|Blau Costa Verde |
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
|Arrival: Dec 10 - 18
Quick and easy. We arrived early evening, the welcome rum was a nice touch. Had to wait in the room for about a half hour before our bags were delivered.
The rooms were good. Not spectacular, but we just needed it to sleep, so it wasn't a big deal. Two 3/4 beds in the room. Some people didn't like this, but it was fine for me.
Restaurants and Bars:
I found all the food to be very greasy. The buffet was okay, kind of hit and miss, but there was a lot of selection. The bread table was my favorite. The Snack Bar was okay. The Cuban Bagette was really good. Service was also hit and miss. Some days you had service within minutes of sitting down, other days you would have to go and ask someone to please take your order. The Italian A'La Carte was good, they open as a pizzeria in at lunch time, the pizza was really good. The Cuban A'La Carte I did not enjoy too much. The vegtables tasted like airplane food! The Mar & Sol on the beach had spectacular lunches! I recommend the chicken! We never did eat there for supper. The swim up bar was fun when Eduardo was working, super efficient and friendly! The disco was pretty good. Expect a mix of North American and Cuban music.
The beach was nice, a lot of coral though! Be careful! I have tons of scratches and quite a large gash in my foot from snorkelling off the metal ladder (right side of the beach). It was a beautiful view though. I would recommend taking the path right to the end past the Scuba shack. it will look like it ends, but keep going, you'll end up on a secluded beach, very nice to walk along and enjoy some peace and quiet. We saw some crabs over there and picked some lovely sea shells. The pool was nice, the only time I spent in it was at the swim up bar! The grounds we really nice, though the grass really needed a cut!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We were supposed to go on the Sun Set Cruise on a catamaran. The timing to meet at the front doors was for 3:30. When we showed up at 3:25, the bus had already come and gone five minutes before. Show up fifteen minutes early and be prepared to wait fifteen minutes late! It's island time, they don't really care if the tour leaves on time or not! We did get our money back for the trip, the one time Sunwing actually helped me out!
If you want to tour Holguin, I would suggest you make friends with one of the staff and get them to tour you on their day off. It will cost you their drinks and meals throughout the day, but you will get to do what you want and see as much of Holguin as they can show you in a day. One of the entertainment staff, Johnny, was our guide. He arranged for a taxi to pick up up and meet him in town. He and his wife toured us around, showed us what we wanted to see. It was the best way to tour the city. There were four of us that went, the cab costs 80CUCs round trip. A little expensive, but when you split it four ways, it wasn't too bad.
Guardalavaca was nice. I got all my Christmas shopping done at the market! There are lots of beautiful hand crafted pieces there. You can barter, but I found some of the prices were quite fair. There's an awesome band of five guys that play at the beach restaurants, they were phenominal! (Say hi to Jadeel for me!) There isn't much in Guardalavaca. There is a shuttle that will pick you up from the resort and return you after for 5CUCs, it's much cheaper than taking a taxi.
I really liked the resort and all it had to offer. I have never been on a warm vacation before so I had nothing to compare it to. I would consider going back to the Blau, however, I was not impressed with Sunwing Tours! They didn't really like to help you out! So if there was a different tour group that I could take to the Blau, I would return, but not with Sunwing.
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Arrival: Dec 12-19, 2008
Quick check-in and delivery of bags to room.
TV did not work, and still did not after 2 service requests. Then I gave up (didn't go on vacation to practice assertiveness OR watch TV!
Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet adequate -- lots of variety, usual Cuban selection of salads (lettuce occasionally, chopped cabbage, beets, etc) -- but hot foods not very hot. One inedible dinner -- fish too salty, rice undercooked.
Cuban restaurant nice
Beach is lovely. It's true about bringing bananas or bread for fish -- total feeding frenzy!!!
Beach needs more palapas for shade.
I was surprised that there was rain every day but one.
I had read in other reviews about the bugs. Didn't see any the first few days, and didn't put on the Muskol I brought. Big mistake -- found lots of very itchy bites, maybe by the tiny black specks. I was never outside at sunrise or sunset. The bugs seemed to like sun!
Staff friendly and good service, whether or not I tipped.
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Arrival: Dec 7-15, 2008
Arrival was smooth, except almost 5 hours Sunwing flight delay in Calgary. We've asked for two rooms side by side with our friends and it was arranged for a good tip. By the way be prepared to tip everybody and everywhere, it's just the nature of poor/unfortunate countries.
Rooms were good and clean in general, nice color scheme on the walls. Beds were firm and we had to sleep separately. Didn't have to use AC! Had balcony doors opened all the time (4 floor), that way we were able to hear the nature sounds and feel a nice breeze.
Restaurants and Bars:
I loved the buffet, something new and tasty every day! I'd say it was even better than our Hawaiian Cruse buffet. Fruit and veggies selection wasn't the best, but they said they had a hurricane 3 months ago. And yes there always were 1 or 2 chefs ready to cook meat, fish and etc. according to your taste. Very nice touch! You just had to go there first before there was a line up :)
Cuban and Italian restaurants were just OK. Nice presentation though.
Nice beach with some corals, I'd suggest to bring some waterproof shoes/sandals. Great snorkeling just of the beach (right hand side). Just don't forget to bring a a few bananas and some bread. Hundreds of snappers and other smaller fish will gather around you.
Saw a beautiful LIONFISH (one of the most venomous fish in the ocean, usually not fatal to humans) not too far away from the metal ladder. So be smart enough not to step on the corals of fish while snorkeling. We brought our own snorkeling gear with wet suites so had unlimited time to enjoy the snorkeling off the beach.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
First we took a tour to Santiago de Cuba (second largest city). Would highly recommend it, just to see how real people live in Cuba. You'll see a bunch of old russian and american cars/trucks as well and learn what The Yellow Men do. By the way we've got some good deals on souvenirs in Santiago (up to 30% of asking price).
Second tour was Catamaran with dolphins. Did some snorkeling as well (lots of colorful small fish). Unforgettable swimming with dolphins and a nice lobster lunch. Just don't leave any money on the catamaran while enjoying the dolphins (my mistake).
Great deal for your money! It was our first 1 week holiday (usually we have 10-14 day holidays) so it was too short. Fellow Canadians PLEASE DON'T BRING LOONIES OR TOONIES!!! Metal coins/dollars can't be exchanged. Just bring paper notes and you're gonna be able to exchange it to Pesos (CUC) inside your resort (better rate than airport). American dollars work too, but locals prefer Pesos (CUC). By the way don't forger that you're gonna be using TOURIST Pesos (CUC). 1.4CAD=1CUC, 1.1USD=1CUC I know it's ridiculous, because the 1CAD equals 25 real Cuban Pesos :)but you won't see them because everybody tells you the price in Tourist Pesos (CUC). Only pure canadian credit cards (no american cards accepted) can be used to pay for tours, everywhere else cash is the king. By the way Duty Free at the airport has better prices than the resort store and they accept canadian credit cards. Go and see Cuba and if you're ready to accept the reality you won't regret it!
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Arrival: November 2008
Our arrival went relatively smoothly. We had paid for the VIP package.
We had two rooms, side by side in block 5. Nice and quiet, except when the floor show was underway. The bed was hard. The air conditioning worked sporadically in our room but the kids' room was fine. The bathrooms need to be updated. The mini-bar was stocked daily with water, soft drinks and beer. There was a fruit plate, a free bottle of rum and a cigar as our welcome gifts.
Restaurants and Bars:
The main dining room, La Arcada, was good with a few misses and some hits. Breakfast was the big hit with our 2 daughters (ages 6 and 8). We tried all the other restaurants and both the Italian restaurant and the Cuban restaurant were excellent. The pizza at the Italian restaurant for lunch was great. The beach restaurant was better for lunch than dinner. Our package included a lobster or steak dinner which was not very good. The lobster was grilled and very tough while the steak was tender but heavily salted so neither of my kids would eat it. The snack bar at the pool bar was adequate but service was very slow. Another pet peeve was getting coffee. There was only one working coffee machine so delays were lengthy to get coffee (i.e. 15-20 minutes waiting). The staff at the pool side bar were not very efficient.
The pool was great and the grounds were also. The beach had a lot of coral debris at the shore so you had to tip toe around it but the view was worth it.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The kids club started off slowly but by mid-week, it was great. The one staffer named Isis, was exceptionally good and obviously loved working with children. My daughters fell in love with her and she ran the "mini-disco" in the evenings. She made the vacation really special for my kids.
We went swimming with dolphins which was a little pricey but definitely worth it. About 30-45 minutes in the water with the dolphins plus a sea lion show and a dolphin show. I would not recommend the swimming with dolphins for children under 5 or 6. One couple paid for their 2 year old and he was plainly terrified and had to be lifted out of the water.
This was our fifth trip to Cuba. We love the country and the wonderful people. I would not rush back to the Blau Costa Verde until it gets a facelift and some of their staff get proper training in customer service. However, most of the employees at the resort were great and genuinely helpful.
|Blau Costa Verde |
Arrived at the hotel at 18:30, check-in quite efficient and easy
Two 3/4 beds very unconfortable. Bathroom ok but would need a few fix here and there. No coffee machine in the room...
Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet food is always very cold, quality and taste of fruits is very poor. Cuban restaurant a la carte was very good and tasty but again the food is cold. At the bar, the service is very bad you have to wait a long before they ask you what you need and even longer to obatin it. Staff at the bar are not welcoming at all and never smiling..
The beach and the water are amazing, 1.5km of white soft sand and aclear blue water. Snorkeling is amazing all over
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Went to visit Guardalavaca hum! the beach is good and the only thing you will see is a small market to buy souvenirs
|Blau Costa Verde |
|My husband, two children (8 & 6) and I just got back from a week at the Blau. This was my 3 time there and my husband's 2nd. We had two adjoining rooms which were perfect. However, our rooms (6304 & 6305) were very noisy as they overlooked the restaurant/entertainment area. I would not recommend them for anyone that is a light sleeper, takes naps, or goes to bed before the nightly entertainment is over.
Unfortunately, I have to say that it will probably be my last visit to this resort as we did notice a fairly significant decrease in the quality and quantity of food and drinks since our last visit (in 2006). If, however, you can get your trip for under $1,000 it is still worth it. The rooms are basic but clean. We never had an issue with water pressure and, although air conditioner had a mind of its own, never were uncomfortable.
I like the size of this resort and I definitely like the Holguin area more than Varadaro because of the mountains and scenary.
My children had a great time. Loved the beach and pool and the two off-site trips we took. They swam with the dolphins and had a horse and buggy ride around Guadalavaca which really showed the "true" Cuban life. We also dropped off some medicine at the International Clinic in Guadalavaca and my children handed out small toys and jewelry to some local children.
My daughter (8) did try out the Kid's Club for about two hours one day but found it quite boring as there was only one other, younger, child there and they just played cards, colored and played hide and seek.
I will keep this short but if you would like any more information, please feel free to contact me at : email@example.com
Thanks again Debbie for this great site.
|Blau Costa Verde |
|We are a family of 4. Kids (8 & 5). We try to go somewhere every year. We have always been somewhat reluctant to go to Cuba, just because we thought it was potentially un safe. We had heard the food in Cuba was bad, but that the beaches were good. We generally stay at a 3* - 4*. We are not overly picky people. We just like to go away, have a nice time and choose a place with a Kids Club to keep them out of the sun a bit.
We read the reviews for the Blau, and like every review there are mixed reviews and after being there we chalked it up to the fact that everyone has different levels of expectations.
Below are our findings of this place and CUBA in general.
First of all Cuba is probably our new favorite destination. Why? Because of the beaches and the people. The people there are friendly. There are no beggars, no beach vendors, nobody always trying to make a quick buck off you – yet it is one of the poorest places we’ve ever visited.
We knew that the locals there are quite restricted in what they do, how much money they make, etc. So like we’ve done before, we stocked up at the Dollar store and brought an extra suitcase full of toiletries, toys, candy, etc. to give away.
