVE because they do not take NO for an answer lol....Let me tell you its a work out in itself lol...We also did the resort dance each night...and much to happys* dismay I learned the dance the first night lol HAHAlol... They have a mix between English music new to old (i.e. YMCA) to Cuban music...trust me they will teach you how to dance to it all! Every night Lizandra and Eduardo sat with us and most of the nights other entertainment staffed did as well...We loved them and are even sending them packages once the resort closes ( to Lizandra and Eduardo that is)...They are party animals and closed the place down with us each night...We didn’t end up going bowling at all only because the prospect of getting up at 8 or 9 after bowling till 4am didn’t sound good to us!
NOT ENOUGH CAN BE SAID ABOUT THESE GUYS! They work all day and night into the wee hours of the morning making sure the guests are happy and always have a smile on their faces! Whether it is doing aerobics in the pool to dance lessons to bingo they are always keeping everyone happy! Once again we became quick friends with Lizandra and Eduardo who would often just come and relax with us throughout the day and talk...Leo is also another great star friend he also runs the towel place during the day! Arley is sooo friggin funny! He is the jokester of them all...All of the staff were great from the bar tenders to the maids ect...we had NO problems!
We had to check out by 6am the Friday we left which sucked....But they opened the restaurant early for us which was good. We bought VIP tickets for the airport and this was a great buy! No line checking in and right into a nice room with a/c lazy boy loungers smoking and all you can drink and eat...We loved it! We had no problems leaving Cuba and no problems leaving Toronto airport!
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
-Cuba does not have the same voltage as us. So don’t bring you flat iron expecting it to work unless you have an adapter. Even then it overheats rather quickly I am told...
-Underwater cameras are a must. We had a lot of fun with these
-Go to Canadian tire and buy the mini bubba mugs. they were great. always kept out drinks cold ...We gave them to Boris when we left(he’s a bartender at the shows at night and by the pool during the day) he loved them and wanted to use them for carnival!
-Your in Cuba who cares you know no one...let you hair down have fun dance and relax!! Uptight people only ruin it for themselves...
HOTEL CLOSING ANNOUNCMENT...
Apparently the hotel is closing once again for the final renovations in May...According to the website this is only going to be for 2 months but some of the staff seem to think it will be longer then that...Anyways the beach restaurant and the rooms are being updated as well as some other things like the tiles in the pool bar ect....Apparently Iberostar has threatened to drop this resort of their name if they don’t come up to code soon so the push is on to do so...
Overall I loved this resort and can’t wait to go back again! For my first time down south this was an excellent choice on behave of my travel companions and I am very glad I went...I would advise anyone to go here and look forward to a week full of relaxation and fun!
Cya soon CUBA!
| We were set to leave Toronto @ 6:00 am flying Skyservice flight # 3054. To our surprise the plane was not able to actually leave until 6:30 am which meant we left our parking area at 6:00 am and sat on the tarmac until 6:30 am. Strange as our flight was to depart at 6:00 am. The flight was a little bumpy on the way, but an enjoyable one knowing we were finally on our way to the Iberostar Daiquiri!!!
We arrived around at the airport at approximately 9: 40 am. We had no problems getting through customs as we waited for our bags we changed our dollars to the CUC, than picked up our luggage. Our bus trip to the resort was uneventful.
Check in was fast and efficient. Our room was not ready until 1:00 pm which was not a problem as we went straight to the bar and had our first of many drinks.
We were lucky enough to get a ground floor ocean view room, as well as a bottle of rum and a fruit plate.
The resort is what I had remembered, beautiful, well kept, friendly and the beach outstanding. It was so good to get back there and see our friends.
The weather was hot and the winds calm when we arrived. A few days later a cold front came through and the winds picked up until the day before we left. We sat at the pool most of the time due to the strong winds.
The food was excellent alot of choices never went hungry. The beach restaurant is still under construction and I would be very surprised to see it reopen anytime soon.
The entertainment is a must see they work very hard for the nightly shows. After the shows the entertainment team makes sure you get up and dance your feet off. I have not had so much exercise in a very long time. What a blast.
We had a morning departure, and the bus picked us up at 7:10 am for the ride back to the airport. We had no problems with our luggage being over weight, as well going through customs.
I cannot wait until our return back to Iberostar Daiquiri.
Shediac Bridge, N.B.
| We left Halifax, N.S., a half hour behind schedule, on West Jet Flgt#6676 on Friday the 16th of Feb., bound for Cayo Coco, Cuba and one week of fun and sun.
Upon arrival at the airport, Jardines del Rey (The King's Garden) any and all tardiness was excused.
Once you have passed through Customs/Immigration (usually fast and efficient) one is best to go directly to the Bank window, located on the left side wall of the Arrivals area, while the other retrieves the bags from the carrousel. You can exchange virtually any currency, but remember a surcharge of 10% is now charged on US dollars. (Thanks Georgie, I can now use Cdn $).On that Friday the exchange was $100.00 Cdn=72.94 Cuban Convertible Pesos. This amounted to 1Cuc= $1.37Cdn. I later exchanged money at the Bank next to the hotel and received 75.88Cuc for $100.00Cdn (1Cuc=$1.32Cdn) This obviously is the result of the daily fluctuation of our money.
Once you have taken care of business, exit the Arrivals area and porters will be available to carry your luggage if you so wish. The charge is 1Cuc/bag. You may decline politely if you wish. Also, you will see Tour Reps with signs. Locate yours and give your name and hotel. They will then direct you to your new, air-conditioned coach for transport to your hotel. The ride to the Iberostar is not long. Buy a beer of two from one of the vendors (2Cuc) or on the bus and RELAX.
Now for the hotel. We were aprox. 40-50 people checking in, all at the same time. Check-in was fast and efficient. The front desk people will give you a ticket to have your luggage delivered to your room and a phamplet outlining the hotel services, times and a map of the resort to find your way this first day/night. Again the suggested tip for the porter is 1Cuc/bag.
The room buildings are all named after Provinces of Cuba. I was in Barracoa #2349. The room was very clean, air-conditioned with toilette, biddet, tub&shower, hair dryer, 2 beds, TV&remote chair, table, balcony with a view of the ocean. It was perfect for the little time that I spent there. I found the bed a bit low compared to mine at home, but it was more comfortable.The hotel is undergoing upgrading and the exterior of Barracoa was painted while I was there. Because of the upgrading, some people experienced problems with their water--pressure/hot-cold-- I did not. Luck of the draw I guess.
Breakfast 7-10 buffet with a wide variety, so don't try to sample it all the first day. Continental breakfast is available from 10-12 in "La Marina" snack bar behind the pool.
Lunch 1-3 in the buffet. Snacks are available at "La Marina" from 12:30-4----burgers, dogs, fries,chicken, salads ect...
Dinner 6:30-10 in the buffet
There are 2 A La Carte Restaurants--Mexican & Cuban. Reserve early upon arrival as they were very popular during my stay. My experiences were very good and I do not hesitate in recommending them.
Late snacks are available at the "El Mojito" lobby bat from 11:30-1am.
Not many, but enough.The main bar is "El Mojito" located in the lobby and the focal point in the evenings. "La Marina" is also the pool bar and great during the day. "Havana Club" is the theatre bar open during the nightly enterainment shows.
Very clean, great area for little kids (wading pool) with lots of chairs available.
Narrow, cleaned daily, shallow even at high tide. Plenty of chairs and palapas, so no need to 'reserve' a chair like a dork at 6am.
Check out the Bowling Alley and Mini-putt next to the resort. It's alot of fun.
I've heard many complain "another guy who wants a tip". One must understand that all Cubans, basically no matter what job they hold, receive essentially the equivalent of 20Cuc a month to live on. Just as a waiter/bartender here at home relies on tips, so do they. Cubans have to eat also. You can refuse to tip completely and it really doesn't affect service but a tip now and then is greatly appreciated and may get you a little bit extra in the long run. Bring an extra $50-75 and make some people very happy. You'll be glad you did.
Do not expect it to be just like home. You are not at home! Relax, put on a smile, try to learn some Spanish, make some new friends, Cubans especially, and appreciate your time in the sun.
|Micheline and Alain |
Québec City, Canada
| We spent one week at the Iberostar Daiquiri in Cayo Guillermo, January 25 to February 1st 2007. This was our honeymoon trip that we had been saving up for during the past 18 months. Prior to our departure, I e-mailed the hotel (in Spanish, with the help of a friend) to request a room with a view on a higher floor and to see if we could benefit from the honeymoon advantages. A very friendly staff member from public relations responded that they would do their very best to fill our request and that certainly, we’d get the honeymoon advantages.
Arrival: Upon arrival in Cayo Coco, we were showed onto the bus that takes us to the resort and then told that they had bad news. The hotel was apparently full and so we were to go to the Sol Cayo Guillermo for one night. I’m a pretty easy-going person, but I must say that this was bothersome. First, you can’t get settled if you are there for just one night and so we lost the equivalent of one entire day with this little problem. Second, when you select a resort and do research on it, then book your trip, you expect to be going to the resort you decided on. We made the best of it, despite a ground floor room that smelled of stagnant water and humidity and no water in the mini bar (at the Sol). In fact, the mini bar was completely empty. We asked for water at the front desk, put on our swimsuits and jumped into the gorgeous turquoise ocean. The next day was spent transferring to the Daiquiri. We got our upper level room with a partial view of the ocean. Everyone who was transferred got a free bottle of rhum and the room safe was free or charge, but we never saw our honeymoon advantages. Oh well.
Staff: Excellent, helpful, energetic. We adored them. No complaints. Bring gifts for the staff (beauty products, thermal mugs, clothes, shoes, toys, pens, pencils, paper, coloring books, perfume, deodorant, toothpaste, jewelry, hair clips, batteries, nylons, etc.) and don't forget the rest of the staff, not just your maid. They tend to be forgotten and also love gifts.
Beach: Not very wide but very nice. The reserving of beach and pool chairs is annoying and obnoxious. Some resorts do not allow this and I think the Daiquiri should take example. One particular family had SIX chairs stacked side by side under a palapa with their towels on them FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK and did not even go to the beach every day. It was not fair of them to do that. When there are no chairs, you can ask the chair guy or any gardener or staff member to find you one and they always succeed. This is more a problem with the tourists than the staff. Water is an incomparable turquoise and cristal clear when the tide is out. If you walk to the end of the beach beyond the Sol, it is almost wild and the water is as nice as at Pilar beach. Do not miss seeing Pilar beach, it is a jewel. You can go there with the train that passes twice a day or just ask a taxi driver to take you an pick you up for 5 CUC. They always show up to pick you up at the time you tell them. No worries.
Pool: Lovely, but who wants to hang out by the pool when you are by the ocean? We took a couple of quick dips in it but otherwise remained on the beach.
Food: No complaints, except that the buffet gets tiresome after a few days. Best ice cream in the world. Great coffee. Orange juice to die for and the fruit! Wow. Our only complaint is that everything seems to be deep fried or very oily. Fantastic hamburgers at the pool bar at lunch time and at the end of the afternoon. Do not miss going to the little shack on the beach between the Daiquiri and Melia to make a reservation and they will serve you lobster tails with potatoes and veggies for 15 CUC. Delicious. There also seems to be a larger seafood place at the very end of the beach, beyond the Sol but we did not try it. The à la carte restaurants were ok, we mainly loved the authentic soups (bean soup at the Mexican and smoked pork soup at the cuban restaurant). The rest of the food was quite ordinary. I make better fajitas myself. Good tuna filet at the Cuban restaurant. The guacamole and salsa at the Mexican restaurant were great. The Ranchon beach restaurant (for lunch and usually the Cuban restaurant is situated there) was closed for renovations.
Grounds: Fantastic, lush, green, floral. Simply beautiful.
Money: No problems exchanging money either at the airport, front desk or the bank that is situated near the hotel. Not much to buy in Cuba, but they do have great coffee, cigars, cheap booze, t-shirts, hats and some artisan stands with interesting souvenirs. If you see something you like, buy it. The artisans rarely stay for more than one day and are then replaced by others.
Entertainment: Great shows every night. The Star Friends are amazing. They work LONG days and are never irritated or tired or even in a bad mood (or at least they don’t let it show).