One day we asked a taxi to just drive us to a local ‘poor village’ (they are all poor) because we wanted to give our stuff out, and wanted our kids to see an appreciate what they have at home. Our thought was that we would be swarmed by people and kids grabbing stuff from us. We were shocked at the reality. Instead, some curious on-lookers went to their door or window and looked on. We had to literally walk up to each family’s home (more like a shack) and offer them the gifts. They took them, said Gracias, and that was it. They are the MOST humble people I have ever met anywhere. This sentiment was repeated over and over again, everywhere we went.
IF YOU HAVE KIDS:
The Kids club was great. The hours are 10 – noon and 2 – 5 I think it was. The girl running the place is super! All of the staff actually are super. Most staff who interact with guests must speak 5 languages fluently. And they do! Even kitchen staff and house keeping staff have to speak English. Most Cubans are very highly educated since University is free. The problem is that there is not a big salary difference between a teacher and a doctor for example. If you work at a resort you are considered very privileged… as they offer the staff special bonus if they show up to work on time every day and do a good job, etc. The bonus is equivalent to another salary. A salary, which is, really poor to begin with (about $8 Canadian a month). Yes that’s right about 8 bucks a month. They still have rations there for food and other items – which doesn’t cover what they need to live, so they have to spend their salaries very wisely, and if a tube of toothpaste costs $1 – well you can see why they are so poor.
Anyway, I encourage you to engage your favorite staff person or people to learn more about Cuba. It was fascinating. Although the kids club did have scheduled events, the staff was flexible. One day she suggested a field trip by horse and buggy into town ($12 return trip) another day we went horseback riding at a local conservation area (we ended up only going for 3 hours because it was our last day –but you could easily have spent the whole day there. They give you a tour guide and the kids club hostess comes with you too).
If you are going to take advantage of the kids club, then rest assured they will take care of your kids. You will fall in love with the girl who runs it.
If you are interested in taking stuff down, please e-mail me separately and I will give you more info.
We were expecting the worst, but it was better than most places in Mexico or DR that we have been too. In the morning you can’t go wrong with Eggs and Omelets. I don’t think we ever went to the buffet lunch, because we always went to the beach grill. Put it this way, we were Never hungry there.
As others have suggested, bring some thermal mugs for coffee, beer or mixed drinks. They do serve been in smallish plastic cups, so if you have a bigger insulated container, it saves on trips to the bar.
Two of the main bars have a cappuccino/coffee machine. These are great coffees! We’d run down grab a couple in our mugs and drink them while getting ready and before going to breakfast.
At the back of the breakfast buffet is a lady who makes fruit smoothies. These are great!
One of the things we didn’t realize until half way into our trip was that the Italian restaurant serves pizzas at lunch time. We didn’t know this. Their pizzas were great!
I am trying to think of things to mention that I didn’t know and that others have not commented on….
There is a little souvenir market in Guadalavarca. It is about a 15 min cab ride away. It cost us $12 each way. We found out later there was a buss that picks you up at the hotel for a fraction of that cost. Once at the market – go to the Beach. The beach at the hotel is nice, but the beach in Guadalavarca is like those Cuba tourism billboards we see around here.
The beach at the hotel is nice. There are a few spots with some coral – so if you want, bring water shoes… but when facing the water if you go to the extreme right, it is completely rock and coral free. Bring some bread from the buffet, and the fish will swim right up. Also if you walk the opposite direction (2 hotels over) on the beach again, the water is pristine!.
The paddleboats they offer (for free) are very large. But don’t let their size fool you. They are very easily to navigate around. Best part – is they have a ladder so you can jump off and climb back on. I would guess that the water is about 50’ – 60’ where we were with the boat, and you can see the sand at the bottom. So clear. Amazing!
The catamaran is for two people only. A guide takes you out (it’s also free) good activity to do while kids are at the club. Book it in advance because if there isn’t enough wind, you can’t go out.
For your lounge chairs, there is someone there who brings them to you. They never run out.
You can do it at the airport or at the hotel. The rate is almost the same.
OTHER THINGS TO BRING:
We brought clothes and shoes that our kids had outgrown and left them for the maids – just an idea. They certainly appreciated it. We brought all kinds of food; bars, fish crackers, peanut butter, etc. Leave it at home! Our kids are picky eaters and yet we always found stuff for them to eat.
Are basic, but fine. If you spend too much time in your room, then save your money and stay home J
Oh ya, and did I mention – No Americans J
If you have any questions or want more info about the kids club firstname.lastname@example.org
|Blau Costa Verde |
|My second visit to this area, first to this beach. A little different trip for me since I travelled with my sister. I usually go solo.
Flight: Skyservice. Uneventful.
Check in: Quick and easy. We had requested a quiet location, preferably upstairs in building one, and got exactly what we asked for.
Room: Pleasant and clean, twin beds, mini fridge kept stocked, programmable safe, adequate closet space. I had read about the hard beds, which concerned me a bit since I am sensitive to this problem, but I had no difficulty and slept fine. There was some noise from neighbours and from the hallway from time to time.....inevitable in this type of layout. It is a hotel style place, with hallways and 3 to 5 floors per building.
Weather: The first day and a half was wet. Lots of showers, often heavy. Blau was the perfect resort to be at, since you can access most areas without dodging raindrops. The main areas are enclosed, with some walkways that are covered but exposed
to blowing rain so they can be wet and slippery.....water shoes work well here! There was some problem with flooding, notably in the lobby bar area, and the computer was out of service for a short time. We really appreciated not having to make our way through heavy rain to get to the buffet!
Restaurants: We ate at both a la cartes and enjoyed them, particularly the Italian, which is also a Pizza restaurant at lunch. The buffet was good, with the usual made to order eggs and omelets in the morning, and pasta bar in the evening. Lots of variety at all meals. Fresh fruit was always available, (make sure you look for the table....it is a bit to one side and could be missed) and the breads were very good (and often warm if you got there early). We usually sat in the outside section, and often we were served coffee in the morning and wine at night while waiting for the buffet to open.....a nice touch! We didn't try the beach restaurant......we were hooked on the Pizza and ate lunch there every day. We also didn't bother with the snack bar until the last morning when they set out a continental breakfast for our early departure. Room service is also available, although we didn't use it.
Bars: The lobby bar was fine for an after dinner drink in the evening, although service here was spotty. Sometimes there was table service, sometimes not. Seemed to depend on the mood of the waitress. Drinks were fine. Some nights there was a young woman playing a keyboard. She was very good and we enjoyed listening to her. The beach bar was conveniently located for anyone wanting drinks at the beach. We didn't use the swim up bar or the snack bar.
Grounds: Well maintained and attractive. There is a kid's club, a spa, a gym, a games room, two sets of tennis courts, a badminton court, shooting range, and of course swimming pools, including one with a swim up bar.
Beach: Shallow with coral and rocks in the water. Water shoes are a good idea. A short beach for walking...about 12 minutes end to end, and crowded in the afternoon. Fine in the morning, which is when I usually walk. Not a good swimmer's beach, in my opinion, but great for snorkelling. I saw many varieties of fish. Unfortunately people often feed them, so they are quite habituated.....when you pause you are soon surrounded by the usual common reef fish looking for handouts, which can make spotting the more shy, interesting species difficult. That said, I saw many although it took some patience and some diving down, but there is a lot to see here. Sailing was good at this location as well. I had many fast, fun rides on the Hobie Cat. Because of the orientation of the beach, it is possible to get out sailing when it is really windy!
Activities: There seems to be quite a bit to do, but we make our own fun so we didn't participate in the organized activities.
Around the neighbourhood: There is a walkway that runs along between the beach and the resorts, which makes for a nice stroll. You can continue on a trail at the west end, although I opted to return via the beach. At the east end, a trail leads quite some way through the vegetation. You can access the shore at numerous points and walk along the rocks. There is also a small beach here where I saw people fishing. It was fun exploring. Bikes are available and there is a village nearby. Some intrepid souls rode bikes to Guardalavaca! That's further than I wanted to go on a hot day.
Excursions: The usual offerings.....catamaran snorkel tours, swim with dolphins, various city tours. We didn't bother.
Entertainment: The usual shows at night. Again, we didn't indulge. There was a very good string quartet at the buffet restaurant one night, and another group on a night we were at the a la carte, so we unfortunately missed hearing them.
Internet: Good internet service for 3 CUC per 30 minutes. The only problem is that it is popular and often there was a line up to use the computer. Part way through the week they added another computer, which helped somewhat. I sent an email daily, but I'm an early riser. No lines at 6 a.m.!
Staff: Excellent, attentive staff at this resort. Everyone was friendly and helpful.
Overall: A very pleasant resort experience. I would definitely return. One cautionary: there were a lot of families with young children the week we were there. Whether this is the norm, or just the time of year, I don't know. I think all of the resorts on this beach had quite a few youngsters, so if you don't like being around kids this might not be the place for you. On the other hand, if you are bringing your kids there seemed to be lots for them to do.
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Colin & Judy |
|This was our seventh trip to Cuba and the second at the Blau.
Flight – Sunwing – was an hour late leaving due to aircraft problems. The cabin crew were very friendly and efficient and the hot meal was good. We were in and out of the Holguin airport within 20 mins, including getting money exchanged. Bus was comfortable and the 1 hour ride starting about 7:30 pm was uneventful. The ride back to the airport was in daylight so it was much more interesting.
Check-in – quick and easy – very pleasant front desk staff. We were given room 5217, which overlooks the pond beside the Italian restaurant. To get an ocean view you’d need a third or forth floor room. The resort was full so probably only the VIP guests got an ocean view room.
Room – was clean and had a digital locking safe and a mini-fridge which was kept stocked with water, beer and cola. Since we were repeat guests we had a bottle of rum and a fruit tray in the room. The maid was friendly and efficient. As has been mentioned many times, the beds are very firm which suited us just fine. AC worked well.
Overall resort – grounds are well maintained with lots of vegetation. All of the gardeners and guards were friendly and liked to chat. The buildings are older but well maintained. Public washrooms were clean. There is a currency exchange booth in the lobby that’s open most of the day. There’s one computer for guest use ($3 for 30 mins.) outside of the small gift shop that has a decent selection of rum but not many cigars.
Bars – the lobby bar made the best drinks. Andres, the piano player, has retired from the Blau and now works near home in Holguin. A young lady who plays an electric piano has replaced him. The pool bar is open 24 hrs and has good burgers, fries etc. The in-pool bar was open and very busy. There’s a small bar at the beach. The service was good at all of the bars. Occasional line-ups at busy times but no more than a few minutes. Don’t forget your travel mugs especially for the beach bar.
Restaurants – we ate at both a la cartes and enjoyed both. They were a nice change from the buffet. Food and service was good at them and also at the buffet. The food is nothing special but there was a decent selection and it was the best we’ve had in Cuba. Lunch at the Ranchon (beach restaurant) offered a different choice. It has grilled fish, shrimp, calamari, pork and chicken with fries.
Beach – great. Soft, white sand and warm calm water. My wife who isn’t a good swimmer was snorkelling right off the beach in waist deep water and seeing lots of fish. The usual water sport stuff (kayaks, sailboats, paddleboats, hobie-cats, windsurfers and snorkelling equipment) is available to use. You need to book ahead when it’s busy for some things. There were lots of loungers (hard plastic) and lots of shade.
Pool – didn’t spend much time there but it has lots of soft loungers. There’s a waiter serving drinks around the pool.
Entertainment – usual volleyball at the beach and pool, archery contests, Cuban dancing lessons etc. Seemed to be lots going on. The nightly entertainment was varied and some was quite good. Unfortunately, other than the water ballet, it was all at the inside stage (bldg 3). I don’t know why they didn’t use the outside stage. The weather was warm and dry every night and the live bands would have sounded much better outside.
Overall – All of the staff were very friendly and most spoke English. This was our second visit here and we will certainly consider coming back again.
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Our family of 4, including two kids ages 8 and 6, stayed at Blau Costa from Feb 22-29. This was our 4th trip to Cuba. Twice to Varadero and once to Cayo Coco. So we knew what to expect but arriving at this hotel our first impression was disappointing. However at the end of our stay our overall experience was good- we enjoyed ourselves and tried to ignore the shortcomings.