Downside: Obnoxious, loud tourists. I don’t know about others, but when I travel to a foreign country, I do not want to hear loud, constant, running comments in slang all day long. They should at the very least be quieter and more considerate to others who want to just chill and perhaps try to speak in a more correct French, especially when they are adressing the locals who speak French (not many do, mostly they speak English as a second language). I just find it really impolite to address someone from the staff in slang with you know they do not master the language. Make an effort, people. By all means, have fun, chat and talk, but just tone it down a bit when others are relaxing. There is always an area where the music is full blast and there is a party going on. Go there if you want to be loud.
Weather: We had three gorgeous, sunny, warm days (31, 28, 38 degrees Celcius). Beach weather. Two cooler days (23, 24 Celcius) but the water was still warm enough to want to take a dip. No rain. We walked around the Cayo and photographed exotic birds, pink flamingos and explored the surrounding area, further from the resorts on these days. We also walked along the beach, as far as we could go. The first and last days were lost with travelling and almost an additional day was lost with the overbooking and changing hotels. Next time, I think 2 weeks would be in order.
We recommend the Iberostar Daiquiri without hesitation. It is a beautiful resort with wonderful people working there. People who complain about this resort are just too difficult or do not realize that when you are in Cuba, you are not in Montreal or New York City. Things are different. Different can be very good with the right attitude. I miss Cuba and can’t wait to return.
|Darin and Nichole |
| My wife and I along with a friend spent a week at the Daiquiri Jan 19 to 26, 2007. Another couple was to come along with us but the husband broke his leg a week or two prior to our departure and therefore could not make it. This was our third January vacation in a row at the Daiquiri.
Although it has nothing to do with the resort I will give my opinion about the flight. We traveled with Sky Service on a Signature booked vacation which we booked through www.canadatravels.com. The online booking was excellent and we received our travel documents well in advance of the vacation. Contacting an actual person at Canada Travels was a breeze. The Sky Service flight was another pleasant surprise as I remember past flights with them being tight, uncomfortable affairs. This time there seemed to be much more leg room and all services were efficient and friendly. Our return flight to Canada was delayed by about 12 hours but we were sent back to the Daiquiri for the day and given a $75 travel voucher each for future use with Signature. Overall, the transportation part of the vacation was good to excellent.
And before I go further I should also point out that we do tip, not because we think we have to but because we don’t mind doing so and if it helps a person have a better day then all the better. All inclusive does not mean you must not tip but when I go to a restaurant here in Canada I believe the menu prices are all inclusive in that the food will be served to me. I still tip the person who serves me and the better the service the better the tip. So I wish people would stop complaining about those who tip. I also wish they would stop complaining about resort workers who appear to provide better service to those who tip. If one of the bosses in my office said he/she would pay me better money to do his/her work you can bet your ass I’d be doing more work for that person. It’s human nature.
Arrival – We arrived at the resort on time. When we got off the bus the busboy recognized us from prior years and promptly welcomed us and brought our luggage into the lobby and later to our rooms.
Rooms – Our room was very nice. The floor tile appeared to be brand new as did the wall tiles in the washroom. Everything worked. The a/c worked so well that I developed a cold on the 3rd or 4th day. There was a bottle of rum for us on a table as well as beer, pop, and water in the fridge. We received a new bottle of water everyday. The room was kept very clean by the cleaning staff. As in the past, the beds are not the most comfortable but we were able to sleep every night. Extra blankets and pillows were found in the closet. The water pressure was strong except for the shower and this meant that our showers took a minute or so longer than we would expect. One night, sometime after midnight we found that we had no water. Fortunately we didn’t have any stomach problems which would require use of the toilet and when we woke up the next day water had been restored. We had a great ocean view from our room on the second floor of the Holguin building.
Food – We did not book any a la cartes as we had done them all twice before and found that we preferred to select food in the buffet. The first few days the selection this year did not seem as good as in prior years but improved greatly on the last few days. They still have something for everyone and there is still pasta prepared in front of you. I never once had any stomach problems nor did I ever go to bed hungry.
Later breakfast is served in the pool bar area now that the beach bar area is under renovation. It’s exactly the same as what was done in the beach bar in prior years except that at lunch there is no fish. The buffet has the earlier breakfast and is now air conditioned.
Grounds – The grounds are still beautifully maintained. Although the beach bar (Ranchon) is under repair it is not a big glaring eyesore that draws your attention and even though work was going on it was never loud enough to ruin our days on the beach. Although the rumor is that the Ranchon will be ready by Feb 15 I feel it may take longer than that.
Bar/Service – The lobby bar is the same as always with almost all of the same staff from previous years. The nicest change at the lobby bar is they no longer have those Squishy machines that Apu uses on the Simpsons. Instead, all of the blended drinks are made using an actual blender. After 1 a.m. the lobby bar shuts down. From here you can go to the buffet where they will serve snacks and drinks until 6 or 7 a.m. It is very informal and you may not even realize it is open but it is.
If you want to drink on the beach, the servers come around quite regularly. Lloyd was very efficient returning to us every 15 to 20 minutes.
The pool bar offers drinks all day until it becomes the Cuban a la carte.
Staff/Other – On a couple of days we found that when we went down to the beach there were no lounge chairs available. This was not surprising as it was very hot the week we were there and the resort seemed to be full. I asked Lloyd if he had seen any chairs down the beach and he told me not to worry as he had already asked another staff to go get us some empty chairs from the pool. I gladly tipped this individual for performing this service for us. The next day when I found the same lack of chairs this person gladly went and got us some and again we tipped him. It was well worth it but not demanded.
All of the staff are fantastic. No need to say anymore about them.
We did not attend any of the shows or go on any of the excursions this year as we’ve seen or done almost all in the past years. We met a number of great people at this resort. Jim, Cal, Laszlo, Kathy, John, Keith, Barbara, Harley, Janet, Nico, Tharnos and their spouses as well as Elsa and Michelle or Danielle from Canada as well as Ian from England. We spent most of our days and/or nights with some or all of these people and had a great time. We didn’t even make an effort to use the internet service this year. Who wants to waste their time typing on vacation. My fingers are already getting sore typing this.
In my opinion this is a great resort. You can take it easy or you can get plenty impaired or a little from column “a” and a little from column “b” etc… Although my wife would like to see something different (i.e. different country) I believe we will all be returning to the Daiquiri in January 2008 as it is the best value we’ve found so far.
The above is just my opinion and others may vary.
| We are just back from a weeks vacation with our 2 teenagers (twins of 17 years old) and 3 more + 6 other members of the family at Iberostar Daiquiri Hotel. We had a wonderful week at this most picturesque resort (gardens and property are immaculate).
This was our second time at this resort and third time on this island .
Our room, which was located in the Pinar del Rio building, was a good size; very basic but not always clean. For some reasons, the cleaning lady wash the toilet only every 2 days , and she never set that paper strap around it to let us know that it’s been cleaned..
I would get up each morning and walk to the beach around 6:00/6:30 ..first to reserve my chairs and to relax until the breakfast time. The hotel staff was terrific. Everyone there is very friendly and truly appreciative of any small tips or gifts you may have to offer.
Beach was exactly as shown on the website - very narrow but went on for miles. Water is clear, warm and shallow for quite a ways out. Caution to all - Keep those beach towels in sight as several people had personal beach towel stolen, not the towels from the resort!
Buffet Restaurant was average...but it is Cuba after all! Large variety of foods but most things are very greasy (like to cook one egg, they will use close to ¼ cup of oil) ouch. We notice that the left overs from the day before are always used to serve a salad ( or can we call this a salad , pieces of hot dog with cheese cube and other stuff !)Remember your Pepto Bismol! Be careful, don’t eat to many cheeses and beware of the milk.
At this resort, they have something new, they do not provide anymore water bottle every, just one bottle when you arrive and, when you need more , you have to find a place like the big cafetreria , and fill it up , but those bottles are to tall to fit in this machine , so get ready to use a smaller glass to transfer the water .
In the past , when people were leaving empty glasses on the floor on the buildings , the cleaning lady’s would pick it up very soon , but this time , we saw on each floors glasses all week ( the same one’s) and a few plates of food . After 3 days , we decided to push the plates in the garbage cans , but realize that it did stay there for more days .
The weather was like 34 C and 90% humidity , for seven days , and 5 minutes of rain .
Overall, this place needs some work to be done .
|Catherine & David |
| We are just back from a weeks vacation with our 2 children (2 and 5 years old) at Iberostar Daiquiri Hotel. We had a wonderful week with the kids at this most picturesque resort (gardens and property are immaculate).
Our room, which was located in the Pinar del Rio building, was a good size; very basic but always clean. If you are the type who likes to be up to see a sunrise, try to get a room in the Habana building as this is closest to the ocean and has the most beautiful view. I would get up each morning and go next door just to see this and totally relax! The hotel staff was terrific. Everyone there is very friendly and truly appreciative of any small tips or gifts you may have to offer.
Pools were well kept, cleaned daily but on the smaller side which was perfect with small children as they could be in any of the 3 pools and they were always within eyesight range. Beach was exactly as shown on the website - very narrow but went on for miles. Water is clear, warm and shallow for quite a ways out. Never any problems getting chairs at the beach but poolside chairs tended to be reserved by 7:30 am! Caution to all - Keep those beach towels in sight as several people had theirs stolen and there is a $10.00 charge for missing towels!
Buffet Restaurant was average...but it is Cuba after all! Large variety of foods but most things are very greasy. Remember your Pepto Bismol! Always something for the kids to eat as well with fresh pasta, hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries and pizzas made all day long. Breakfasts were the best - lots to chose from and pretty much the same as you get at home. The Cuban and Mexican restaurants were delicious but not as many choices for the kids to chose from. Wish we had been permitted to eat there more than once per week!
Kids club was good but not much supervision...lots of activities to keep them busy however if they are the type to wander, no one really runs after them so you may not want to leave them. Animators are excellent with the kids and always have a smile on their faces.
Overall, this is a perfect resort for families with young children or for people who truly want to get away to relax and do NOTHING. Cayo Guillermo is very secluded which suited us just fine!
|Ken & Pam |
| We spent 2 weeks in paradise for the second year in a row, what an awesome place to vacation, great food, excellent beach, staffed by the best people I have ever had the pleasure of staying with. There was a cocktail party for folks that have been to this resort more than once...........one couple had been there 7 years in a row! says something about it !
We had a wonderful ocean view and would not hesitate to recommend it or to return to the Iberostar Daquiri....don't hesitate go there you 'll love it .
|Kate and Dave |
| Spent March 31 to April 7 with my husband and two daughters (4 and almost 7) at the Iberostar Daiquiri. We chose it in part because of recommendations on this site, and were very glad we did.
FLIGHT: We booked with Holasun through Selloff Vacations; had no problems at all other than the flight time changing a few weeks prior to departure by 20 minutes. I was relieved as I had purposely chosen an afternoon flight so we wouldn't have to haul the kids out of bed at 3 a.m.; last year my husband and I were scheduled on a 4 p.m. flight (no kids) and found out the night before it had changed to 6 a.m.!
Anyway, we flew Cubana out of Toronto and I was very pleased with it. My husband is 6'1" and I'm 5'10" and we usually end up on charters with our knees smashing into the seat in front, and our elbows up by our ears when we try and eat. This was completely different -- there was TONS of legroom. We were both able to totally stretch out. The plane seems quite new. The food was good on the way down, terrible on the way back, but whatever. We left right on time, and arrived 15 minutes early on the way down. I think we were on time on the way back too, though we left a little bit late.
AIRPORT: It was after 9 p.m. when we arrived. Customs was pretty quick, maybe 20 minutes in line. Our bags were already off the conveyor belt by the time we got through. We sat on the bus for about 45 minutes waiting to leave which was frustrating because my kids were pretty impatient by then. They're nighthawks so had no interest in napping to pass the time.
CHECK-IN: Quick, only took about 10 minutes. There were three desk clerks on duty for about 40 people. We found our room no problem with the help of Deyvis, who turned out to be the maitre d' in the buffet and found us wandering around, not lost, but not exactly knowing where we were going either. The grounds were much smaller than I had expected -- we were in the farthest building to the right of the lobby (Baracoa) and it was less than a 2-minute walk.