*Furniture in the room are old and some falling apart. The towels in the room mostly feel like sand paper. For 2 days in a row we didn't have hand towels. they don't replace any empty body wash, shampoo, etc... you have to go to the house keepers and ask for it. Despite leaving them good tips everyday.
*The mini bar in our room was not stocked for 4 days- we made visits to the front desk, bar, and we made phone calls requesting re-fill. still no re-fill. we picked up the bottle of water from the bar ourselves, daily.
*The beach, few feet into the water, was rocky for most parts. but on the second day we found the area with nearly no rocks and we got to enjoy the beach. The area is the right end of the beach by the reef.
*The staff in the Italian restaurant at night were not as friendly as others. They practically ignore you! Very slow service in that restaurant. It took us 2 and half hours to eat there.
*It's a small hotel- we liked the fact that everything was close. A short- less than 2 min- walk from pool to beach.
*The made-fresh-to-eat food in the buffet is very good. they grill fresh shrimp/fish/pork right in front of you. The omelets for breakfast are great. Lots of choices for cheese. Excellent bread and buns. However, the pre-made food in the buffet we didn't even try as they looked awful. Nevertheless we never went hungry.
* Hamburgers and ham and cheese sandwiches at the pool bar are great
*Pizza at the Italian restaurant for lunch is great (different staff at lunch- very nice and friendly). A life saver for us with kids.
*Another excellent place for lunch is the beach grill (Ranchon). They sever salads and fresh grills squid/fish/shrimp/chicken/etc...)
* The staff at the kids' club are great. It was my son's birthday while we were there. We told them the day before and they surprised him with a birthday party along with decorations/cake/ice cream/ drinks in the kids' club they even gave him a little gift- My son was very happy.
*Kids enjoyed the pool very much.
* I strongly recommend swimming with the Dolphins. It's a half day trip and we all had awesome time. it's a bit pricey but it's worth it (100 Pesos per adult and 48 per kid). Once there, you can pay 10 extra Pesos for the Dolphins to push you out of the water or to hold their fins and go for a ride! We did both- Note: it's 10 Pesos per person per activity- 20 Pesos if you want both push and fin ride- just make sure you take enough cash with you.
* We also took a taxi to the nearby flea market close to the town of Guardalavaca. Each way 10 Pesos. you can buy carvings/paintings/leather goods/etc... it's also close to the beach with restaurants and bars. it's a very nice beach. Note: there are also vendors at the hotel Mon-Fri selling similar things -almost same price.
Overall we enjoyed our vacation very much. But we don't think we'd go back to Holguin again. We prefer Varadero and Caya Coco beaches.
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Jim and Ruth |
| We have been to the DR. five times, so this time decided to go to Cuba. We had read the reviews on this resort so new ahead of time the beds were hard. We flew Skyservice. Not a nice flight. Very cramped but staff were great. Arrived at resort at 2 a.m. because of flight delays. Frig & air didn't work. Jim informed reception and they fixed the probelm within 20 minutes, while we were having a drink at the bar. The room was very nice and clean. The bathroom was HUGE! Staff were very friendly and never seemed to expect a tip. Pool was clean and refreshing. Beach was beautiful. Food was good. Not as much a variety as in DR. but then we knew that before we went, after all it's Cuba! The people who live there would be in heaven to see so much food! We went for the beach and pool and sun and all was wonderful. Entertainment wasn't so hot but again not what we went for. We loved the fact everything was so compact, that you didn't have to walk far to get from one part to the other. The only walk that was long for us anyway, was going to the beach. Because I had to stop a few times it took us about 10 minutes to walk the path to it. Normally it took most people about 5. Once you got there you stayed there for awhile. The grill at the beach was great too. Hamburgers, hotdogs, fish, chicken and fries (and of course a bar). If you like everything close that's the place to go. We did make a trip into Guadalavaca to the flea market. Beautiful beach there too. We also rented a horse and buggy and he took us to a small town where the reall people live. It was mostly apartments. Some very, very old but newer ones were also being built and looking good. The people were all dressed nicely although clothers are hard to come by especially for children. If you go there you might want to pick up a few things for babies to age 8 to hand out. Well, that's about it. Oh, yes if you find the beds to hard. There are wall hangings on the walls over the beds. They are filled with foam. You can take them down and make them the base for your mattress. This should help. Someone told us that on the last day we were there. Wish I'd known it the first day.
Bye and happy holidays.
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Doug, Margaret, Scott & Meaghan |
|We’ve just returned (Feb 15 – 22nd, 2008) from Blau Costa Verde AI resort. This was our first time to Cuba and our choice to go to Blau stemmed from price and researching the reviews from this site. So here is a summary of our experience:
We booked through Signature Vacations and flew Skyservice. Our flight was delayed two hours, but we were notified the evening before so delayed our limo accordingly. The flight was good, arrival was quick, and tour representatives hustled us onto our bus in no time. VERY NICE BUSES IN CUBA!!! The trip took the best part of an hour due to speed, but was relatively uneventful and the tour representative was very welcoming. We didn’t arrive until almost midnight and check-in was quick!
Our son and his girlfriend were in the main part of the hotel, building 4, we were in building 1, which was somewhat disappointing initially, but we quickly learned that building 1 has its perks!! Away from the noise and closest to the beach! Phones are abundant around the resort; we never had a problem connecting with the “kids”. I was disappointed with the room. Two double sized beds HARD AS A ROCK!! Pushed together, they were not conducive for sleeping together. We ended up sleeping separately. Did I mention they were HARD AS A ROCK!! I do not mean that lightly, they were like sleeping on a box spring. We had a terrible time. On the last day, I spoke to a woman who had laid the blankets under the sheets. Keep this in mind, its good advice! Also I’d recommend bringing a pillow. They were also not comfortable. We made do.
We were up earlier than the sun most mornings and enjoyed the quiet in the pool bar. The cappuccino is great!!! I drink tea. The frothy milk didn’t quite cut it. But we made do. It’s really nice rising early and going for a walk. We got in the habit of setting up our spot on the beach and wandering. The grounds are very nice. Tip the gardener. The others make lots of money, but the gardener works very hard all day for peanuts.
Once you pass the gate to the beach you can take the concrete path to the right and enjoy a beautiful quiet stroll through a forested area with paths leading to smaller, more secluded sections of beach, or you can veer left on the concrete path and follow it along the back of Playa Costa Verde to a causeway with a lagoon and some exotic birds. Bring your binoculars, camera and perhaps a bit of bug spray. Go early in the morning to see the largest selection of birds.
The beach is nice, a little compressed on the Blau end if you want to be close to the bar, but soft sand and always a nice breeze. Pick your spot early. It does get crowded. If you don’t care for the bar, then further down toward Playa is more spacious. The beach guy will take care of you. The snorkelling is fun and very close to shore. Small pieces of bread, or meat, or banana will attract a number of fish. Early morning is high tide, afternoons the water is ankle deep and the beach gets HOT!! Don’t skimp on the SPF. We saw many very burnt people. The bar and towel service is great at the beach, bartender got my drink right. Not too much, not too little tequila. BRING AN INSULATED MUG!! Bring a small floater!! Bring a hat!! And don’t forget the SPF!!
If you want hot food, forget it. Take advantage of the eggs made to order, or the pasta. It will be the only HOT food you get. Bread is nice filler. The salad bar is not salad; it consisted of cabbage, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. Sometimes they had potato salad or pasta salad that was pretty good. Fresh fruit is available with every meal, but lacking in selection. We enjoyed the orange slices and guava. Enjoy the evening entertainment outside the Buffet restaurant every night, very nice Cuban and International music. The classical quartet was awesome. Tables outside allow for a nice breeze and more ambient environment. EXCEPT – there’s a sewer system that runs the length of the outdoor seating. WHY?? It really gagged us sometimes. We sat further down to avoid it during dinner. We admit, we tired of the food early in the week and discovered another problem that weakened our appetites – Cockroaches. Once we saw one, we started to see more than a few – not pleasant. But, don’t think other resorts don’t have them, they do. They may do a better job of keeping them at bay.
Good burgers, grilled chicken is nice, convenient from the beach, can also get some grilled shrimp (yummy, but messy) There are bathrooms, but the walkway faces the back of the grill and unfortunately, I witnessed an employee whacking a bread tray on the ground to extract the cockroaches. NOT GOOD!!
FABULOUS!! They also open for pizza lunch, which is a must-try, consisting of thin crust personal size pizzas for every palate that’s very tasty and hot!
We just didn’t enjoy it. We ordered pork that was overcooked, but the shrimp cocktail was pretty good! And the banana splits for dessert were great!
The pool bar as I’ve said is nice and quiet in the morning, but come the afternoon, the drunks are howling and the pool games are noisy. It doesn’t make for pleasantry. They do serve Paninis and other short order foods for snacking on 24/7. It’s not bad. The fries are good. If you’re finicky at all, bring your own ketchup!!
We did one excursion. The Sun cruise, consisting of a catamaran on the seas, AI drinks and snacks, off-shore snorkelling, and a trip to Cayo Naranjo to the Acuario to play with the dolphins. This trip was expensive - $480 plus $10 for a push (hubbie thought it was exhilarating). We left at 9 and returned by 330. I don’t think it was worth it, but the Cat was definitely fun!! On the return they had the sails up and the spray from the water was so much fun!!
We met a number of people at this resort, mostly Canadians; all great people, and fun to chat with. But, the Cubans are the best!! The service is top-notch!!! They are so polite and friendly! They have so much respect for Canadians. It’s very refreshing compared to other places that are dominated by the US greenback!
And then comes the day when you have to go home…
The resort was overbooked and despite that a number of others got extensions, we did not – no possible. So fine, we packed it all up early and headed to the beach with our bags in a room LOCKED. The room was supposed to be secured, but it wasn’t. People were in and out all afternoon. We had been told that the resort had a courtesy suite, fresh towels, soaps, etc so I didn’t mind giving up the room. Unfortunately when time came to have a shower and change, Reception directed me to the fitness centre. Ladies shower room – no place to hang your towel or put your belongings, no soaps or shampoos, and NO SHOWERHEAD! The water jetted out onto the floor beyond the stall and everything got wet! Oh I was not happy and I let reception know it! Furthermore, our flight was delayed. We were to have left at 615pm but instead they opted to pick us up at 815 for a 1200am flight. We had time for dinner at the resort, which was fine, but then our flight was further delayed until 3:00 a.m. We spent almost 6 hours in a godforsaken tiny airport with no access to fresh air. It was full of people from 2 other flights that were delayed and stank of smoke. We were all exhausted and just wanted to get home. We did finally do that and arrived at 7am in the morning, a mere 5 ½ hours late.
So would I return to this resort? For a reasonably priced vacation – yes; we would consider bringing our 3 girls here. They’d love it and they really wouldn’t care about the food or the bed. For just the two of us – probably not; we need a better bed.
With changes on the horizon for Cuba, you just never know. Viva CUBA!! Thanks for your wonderful hospitality!
|Blau Costa Verde |
|My wife & I just returned from a wonderful week in Cuba, at the Blau Costa Verde Resort. This resort was recommended to us by a very good friend, and one who is a regular at this resort. This was our third time to Cuba, our first to this region. (We’re doing Cuba in sections; each vacation is to a new area.). So, although hard not to, we do have to compare this experience with our previous two.
(For comparison, our previous two visits were Club Trypp in Cayo Coco (2002) & Breezes Varadero in Varadero (2006))
For first timers, this resort is a class act. But for seasoned vacationers, there are a few things that might loose out to previous experiences.
Flight, bus trip & check-in were a breeze. No problems here. The usual nice bus ride to the resort lasted about 45 minutes. You do get a good idea of the ruggedness of this part of the country / island. And I love seeing the local country side.