ROOM: Great. I had e-mailed the hotel a few weeks prior and requested a spacious top-floor room with an ocean view (picky maybe, but worth a shot!) and we got exactly that. We were in Baracoa 2351, a large room with a huge shared balcony (plus a small private one). The shared balcony is really just a terrace at the top of the staircase that leads to all the rooms, but I never encountered another person on it. It's true that the rooms are a bit old, but they were far better than I had expected. There was nothing actually wrong with it, other than a bit of mildew in the bathroom and around the A/C vent. There was no musty smell at all (and I have a super sensitive nose). The beds were definitely tired -- saggy and the box-springs were quite frayed under the bedskirt (I checked -- I was really just trying to see what people were complaining about) and the cot that my girls got was super squishy. They didn't care though. And, as everybody else says, you are barely in your room. It was fine and comfortable for sleeping, AC worked great though we usually turned it off in the middle of the night. We always had tons of hot water and great water pressure (much better than at home!). Our housekeeper, whose name I now can't remember (possibly Mailis) did a nice job each day. Once she made swans out of the towels, complete with fresh flowers; other days she made fun patterns out of the kids' PJs, which they loved.
FOOD: I love food and eat out a fair bit at home and I found the food here excellent. Really! There are always a few odd-looking things in any buffet but it's just a matter of taste — half the time stuff I thought was weird was being devoured by other people. The grilled fish at every lunch and dinner was fabulous; the pasta was great; the roast and grilled meats were great; the desserts were great and varied. As lots of other reviewers have said, it would be very hard not to find something to eat here. We took a small jar of peanut butter down because my younger daughter barely eats anything else, and we never opened it. She loved the roast chicken, pizza, fries, fresh raw veggies and fruit, pancakes and french toast and pastries at breakfast -- there is lots for kids to eat here and much of it is healthy (enough). And of course the six kinds of ice cream. Other reviewers have said there wasn't salad dressing, ketchup or maple syrup but there was when we were there. At least four kinds of bottled dressing, plus olive oil and vinegar, big bowls of ketchup (I didn't try it though) and syrup that isn't real maple, but it's as good as Aunt Jemima. Nobody in our family got sick all week and I wouldn't say we were really even taking any special precautions. Oh yes, and the hot chocolate and cafe au lait (both come out of a machine) were delicious. We only ate lunch once at the beach restaurant -- it was hamburgers, hotdogs, grilled fish and chicken. Didn't try the burgers or dogs but heard they were good. Every afternoon Paez at the pool bar would be cooking up hotdogs with bacon and onions or bacon and grilled pepper sandwiches, which smelled great — their bacon smells like maple, yum. Paez also made flambéed bananas in the buffet every night which was fun to watch (and they were good). If you don't like cooked bananas he did pineapple too, or, for kids, would just flambée a little whipped cream piped into a heart shape on the plate.
A LA CARTE RESTAURANTS: We ate at both the Cuban and Mexican and I was impressed. Not so much by the atmosphere in the Cuban (it's the beach restaurant during the day) or by the appetizers and desserts, which are buffet-style and the same as the buffet (surprise!) but by the fish I was served -- a huge filet of grouper with a garlic sauce. It was perfectly grilled, bone-free, and very flavourful. We also tried two of the Cuban soups, which were also good. The Mexican restaurant was elegant, with brightly-coloured china. They also served me a fab piece of fish, I think it was sea bream. My husband had the chicken fajitas which he really liked (although he also loves Kraft dinner and Libby's beans so is not the pickiest judge!). Same deal with the appetizers and desserts -- repeated from the buffet.
POOL: Very nice, especially for kids cause they could stand in all three of them. The kiddie pool is very shallow, about a foot deep, but my kids still liked playing in it. My older daughter loved the waterfall by the swim-up bar -- I wasn't so crazy about getting soaked every time I wanted a drink; I could have walked round the end but I indulged her and swam under the falls. The pools were coolish at first but very pleasant after a few seconds especially since the air was hot. We always found chairs, even though lots of them were reserved early. Since we were with the kids and in the water a lot, we barely sat on them anyway and usually just got one or two for the four of us. This was not exactly a relaxing, reading a book with a cool drink kind of holiday, unfortunately... One thing that disturbed me in the waterfall pool was a group of guests who were doing running jumps (and dives) into an inner tube from the pool deck. While it looked like a lot of fun, and 15 years ago (ok even 10) ago I would have joined right in, it was very dangerous. I wondered what would have happened, in terms of emergency medical care, if someone had gotten injured. Cayo Guillermo is pretty isolated and not equipped, I don't imagine, to deal with neck injuries or fractured skulls. One of them could have slipped on the deck, fallen backwards out of the tube and hit their head on the pool edge (which almost happened a couple of times) or hit the bottom -- the pool is barely 4.5 feet at its deepest. I used to be a lifeguard and have seen many freak accidents. This was a serious one waiting to happen.
BEACH: Beautiful. We partly chose this area because we knew the beaches we nice and shallow and thought the kids would love it. As it turned out they wanted to be in the pool most of the time but they did have fun jumping over the little waves, looking for shells and running on the sand. Weird thing was, we only ever saw low tide once -- they day we got there and the second day it was way out at around 5:00 p.m. I always thought tides happened at roughly the same time each day, with slight differences, kind of like the sunset. But every other day I went down at 5:00 and it was high high high. I never saw it out again, morning, noon or evening. Didn't matter, it was beautiful regardless -- turquoise water, white, soft sand. It is narrow and most of the seating is behind little dunes but it's nice and shady (or sunny, there's both) back there. Again, not really a problem finding chairs, although one day my husband had to drag some all the way from the pool. I don't really have an issue with people reserving chairs as long as they use them, but it's very frustrating to not be able to find one when there are five sitting empty for 6 hours straight right beside you! Back to the beach -- I think my photos of the stunning beaches have convinced a few people I know who previously turned up their noses at Cuba to reconsider. A couple of people I met down there said the Cayo Coco/Guillermo beachs are just as nice as the Mayan Riviera (I've never been though). This beach is also great for people who love to walk -- you can go for ages.
DRINKS: Good. I didn't drink nearly as much as I do when I don't have kids with me, so I didn't try that many. The pool bar definitely had the best banana mamas, when they had the ingredients on hand. At the pool bar, you can order a large or small drink; if you don't specify, you always get a small one (unless you bring your own insulated mug). Beer was good; wine at dinner was pretty good too. I forgot to have a mojito, which I'm now kicking myself for but I never saw one being made. My kids loved the slushes, especially when the bartenders layered two or three kinds in the same glass.
WATER SPORTS: We never participated in the animation team's activities -- the Star Friends are very low key which is nice. We did borrow pedal boats and kayaks several times. They let you go out quite ways. We went sailing on a Hobie cat twice; the first time the skipper, who was fishing off the back, caught an 8-lb. snapper. It was quite exciting. Wear lots of sunscreen if you go out on the water -- it is burning hot and once you're out there you can't just run back and get it, or re-apply on the boat, since you get splashed a lot. All the equipment seemed well maintained. You have to sign up at 9 a.m. for the equipment; most of the allotted times are taken by 9:30.
TIPPING/STAFF: We tipped a peso at most meals, daily in our room and every few rounds in the bars. It didn't make much difference; service was mostly good regardless. We usually ate breakfast and dinner late, so it was rarely busy and we were pretty much doted on! I think having the kids helped -- they had fun with the servers learning to count and say things in Spanish. When we left, we left the housekeeper some shampoo, toothpaste, makeup, and the pails, shovels and floaties we'd brought for the beach and pool, and I gave a bag of colouring books, markers, kids' shampoo and beads to one of the buffet servers who had a niece our daughter's age. Overall, the staff were wonderful and helpful.
ENTERTAINMENT: This was the one downfall. The nightly shows were fun, but the week we were there they were all audience participation, not the singing and dancing I was looking forward to. Apparently they work on a 2-week rotation, and that Tropicana-style stuff all happened the week before we got there; there's also supposed to be a really good black-light show that I was hoping to see. My kids didn't care, they thought it was all really fun, especially when anyone from Canada was on stage and they got the yell and clap.
KIDS' CLUB: We didn't use it except for 1 activity one afternoon. My kids just wanted to swim. But Yanara, who runs it, was really nice and the kids who went regularly clearly had a lot of fun with her. It's not super organized though -- Yanara plans the activities depending on who shows up and how old they are, which must be quite challenging. Sometimes if there's not enough kids she walks around trying to find others to join in. So if you sent a 4-year old girl and the only other child there was a 12-year old boy, it might not work out too well. But not Yanara's fault -- she really tries!
WEATHER: It was prob. 26° to 28° most days with no clouds and a nice breeze but not windy; maybe 30° on our last two days. It was warm at night too, enough that we could still wear shorts and tank tops. My husband and I were in Cayo Coco in Jan 2003 and it was much cooler at night -- we were all wearing sweatshirts and jeans.
OVERALL: This hotel had everything we were looking for at what I thought was a fair price. We've stayed at the Paradisus and the Tryp in previous years, both times without kids; it's not the Paradisus for sure, but for the price difference I think it measures up well. And we liked Daiquiri better than the Tryp, which is more of a party place and didn't have such nice rooms. We had a really fun trip and we would definitely go back, hopefully in 2007, as long as they don't raise the prices too much post-renovation.
| This was our first trip to Cuba - Iberostar Daiquri, Cayo Guillermo. We went for one week but our next trip will definitely be for two weeks.
Arrival: We arrived at the hotel at around noon and were registered and escorted to our room very quickly.
Room: As in most all inclusive resorts, the room was basic but very clean. Our room was cleaned every day by noon and the maids always did a little something in our room. i.e.. swans made from our towels in the sink, sail boat in the bathtub and the beds were decorated in the same manner.
Food: The food was great, even if you are a picky eater there was something there for everyone. A good selection for breakfast, the eggs were cooked perfectly. The waiters were very helpful and remembered your choice of beverage.
Bar: The wine was very good, imported from Spain and my husband said the beer was good. Some of the tropical drinks though were so-so.
Grounds: The grounds were very clean, the gardening crew did a great job.
Beach: Beautiful white sand and very clean. You could walk for miles and it was great not having to dodge beach vendors.
Money: No problem with exchanging our money into Cuban Convertible Pesos and back to Canadian funds.
Excursion: We did the Spectacular Sugar Excursion and had a great time. It was an experience visiting Ciego de Avila and Moron. The boat ride through the mangroves was a blast. We had some people from Nova Scotia with us on the tour and they really livened it up.
New Brunswick, Canada
| I travelled here with a group of 46 adults and young adults.
Arrival: Unfortunately we arrived at the resort at approximately 1:30am after a long days travel and there was only one person at the desk, so it took a while for everyone to get their rooms.
After a shaky start the following morning and for the rest of our stay the sun shone every day (lucky) which made it very hard to find things wrong with this resort, so it grew on us with each day.
The staff; were great, they really did work hard to gain both our friendship and respect, from the entertainers who put on great shows, to gardeners who kept the place very neat, to the cooks who did a wonderful job w ith the meals, to the bartenders who , well you know what they do best, make great drinks and always with smile, to the chamber maids who cleaned and tidied our rooms.
We were quite the active group, a lot of us loved beach volleyball so we took our own ball and were able to have games whenever we wanted, which ended up being a couple of times per day for a couple of hours, having the teens along made it a lot of fun.
In our group there were 16 teens who loved the entertainment along with the rest of the group, but they especially loved the dancing which would start at 10:30 after the shows were done. Basically the show stage and room would turn into a dance room until about 1am.
Beach: although I did prefer the beaches at Punta Cana, this beach was nice and was well maintained.
Food: The food was great, I do not recall anyone having any problems with the food, having teens we all took peanut butter etc in case someone did not like the food, but i do not think anyone had to use their stock, there was a Cuban and Mexican restaurant, both had good choices and good food, the main buffet always had lots of choice and the food was cooked properly, no raw chicken. The beach midday grill was also good, mainly burgers, fries, but always lots of salads, and lots of different fish treats.
Bars: All of the bartenders were great, they really wanted you to enjoy yourself, and mixed a variety of drinks that would tease your taste buds, The local beer was very good as well.
Rooms: If you have travelled to all inclusive resorts, the rooms are fairly basic, main things we look for are a good working air conditioner, a hot shower, and reasonably clean room, of which all were good, the water was not real hot for the first couple of days, but d id improve. The maids were never rushed in cleaning, but it was always done by mid afternoon and they did a good job.
Grounds: The gardening crew did a great job. and the grounds were clean and neat.
Excursions: I went with group on a large catamaran to go snorkeling, we went for the morning and it was worth the 39.00 pesos. We stopped at two coral areas for an hour each and there was a good variety of fish to see. Some other people in our group went on the half day to Moron, and really enjoyed it, just seeing how Cubans live, the plight they are in for day to day living was a real education. On really good excursion was the small motor boats to a bay, it books fast and according some of our group was a blast.
Money: Lucky for us there was a bank on our resort, so we could do exchanges every day, I do recommend using credit card for larger expenses, like excursions, as y ou get the international exchange. Take Canadian funds if from Canada, if you convert to American money they have an extra charge for conversion.
Take a taxi to Pillar Beach, it has beautiful white sand, a bit of a different Beach and some good snorkeling to the left along the cliff. It cost's 5 peso's per person and they will leave you for the amount of time you want, take a large mug full of your favourite beverage, and some water as there is only a pay as you go bar at this site. we went for 4 hours and that was just about right.
Medical; We unfortunately had to use the medical facilities as someone in our group fell, the doctor and nurse at the resort were wonderful and very attentive to the injured needs. We had to be transported to the international clinic on Cayo Coco, which with good roads would be about 20 minutes, but as the roads were in poor shape it took 45 minutes. The ambulance was a real eye opener as it was in fairl y good shape, but very poorly outfitted, Do not expect the same type of emergency services that we have here. At the international clinic, it was very clean and they again were fairly prompt in assessing the patient, the injured needed Xrays of her ribs and wrist, they were done , but without and protective shielding of other body parts. The bill for this was covered by the hotel, it did not cost us anything. We had 2 more days after this incident at the resort and the doctor and nurse were there to offer any assistance we required, again all at no cost. this was excellent service.
All in all I would recommend this resort, we had a wonderful vacation, and this was a first for our teens and they loved it, they are already talking of next year.
Nova Scotia, Canada
We arrived in Cayo Coco mid-morning on a full aircraft. March is Cuba's busiest month (best weather and March Break) so my wife and daughter were expecting a slow transition. To the credit of Cuba airport staff, it really didn't take long to pass through customs and get our luggage. As expected, a Porter approached us to take our luggage to the correct bus. It's optional of course but for a few CUC, they are able to push ahead of the line and get your luggage on the bus faster than guests without a porter.
There is a currency exchange right beside the luggage carousel and although the line looked long, it moved quite well. If you are not traveling alone, have one person do currency exchange while the other waits for luggage. If you prefer, the Daiquiri will also exchange your Euros or Canadian bills to CUC. A third option is the bank that sits in the parking lot of the Daiquiri but it's not open on weekends. (Unused Pesos can be converted back to your curency at any time.).
The bus ride to the Daiquiri was pleasant. A guide accompanies the guests and will give you a few highlights throughout the 40 minute drive. There isn't much to look at along the way as the natural state of the island is mostly scrub brush, sand and swamp. You won't miss much if you don't have a window seat. The guide and driver were both good. If you want, drop a few Pesos in the driver's basket as you unload.
Although there were 30 other guests, check-in went very well. Reception was well staffed and I was preoccupied anyway with the lobby surroundings and people. Porters will ask if you want your luggage brought to your room. Unless you have one light suitcase, I'd recommend you accept the offer. The complex is large and your room could be on a third floor (no elevators). As always, tipping is optional but at no time will any staff snub you for not tipping. It's just not their nature.
Tipping & Staff:
Let me be blunt... if you can afford this place, you can certainly afford a few extra Pesos for staff. They may love their jobs but they earn very little. Most staff work long hours (six days a week, 12 hours a day) and rarely see their families who live over an hour away. Every staff member we encountered was friendly and genuinely wanted to serve us (something that can be rare in other countries.)
The Entertainment staff (Star Friends) are absolutely amazing! We went to every evening show and enjoyed them all. They have 14 different shows that rotate nightly so even if you stay two weeks, you won't see the same thing twice. Remember though, this isn't Las Vegas and it's not that calibre of entertainment but the dancers and singers are some of the best I have seen. We always showed up an hour early to have an after-dinner drink and get good seats. (caution: guests sitting closest to stage can sometimes be a part of the show)
Absolutely no complaints. Would I go back? Yes! Rooms were always clean (a big thank you to housekeeping)... no litter was more than 5 minutes old... no cigarette butts... excellent landscaping ...hot water... etc. If your taste is the Four Seasons or the Ritz, you may not be comfortable but for the rest of us, the Daiquiri is a great place to relax in comfort. There are three computers near the lobby that offer Internet service. 30 minutes - 3 CUC / 60 minutes - 5 CUC. MSN Messenger and Internet Explorer are available
Other than the buffet, there is a Mexican a-la-carte restaurant, the beach bar and BBQ areas to eat. We didn't get to the Mexican place but everything else was great. If you are a peanut butter fan take your own because there is none. I also didn't see relish but all other condiments are available. The buffet always had a large assortment of common foods and specialty items. The only thing that was disappointing was the line at the toaster. That was always a 5 minute wait.
At the pool bar BBQ, be sure to try the churros. Pedro sets up early afternoon for an hour or two. These are deep fried dough rings and while not a dieters meal, they sure are tasty. Another treat is the pool bar hot dogs (late afternoon). The smell of bacon wafts throughout the pool deck and is pretty much the best tasting dog (with fixings) I ever had.
Given the 30 degree temperatures while we were there, the beach provided an area to lie in the sun without feeling cooked. The ocean breeze was perfect. Although there can be little ‘beach area' when the tide is in, the Daiquiri extended the sand areas well past the dunes so there is lots of space for lounging. Guests start claiming their chairs as early as 7am (both beach and pool) so if you want that one specific area that is perfect to you, better get your towel out early. Sadly, I have seen some people lay out their towel and walk away only to use the space for 5 minutes a day. The hotel would prefer this not occur but there isn't much they can do. We just accepted it and played along too.
Scuba excursions are available but not plentiful. On the other hand, there are many opportunities for snorkeling. To charter a small boat to take you a mile offshore is $16pp (appx 1 hr). The Jungle Tour was excellent ($37pp). This includes your own power boat (seats 2) and a snorkeling stop . Kids will enjoy the Banana boat ride ($5) right at the Daiquiri beach and the Catamaran tour (half day or full day) is another excellent trip. For most snorkeling trips, decent gear is included if you don't want to bring your own.
Snorkeling from the beach is not exciting. It's mostly sand and, a little further out, seagrass. You really have to get wayyy offshore to see anything interesting so excursions are the way the go.
There are a handful of vendors who set up on the resort. Not all are there every day so if you see something you like, don’t wait to buy it. There are shops to buy film, batteries, sunscreen, t-shirts, tobacco and spirits (although Rum was cheaper at the airport). Canadians should be careful when buying wood products. These will undergo inspection at Customs for bugs and could be confiscated if any bug evidence is found.
As mentioned above, I would certainly go back to this resort. There were plenty of families and the hotel has daily activities to help keep you entertained but if you are looking to have fun outside the resort, Cayo Guillermo may not be the place for you. Havana is 4 hours by bus and the nearest city, Moron, is over an hour away. Alternatives in this area include a Jungle Tour, sailing, horseback riding, parasailing (up the beach past the Melia) and plenty of snorkeling. Both car rental and scooter rental is available onsite if you want to create your own excursion.
Thank you to all staff at the Daiquiri who made this vacation so pleasant. The Cuban people are some of the most friendly you will ever encounter.
|Shawn & Jenn |
Resort was great had varadero building second floor which was close to everything rooms were clean and lots of space no smell a/c worked great ,sometimes to good and had to turn it down . Weather was awesome very hot and sunny ,no bugs in the room and only saw 3 mosquitoes .
pool was great lots of chairs to lay on if you wanted a certain area had to mark them buy 830 or 900 .,water was nice and the right temp as to be refreshing but not cold so that was good ,beach was great as well the tide seemed to always be out or on its way out in the day and came in in the evening /night so made it great for being on the beach very soft white powder like sand ,some seaweed but they went with a tractor to clean it up so no problems with that.lots of chairs at the beach as well.walked on the beach to the other resorts ,thought the daiquiri was the best looking resort out of the 4 that was there.had the best beach area and the sand seemed softer if that is possible.Food well food was wonderful ,gained some extra weight .had good variety of food .liked all the restaurants .entertainment was great aswell had different show each night and had people from the audience come up aswell.if you want a good seat better get there early as it seemed like every one from the resort went there each night.only complaint about the resort was the slow and sometimes impossible to use and get to work computers .ended up using 2 hours of time as sometimes it took you 20 minutes to get logged into the computer ,but by the end of the week they seemed to have it a bit better as the key boards were sticking and making the buttons stick like space bars and shift button so that could be okay another time.met some nice people on the plane and bus ride to the resort so hope to hear from them some time .if you have any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Ron and Kathy |
Medicine Hat, Alberta
| We just got back from the Iberostar Daiquiri on Saturday. It was a memorable week for us. This is our third trip to Cuba but our first to Cayo Coco. The weather was fantastic 29 – 32 degrees everyday. Wow. Those strawberry daiquiris sure went down smoothly.
We arrived on Saturday, February 18 and check-in went smoothly. There were 23 of us in our group and they got us fairly close together, most of us were in the same building but three couples were in buildings next door. We were there for my daughters wedding.
The wedding was on Wednesday, February 22 and it was superb. Yunior did a fantastic job, I had been in contact with him since August, and everything went off smoothly. Sometimes I am sure that I had asked him the same questions more than once. We had the wedding on the beach there were 30 people invited and there must have been about 100 people on the beach watching. They had decorated the area with a big heart that had the ocean as a backdrop so it made for great pictures. After the wedding we went for more pictures around the resort and then to the Beach/Cuban Restaurant for the dinner/reception. We could take as long as we wanted as they had closed it off just for our group. We had a Cuban band play for us so that we could dance, and after supper they brought out a wedding cake. When the wedding couple went back to their room, were they surprised, the maids had put rose petals all over the floor, left a beautiful bouquet of flowers as well as t-shirts and a coupons for a massage. All-in-all the wedding couple had a great day. As this was one time that our children, grandchildren, friends and family were all together in one place my husband and I surprised them all by renewing our wedding vows.
The guys went on a deep sea fishing excursion. They were gone the whole day. The trip included an open bar, lunch, fishing and snorkeling. The snorkeling was great, they had seen lots of different fish. They had fresh lobster for lunch; the crew from the boat jumped off the boat to catch the lobster and cooked them up for lunch.
We also went on the Jeep Tour. What a day, we were gone from 8:30 in the morning and got home at about 5:00. We drove the jeeps down the 18 mile causeway, through a dusty back road to a horse ranch, where they raise racing horses. We then jumped back into our jeeps and went to Moron. Wow, driving through there is mighty scary with bicycles and carts all over the place. They don’t move for nobody. After driving through the town we went to a lagoon for a boat ride and then back to Moron to buy some souvenirs. After that we went to an alligator farm for lunch and then to feed and hold the alligators. The last part of the trip was going up to the mountains. That was spectacular as was the view. Like I say it was an outstanding day and all for $69.00 CUC.
Would have liked to have done more excursions but their just wasn’t enough time to do anymore. There were guys that would walk down the beach and take people to an island to do snorkeling. Depending on the day, it would cost between $16.00 - $20.00 CUC.
The food was good. For breakfast you could have anything from eggs, omelets, French toast, bacon, cereal, fresh fruit. It was endless. Lunch, was good to, you could either go to the Beach Restaurant or to the buffet, and you could have chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, fish. You could eat at the pool bar. The hotdogs there were soooo good. Supper at the buffet it was endless. There was pasta, chicken, fish, seafood of every kind, beef, pork, salads, fresh vegetables . There is no reason for anyone to go hungry. We didn’t try the specialty restaurants but had eaten at the Cuban restaurant for our wedding dinner and it was good, you could have fish, chicken and I think there was beef as well.