Check-in was a breeze, and very friendly (All Cubans seem to be extra friendly & caring!) The room nice & what we’d expect. Two double beds pushed together. Hard beds though.. They had a unique feature: a switch that turns on the power to the room. Simply insert your key card, and the power comes on.
The rooms / room buildings open to a central hallway. Not like previous experiences where the room opened onto the courtyard / grounds. This made for a bit of noise as people ran or talked loudly in the halls.. Our room was 1208, on the 2nd floor.
Our room overlooked the property line, and we could see the next resort; Pesquero. We were also on the ‘street side’(back side) of the resort, and did hear the occasional motor vehicle drive by (noisy diesel truck ./ bus). This is hardly anything to complain about.
One of the maid stations’ phones kept ringing. It must have rung about a 100 times in one evening! Funny really!
The grounds were nice. A little compacted I thought, but lovely & well kept. There was a lack of flowers, but that’s probably due to the season. The hibiscus bushes were picked clean daily..
Not as many lizards & birds as we’ve seen at other resorts, but we did find a few. Cats were a new ‘wild animal’ to see. Some gorgeous butterflies too. There was a bit of a swamp behind the beach, kind of in between the Blau & Pesquero resorts. Some shorebirds and herons could easily be found & photographed.
The beach was probably the best beach we’ve been to. Soft white sand, warm turquoise water teaming with fish. Snorkeling just off shore yielded schools of fish, some Yellow snappers in excess of 15 inches!! Like swimming in an aquarium!
Note: Bring a few zip-lock bags, and steal some bananas, buns, and both cooked & raw fish from the buffet to feed the fish. Bring an extra underwater camera too!!
The beach is a long crescent and is shared by the other two resorts. But Blau’s section of the beach seemed kinda cramped, and at one end. Waterfront is prime real-estate, and goes fast! The beach is accessed though a small path from the resort grounds. Not really connected by multiple points seen in other locations. So, you couldn’t really ‘see’ the beach as you walked from one point to another on the resort. The beach bar desperately needs a 2nd barman. There was always a line..
The food & eating was the real let-down. No, we’re not the snobs who expect 5 star dining, or the familiars from home (although we did bring our own tea & we did see a few who brought such things like ketchup & peanut butter). We knew what to expect. The disappointment was in the choices offered. Every meal had about 4-6 ‘hot’ choices, a few cold-cuts, some salad, and various little dessert items. Breakfast choices were the same things every day. We didn’t do too many lunches. Supper was supposedly a different theme every night, but I failed to see the differences. Some dishes seemed to be last night’s left-overs redressed into something new. There is a spaghetti bar, where you could ‘customize’ your spaghetti & sauce, and a grilling station which did the usual omelets in the morning, then grilled fish and beef, pork, or chicken for lunch & supper. Both thee station were manned by a cook, and both were quite popular, obviously due to the constant line.
No bananas to be found. Guava, Pineapple, oranges & grapefruits were the only fruit choices.
There are two ‘a la carte’ restaurants; Italian & Cuban. We celebrated my wife’s birthday at the Italian restaurant. I, personally, was not impressed with main dishes, but my wife was content with them. We both had the same dish, so I assume I was little ‘off’ that night. They made a wonderful birthday cake for us, probably the best cake we’ve had in a long time! Too big for just both of us, but a wonderful cake! (This was apparently by special arrangement from our good freind)
The Cuban was by far the best dinner we had during the week. Again, we both ordered the same dish, and were blown away at how good it was!
For me, though, the two a al carte restaurants were too close to the main bar & buffet area (again, the comment of the grounds being compact). The sights & sounds from the main bar & buffet permeated though. I found it hard “to get away from the resort” as it were.. (The other resorts had their a la cartes tucked away, so you had a sense of privacy & separation from the rest of the resort.)
For the cigar aficionados, another bit of a let down. The previous two resorts we visited had a proper ‘Habanos’ store on site. (Nice & lovely humidity controlled stores dedicated to the cigar.) Blau just had a humidor case in their general store, with about a dozen ‘standard’ Cuban cigars. If you need, buy them at the airport as you come into the country, at the cigar factory on the Holguin tour (see below), and definitely at the airport as you leave. Note: this is a Cohiba / Monte Cristo / Partagas / Romeo & Julietta region. That’s all you’ll pretty much get.
There is probably about a dozen excursions to choose from. We did two: the Roca Azul nature tour & the Holguin city tour.
The Roca Azul tour is basically a farm on a “provincial park”. We started off with about a 3 hour horseback nature trail ride through the park. Then a tour of a typical Cuban farm. Sugar cane, Bananas, coffee, chickens, ducks & pigs. Ostriches too. And a great lunch of roasted pig. The tour finished off with a 1 hour fishing trip. Row boats were rowed out to a spot in the little bay. Rods & bait were supplied. It was really more of a fish feeding exercise than actually catching anything. A great ‘nature / ecological’ tour!
The Holguin city tour was great. We like to get out & see ‘the real’ when we travel. The tour passes though a little typical town, and winds its way to the City of Holguin. Another lunch stop at a ‘typical Cuban farm’ and a few stops in the city. One of which we were let free to roam for about an hour. Local shops, bars, cafes, and a few art exhibits. There was also a cigar factory tour, the highlight for me. Quite interesting & informative. Definitely something not to miss. And, the obvious chance to buy their wares at the end of the tour. Our tour guide was exceptional, very knowledgeable, charismatic, and spoke French, English, German, and Spanish! I think a bit of Italian too!!
We didn’t stay for the evening entertainment. They had a different show every night. But we were there for two things: the beach & sun, and a romantic get-away! Typical TV fare: about 20 channels ranging from a few US station, a few movie stations, to local content. We caught a few films we missed!
In a nutshell:
The resort was average, the beach amazing, and the food below expectations; when compared to the other resorts we’ve visited.
|Blau Costa Verde |
Arrival was fast, road was good, so the driver. Check in was qick.
Little dated, but you go there for the outside, not to stay in the room.We were family of four / 2 kids / staying in 1 room . Usualy in other resorts we share 2 double beds, here we had without asking one double for me, one for my husband and kids got one single for each!!Super!
Restaurants are O.K., buffet restaurant could have some TLC, but most important, they keep it clean!Food in buffet was not bad, but it needs more selection!
Clean, tasty cappuccino, section for smoking and not smoking people, so the restaurants.I wish for smoke free resorts, because smoking guests are usualy very selfish, they don't care, who is around!!!
Beach and Pools -
The beach is very nice, private, save for kids.You don't have to run every morning to get a chairs, because there is a lot and they will pick it up every evening and the next day they will bring it to the spot of your choice. Pool is nice too, very clean.
I loved the gardens, lot of palms and green everywhere you look.
There is a lot to choose from.
We did not take any, but our friend went to see the dolfins and they like it.
After I've read some of the reviews, I was a little bit of scared to go, but we had a great time.Don't believe the negatives you may read here, just go, you will like it!All you need is a good weather.
|Blau Costa Verde |
|We left Montreal at 7:00 am. We discovered that travelling with a baby has its perks. We (son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, husband and myself) were allowed to board first. We had not reserved our seats and were ok with those we were allocated which were at the back of the plane, two seats in the middle and the two seats on the left (configuration 2-3-2). Flight was a bit turbulent but not bad. When we landed, there was a mad dash to get off the plane (not by us but everyone else), so much so that people were not giving us a chance to get up to get our carry-ons.
We exited the plane last and ended up at the end of a long line-up for immigration. A very nice Cuban woman came over to us and said to follow her. She took us to the head of a line and explained to those waiting that we would be going ahead of them because of the baby. We breezed through, got our luggage and exchanged some money and were on the bus in no time.
Check-in at the resort was quick. Because I was a repeat guest of the BCV, we were given rooms on the third floor of bldg #6 with oceanview. In my room, there was a bottle of dark rum and a fruit platter to welcome us. Later in the week there was a note on our door inviting us to a cocktail party with management but we not able to attend as it was scheduled after our departure on the 22nd. The note also informed us that we were entitled to a free lobster dinner (these are normally available upon request at 19 CUCs) which we were happy to accept. If we had had a late departure, we would have been able to get a free late check-out also. The people at Guest Relations were very helpful. Senora Noemi Mulet (Jefe de Ventas) whom I had emailed before our arrival was very nice. She made arrangements so my son and dil could receive a tetra pack of whole milk in the fridge every day for the baby.
There is a room safe (program your own code) which is free.The maid did an excellent job. Our rooms were very clean. As during my first trip, my bed sheets were changed every day. I don’t know if this is always the case or because I left gifts every day, but it was a nice touch. The resort was clean throughout including all the public washrooms.
We found there was a nice variety of food offered. There is the main buffet were we had breakfast and most dinners. We always had lunch at the beach restaurant (my husband had the grilled shrimps every day). My son and his family ate lunch with us or some days at the snack bar next to the pool. There was never a problem finding things that my granddaughter would like, she is not a fussy eater. We ate at the Italian à la carte and the Cuban à la carte, both were good. The drinks were good at all the bars and for those like us who like slushie (sp?) drinks, they were available at all the bars (including the beach).
Service at the bars and dining areas were very good, we never had to wait long.
There were plenty of loungers at the beach and palapas and trees for shade. I went snorkelling every day right from the beach and my husband and son and dil went out on the catamarans a few times and loved it. We had lovely weather, a few minutes of rain one morning and a shower late one evening. It was hot but there was often a nice breeze.
We left for the airport right after breakfast. We were again last in line and this time had to wait lol. We figured we wouldn’t be seated together but were surprised to be given the three middle seats of aisle 6 and an aisle seat in front of me for my husband. We had a smooth flight back. Montreal was covered in snow which we could have done without.
All in all, we had a great time. We received very good service and never felt the pressure to tip which we were glad to do anyway. It was my son and his wife’s first trip to the Caribbean and they loved Cuba. When they saw the beach they just couldn’t get over the color of the water. They finally understood what keeps bringing us back to Cuba, how friendly the people are, how relaxing a vacation can be. This is a lovely resort, a smaller one (approx 300 rooms) which is what we like. We enjoyed our stay and I would love to return again. There is however one condition. As I mentioned to Senora Mulet in my initial email for a room request, the beds at this resort are hard, not just firm, but hard. She agreed that ALL the beds were that way. I mentioned it also in a form I filled out at the resort for Guest Relations. There were also several springs that you had to avoid while sleeping. It is unfortunate and I honestly can say that I am not exaggerating when I say that the mattresses should be changed. I think I would have to be assured of a comfortable mattress before I would return. It may sound silly, but I didn’t sleep well all week and I think it is an important part of any vacation.
|Blau Costa Verde |
| Me and my partner have just returned from blau Costa verde, Cuba we thought we would write a review.
- Flight – we flew from the UK to Holguin with Thomas cook, the flight was ok, 9hrs 23mins plenty of in flight entertainment although on the way back my partners t.v did not work had to make do with mp3 player.
We got to the Holguin airport, the airport security are not very nice people infact I had my suitcase checked the guard took me in a side room and went through all my clothes then decided to rip the lining out of the suitcase, all because I told him I was a waiter/barman. That left me in a bad mood for about an hour.
- The resort – we were upgraded from club amigo to blau Costa verde amigo was a *** and blau Costa verde was a ****, this hotel was amazing, it had absolutely everything you could possibly want, nice pools, Jacuzzi, tennis, volleyball, and the staff – after my ordeal at the airport I didn’t have a very high opinion of Cuba but as soon as I met the staff that changed, they were the most amazing people, never once did any of them expect a tip, but when you gave them one my god you would think you had your own personal butler, they treat you like royalty, to name a few, there was esterin and maydolly in the buffet restaurant and Alicia and nelson in the snack bar all of them always had a smile for you, I actually have a couple of their addresses to send pictures of us all together.
- The room – we had a standard room, which was very nice, we had a balcony, fridge safe, all of which were included in the price, the minibar got filled everyday with water, soft drinks and beer, the room was very clean and got cleaned everyday by the maids, also very nice, we had fresh flowers put on the bed, and on the last day they made swans out of towels and wrote “bye” in towels, we were in room 2408, close to the lifts, we could see the pools, restaurants and the beach from the balcony.