The staff was outstanding. The bartenders and waiters were unbelievable, no matter how many people were around, they would always remember what you were drinking. All the staff from the front desk people, to the maids, and star friends were always friendly. I can’t complain about any of them. Some of the hotel staff in Canada should take some lessons from these people……
We went to the shows every night, they were great and they worked hard. The band that played before the shows was great. He has his own CD but we didn’t get it, wished I had.
They have people at the pool lounge selling trinkets there. They had some great stuff, these people change everyday so if you see something you really want buy it then, don’t wait cause they probably won’t be back that week.
There is a kids club there but as my grandsons and niece were the only three young kids there they didn’t do anything with them so I really couldn’t say what it was like. There is a playground there and we used it everyday and they had a pool that is just for little ones, another that is shallow enough for little ones at one end and then gradually gets deeper for volleyball, or basketball or other water sports.
We had a great week. Lots of sun, water and drinks and good company.
Debbie, thanks for a great site.
|Dave and Angie |
Truro, Nova Scotia
| This was our 4th trip to Cuba in the past three years, and our first visit to Iberostar Daiquiri.
We stayed at Iberostar Daiquiri for a week, arriving late on the night of February 10th and departing on the evening of February 17th.
Our flight quickly cleared customs in Cayo Coco, and baggage was processed reasonably fast.
Because of an Air Canada Vacations promotion, most of the travellers from our flight (2 and half busloads) were going to the Playa Coco. Consequently, our bus contained the leftovers, and made stops at all the Cayo Coco resorts before making its way to Cayo Guillermo where we finally arrived around 1:15 in the morning. The Iberostar Daiquiri was in darkness when we got there, with the exception of a wonderful desk clerk who only wanted our vouchers in exchange for our room keys. She told us to register at our leisure the following morning. There were only four of us who got off the bus at that hotel.....so it was a quick arrival process.
We were assigned a nice room with an ocean-view on the second floor of the hotel's Guadalavaca building. We were very pleased with the room with the exception of the water. We had no hot water from Saturday until late Wednesday when it became lukewarm. It was the same in all buildings in our area of the complex. Then, on Friday, there was NO water when you turned on the hot. Soooo.....cold showers for the return home. However, at all times, we realized where we were and did not let a small thing like water temp have a negative bearing on our vacation. The stunning foliage of the property can take your mind off anything else.
The weather was typically Cuban for our first full day..... beautiful sunshine, which we took advantage of by having an early breakfast and positioned ourselves on the beach. By noon, it was too hot to remain longer, so we started to discover the resort and its features.....and its famous staff.
Unlike the attitudes we have encountered among employees at other Cuban resorts, the staff at the Iberostar Daiquiri is constantly smiling and going out of their way to make sure you have a great visit with them. That sure came in handy on our second day (Sunday) when, around one in the afternoon, the skies quickly clouded over and the rain was torrential. While the rain stopped later that day, the cloud cover remained until Thursday morning, the temperature was into single digits overnight, the wind made it impossible to be outdoors, and even the employees were freezing. They were not used to such cold foul weather. Since everything is open-air at the resort, the only time it was comfortable was in the buffet, which is enclosed. Most vacationers ended up spending those 3 and half days of lost-time in their rooms. We remained active as much as possible, but spent much more time in our room than we had wanted to.
Back to that famous staff...... WOW! Even though they were cold, they continued on with their wonderful smiles. The lobby bar was mayhem, because it was the only place that was semi-protected from the wind. That ordinarily would make it hard to get service, but at peak times, they had as many as 8 bartenders working there making sure everyone was treated quickly.
There is another group of staffers at the Iberostar who we had heard and read about, but never fully appreciated until we got there. There is a group of young people (18-30 years old) who are called Star Friends. It is their job to make your visit memorable....and they succeed. No one can deny their enthusiasm. They are dressed all day in athletic wear. We were "adopted" by a pair of them on our third day. Lizandra and Karel are a young couple who are actually from the Holguin area but, for 25 days out of every month, they work as members of the Iberostar's staff. As we sat alone having a drink in the pool bar area, they came along and sat down with us. In no time, we were sharing life stories and then came the bonus....they asked if they could join us for lunch in the hotel's buffet! That was totally new to us....employees dining with the clients. However, at this resort, the Star Friends are now permitted to have lunch in the buffet but must sit with hotel guests. It would appear to be for several reasons: public relations, feelers for hotel problems, but, we think, primarily it is an opportunity for the young people to improve their language skills which employers can tap into later in life. Regardless, it became a daily routine to have them join us and, on our departure day, they made sure to track us down frequently so they would not miss saying goodbye. Our final hugs came just moments before we began our trip back to the airport Friday evening.
Star Friends are a major part of the hotel's entertainment and, all we can say about their shows is that they are breath-taking.....like no others we have ever seen in Cuba before. Their primary talent is dancing....and it is world class. One night provided extra excitement when the spectacular stage set caught on fire while 20 dancers were lined up performing a routine from Riverdance. They brought the audience to its feet with roars of approval as they continued to dance their hearts out while staff members attacked the flames with fire extinguishers. No, it was not part of the show. It was a very scary moment....but a definite example of their determination. Following a brief break for the smoke to clear, the show resumed. Dancers later told us they were scared by the incident which started when a flaming torch came in contact with the styrofoam set.
Food.....WOW!!!! Restaurants in Canada could take a lesson from the Iberostar. Breakfast was what we expected....great eggs, omelets, tons of bacon and other meats....but it was the other meals that caught us pleasantly offguard. There is no need for us to go through the menu here, but, all we can say is that the dining is spectacular by any standards. We also dined in the Mexican specialty restaurant, and thought the food was excellent. We had chicken and beef fajitas, which were generous portions with a wonderful salsa. The appetizers were excellent as well.
We can't finish without acknowledging the front desk staff. At other hotels, there have been some attitudes evident and a certain ignorance toward the customers. Not at Iberostar Daiquiri. The front desk staff always greets you with a smile and go out of their way to help in any way they can. On our final day, we put together a gift bag of numerous items ranging from jewellery to candies to feminine hygiene products and T-shirts. We gave it to the front desk staff, who seemed genuinely surprised and pleased to be recognized.
As on other trips, we made new friends and even ran into some old ones. It's always hard to say goodbye, but on Friday evening (February 17) that's what we did. After making stops to pick up other travellers along the Cayo Coco strip, we were quickly checked in at Cayo Coco airport. Our flight for Halifax departed only a few moments late (shortly after midnight) and it was a smooth flight as we viewed the spectacular night lights of Miami and other east coast cities.
Shortly after 5AM, we stepped out into the minus 30 windchill wearing only sweatshirts and quickly remembered why an annual visit to Cuba is so special. Even more so after discovering Iberostar Daiquiri!!!
Although we cannot answer questions about specific staff members at the resort, if you have any other questions, feel free to write to us at email@example.com
|Kathy and David |
|My fiancee David and I stayed at the Iberostar Daiquiri in Cayo Guillermo September 30/05-October 7/05. This was my first vacation to the Caribbean.
It was much more than I could have ever expected. The hotel was gorgeous and the staff were extremely helpful right from the reception staff to the maids to the gardners which most could speak English. The gardens were spectacular and well attended. Our flight was delayed for 3 hours so we did not arrive to our hotel until 1:30 a.m. The bartender Ari was there waiting for our bus. And of course we perused his services. Our luggage was taken to our room. We stayed in the Santiago de Cuba block which was on the lagoon side. The only downfall was that it smelled a bit like a sewer at times. The maid kept our rooms extremely clean with fresh towels and water daily.
The beach was small, but beautiful sand and water and you could go out for miles. There was always an availability of beach chairs. We never had a problem. The weather was great even when it rained.
We went to Pilar Beach by cab. What a fantastic, beautiful piece of the Caribbean. If anyone is planning to go to Cayo Guillermo, they must visit Pilar Beach. The only down fall was plenty of jellyfish.
The only excursion that we wanted to go on was the Catamaran. Lazarus was our tour guide. He definitely knows his waters and took us to 2 spots to snorkel. One was full of jellyfish and the other was not. We had a superb lunch on board. Chicken, lobster, bread, and drink. It was wonderful. The end of the catamaran tour was a surprise as he brought us to see dolphins.
That was it for me, he made my trip complete. What a beautiful sight.
The food was fabulous. We never did try the restaurants as we found that the buffet had all that we could want. It had a great variety and the most helpful staff. I celebrated my birthday there on October 2. My fiancee had gone down to the buffet earlier and had told the dessert chef. Needless to say, I had a fantastic birthday cake and also I was entertained by the Mariachi Band and a girl who had a wonderful singing voice.
We truly enjoyed the entertainment. Everynight there was something different. We would go for dinner, then to the bar and then to the theater.
These people entertain from morning till night. Some of them even waitress during the day.
We met many people during our stay and found everyone extremely friendly.
We loved our stay there so much, that in June/06 we are going back for our honeymoon. Can't wait.
|Peter and Elspeth |
| Myself and my wife holidayed at this hotel for two weeks at the at the start of January 2006, and found it very relaxing and enjoyable.
The hotel is on an island (connected to Cayo Coco by a causeway) together with three other hotels, other than a bowling alley and a couple of small beach side lobster restaurants, that's it for construction .. Thus the relaxation.
The Mrs and myself are "Iberostar holics", having vacationed at all the Iberostars in the Dominican, almost all in Mexico, and several in Europe. Our expectations for the Daiquiri were high, and this may have led to some distortion of this review.
We have visited Cuba once previously (Last year) and resided at the Playa Pesquero near Guadalavaca.
Enough of us, The Hotel itself, for an Iberostar, was slightly worn, Small things and hardly worth a mention, but a bit of redecoration wouldn't go a miss. The! main public areas were fine (Lounge, Bars, restaurants etc), but, things like the corridors, the public toilets and the rooms themselves could do with a bit of freshening up.
That's one negative, the positive to counter this was the staff, We have never seen so friendly, courteous and efficient staff anywhere, nothing was to much trouble, and this applied whether you tipped or not.
A further big plus was the beach, fantastic, you could walk for miles in both directions. Also for those with young families the gradient of the beach was very shallow, (you could walk out fifty yards and still not be waist deep) so very child friendly, There was always a small breeze coming off the sea, giving a great cooling effect.
Food, Again more than adequate, the buffet was not quite the standard of the Mexico or Dominican Iberostars, but being Cuba this was to be expected. (No disrespect intended) The Cuban speciality restaurant was fairly good. We booked the last sitting for the Mexican restaurant, and was very disappointed, the starters were from a buffet table, and there was virtually nothing left, The soup was cold, and the main course was, shall we say not the best.
That's our two negatives over and done with.
Drinks, There was a good range of local and international brands, The beer was good and they had an excellent cocktail list. A definite plus.
Entertainment, Both the daytime and evening entertainment was the equal of other Iberostars, during the day the staff were polite and encouraged you to join their many activities, but this was done in a manner that you didn't feel pushed, and refusing was met with a smile and a wave. Some good evening shows.
Rooms, The rooms were basic, but cleaned from top to bottom every day, We were in the Varadero block! (Rm 4352 ) This was very central and gave both a view of the beach/sea and the flamingo enclosure. The maid was a delight and really appreciated the little gifts and couple of pesos we gave her each day.( You wouldn't believe the joy a visit to the pound store before leaving home created).
Overall the Hotel was not quite up to the standards of other Iberostars in the Caribbean, but the staff were the best, outstanding...
If anyone wants further information or comparisons from this hotel, to other Caribbean iberostars (Hacienda Dominicus,Puntacana, Bravaro and Costa Dorada (we got married here two years ago) in the Dominican, and the Quiztel, Parismo Del Mar and Parisimo Lindo in Mexico) please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our next visit across the pond is in May to the Iberostar ! Bahia, (a new iberostar in Brazil)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
| Yes March 2005! Better late than never! I'm French, so I hope you'll forgive my mistakes. Thank you.
I only go to the all-inclusive resorts and this is by far one of the best ones, if you don't sweat the small stuff.
Location: Gorgeous! The gardens are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Every building has its “bush” of flowers going up to the roof. Every path is clean and bordered by more "bushes" of more exotic flowers. A feast for the eyes and soul. The resort is not too big, so you don't lose time going around on infinite paths, every path from the beach connects with the pool, where everything is.
Beach: Spectacular! I'm a walker and I was contented. There are only a few resorts next to each other on this island, so there was "room" for everyone. Towels are exchanged every day, should you wish it. Lots of wind which keeps you cool... you don't feel the 36 degrees Celsius! For some reason, the sand was not blown up by the wind, so no hassle. Get up early (7:30 - 8:00) to get a chair on the beach under a hut, they go fast.
Rooms: Basic but very neat and clean. I have yet to find a shower curtain that prevents floods in bathrooms (lol). Contrary to other reviews, there were no odd smells in our room. I appreciated the big bottle of water provided by the cleaning staff every day in the fridge, not many resorts do that. I was not crazy about the magnetic key card activating also the electricity (i.e. if you don't put the card in the slot, you're in the dark), but to save energy, I guess that's a reasonable compromise.
Food: I'm a picky eater (and I mean very picky), on top of having a very sensitive stomach. I have nothing to say against the food, except a bit oily... breakfast, pasta, meats, vegetables, salads... plenty of variety (except for the fruits, not enough variety or availability, more particularly at breakfast). I also enjoyed the fact that the main buffet was open at lunch time (which does not happen at all resorts), so you are not stuck with the "fast-food" hut.
Staff: They are always the best. They love Canadians. You treat them well, they treat you like royalty, even if you don't tip. But, please do tip, a peso goes a long way for them. I bring gifts for the maid... they particularly enjoy crayons and scrapbooks for kids.
Entertainment: The best! Professional-like dancers and actors. Their staff is very very talented. Arrive early, not enough chairs for everyone. The last time I saw good entertainment like that was in 1991 at Club Med.
Sports: I'm not a very active person in that kind of heat. Beware of heat strokes! From what I saw, sports were okay but if you wish to be very active, go to Club Med.
Excursions: Horseback riding (early in the morning or late in the afternoon, it's too hot for humans otherwise and even more for the horses), visit to local town (where most of the staff resides), catamaran (day or half-day), etc. etc. etc.
Languages: Spanish. Mostly English. I was impressed, some of the staff speak French very well.
Things to bring/remember:
- Money for tips : exchange it at the bank outside the hotel for free; the hotel reception charges 4% fee, and they make mistakes in the conversion.
- Bring a string for hanging wet swimwear outside on the balcony, the wind takes care of the rest.
Comments: I don't like going to the same place twice, but I would make an exception for this one. But, of course, that's just my opinion. You go and you be the critic.
Have a nice trip!
| We just got back recently from our first trip to the Iberostar Daiquiri on Cayo Guillermo in Cuba (Dec 11-18/05). Wow. We concerned before we left because we had been contemplating going to the Tryp or the El Senador on Cayo Coco, but decided instead to go to the Daiquiri. (Thanks to Debbie & the reviews!!!) Boy am I glad we did! We had a fantastic experience. This resort may be a four to a four and a half star for amenities and accommodations, but as anyone who travels knows, service is the key, and at the Daiquiri service is beyond 5 star! I can't say enough good things about this place! To start, the lobby is gorgeous, and definitely the bar there is a great place to hang out in the evening with friends before dinner. (Have an Iberostar, Kir Royale or a Zombie, they are yummy!)
The rooms were basic, but neat and clean. Plenty of hot water and pressure all the time. There was a musty smell when we first got there, but knowing this is a common occurrence in the Caribbean we packed scented candles and mini aerosol airfresheners, and hey, you are close to the ocean so what can you expect, it was liveable and the smell went away within a day. Besides if you go away on vacation to stay in your room there is something wrong with you! We were in room 5233 in the Habana Building. We had a partial ocean view. It was close to the beach, you could go out of the building, turn right and follow the path right to the beach.
Ok, about the food. To all those who complain about luke warm food on the buffets in places such as these, please consider the fact that these resorts feed hundreds of people. The Daiquiri's food was usually hot, so we had no complaints about that. We tried both the Cuban and the Mexican a la carte restaurants. I preferred the Mexican, but both were nice. Find people to go with, it is definitely more fun that way!!! The buffet restaurant had your typical morning fare. Hector is the omelette guru! Yummy! Please remember to occasionally tip these guys, as they seldom receive tips and deserve them too! I was disappointed with the selection of fresh fruit though. We never really ate lunch at the buffet restaurant as we spent most of our time at the beach! The beach restaurant may not have has as much selection as the main buffet, but the food was hot and plentiful. Who could ask for more. And besides you didn't have to walk very far, or get dressed, and the view from there was to die for.
The watersports were plentiful. There were paddleboats, windsurfers, snorkelling equipment, hobie cats, banana boats, scuba was available, kayaks, etc. We took out the cat to go snorkelling at the reef while we were there. They do charge you for that (Although I figured as it was non-motorized it should have been included...), anyways, it didn't cost much, but was worth doing. Take bananas with you to feed the fish, and don't forget a disposable underwater camera!
The pools were a disappointment compared to other places we had been. They are very small, and are missing some tiling, but there was salvation! There is a very nice pool bar area where you can sit under the waterfall at the bar. As I said, we really did not spend much time at the pool. Most people seemed to gravitate there in the late afternoon as the sun was waning from the beach. (I did happen to fall at the poolside, due to a rather large pothole in the concrete, so please watch your step!) And watch out for Flamingo Pete! He seems to be the resort mascot. He is a lovely bird and will let you get quite close to him for pictures. There is a flamingo area by the volleyball court, but Flamingo Pete has the run of the place. Don't be suprised if you turn around at your table in the pool bar and come eye to eye with Pete. He just wants to say hello. He also likes to dance, so if the band is around, have your camera ready!
The beach is nice, white powdery sand, but it is narrow. It does have some small grassy berms which are perfect for keeping the wind and sand down. We had the best section compared to the other 2 resorts on the island. (I think we also had the nicest resort.) They are very good about coming around with tractors to collect the seaweed that accumulates. You can walk for a long distance out into the water on sandbars down the right side of the beach. The light areas kind of guide you where it is shallow. I also like the fact that (unlike the Dominican, where one resort ends and another begins) you can walk for a good distance without tripping over hoards of people or running into another resort. You could easily reserve one of the thatch roof huts by walking down around 7:30-8. (Tip- to these people a peso or two goes a long way - The beach attendant got to know me and would have our chairs out and waiting under our preferred hut by the time I got there)
Activities around the resort were plentiful and for a change we actually decided to get involved. We played beach volleyball everyday. This was great fun, (but watch out for the picky pickys at the edges of the court!) My husband played a game similar to bocce ball. They had archery, horseback riding onsite, waterpolo waterbasketball, shuffleboard, billiards, tennis... I think you get the idea! The events staff were great. There was always something happening, dance lessons, games, you name it. The nice thing is that they didn't harass you if you didn't want to play. Our volleyball sessions were great because the same people continually came out, and it gave us the opportunity to get to know a variety of people.
The shows in the evening were fun. We would go over to the theatre every night after dinner. Every night was a different theme, from The Full Monty, to an amazing Black Light Show, to a fashion show, to the Iberostar Grammys, and the Miss Iberostar Pageant. The staff here really give it their all when they are performing, and the shows are a hit because of this. They do a great job for a small resort.
The grounds around the resort were impeccable! Everything was beautiful and green. The flowers were gorgeous and I wish we could grow many of them in Canada. The gardener outside our building was a sweetheart. Every morning he would give me flowers, or grasshoppers and bugs made out of palm fronds, Please remember these people in your tipping and gift giving. I know many people leave things for their maid and housekeeper, but are uncomfortable about approaching other staff, but please don't be! They appreciate everything you do for them and will remember you with kind gestures. I found that it learns to know a few simple Spanish phrases before you go also. The people love to interact with you and it helps to have a few phrases, even if you do make mistakes!
For people who are concerned about security issues, this place is safer than your own back yard! During our stay we heard of a young woman who drank too much, went for a walk and passed out on the loungers by the beach in the evening, she awoke at about three in the morning, on the beach, completly safe. While I don't personally recommend this, the security at the resort is second to none.
There were many excursions available through Transat, which is the tour company we dealt with. We did the Jeep Safari and would highly recommend it to anyone comfortable on a horse. It was fabulous! Ask for Miguel to be your guide, and make sure he drives in your jeep with you. He was the best. We learned so much about Cuba from him! Ask to stop at the bar on the causeway for a beer on the way home. You can go up the tower and have your drink. The view is amazing. The one thing I would say about the excursions is the Pilar Beach excursion is overpriced. There is a taxi to Pilar Beach twice a day for 5 pesos. You can look for the guy in the blue and white shirt to got out on the catemaran snorkelling. He will take you out for 11 pesos. (They want 70 pesos at the resort). Take enough for beer and a bit to eat if you go for the whole day. Pack the waterbottle from your room.
The Staff. Well, Einer, at the beach bar is the best!!! He is definitely a great guy, and the best bartender. Ask for him by name, and he'll look after you. (Make sure you specify who your tip is for, otherwise it goes into a glass to be divided up and there were one or two people who definitely didn't deserve the tips. We overvcame this by pulling the person we wanted to tip to the side of the bar and giving it to them.) Yueksberry(Sorry Yus! I know I misspell that;-), was our lovely waitress at the lobby bar and in the evening, at the shows. She was fabulous! Anything you need, she was there. She has the most amazing smile and is a truly wonderful person. Thank you as well to our housekeeper Ainsley, who never failed to provide interesting animals and characters out of our towels, and kept our room spotless! Little Mikael, (VolleyBall 11 o'Clock!) He was a complete character, who kept us in stitches with his antics. There is a very nice young lady who has the most amazing voice, she sings in the evenings with the band before the show over in the theatre building. You have to go and listen to her sing! Wow! Marie France, our Transat rep, was fantastic also. Listen to this woman! She knows what she is talking about. And if you see the lady on the beach with the dalmation dog, stop and say hello, she has quite an interesting story about herself and this animal.
Anyways I have completly gone on enough. You will just need to go there for yourself! I can honestly say that this would be the first resort that we would actually go back to again. We enjoy travelling to new places, but had such a great time here that we will definitely return! Go visit the Daiquiri, you won't be disappointed!
Thanks again Debbie for your great site!
|Andre & Wendy |
| My mother, my sister and her 2 children (ages 4 and 9), my husband and myself were at the Iberostar Daiquiri from Dec 9 – 22, 2005.
I had emailed the resort in advance requesting 3rd floor adjoining rooms in the Camaguey building. On arrival we found out that adjoining rooms are only available in the main building, which was where they had assigned us our rooms. We arrived at about 1PM and our! rooms were ready, but when we looked at the rooms we could hear the star friends practicing in the theatre so requested that we be moved further down the hall away from the theatre. We changed rooms, and our new rooms worked out fine, it was actually nice being in the main building close to everything with the kids for the evenings. The rooms were basic, 2 small beds, and we had a cot in each of the rooms for the kids to sleep on. The cots are due to be replaced, but the kids didn’t seem mind. The bathrooms were quite large, never did really figure out what we think was the bidet was for, we told the 4 year old it was his special toilet, he liked that. I’ve only seen bidets that spray up, not out??? 220v everywhere! at this hotel, if you don’t have an adaptor they will charge your camera batteries at the front desk for you. The bathrooms are in need of an upgrade, missing tiles etc, but if you’re not really picky you’ll be fine.
Food is definitely so hard to comment on, such a personal thing. There were so many choices at the buffet that even the pickiest eaters should be able to find something. We were all very happy with the food choices, but any buffet for 2 weeks will get a little tiresome. The only comment I have is that the hot food on the buffet line should have been hotter. The meats at the carving station were always hot, and anything being prepared fresh was hot, only the hot line on the buffet could have been improved.
Even with a 2 week stay there was always a variety. I kept expecting to see repetition in the evening meals, but didn’t ! notice this, if you like something you may not see it again.
We tried both the Mexican and Cuban a-la-carte restaurants for a change from the buffets. We enjoyed both, but missed having guacamole and hot salsa at the Mexican restaurant, we asked someone about avocado and they told us it was out of season.