- The beach – where do I start? Well we walked onto the beach and within a minute or two we had a guy following us with two loungers to put wherever we desired, ( I hope none makes him drag them too far), the bar was very good, never too busy and it was part of the all inclusive, we went out on peddle boats, they were great, although you might want to put plenty of sun lotion on, I got burnt whilst out on the peddle boat, you get these for an hour at a time, you can book them for your preferred time but every time we went there was always 1 available, we went 5 maybe 6 times in the 2 weeks we were there.
- Hotel facilities – the Jacuzzi was my most used thing in the gym, and although was small, I went everyday at around 3pm and it was available every time, the sauna was shut whilst I was there, but I wouldn’t of used it even if it was open. They had archery, which I also never took advantage of, tennis courts, volleyball, 2 football pitches a games room where you could play pool, snooker or ping pong and 2 pools, I enjoyed the pool, spent most my time at the aqua bar, they had water sports and aqua aerobics everyday at around 3.30pm.
Summary – we both loved this resort, we will be returning next year, the staff are probably the most amazing people you will ever meet I wasn’t expecting much but this hotel exceeded my expectations.
It could do with upgrading in certain parts, (what hotel doesn’t?)
What I liked –
And hated –
And the airport security
I hope this helps
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Mark and Katie |
| Flight: We flew out of Calgary direct to Holguin with Signature. The flight was okay, it was a little cramped and I could barely see the monitor where they were showing the movie but we brought along some music and books. Once we arrived, I was a little nervous about getting to the resort but it was very simple. There were guides to tell you where to go and when to go there. It took us about an hour and a half to get from the Holguin airport to the resort.
The Resort: The resort was not the nicest thing I’ve ever seen but it was still nice. It was our first time at a resort of this kind and we were very happy with this resort. I would go back to this resort again for sure.
The Room: The rooms were very nice; we were staying in room 1306. It was away from the rest of the resort so it was very peaceful. Our room was very nice and it was cleaned everyday that exceeded our expectations. It was big enough, but not huge with a nice balcony overlooking palm trees and a tennis court. The safe was very easy to use as well. Just enter in your code and press the button on the bottom right to set. Then to lock it enter your code and press the lock button. It’s a very easy and safe way to keep your valuables.
The Food: The food was absolutely terrific!!! The buffet had a nice breakfast everyday and different food every night for dinner. There were different foods for different days. For example: Monday would be Italian, Tuesday would be Cuban, and Wednesday would be Asian. The snack bar was good as well; the clubhouse sandwich was my snack of the day. The Al La Carte was okay but well worth going to. We enjoyed the Italian.
The Service: The service was great. There may have a few times where we were waiting for drinks but we always got what we wanted. The snack bar in the evening was a little busy so sometimes it was a little slow but they were always friendly. We both had joking relationships with the waiters. We heard that the beach bars were always busy but that wasn’t the case. The longest wait we had may have been 10 minutes at the most. Lime slushie with some rum was our drink.
The Beach: The beach was great, a lot of shade to get out of the sun if you want to but at the same time lots of space to get some sun. The water was beautiful!!! Warm, refreshing and lots of tropical fish swimming around. One big tip for those thinking of going – Bring a snorkel kit because they only had a few at the beach hut. The snorkeling at the resort beach was incredible for my standards. We would walk out about 20 feet and fish were everywhere. I didn’t have any gear so I had to wait most of the time to get a mask and snorkel if I was lucky. I did a few times and it was great.
The Dolphins: This was one of the most amazing things we ever did. Bring some extra cash to let the dolphins push you up on your feet. This was very cool!!!
Island Paradise: This was very nice, an hour ride on catamaran some snorkeling and a jeep safari with a very nice dinner. The dinner was awesome (water buffalo and antelope). Probably the animals we saw on the safari. It was a long day so I would only do this once but it was well worth it.
|Blau Costa Verde |
| My husband and I just returned to Canada on Apr. 19/07 from our vacation at Blau Costa Verde in Cuba. We had a good flight with Sunwing - excellent service. Beach at the Resort was very nice; staff is very friendly and appreciated small gifts we left (shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, t-shirts, etc.); good food; clean rooms. If you like to snorkel we recommend you take your own gear as it is hard to get at the resort. Lots of loungers available at the beach area, however, if you want a shaded area you need to be at the beach early. We were considering going back again with our kids at Christmas, however, upon arriving home I discovered that my suitcase had been ransacked and there was jewellery (approx. $400.00 value; which included items given to me by my parents which were very sentimental to me), and my husband's electric shaver, stolen from my suitcase at the Holguin airport sometime between 12:00 noon when we checked our baggage and 1:45 p.m. when we departed. Unfortunately, we will never go there again. I do not understand how the airport staff/baggage handlers can get away with this and I think that all carriers should be very vocal about the problem and put a stop to it. I know tourism is a big industry for Cuba and you would think they would realize how this kind of action will affect it. I would not recommend anyone travel there only because of the theft by the airport staff/baggage handlers. The only luggage that never leaves your sight is your carry on luggage and you are limited as to what you can pack in them and, also, we were told there were limitations on the size and weight. This was the first time Sunwing offered a direct flight from our City to Cuba, which we though was great, however, while I would not hesitate to travel with Sunwing again, I would never go back to Cuba and would not recommend it to anyone due to the theft problem (unless there is nothing in your checked luggage your can do wi thout!)
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Peter & Tricia |
| We had a great time at the Blau Costa Verde Beach Resort! We travelled from Ottawa on March 9-16, 2007. This was the fifth trip for my wife and I to an all-Inclusive resort in the Carribbean and our third trip to Cuba. We like to relax by the pool and on the beach, walk the beach, snorkel and join in activities such as aqua fitness. As we mainly want to relax and enjoy the sun, we were not tempted to do any out-trips or shopping excursions. The weather was sunny, 26-28 degrees, with brief cloudy periods and one day of light rain. We booked last minute and found a great price with yourtaveltickets.com
• Small resort, everything in close proximity
• Good service and very friendly staff
• Always plenty of loungers at the pool and beach
• Waiter brings drinks around the pool
• Staff at the beach will bring a lounger and set it up for you
• Beautiful beach, lots of sandy area even at high tide
• Trees on the beach provide plenty of shade
• Snorkelling and tropical fish right on the beach
• Very good food, lots of variety from day to day
• Good evening entertainment
We travelled with Signature Vacations on Skyservice, a direct 3-1/2 hour flight from Ottawa to Holguin. The seating is very cramped, but the service is friendly and the landing was amazingly smooth. With a morning departure, we landed at 12:30. The airport was very uncrowded and we cleared customs very quickly, collected our baggage, changed money, boarded the bus and were on our way by 1:30. The 50 minute trip from the airport was very interesting as we passed through Holguin and the surrounding agricultural countryside.
I had emailed a room request in advance and mentioned that we had stayed at the Blau Colonial previously. Check in was quick and we when we arrived at our room, a waiter was delivering a fresh fruit plate and a bottle of rum – a special courtesy for returning guests!
Elevators serve all floors and all six blocks are connected by covered walkways at each floor. Our room (3316) was in block 3, on the third floor overlooking the pool. The room was clean, with a very nice balcony, a good digital-combination room safe, good bathroom and good air-conditioning. You could see and hear the outdoor stage from our balcony, which could be a problem if you go to bed before 11:00, but we always attended the show and were not bothered by any noise. The only mosquito I saw was one night when we left our balcony door open. After that we left the A/C on instead.
The staff really make a difference at the Blau Costa Verde – this is certainly the friendliest resort we have been to! Servers in the buffet took the time to stop and talk. The animation team made the effort to remember our names. Our maid left a handwritten thank you note for a small gift we left.
The pool is gorgeous! This is the first resort we have been to where there were always plenty of loungers, and there was a very attentive waiter serving drinks -some 5 star resorts do not have this.
The beach is beautiful! The sand may not be as fine or as white as Cayo Coco, but there is definately more depth to the beach, and there are lots of trees providing shade. This is the first resort we have been to where there are plenty of loungers on the beach, and and a staff member who will set the loungers up wherever you want. There is coral in the water which makes wading in difficult in most places, but the Blau has one sandy section where you can wade in deep enough to swim or snorkel. There are lots of beautiful tropical fish here without having to take a boat out to a reef.
The food at the 'La Arcada' buffet was very good, with different theme nights: Asian night, Italian night and a Gala night, where they served steaks and prepared garlic prawns on the grill. The buffet is small, but with an emphasis on quality and variety rather than quantity. The waffles and omelettes made to order for breakfast were excellent. Good cappucino was available in the buffet or at the pool bar.
We tried both the Cuban restaurant and the Italian restaurant and found them very good. The grill by the pool was also very good – I had an excellent grilled pork sandwich with french fries for lunch one day.
At the bar, the Mojito's were my favorite drink – made with lots of fresh mint. Some of the other drinks, I found too sweet, and I'm not too keen on the slushies.
We enjoyed the entertainment and found it to be the best we have seen in our five trips. The Tropicana show was quite spectacular! One show by the animation team with 'bathroom humour' was in poor taste. Unfortunately, the rock band SOS from Holguin had to be cancelled because of rain. Another night the show was moved to the indoor stage in the atrium.
There are three resorts on Playa Pesquero: Blau Costa Verde (309 rooms), Playa Costa Verde (480 rooms) and Playa Pesquero (912 rooms). Being the smallest, the Blau is very personal and very freindly in character. The rooms, pool, restaurants and bars are all in close proximity. The Blau also seem to have the best prices. We had a tour of the Playa Costa Verde and noticed that the buildings are all freshly painted, and grounds very well kept. The Playa Pesquero did not look as attractive from the beach, but did look nice from the lobby.
We would gladly return to the Blau Costa Verde and recommend it as a small friendly resort with great service and a beautiful beach.
|Blau Costa Verde |
| Was at the Blau Costa Verde, Hoguin, Cuba from March 17 - 24, 2007.
Just a bit of background so you know where I’m coming from and what I was looking for. I’m forty something female that generally travels 2 or 3 times a year, usually solo. I’ve been to 4 other All Inclusive resorts, all 4 or
4.5 star resorts. In Cuba I’ve been to the TRYP Peninsula Varadero and Breezes Varadero and in Dominican Republic, Breezes Punta Cana and Breezes Puerto Plata. This trip to Holguin was a last minute decision and the first time I’ve gone to an AI solo. The Blau was selected based on price, size and consistently good reviews. I just wanted a quiet tropical escape for a week of R & R and that’s exactly what I got. Bottom line...I loved the Blau Costa Verde.
The hotel was nothing fancy, it was more homey and comfortable. Yes, maybe it could use a lick of paint here and there but that did not affect my enjoyment of the place one bit. It was clean and well maintained. The grounds were beautiful with lovely gardens throughout. I loved the layout of the place, it was such that you were never more then a couple minutes walk from anything, including the beach.
The setup is more a hotel style then the bugalows or villas you find at some other resorts. It’s basically 4 buildings of 3 or 4 stories with covered pedways connecting all the buildings. The main building houses the lobby, lobby bar, shop, internet site, a small stage and the main buffet restaurant, as well as rooms. This was great because when it rained you could go from your room to the lobby and buffet under cover.
One caution.....The tiles in the hallways and pedways become very, very slippery when wet, use extreme caution when walking along these area during or after a rain!!! They do try to mop them but rather difficult to keep up some times.
My room was in Building One, the farthest from the lobby, on the second floor. My view was of the front of the resort and tennis courts. I found it to be very quiet, rarely ever hard the buses pulling up in the morning or late at night.
The room did have a bit of a musty smell and occasionally a sewage smell but I have yet to stay in a room in a tropical country where this was not the case. I opened the balcony door when there was a breeze and this helped air out the room. Absolutely no complaints about housekeeping, A/C, water availability or pressure. Never saw a bug of any kind in my room.