We ate lunch most days at the beach restaurant, which turns into the Cuban a-la-carte in the evenings. Not as many choices here, but you sure can’t beat the view. The fresh fish was excellent, ask for some lime and garlic to be added on the grill, delicious. Only bad point about the beach restaurant for our family is that there is no ice cream here! , you have to go to the main buffet for ice cream, which was excellent.
Must also give a special mention to Pedro at the Churro (donut) station beside the pool bar, we made MANY visits during the day for snacks. Also in the evenings at the main buffet be sure to try the banana flambee, ask if there is any pineapple, this is also delicious.
We are all non-smokers, so it was nice for us to have all of the restaurants non-smoking.
The beach for us is a huge part of our vacation. We love to swim, snorkel, and simply play in the water. We spend most of our time at the beach, very little at the pool. The beach here is very nice, the sand is beautiful, doesn’t get hot from the sun like some beaches. The beach is very long and the 4 hotels on the island are quite spread out, you can get as much privacy a! s you like really. The beach is very narrow though, at first we were a little disappointed, but I guess it really grew on us because no one was complaining at the end. At low tide you can walk out quite a way before it gets deep, wonderful for the kids, or for throwing a frisbee.
There were really no towels games played here, a little more at the pool. We went for a walk every morning around 7AM and were usually the only ones on the beach. There was a man waiting for us every morning that would set up 4 chairs for us for the day in the spot that we liked to sit. After the first morning he was always waiting for us ready to get us ! set for the day.
The snorkeling is pretty much non existent directly from the beach. There are a few fish around the end of the pier by the Melia hotel, but besides that you need to take an excursion to see much.
We also tried some of the water sports. One thing we loved about this resort is there is very little speedboat traffic. We were in the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana) last year and the speedboat traffic was crazy. In the DR you were really taking a chance swimming outside the marked areas at the resorts because of the boats. We took pedal boats o! ut 2 days, if you are there and there is no wind this is great fun. We all went out on one boat, these are big boats. We had 2 days that were really calm, the ocean was really like a lake, and the pedal boats were so easy to get around in. We peddled out to the second set of sand bars, here you are about ½ mile from shore and you can jump out of the boat and touch bottom on this beautiful sand. We took our snorkels with us, and found some sand dollars and starfish. A great time both days.
We also took the catamaran out one day. At this resort when you sign out the catamaran a guide comes with you, you don’t get to sail the boat by yourself. We were a little surprised because we expected to go by ourselves, but it was still fun.
My husband and older nephew also tried windsurfing one day, not enough wind so they didn’t last too long. The only other thing that we didn’t try was the kayaks, but we did see lots of people using them.
One other comment about the beach, check out your beach chairs before you sit down on them, there are quite a few broken chairs that are left out, they looked fine until you sat down and ended up in the sand.
There is really one big pool that is sectioned off into 3 parts, one with the swim up bar, one kiddy pool, and one activity pool. The pools are not as big as the mega resorts we’ve stayed at before, but for the size of the hotel there is more than enough room. We only spent one day at the pool, and were able to find chairs late during the day. There are about 5 kiosks set up daily that vendors come and set up at by the pool. These vendors change daily, and they don’t have a large quantity of things, so if you see something you like make sure to buy it right away. We found the prices excellent, especially compared to Punta Cana and Playa del Carmen. There are also shops in the hotel, and a new shop was just about completed when we left, not sure what will be there.
We had a fantastic 2 weeks of weather. We think it rained during the night 2 nights because the chairs were so wet in the morning, and one night during the show we heard that it had rained. One day was quite windy so we stayed by the pool for the day, and all other days were beach days. The temperature was around 25 I’d guess and 2 evenings I put on a light sweater. Absolutely perfect for us.
We have been to the Mayan Riviera in Mexico twice and Punta Cana once in the last two years and the staff here are by far the friendliest we have come across. This is our first stay at an Iberostar so I’m not sure if that’s it, or if it is just Cuba in general. All the staff were very friendly and helpful. We did not tip except at a la cartes and the maid until the last couple of days so tips didn’t seem to have anything to do with the service.
We waited in line at the airport to exchange some money, and then changed more at the bank outside the hotel. Both had nearly exactly the same rate, I wo! uld recommend that if you want to change at the airport have one of you wait in line for the exchange while the other gets the luggage, the money exchange at the airport is SLOW.
I used my credit card for one of the excursions and it worked out to be about the same, I just didn’t want to change more money as we weren’t sure that we’d brought enough cash with us.
Don’t bring ripped or written on cash, they really check it over and won’t accept it if it is flawed.
When you’re leaving Cuba you’ll have the porters hit you up at the airport to change their loonies and twoonies they’ve received as tips into pesos. I think we changed about $10 worth and they wer! e lined up looking for
more. It was a straight exchange, but worth nothing to them if someone didn’t help them out. We exchanged all we could but ran out of pesos.
The kids club was a bit hit and miss. They advertise that they take kids from 4-10, but I certainly wouldn’t leave a 4 year old with them. We laughed one day because they had about 3 kids that were waiting for the kids entertainment to start and she told them to wait there while she went to find more kids, OK for the older kids, not so good for the young ones. The hardest part was for the kids to! try to plan their days, some days the siesta was from 1-3:30, you were just never sure when things would start. Worked fine for us because the 9 year old is very independent and knew where to find us, don’t know how wonderful it would be for a shy kid. When they did have things organized the kids had a great time, there was just lots of down time with nothing really going on.
Jungle Tour :
My husband, sister, her 9 year old and I did the Jungle Tour. This was a lot of fun and the snorkeling was good, kind of like cenote snorkeling if you’ve done that before, it’s not in open water in the ocean. You can try to tilt the boat sideways as much as you like, they say you can’t tip it. They tell you that you can switch drivers on the way back so you both get a turn driving, drive on the way out, you get a much longer drive. One bonus for this trip is it is only about a 5-minute drive from the hotel to where the tour starts, so you don’t waste much time getting to the start of the excursion.
We actually did this twice. The first day we all went by taxi in a van to Pilar, it is $5 pesos per person to go. It is about a 15-minute drive from the hotel. The day we went it was not an excursion day so we pretty much had the beach to ourselves. There is a little snack bar where you can get drinks, and some fish to eat. The kids got juices for about $1 peso each, and a rum and coke was $1 peso for 3 rum and coke, only in Cuba I guess. We had arranged for the taxi to pick us up 4 hours after our drop off and it went fine. You pay the taxi when they! bring you back to the hotel. You can also take the train which leaves from the hotel at 9AM to get to Pilar, it is also $5 pesos. This is not well advertised, at least we didn’t see any advertising for it, they actually leave twice a day, I think the second time is noon, they can tell you at the hotel if you’re interested.
Our second day at Pilar my husband, the 9 year old and I took a taxi again to Pilar and then took the speed boat over to Media Luna. It cost us $15 pesos each for the adults, they didn’t charge us for the 9 year old. On the island there was a guide that took us out snorkeling, glad he was there because we wouldn’t have known where to go. The snorkeling was pretty! good, some nice coral and quite a few fish. I liked the snorkeling better here than at the Jungle Tour, but I heard others say the opposite.
4 of us went snorkeling and left from the beach at the Daiquiri. Check with the guys at the water sports sign up and they can arrange it for you. There were quite a few different fish here, saw a couple of barracuda, well worth the trip.
For this trip off the resort we rented ! a van and hired a driver for the day. What an amazing day. We had a knapsack full of things for a school and the driver took us to meet the principal of a school that does not get many donations to give the supplies to him. We actually met up with the principal in Pina, which is just outside Moron and spent quite a bit of time talking to him about the education system in Cuba. We did this on a Saturday, which is market day we were told, and we drove through one of the markets, fun to see the difference from the farmers markets here. We then went back to Moron for a little tour, then on to Laguna de la Leche for lunch. After lunch we went to visit the crocodile farm, then bac! k to the resort in time for supper. For us this has always been the best way to see part of the country outside the resorts, we much prefer this to organized tours. We knew some of the things we wanted to see and our driver was very good and entertaining. We were fortunate enough to have him take us to his home so we could see a Cuban home, great experience for all of us, especially the children.
I would definitely recommend this hotel if ! you are looking for an informal holiday and you are not too picky. If you look too closely you will find things that need improvements, but the friendliness of the staff, and the beauty of the grounds and beach made up for any flaws for us. I would definitely go back to this hotel, especially if the price stays as low as we paid. If you are looking for a lot of nightlife, or proximity to a city for shopping and clubbing this is not the hotel for you. If you have any questions I am registered on Debbies Forum for Cuba as wleblanc. Some of our pictures are up on webshots at http://community.webshots.com/user/andreandwendy
| I stayed at the Iberostar Daiquiri in July this year and had a fantastic time. Cuba is a beautiful country and the location of the hotel was superb. I travelled with my boyfriend and another couple, all aged under 25 and can certainly say Cuba and this resort had something for all of us.
Firstly the hotel. Granted it is not 5 star luxury and I have stayed in better but this is still a good medium class hotel with excellent service and good facilities. If the only complaint we have is that the rooms are basic, I'd say that's pretty good going… after all who goes to the Caribbean to stay in your room all day! As I say the rooms are basic, but adequate non the less. Two double beds, large bathroom, plenty of storage and TV with cable channels to watch while getting ready/having a break from the sun. Our room was immaculate throughout our stay although the air con was a little weak, but a simple request to reception and a maintenance employee came and sorted it a couple of times duri! ng our stay which was easier than packing and unpacking again to change rooms. Our maid was fantastic, very friedndly and our left towels in different animal shapes each day. We simply tipped her a little every other day and for this even got an extra bottle of water a day.
The staff throughout this hotel are certainly 5 star with their service. Form the gardeners who would run after us with presents of flowers, to the waiting staff in the restaurant who made sure are drinks were always topped up, to the gardeners who bring fresh coconuts to the beach for you to eat and drink.
The food at the hotel was fantastic, although after 14 days I'd be lying if I said I wasn't ready for something different, but there is plenty of choice. The one complaint in this area has to be the lack of air con in the buffet restaurant. We chose to eat late so the dinning hall was almost empty but it was still very hot and sometimes made for an uncomfortable dinner time if we had overdone it in the sun that day. The Mexican restaurant was fantastic and we ate in it 3 times. Can't comment on the Cuban restaurant although we did often have lunch here which again was great.
The bar staff in the theatre and the lobby bar were again fantastic. We became friendly with one of the theatre bar staff 'Alex' who for a small tip on the first couple of nights would actually go and get us a table and chairs from storage areas when we arrived to a full house in the theatre every night after eating late. The staff here cannot do enough for you (bar a couple of the receptionists).
The location of the Iberostar Daiquiri is idyllic and the water is clear and warm throughout the day. And while it may be tempting to stay and lounge all day it would be a tragedy not to see more of Cuba, it is a beautiful country. Being young and restless my group did a lot of excursions and everyone was great. The speedboat trip was the cheapest and one of the very best. The speedboat driving is fantastic and the snorkelling is also great I have been told, although I didn't actually do it myself. Even through I stayed behind when the rest of the group went snorkelling, there were still plenty of fish to see even just peering into the lagoo! n type area they take you to, so make sure to take bread and bananas as they will eat it directly out of your hand. A trip to Havana is a must, we decided on a one day, guided trip which did also give you some free time for sightseeing and shopping. The Cuban people are so friendly and will come and talk to you and just chat about anything and everything. Our guide was fantastic and very knowledgeable.
We also did the Catamaran trip which was quite expensive for what it was but made totally worth it when we arrived at Pillar beach. If you think the beach at the hotel is beautiful you haven't seen nothing until you go to Pillar beach. I think you'd be hard pushed to find many more beautiful beaches in the world than this!
Our final trip was the dolphin experience which again was fantastic. We flew to the south of the island to a small French colonial town before heading to the coast for the swim with the dolphins. A truly once in a lifetime experience and unusual in the fact this is done in an inlet of the sea, not a concrete pool.
Overall I would recommend the Iberostar Daiquiri and Cuba without hesitation. Yes the hotel could be a little more luxurious with a few more touches but for service and location its fab!
| My boyfriend and I stayed at this resort in September 2005 and would not return. It looks nice on the surface but I would not class it as a typical 'Caribbean' 4 star hotel. The grounds were pretty but little comforts I would have expected were just not there. For instance the air conditioning in the main buffet room was not working at all during our 2 week holiday - a very hot and unpleasant dining experience. The food was ok but have had much better in a 4 star resort.