There was plenty of closet and drawer space. The beds were hard but I never had a problem getting a good night’s sleep. There is a fridge stocked with soft drinks, beer and water. A safe in the closet, TV with HBO, CNN and a few other channels including Spanish and Chinese, and a hair dryer in the bathroom. The bathtub/shower is quite deep so it may be a chore for some with restricted mobility to get in and out of. That being said, there were handles on the tub and wall to assist with getting in and out.
This is where I think the Blau excelled. This was by far the best food I’ve had at any AI resort. I’m not a pick eater, in fact I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new food, but I think the buffet provided something for everyone and catered very well to the North American pallet. I had been dieting before I went on holiday and it had taken me 6 weeks to lose 14 lbs.
I decided not to worry about it while on holidays and poof, 10 lbs back on in 8 days (coming off again but not so quickly).
The Breakfasts were great. I tried not to have an omelette everyday, two eggs a day is a bit much. When I returned home my friend who had been to the Blau last year said she got them to make her omelettes with the whites only, I’ll know better for next time. There was a waffle maker so you could get fresh, hot waffles. I saw bacon out every day but it disappeared pretty quickly. All kinds a fresh fruit juices too.
There was a fruit table set up at each meal with a person cutting up fresh fruit which varied through the week and included bananas, star fruit, pineapple, oranges, guava and papaya. At breakfast she also had fruit shakes available. Lunch time they generally had a tray of thick crust pizza and of course there was a pasta bar available both lunch and supper.
The pork chops and chicken on the buffet were great. The roast pork and beef at the carver station were sometimes a little dry but still tasty. The dessert section didn’t have too much of a selection but that’s probably just as well. There was very little in the way of chocolate but their sugar cookies and shortbread were quite good. I became addicted to the creme caramel!!
The service at the buffet for breakfast and lunch was hit or miss. Sometimes had to go in search of coffee in the mornings. Dinner was better, more wait staff on and if we sat in the same section each evening our server always remembered what each of us drank.
The A La Carte restaurants were the best I’ve been to at an AI as well. The Italian was very good, had the veal and it was actually pretty tender and quite tasty. The service wasn’t as attentive as I’ve experienced at other resorts but adequate enough I suppose. This restaurant is open for lunch as well. Be sure to try one of the thin crust pizzas for lunch, they are great.
The Cuban A la carte was even better, but of course you’re in Cuba, it should be the best! The traditional Cuban soup was yummy and I had a beef and shrimp kabob which I really enjoyed. Friday night is Cuban night at the buffet so you can enjoy the food there as well.
The pool snack bar is pretty popular. They advertise sandwiches there til 1:00 a.m. but we arrived about midnight and were directed to the main buffet where there were a few things out for making sandwiches and some desserts.
The pool snack bar serves up great burgers for lunch though! In the afternoon, they have a table of snacks available, ham and cheese buns, cakes, cookies, fruit and someone who does up fried bananas on the spot, delicious!!
There is also a snack bar down by the beach. Great grilled seafood can be had here as well as burgers and fries. This is where you can get your grilled shrimp but beware, you have to work for it, they are grilled whole with shells on. Messy but tasty. This snack bar turns into the disco at night, though I never made it down there at night.
This is where I think the Blau drops the ball. The alcohol tasted like it was watered down. As much rum as I asked them to add to a drink, I could never taste it, even the dark rum. I pretty much stuck to the beer and wine (and sometimes I swear the wine was watered down). The bartenders were great, I enjoyed hanging out at the lobby bar before dinner, Jorge is a great bartender and can make just about anything! Be sure to catch Andre the pianist, he plays a pretty mean piano for not having all his fingers and he seems to like plating a few Christmas songs.
Waiters went around the pool in the afternoon taking drink orders and in the evening around the entertainment. I’m not a big drinker but I do enjoy a mojito or two in the afternoon and while they were good, they didn’t have any kick to them. It wasn’t a big negative for me but it might be for some.
I suppose you could get a bottle at the resort store and enhance the drinks yourself but you shouldn’t really have to. Other resorts I’ve been to you had to get the bartenders to ease up because the drinks were so strong.
I have to confess, I didn’t spend much time at the beach, in fact I didn’t even get in the water passed my knees. It was very windy the week I was there and red flags the first few days, I didn’t even make it down to the beach the last few days. There seemed to be lots of activity with the animation team however, bocci ball, volleyball (beware though, I saw a few walking around with canes after playing volleyball), exercise classes and more. It’s a nice stroll along the beach past the Playa Costa Verde and the Play Pesquero resorts. There are a couple of spots that are a little hard on bare feet though.
This is where I spent my week. The pool had two large areas connected by a deeper "channel". It was very clean and well maintained. There were a number of palapas around the pool as well as trees to provide shade. Never had a problem finding a lounger. One side had a gradual slop like a beach and the other side had stairs down into the water. There was a smaller children’s pool but it seemed most of the kids played in the shallow "Beach" part of the pool. It was perfect for them, great fun watching them play. On the other side is where most of the adult activity took place, like aquagym classes and water polo. Don’t forget to bring your floaties to have the perfect spot on the pool.
I think this was the first time I took in the shows every evening. A couple of evenings they had to stop because of rain and I didn’t go down for the beach party night but for the most part I enjoyed the entertainment. It was mostly dancing and lip synching but there were a couple nights where they had a live band and singers, very talented and fun. On Sunday night they had the water ballet which was quite nice.
I thought they were quite good. There were lots of activities, some of which I already mentioned plus Archery, Salsa lessons and Spanish lessons. There was listing of activities at the gym and outside the buffet. Announcements were made at the stage when an activity was about to begin. There were games and contests throughout the day and before the show in the evening certificates would be presented to all those who participated. I didn’t participate in much but there seemed plenty to do if you wanted to be active. The resort also has some excursions of their own including a bike ride to Mellia, a visit to the local biopark and the here is a bus (5 pesos
return) or "train" that goes into Guardalavaca.
The week I was there, the weather wasn’t the best but my motto is, "A bad day in Cuba is better then any day at work". Woke up most days to clouds and wind and sometimes rain. However we did see the sun every day. I managed to spend everyday by the pool and even on the cloudiest day I got a sunburn.
My best advice, don’t stress about the weather. If you get bad weather, there’s no one to blame. It’s not the resort’s fault, or the country’s fault or your tour company, nobody can guarantee good weather, you pay your money you take your chances. You have two choices, you can sit around, moan and be miserable or make the best of the situation. Get to know some of your fellow guests, your server, housekeeper or bartender. There’s a bit of a library down at the beach if you want to find something to read. The gym, pool table and ping pong table are all under cover so there’s no excuse!
Three days a week there are crafts people that set up in the hall between the lobby and the buffet. This is where I did all my shopping for souvenirs.
I never left the resort, wasn’t interested in doing any excursions and the weather wasn’t co-operating for doing the cycling excursions, which was the only thing I was interested in.
The resort didn’t seem very busy or crowded at all. Not sure if this is because it’s a smaller resort or it wasn’t full the week I was there.
Beware at the resort bank exchange. Their machine seems to be constantly out of paper so they can’t provide a receipt. Ask to see their computer screen to ensure you get the proper rate.
Unless you’re looking for a party place with access to nearby night clubs this resort caters to most everyone. It’s kind of out there and a taxi to the nearest town is $15 one way so if you want to go off the resort at night and party, Varadero might be a better choice.
I’d definitely go back to the Blau Costa Verde and I highly recommend this resort.
A few pictures are here http://good-times.webshots.com/album/558358667WcGXJm
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Mary Jane |
|Flight out of Toronto & into Holguin
*Flew Sunwing – good flight even if we did leave one hour late due to Toronto weather. Never had a complaint about flying Sunwing yet, but do recommend you do not sit in row 14 as it is the smallest on the plane.
*Holguin airport – no problems, did not take more than ½ hour to get through customs, get our luggage and exchange some CAN dollars for CUC. Air conditioned 1 to 1 ½ hr bus ride to resort. Found the same exchange rate here as at the hotel.
Arrival / check in - It was around 11:30 pm when we arrived so there was only one person working the front desk but it only took about 20 minutes in line to get our room with two cards. Now finding our room was a bit harder; our room # was 5209 – the first # represents the block you are in (and there are 6 blocks) – the second # means what floor (could be 1, 2 or 3) and of course the last is room #. There was only one person available to help you to your room so we ventured out on our own but had we taken two minutes to look over the map you are given with your cards it would have saved us a bit of wondering around. They had opened the main buffet (limited items) for everyone to come and grab a bite to eat, which we thought was very nice of the resort.
Internet – If you want to purchase a card to use the internet this is where you get it, 6 CUC for 1 hour of time. You will find the three computers further down the lobby near the bar.
Late check out – we decided to pay for the late check out; if you want to keep your room till 4 pm it is 15 CUC and till 5 pm 20 CUC.
Room / maid service / mini fridge / safe
* As mentioned we were in room 5209, everything about room was fine and worked. You need to insert your room card into the slot just inside the door to make your lights come on and the air conditioner work. As my husband has a much harder time with the heat we left our air conditioner run the entire time by inserting and leaving an old bank debit card in the slot. If you open your patio door the air conditioning will shut off till it is closed again.
*Maid always did a great job, clean linens / towels every day along with the blanket / towel art. For tips we left mostly CUC’s, a few candies & chocolate bars on our pillow. On her last day (she was going on holidays) we left more CUC’s and a few other items we had taken along.
*Our mini fridge had a large water, two mini beers and two cola in it when we arrived and was restocked daily with everything (except once). On several occasions we left a few CUC’s and a chocolate bar in the fridge for the person stocking it as it is not your maid but someone else.
*Unfortunately we were given the wrong info about using the safe and therefore had a bit of a harder time the first time we tried to use it. It’s quite simple really; all you have to do is set your own code and hit the button on the bottom right. To open it just key in your code and to lock it key in your code and hit lock button– bottom left. There was no charge for the safe but I’m not sure if there is a charge for other tour companies or not.
Restaurants & Bars
We ate and drank at every one of them and have no complaints at all.
Beach Bar – Very small but still very well stocked. The one thing they do not have is any blender drinks. During the day (the only time it is open) the line up/wait for drinks can extent up to 10 minutes, so I would suggest taking your own mug with you as it saves from running back to often.
Beach Restaurant – Serving limited menu item for lunch only. Doubled as disco late evenings.
Italian / Cuban Restaurants – Ate at both twice and enjoyed it both times. Choose all your items from a menu. Just go to guest services to book both of these places. The Italian is also open for lunch, serving a different menu than dinner. Both have a smoking section.
Lobby Bar – Opens around 4 pm and closes at 11 pm daily. Busy place at times.
Main Restaurant/buffet - Breakfast, lunch and dinner all served buffet style. This is the only place you can get breakfast. Wide selection of foods with theme dinners most evening (Chinese/Italian, etc.). We sat outside all the time as that was the only place you could smoke.
Pool & Snack Bar – Now I have to say this was our favorite place. Went there in early am for coffee (cappuccino, espresso or regular), stopped later on the way to the beach for a slushy drink and then unusually went back for a late lunch. You can get pizza (along with may other items) from the Italian, or hamburgers, club house sandwich, french fries, plus a whole list of other items right at the pool bar. It was also our last stop in the evenings and we actually got to know the extremely friendly staff very well.
Swim up Bar – Not many people actually sat at this bar – hence maybe that is why no bartender is assigned to it. But the servers will come down and get you drinks, though you might just need to catch their eye first.
Beach & water sports
*We thoroughly enjoyed the beach and walking from one end to the other. If you really must have a prime spot then, yes, I would suggest going around 9 am to get your loungers. We went at noon and still got loungers. Someone from the water sports section will bring you loungers to where ever you want. The beach does have some coral so water shoes would be a good thing to pack although you can get out to deeper water by weeding your way through and around the coral. We took our own snorkeling equipment and did get to see quite a variety of fish along with a small octopus and sting ray.
*Booked a catamaran ride (½ to ¾ hour) and peddle boat (1 hour) one day. After we were there for a few days we discovered that you really do have to line up at by 9 am at the water sports centre on the beach in order to book these as they fill up very fast.