The general cleanliness was ok but sometimes a let down in certain areas - nearly every morning I went to the pool for an early morning swim and was not happy to nearly always find the previous days litter and cigarette stubs lying around the poolside..by 9am a guy would come around with a dust pan and brush and attempt to tidy up...
The rooms are basic to say the least and not what I would expect from an Iberostar hotel...
I don't want to sound all doom and gloom because there were definitely good features such as an outstandingly tranquil and clean beach, very friendly staff , a brilliant mexican restaurant and most of all the chance of lots of activities to do.
If we had booked a 3 star hotel we would have probably been satisfied.....
|Amy & Joe |
|I and my husband were at Daiquiri from Oct 7-14 and overall, this was a great trip with the money we paid ($529/person plus tax = $702/person).
We were assigned to stay in the main building although we did e-mail the resort about 10 days before we arrived. It was very noisy until 1am because of the shows or parties’ music. So, the next morning, we requested a room change and were given another 2nd floor room in the Camaguey building at 2:30pm. The room was clean and basic; yet we killed 3 cockroaches, which I think they come from the corridor, and some ants, because I put a box of biscuit on the table. I later put all my snacks in the fridge. The room had some cigarettes smell but we lighted some candles in the room and the smell was gone in a few hours. All rooms have a balcony which is great.
The food was great and with good variety, especially dinner. It’d be a good idea to sample a bit of everything first and went back to have what you like for the 2nd plate. I found sometimes pork/beef was great tonight but not necessary the same for the other evening. However, I think the buffet restaurant needs a better ventilation system because I saw “smog” almost every time I went there and I smell and covered in a film of oil after meals.
I visited both the Cuban and Mexico restaurant but found the buffet was the best especially we got many mosquitoes bites from the Cuban restaurant during the first 10mins and my husband needed to run back to the room to rescure me with the “Off” insect spray. Always protect yourself from mosquitoes with spray of high “deet” content after 5pm.
Beach: 4.5 *
The beach is very nice and the sand is very soft like flour. I went snorkelling everyday. Put some bread or banana in the water and you’ll see many fishes, both in the morning and afternoon. However, fishes I saw are almost the same color as the sand. If you want to see some colourful fishes, you’ll need to join the excursions. Sometimes, you’ll find the gardeners on the beach asking visitors if anyone would like to have a drink from a young coconut or if you want to eat a bit of the meat of a coconut. They are free, but you would be gratefully thank if you tipped. They were very nice and will also give you “insects” made of palm leaves.
The weather was great and very consistent everyday at around 30-32 degree max and cooler in the evening. Although the forecast said thundershowers everyday, it only rained for 5-10 minutes on the day we arrived at custom and another day when we headed to dinner.
All the staff were very friendly and helpful. I don’t think tips is the trigger to better or faster services. The level of service was the same regardless of tips and of course, they were all very grateful when they were tipped or if you give them some gifts, especially things for children. We bought many things from dollar store and some soap and toothpaste from Walmart, along with some used clothes. I ended up giving 95% of the gift to the maid because I felt so strange to approach other strangers and give them stuff. The maid was so happy and even gave us 2 clay decorative displays as souvenirs.
Money Exchange: 2*
We did not have enough time to exchange money at the airport (which many people said has a better exchange rate), and the bank in the hotel's parking lot was closed for the week. So, the next day, we exchanged our money at the hotel's reception, and were told the exchange rate at 0.70. Then, I asked if I can have a receipt (which is a printout from computer that required my signature), and I found the rate was around 0.752 and got more money then I initially expected. I later returned to the staff and gave her a bracelet as gift. A few days later, I asked the same staff I dealt with last time and was told the rate was 0.75 (perhaps I gave her a gift and the rate increased?). I went back in the evening and exchange $200 Cdn with another staff. I asked for a receipt but this time the receipt was different. It is like a note pad, like a doctor's note, and the staff wrote the rate 0.70 and $140 peso and gave it to us along with the money. We told him that we just asked about the rate a few hours ago and it was 0.75. His co-worker looked at us and spoke some Spanish to him and he went to the room at the back. He came back in 2 minutes and said "Oh, you are right" and wrote another "doctors' note" and finally gave us the rate 0.75 and $150 peso.
Later, I paid my excursions with my credit card to avoid this hassle. Although they will always warned you that they'll add 11% service charge to it, but that's fine, because the exchange rate they gave you also have about 10% service charge that they didn't tell you since 1 CUC suppose equal $1 US as CUC is the substitute for US$$. I almost ended up paying 15% service charge anyways if I settled with the 0.7 exchange rate with the front desk. When I checked my credit card statement, I realized there is a less than 1% difference between paying with a credit card and cash.
The shows (both afternoon by the pool and at night) and bingos were disappointments. However, it seems that they do have pretty good programs for children.
Half-Day Moron visit ($30peso/person): 4.5*
Signature didn’t offer this one, so we booked with another travel agent after looking at Thomas Cook, Air Canada & Air Transit’s binders by the reception. Well, a little visit to the closest town where most staff live if you feel the one day tour is too long. The bus picked us up at 8:30am and returned to the resort at around 1:30pm. During non-peak season, this tour is only available every Wed, so book yours early if you are interested. Also, bring bug repellent and I sprayed myself too late and got a few bite at the lagoon.
Jungle Tour ($39 peso/person): 5*
Very good. My husband likes driving the speedboat a lot, especially when you make turns and the boat will tilt sideways, but the guide told us that the boat has very good design in balancing that you’ll never fall into the water. However, the water was a bit murky on the day we visit. Yet, someone found a large starfish and we all took pictures with it and then put it back. I also bought the picture they took for us while we were in the speedboat and cost $10. I didn’t bring enough money after tipping the staff. So, they delivered the picture to the photo shop at the hotel where you can pick up later with payment. Bring with you sun block lotion.
Pilar Beach: 5*
We didn’t join the catamaran excursion as that’s quite expensive (sth like $70-75 peso/person). However, we did make ourselves a similar excursion. We took an air-conditioned taxi just outside the hotel to Pilar Beach ($5 peso/person returned), and stayed on the beach for a while. Then went to the guy in blue shirt that took us to the half moon island by speedboat to snorkel ($11 peso/person returned) including someone over the island guided us to snorkel for half an hour, which was fantastic since I’d be so scared to snorkel in the middle of the big wavy sea. After that, we visited the restaurant on the island and had lobsters plus trimming for 15 peso/person. They also have shrimp and chicken for less money and drinks for 1 peso each. We took some pictures and went back to do a little more snorkelling ourselves. When we wanted to return to Pilar Beach, the speed boat was just at the beach waiting for us and another couple. We hanged out at Pilar beach for a little longer and wait for the taxi to pick us up. We went there at around 11:30am and asked the taxi driver to picked us up at 4pm, which was just right.
I got the chance to taste many different drinks. I like sweet but with a bit of alcohol, so I like the Tiger with Rum. My husband like the “Ma Tai”. I always found that the drinks at beach bar are too strong of alcohol and the other one were just right. The Cubans like black coffee with lots of sugar, so they always asked if we wanted “coffee with milk” and it is like our latte, which was pretty good as well.
Other Helpful Hints:
Do bring yourself a bigger insulated mug to use at the beach, a pair of slipper each to use in your room, a cloth line to hang your wet swim wear on the balcony, and if possible, many tubs of Pringles and a bit of snack. The price of rum is a little cheaper at the airport, but it’d still be better to get them at the resort and pack them well in the clothes or towels. Also, bring a few books or magazines, su-do-ku and playing cards to kill time, especially at the airport on your way back (the agent will always drop you at the airport 3 hrs before the schedule).
|Sophie and Carolyn |
| My friend and I, two women in our 30’s, stayed at the Iberostar Daiquiri from October 2-9, 2005. This was our second time at the ID and we really enjoyed both our trips there. Take this review for what is worth, we are not very fussy people but we plan conferences for a living and been to many hotels.
Rooms: As mentioned in many reviews, the rooms are not luxurious but, for us anyways, this was not what we were looking for and we did not spend much time in the room at all. The rooms are very clean (not one bug – or we would freak!) and adequate for our purposes. The maids (both times) were awesome and helpful. We usually had our rooms clean early in the day – the first time on the first floor in the Varadero Bldg and the second time on the third floor of the Matanzas building – we preferred the first floor room only to avoid the stairs and be closer to the lobby and pool.
Food: Like I mentioned, we are not fussy but my friend has a lot of allergies. She did not have any problems. For our trip in October we only ate dinner in the buffet – the food was always good and we always found something we liked. We ate most of our lunches at the Beach restaurant and it was also good. The fish is especially good. The banana dessert at the buffet after dinner was yummy.
In June, we tried the Cuban restaurant (it was alright) and the Mexican (pretty good). Personally, I wouldn’t go anywhere but the buffet – do not have to worry about booking or going at a certain time and the food is good.
Beach: The water is amazing but the beach is small. They have these sandy dunes at the beach that you can sit at though and it still really nice – especially with a cooling breeze coming off the ocean. Actually I am more of a pool person myself but my friend really enjoyed the beach (especially with drink service right to your chair!)
Pool: There are technically three pools – one activity pool, one children’s pool and the main pool with the swim up bar attached. Rumour has it these pools are cold in the winter but when we were there, it was hot so we really enjoyed the fact that the pool was cool. The swim up bar is awesome – we had no trouble getting drinks there quickly (really strong drinks!). Because we were off-season, we had not trouble finding chairs – you could pretty much walk out anytime and get them.
Bars: During the day there are three bars – beach bar (within the beach restaurant), the pool bar and the lobby bar. The lobby bar has great coffee in the morning and, I believe, the best drinks all day and evening. The pool bar is fun for sitting around in the afternoons – the animation staff always has stuff going on there later in the afternoon.
In the evening, there are only two bars – the lobby bar (24-hour) and later, like after 9PM until about 1AM, the theatre bar. Both make great drinks – not watered down at all. It is a little busy around dinner time in the lobby but we didn’t have to wait too long to get served. Who cares anyways? We were on vacation.
Grounds: Beautiful and lush – the gardening staff are always working very hard to keep it nice and it shows. Reminded us more of the Dominican Republic then some of the other places we had been in Cuba (which were drier and less vegetation).
Weather/Other environmental factors: It is very hot, very humid, in June and it really did not cool off at night at all. We did not mind it but some might find it a bit oppressive. Also there were mosquitoes like you would not believe – the hotel was spraying but due to the environment and season, I think it was a losing battle. We are Canadian and we have seen plenty of mosquitoes before so we were prepared with our bug repellent and after bite lotions and sprays. I had a good time and we will go back many more times to the ID but we swore we are never going in June again.
October was much more pleasant – the days were hot but the night cooled off a bit and the mosquito situation, while still present a bit, was considerably more acceptable. We still got a few bites but it was not an issue at all. Don’t forget to take bug repellent and put it on – you won’t know until it’s too late that you’re bit!
Off the Resort - The first time we were there, we took the catamaran trip. This was fun and beautiful scenery and beach (Pilar). It was a lot smaller boat that we took in Varadero but still a good time.
We did not take the organized trip to Moron but had friends take us into the city, both in June and in October, and that was great. It is really cool to see where they live and get a brief look at the lives of the Cuban people. It was awesome and it really made our trip both times.
Also, next door to the resort is a bowling alley/bar where a lot of people like to hang out. It is great fun and only about a 10-minute walk from the resort.
Staff: What can I say? It is the only resort I have ever returned to and the personalized and attentive service was one of the main reasons. The front desk staff were always so pleasant and helpful (Seidel is especially cool!). The maids work very hard and are always ready with a smile. The buffet wait staff (Jose and Maria) and cooks are awesome. The bar staff are great – David, Eidel, Fidel, Alefrey, Lester, Yoel, Adalberto, Alfredo and Joel – all totally cool. There are also some really nice ladies working behind the lobby bar whose names I didn’t get but they were so awesome. And we couldn’t believe it but everyone remembered us from when we were there in June.
So finally, in conclusion, we loved it and are counting the days until we can go back – for two weeks this time!