*we never used or went on any other of the services offered.
Activities day & night
Day time activities - While the animation staff (along with all employees on the resort) work very hard to keep you busy & happy we did not find it as active as other resort we have been to. Let me give you an example; I looked forward to participating in the archery but all arrows were broken, we joined in the rifle shooting which took forever as the pellets had to be loaded one by one – although this was probably for safety. They did not go around gathering people up for activities so if you got there late teams were already make up or the game started (beach/pool volleyball, bocce ball, darts) and you could not join in. Later in the day they did have a pool game of water polo – just not my favorite thing as it got quite ruff at times. Bingo was played daily at the pool bar but again not my thing. Daily Spanish & dance lesson, if you wanted. Now don’t get me wrong you can keep very busy with the activity staff and have a great time, there was just many things we choose not to participate in. Check the board/wall by the elevator nearest to the buffet restaurant for a daily listing of activities / times /place.
Evening Entertainment – Kids mini disco/club started at around 8:30 each evening with the adult content at 9:30. Many of the shows are dancing and singing and very nice but we especially enjoyed the shows with audience participation or fully run by the animation staff.
We went to 4 different places – 3 of them tours
*Took a taxi one overcast rainy day into Guardalavaca and poked around the market. Taxi ride from the resort is $10 CUC each way (for the taxi not per person). The taxi will arrange with you to pick up at a specified time. Fun to be on your own.
*Sunday only country side tour with one of the activity staff from the resort as a guide - $15 CUC, enjoyed this very much and we felt well worth doing. Would highly recommend.
*Jeep Safari – I think it was $66 CUC per person. Mini bus to jeeps then you can drive or have a guide drive. Some off road driving/touring, with stops for lunch, a quick visit to the national park via horse back and ¾ jet ski ride on your own but with a guide (2 to a jet ski). We have a very enjoyable day and would do it again.
*Holguin tour - $44 CUC – air conditioned bus ride into Holguin while the guide explains/points out interesting places/things. Visit to the hill of the cross with a full view of Holguin, lunch at another hill top restaurant and finally a stop in downtown Holguin for some shopping and sightseeing (this part was unescorted).
Departure / duty free at airport
Not knowing what to expect we had packed some sandwiches/drinks for the ride and the wait at the airport. We were not stopped at customs or even asked about liquids in our carry on. Several different places to shop at once you’re through security. Full selection of liquors/smokes/books/t-shirts/souvenirs and many people stated they were all cheaper than at their hotel or market. Plus a place to get food and drinks at and an exchange booth to change your money back or purchase more CUC’s.
We enjoyed our two weeks and would return/recommend this resort to anyone. If you have any specific questions you want answered you can email me at email@example.com please put Blau Costa Verde or Cuba in the subject line as it may go to my junk email.
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Roy and Joan |
| We were at Blau from Jan 17 2007 until Jan 31 2007 and what a disappointment.
This was our 5th trip to Cuba and the only time we have not been satisfied.
This should not be rated a 4 star as it did not even come close to the other
4 star resorts that we have stayed at in Cuba.
We purchased a VIP package from Sunquest and it did not seem to mean much to the resort. We had to approach guest services many times because they were not providing the services we had paid extra for.
Sometimes the room was not done properly and we had to find the maid for towel or supplies. Luckily we went after the towels because this resort has charged other people for the towel shortage in the rooms.
When it rained, they refused to open another bar and in order to get a drink of any kind, you had to walk through the rain to the pool bar and then it was hard to breath because the smokers had taken over the area. The non smoking area often had smokers sitting at the tables and the staff ignored it, even after people complained.
The water sports and snorkeling were very good and the staff that operated them very pleasant.
The beach was nice but extremely crowded. They have a small bar at the beach and only one bar person so sometimes one was standing in a line of twenty people to get a drink The food was okay, but not as good as the other places. They had major leaks in the dining room and they made no attempt to mop up the water, so you had to walk through it to get to the tables. They also made no attempt to mop up the water from the terrazzo walkways that became very slippery and dangerous, especially at night, as a lot of the lights were not working.
This is not a resort to go to if you want to play tennis. The surface of the courts is very uneven and when we asked if they would clean them off after the rains, they refused. At all the other resorts, tennis was a major part of their sports program and the staff bent over backwards to accommodate the tennis players. There are no tournaments or opportunities for you to meet other players. You could not play an actual game as the courts were so poor.
We were very satisfied with the entertainment and found it to be some of the best that we have experienced in Cuba.
The pool was kept very clean, but as other people have said the swim-up bar service is almost non-existent. Maybe its because they know most people wouldn't have pesos on them to tip.
The gym was very sparse. We were shocked that the person doing the massage did not put a fresh towel down for each client. This is very unsanitary.
Fortunately we met a lot of wonderful guests there and it felt good to talk with them and find out that many of them had the same impression as we did.
The reason we picked this resort was because of the many positive reviews we read on the Debbie's reviews, Maybe if we had not experienced what other 4 star resorts in Cuba are like, we would have been less critical of this resort.
We would not go back to this resort, but will definitely be going back to Cuba. Apparently the resorts that share this beach are a lot better even though they may cost a bit more. We had 12 hours at Holguin airport to discuss the other resorts with the guests that had stayed there as our return flight was delayed due to mechanical problems. This was our second time to Holguin and the second time Skyservice experienced mechanical difficulties and had to fly in another plane from Toronto.
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Lauri & Carol Ann |
| We've just returned from a fantastic vacation at the Blau! My wife and I, plus four daughters (aged 9 to 15) have been back for three days and we're all still smiling, recalling various memories while looking through the photos.
As a family of six, we needed two rooms. One of the reviews on your site advised strongly against a specific room, and it just so happened that was one of the rooms they had reserved for us. Naturally we requested a different room! While this seemed to mildly offend them, they did accomodate us - we just had to wait until they were finished cleaning the room. By the time we had eaten lunch our rooms were ready.
When we got to the two (adjacent) rooms, we found that the safe didn't work in either room, and that the sliding patio door wouldn't lock in one of the rooms (we were on the ground floor). The kids were of course anxious to start exploring, but we didn't want to risk leaving our things unattended. This was the only stressful time in the entire week. Fortunately, within minutes the staff (Angel) had repaired the safe in both rooms (the batteries just needed to be replaced) and also fixed the sliding door so that it locked properly. We were on our way!
(By the way, the rooms were clean and adequate in every way. Each included two single beds, plus one smaller bed which my wife actually found to be more comfortable.)
Pesquero Beach is beautiful, with white sand and the water various shades of green/blue. At the eastern end of the beach, right in front of the Blau, a low coral cliff extends out into the water. We were among many who spent countless hours snorkelling along the coral; or further out on those days when we booked a paddleboat to take along with us. While I have only been to a few other areas in the Caribbean, I was impressed with the number and variety of fish that we saw here. For example, the snorkelling excursion we went on three years ago to "Paradise Island" near Puerto Plata DR was comparable in my opinion to what we saw right off the beach at the Blau! (Bring some bananas along with you - the fish love them!)
Paddleboats, kayaks and catamarans are reserved down at the beach on a daily basis. Particularly if you want a catamaran, you had better plan on being at the beach at 9am to reserve your spot for the day - they go quickly! And for good reason - Alex took my oldest daughter and I out for a high-speed catamaran ride, and it was a total blast. The next day he took my wife and three younger daughters on a leisurely ride along the beach, which they also thoroughly enjoyed. None of us had ever experienced this before, so it was a thrill!
The day's games and activities (both poolside and at the beach) are posted in the lobby. If you want to participate in the volleyball, darts, water polo, etc. then check this list out - if you don't then you will miss them. We found that it was very easy to miss out on things, as the "animation" staff (though they were fun, friendly and entertaining) were not as "in your face" about activities as at some resorts. In Puerto Plata, by comparison, it seemed like there was always something going on, even if it was just silly stuff like who can hold their breath the longest, or drinking contests.
Some of the volleyball crew was occasionally a little too serious, forgetting that we were not the Cuban national team, just a bunch of vacationers having a little fun. The target shooting was fun (something different) although one day we waited half an hour and nobody showed up (after they announced that it would begin in 5 minutes). One other day the paddleboat/catamaran shack was closed for the day for no apparent reason other than it had rained that morning (coincidentally there was a staff party that afternoon). But, all in all these were very minor issues, and they did not in any way dampen our spirits.
The buffet offered enough variety for our family, which includes a couple of picky eaters. For breakfast most days I enjoyed an omelette, with pancakes or french toast, orange juice and coffee. The kids enjoyed the scrambled eggs and crullers, in particular. The strawberry yogurt in the jug beside the juice was delicious (yop, basically) and I was very disappointed when it disappeared from the menu after the 4th day! Lunch and dinner consisted of some staples that were there every day (sliced meat & cheeses, salad, pork, chicken, fish, rice, potatoes, pizza, fries, and a vegetarian counter) plus some daily specials (including stuffed salmon, steak, shrimp, roast pork, beef, lasagna, and a chicken/cheese/pineapple combination that was quite tasty!). I would say we were all very satisfied with the variety and quality of the food. In general, the beef and pork were a little on the dry/tough side, while the fish exceeded our expectations. The chicken, although relatively plain, was consistently one of the better options as well.
We ate one meal at the Italian a la carte and everyone enjoyed it, although the food wasn't really any better than the buffet. The kids ate burgers, dogs & fries at the snack bar a few afternoons (available between lunch and dinner), but my wife and I always preferred to wait for the dinner buffet to open. I should mention that the dress code is enforced for dinner at both the buffet and a la carte - men must wear long pants!
The restaurant and bar staff were all very courteous and friendly. The kids kept the bartenders busy making "banana mamas" pretty much every day (and they are tasty - the adults had a few as well!). We weren't sure if the service would taper off if we didn't tip them every time, but this was not a problem at all. Towards the end of the week we rewarded some of the regulars who had helped make our vacation so enjoyable. (so nice to have a tip be appreciated, unlike back home where it's pretty much demanded!)
We went on two excursions:
Swimming with the dolphins was not cheap (100CUC each for adults, including 12 years and older) but it's something the kids will never forget. My daughter accidentally dropped a peso in the water, and the trainer had the dolphin go get it for her - amazing memories!
The trip to Guardalavaca was very informative (excellent guide) and the countryside is lovely. My wife and I really enjoyed this trip, and the kids felt good about bringing some things along to give away (old clothes and toys, school supplies). The market was a bit of a letdown, as there wasn't really much more than was at the resort some days (three days out of the seven there was a little mini-market set up at the resort - one day this included some beautiful woodwork which we later regretted not buying).
On another day we went horseback riding, which is offered in front of the resort for 4CUC per person for an hour. Our guide was fairly quiet, but led us on a trail that allowed us to get very close to the rural people and the serene countryside. A great experience. Some people we met at the resort went on the two hour ride, which included a side trip to a cave that they found quite interesting as well.
We had a fantastic vacation, and I would recommend the Blau to anyone!
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Alex and Dianne |
| 2 weeks at the Blau was wonderful. Nothing negative to report about this resort. Good for people with mobility problems, elevators, ramps, sloping walkway to beach. 3 computers on site, purchase card at reception for 6 pesos for one hour, quick access to MSN messenger. Lots of activities, pool, archery and snorkelling were my favourites. All of the good things people say are true of this resort, could not find anything for people to complain about. Those who say the beds are hard, I say they are firm and great for people with back problems. Reading material available in lobby by stairway but larger selection is available at the beach club where you pick up your towels. You have buffet and 2 a la carte restaurants. And gentlemen, the dress code of long pants is taken seriously, so don't try to enter the buffet at dinnertime with shorts because you will be turned away. Mosquitoes are about at dusk so be prepared if you are one of those people like me, who the mosquitoes enjoy feasting on. You get 2 access cards for the room, one is for the lights and a/c so if you have one of those expired gift cards with a swipe strip, take it along and insert it in the light switch and then you can both have a card for the door and keep the a/c running when you are out of the room. Short and sweet review but am sure you will thoroughly enjoy yourselves at this resort.
|Blau Costa Verde |
I guess it's time for another review. This time Cuba and first time in Holguin area.
Flight with Skyservice from Winnipeg via Varadero. Very uncomfortable as always and an hour long stop in midflight makes it worse.
About 50 minutes drive from Holguin airport to the hotel, very nice, comfortable, AC, no complaints there.
The hotel itself is not big ( 309 rooms ) with huge lobby and lots of chairs and sofas which was really appreciated as it was rainning for 3 days straight during our stay. An extra stage in the lobby was also very useful when weather wasn't cooperating. In other resorts an evening entertainment would have to be cancelled.
Only one pool and not very big and swim-up bar which was operating just fine. Surprise, surprise!!!
Average rooms, a little bit tired but clean absolutely adequate as while on holidays we are not spending much time there anyway. We didn't have a problem with beds. for us they were perfect.
One buffet and two a'la carte restaurants, cuban and italian. We tried only cuban and prefered the buffet where the food variety was good enough for us. One could always find something to eat. For us the most important thing about the food in Cuba was the fact that it was very fresh and straight from the field. Fruits, veggies, breads and butter - both made at the resort, omelletes for breakfast. We didn't find anything wrong with food in Blau.
The beach was absolutely beautiful, with nice small coral reef where you don't even have to snorkel to see and feed the fish. Standing in the water will do just fine. We loved it.
The only problem with the beach is the bugs. It's ok when it's sunny but the minute the sun is out they start biting. It's really annoying and some people are alergic to those bites and they end up with really awful wounds.
I have to say something about cuban people. They are absolutely wonderful. Friendly, easy going, very talented and well educated, always smiling and happy to help you no matter what. What's more they don't expect tips, they sure appreciate it if you decide to tip them but they will serve you just as good if you don't.
Overall very nice relaxing stay even with bad weather.
I would recommend Holguin to anyone. If you like to stay in a bigger hotel the Playa Pesquero Resort and Playa Costa Verde are located on the same beach.
For gifts take a taxi to Guardalavaca craft market for 10 pesos each way or you can buy something right at the hotel 3 times a week.
We didn't try any trips so I have no comment in this department. Maybe next time.
|Blau Costa Verde |
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
| We just arrived home from one week away in beautiful Cuba. ;-)
It was our first trip there, and we picked the Blau, specifically because it was more remote and relaxed than say some resort in Varadaro or Havana.
We flew Air Canada from Calgary to Montreal then on to Holguin. It was a long day, but everything was smooth until our check in at the hotel.
The room we received was far from fine. It obviously was quite damaged in the floods in November, as you could smell the mold and rot from 4 doors away when we were walking towards it. Opening the door confirmed it. The bottom 2-4 inches of the furniture was rotting, the drawers so swollen from the damp and just general humidity that they did not open. The room was not only dirty, it was filthy. We immediately asked for a new room. This was the only time that the service at the resort was not good. They were rude when we asked to move, and we did tell them why.
As far as I am concerened that room and likely a few others near by need some attention, and more than just a good cleaning. ( the filth on the switches and handles and plugs in the room was awful) We were happy to wait for a room, but the response was "too bad, we are over booked and the other rooms we have are reserved for people who are not here yet, so maybe later, maybe tomorrow, maybe later in the week you can switch rooms. Come back later" AHHHH.
After travelling and being in planes, airports, a bus etc for nearly 17 hours, all we wanted to do was have a shower, a bite to eat and take a nap, but we could not even unpack. The towels in the room smelled so rotten we did not even feel clean after we had a shower.
We sat on the patio of the room for most of that day so we could keep the doors open to try to air the room out a bit. It was so disheartening.
Not to mention some of the lights did not work, the safe was broken, we ended up with a room with an ajoining door that did not lock and everything was so dirty.
We are far from high maitenence travellers, we were not expecting the Ritz here...but the fact that the staff made us feel like our request for a new room was such a trivial thing was agrevating.
The smell was so bad, that I woke up throwing up in the morning, I could not breathe. We made huge pains of ourselves, asking 5 times in the first 24 hours for a new room. I mentioned at the front desk that it was a new room or a bus to take us back to the airport to go home, as this one ( room 1117) was totally unexceptable. After many "come back in 10 miutes" we were granted a new room. 25 hours after checking in, we were given the key to the new room in the same building, but on the top floor ( no elevator and no help to move our things) while being pestered by the maid to leave the old room so she could "clean" it...
We had no idea how bad the first room was until we got to the new room, ( 1302) to find it included soap AND lights that worked! You could smell how much cleaner it was right away. The beds in both rooms were fine, a lot of people's reviews of the beds complained of the hardness...the stinky room had a nicer bed to be honest, as the 2nd room's bed springs stuck up in a few places, but it was not a problem at all. We faced the tennis courts at the front of the hotel, so it was quieter there ( that is at least when the party people in the room next to us were not up yelping and carrying on all night until 6 am most days...but they usually got started after 1 am, so we at least had a few moments of peace haha)
The staff in the buffet restaurant and the bar/snack bar were by far the friendliest, and that was the hardest thing to leave behind when we got on the bus to go back to the airport yesterday. Our new Cuban friends.
The staff work very hard at the Blau. Most work for about $10 a month, and put in an 8 hour day, with a 20 minute break. A lot take the bus for at least an hour each way to come and go to work. They are very happy to talk to anyone about anything. We made great friends and new pen-pals with the staff there.
When tipping, the staff in each area share tips, but the forgotten staff are the guards and the groundskeepers, who also work long days. Often we would take drinks and snacks to them, and they were very happy to have them.
Most staff speak English, or enough to get by. SO with our broken Spanish and their English all was "no problem" ;-)
If you go to the Blau, please give this some thought...the staff at the hotels make good money, and have tips and gifts from most of the tourists, but there is a village near by that can really use some help. It is about 2-4 KMs from the hotel, on the right hand side on the way to Guardalvaca.
It is called Melilla ( pronounced Mal-ee-ah) when you turn in from the main road about 2 or 3 houses in on the right hand side is a pale green building. It is the church, where "Pastor Edit" ( pronounced Eddy) takes care of the people of the village. We read about him online and brought him a bag of goodies. Very basic things are in need here. We brought needles and thread, work gloves, clothes pins, soap, ibuprophen, bandaids, antibiotic cream, bandages, childrens vitamins, small toys and games, socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair combs, candy, thermometres, kleenex, antibacterial hand sanitizer etc..he laughed at us and asked us if we were moving in ;-)
I told him I would leave a post on the internet upon our return and what did he think he needed and he said most of the people he helps need clothes and shoes...so if you have anything to spare, keep him in mind when you go to the Blau.
Even if you just take a few things his way, and leave some for the housekeeping staff at the Blau, a little really does go a long way there.
If you stop in...be sure to have some hard candy on hand to give to the passing children, as there are some not quite school aged who will spot you before you even find the church!
We rented the moped from the Blau for 30 pesos for the whole day. A great way to see the area and do some exploring. We waved at everyone we passed along the way and everyone waved back. Do not fear going off the resort. Everyone we encountered was very friendly and happy to help when we got lost. ;-) When renting the moped, get there early. Ramone starts there at 9 am and is gone by 5 ( except on Sundays when he leaves at 3 or 3:30 )
The food was hit and miss really...I suppose it depends what you are used to and what you expect. Veggies are hard to come by, so most days you could get green peppers, shredded carrots and cucumber. There is a pasta bar in the buffet, and there are a few things to saute up to add to your pasta with either a tomato or a cream sauce. French fries on the buffet at almost every meal LOL Fries seem to be a big thing there.
I personally found the food quite oily, and felt a bit of tummy trouble as a result, but I almost never have things cooked in oil or marinated in oil at home, so it was more difficult for me than for others there to eat. As greasy as it was at times, the Cuban chefs know how to make darn good beans! Black beans and white at almost every meal, and all yummy! ;-)
Make reservations to the a la carte restaurants as soon as you arrive, as it is hard to get in. The Italian was very good. We ate there on Thursday night. hmmmm. YUM.
There was lots to do for all ages, a gym, archery, the beach with kayak and paddle boat rentals, good snorkelling, tennis, pool tables, darts, table tennis, cards and board games, a fantastic piano bar with a great piano player, who rides his bike into work every night. He is 84 years old and has the heart of a child. You will love him. The pools were great too, although we did not go in them. We found that the swim up bar was closed unless someone was sitting there. If you let the staff know you want to be there, they will send someone over, but is not manned when the pool is empty. As with pretty much anything, you do not get unless you ask...and the staff will do what they can to accomodate your request.
Even with the room fiasco the first day, we would go back for sure.
I hear the VIP upgrade is a good idea for the money. We met people who purchased the VIP package, and we would likely do that next time around.
|Blau Costa Verde |
|Michele & Brittaney |
| Hi, we wrote a quick, short review on Dec 24th while we were staying at the Blau Coste Verde. We did end up transferring to the resort next door called (Gaviota) Playa Coste Verde and Air Canada Vacations was very helpful in making this happen, as soon as a room became available. I had stayed at the Playa in May 2006 and much prefer Playa Coste Verde over Blau for a variety of reasons such as it is a larger resort, more people, more activities, more a la carte restaurants and better variety at the buffet and a la cartes compared to Blau. Since returning home I wanted to write a more insightful review that might help other travellers make an informed decision when choosing a resort more suitable to them. As with any resort there are pros and cons and this resort was not typical of a resort that we are accustomed to. That said, this resort would be perfect for some folks as everything is close by and does not require much walking to get to the pool and beach, and the staff are very friendly and accommodating.
We arrived later in the evening and check in went quickly as there were only two families checking in. The room was clean. We went to the lobby bar for refreshments and a bite to eat. Snacks available between 11pm and 2am (I believe that is the timeframe) consisted of sandwiches (tuna, ham & cheese, & chicken). However the only one available was ham & cheese and then they ran out about 11:30 and only had bread left. That wasn't very impressive at the time after travelling all day. However on the plus side when we checked back in our room there were two plates of food.
There did not appear to be many people staying at this resort and like other reviews the pool is small (compared to other resorts), the swim up bar is not active and is not really open i.e. does not have a bartender. There were not many people in and around the pool. However, on the plus side it is true that if you wait at the swim up bar a bartender from the snack bar (right next to the pool bar) will come over and take the order. One especially nice bartender is named Alicia. As the resort is not that busy there is likely more time for the workers to get to know the vacationers. Another plus is that one could place a food order with the bartender serving the swim up bar and she would go to the Italian restaurant (during lunch time) and place the order and bring it back to the pool. So another plus to this resort is the personalized service that one would not get at a busy resort..
The beach is great as well as the snorkelling. One can not take a catamaran out without an instructor sailing the hobie. The instructor explained that in the past they let folks take them out however there was too much damage and their boss no longer allows this. The instructor did let my daughter sail, as she has experience, once we were out of eyesight of the shore, but the instructor remained on board.
Bug bites: They were awful both here at the Blau and next door at the Playa. Both resorts sprayed occasionally but there were many vacationers with many, many, many bites. They were not mosquito bites although there were some mosquitoes in the evening, so I am not sure what was biting but they were sure itchy.
So although the Blau was not my preferred resort I am certain others would enjoy this resort. As a single mom traveling with a teenage daughter we enjoy a more active resort as my daughter enjoys meeting other teenage travelers. If I was traveling with another adult and wanted a quiet resort for some R&R then Blau offers this atmosphere. We did meet some great fellow vacationers at this resort. For us the Playa Coste Verde was a better choice as it is larger, more activities, more people and in my opinion better food selection. For example at the Blau if you want lobster it can be ordered at an additional cost (I believe it was $18 Cuban pesos). (At the time of writing this $100 Cdn was worth about $67 or was it $76 Cuban pesos - sorry my memory is fading?) At the Playa Coste Verde the Cuban a la carte restaurant has lobster on the menu and I was even offered extra, also at least once per week (all u can eat) lobster is available at the buffet. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org