logo Old Reviews - Sol Cayo Coco
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Anne 

October 2008
This hotel is fantastic!!! Remember this is a Caribbean 4 Star and not a European one.

Don’t believe all you read the food is good.

Ill start this with the great plane used by Thomas Cook for the flight out 18th October 2008. The seats were wide and there was plenty of leg room. This is the plane with the toilets downstairs. My only gripe all be it a small one is that the entertainment start times all coincide so you do not get any choice in watching a programme then a film as the film would be in the middle. This said this started again later in the flight.

Getting back to the fantastic Sol Cayo Coco. We arrived after about a 10 to 15 minute transfer from the airport (yes only 10 to 15 minutes)

Check in was swift and we were on our way to our room within 15 minutes of arriving. We were allocated as requested a ground floor room. We checked out the room and found that there had been some kind of leak and the safe was wet. We contacted reception and was immediately allocated another room. This room had a kingsize bed and lots of storage. The room smelt a little fusty but remember this is a very humid country and with the air conditioning running for a few hours this smell went. Id suggest a bit of fabreeze from home would help. The rooms are a little dated but how long do you spend in there. This hotel is being refurbished in May next year.

Well start with what most complain about the food. We found the food fantastic. Breakfast there is so much choice and eggs and bacon are cooked freshly for you. Yes there may be some strange combinations on the buffet but you don’t have to eat them. Bread was always fresh and there was always orange juice to have. Granted this was sometimes not the fresh kind but was good anyway. There was fruit everyday. The smoothies they prepare are great.

For lunch you have 4 places to eat the beach grill which is great try the red snapper I loved it. The beach bar at the opposite end to the grill does burgers and hotdogs cooked freshly in front of you. The pool bar for pizza burgers chips and hotdogs and also the buffet. Great choice again.

For dinner there are 3 places to eat. The beach grill and Don Diego’s which you make reservations for and the buffet. All meals are great. The buffet at night has a meat station pasta station and pizza where everything is cooked in front of you and you choose what you want. There is also a station that cooks mainly Chinese dishes. Not a bad meal had in the 14 days. Salad freshly prepared everyday sometimes not as wed expect and items missing but this is Cuba remember.

The beach at this resort is paradise. We found that the pool was too humid and spent all our time at the beach for a little breeze. Take banana or bread for the fish and you will see hundreds. Always found a sun bed and whilst we were there they added more shade to the beach. These had been knocked down in the hurricane.

All the staff are great and could not do enough for you.

We only did a couple of trips one was the Cuban way which I would recommend and also we visited the Spa what a relaxing 3hours. The Cuban Way is a hectic day but you get to see mainland Cuba.

Don’t forget that high factor sun cream as we had average temperatures of about 32 degrees and sometimes higher. I used factor 50 and 25 all holiday, came home with a fantastic tan. Also take plenty of mosquito repellent and anti histamine cream as they bite a lot.

The flight home was not so good as we were in cramped seats not as wide as outgoing journey.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Dariusdave 
Swindon England
September 2008
2 October to 16 October 2007

Operator Thomas Cook

Arrived at Gatwick London to be offered a food voucher, flight delayed for four hours. Thank heavens we booked Thomas Cook Traveller Plus. This included entry to VIP Lounge which given hours of delay enabled us to rest nibble and drink without emptying our pockets.

Flight late but good and Traveller Plus gave us better meals. What a shame Thomas Cook have expunged this option for 2008.

Cuban Customs have upset us in the past but 2007 they were best ever. I suffer sleep apnoea, diabetes, high blood pressure and carry as hand luggage my Cpap breathing machine and many prescribed medications. My machine showed up on their X-ray and naturally they wanted to inspect. I produced letter from hospital to Lady Customs Officer so polite couldn’t have been more kind. Well done great improvement from earlier visits shows Cuban Government now cares about Tourist Industry. I have no quarrel with use of sniffer dogs to stop import of illegal drugs.

Transfer no problem, but good old Sol knowing we would be four hours late kept the Restaurant open with limited staff and provided a fair selection of food for weary travellers. No check in problems cases taken to room to the right of restaurant. Never had a bad room at the Sol, but decorations don’t last long in tropics. Room 2007 was better than 2005, loo flushed, shower powerful and hot, plenty of storage room for clothes. Beds comfortable slept well all holiday. Given the mossie problem tended not to use the veranda.

The main restaurant had been up-graded since our 2005 stay. Again we had no need to eat buffet food, fresh cooked breakfast after fruit juice, cereals and finished with real coffee. The toast machine was as challenging as ever but the variety of fresh bread was wonderful. Lunch was a challenge between fresh cooked pasta or salads. Dinner had a plethora of fresh cooked foods, cavery and finished off by our old friend The Flambé Man.

Regret the Cuban fish restaurant by the beach suffered too many Mossie for our enjoyment. By contrast The International Restaurant was wonderful, even though The Beef Wellington has departed from the menu, the staff are so friendly and welcoming, but my favourite will always be the Senior Pianist. She plays without music, answers requests and usually remembers my love of Scott Joplin with her own arrangement of The Entertainer and her repertoire of modern musicals is encyclopaedic. Live piano so much better and more relaxing than deafening electronic musack so loved in European Holiday Resorts.

The Rickety Rackety Bridge to the quiet beach was repaired. This beach is our almost perfect paradise, water calm, warm and shelves gently. Sand white but horror of horrors our secret is out and one day I counted 30 people on the beach. There is only one trader on this beach Mr Coconut on his quad bike once a day. How relaxing, compared to Kenya & Sri Lanka where the minute you step on the beach Uncle Tom Cobbley and all his extended family try to hassle you, can read in peace, swim, chill out and get a tan for winter. The main beach is as popular as ever and has an extra bar and children’s club.

Entertainment for us El Bucanero the Hurdy Gurdy machine now with Tom-Toms accompanying our Cocktails is what All Inclusive should be. The tradition of Musical Shows I like, but not enjoyed by Mrs T continues on dry evenings.

Trips were mostly the same as earlier years, sad that the Steam Train around the sugar plantation was undergoing repairs. We tried a new trip 2007 4x4 day out in Suzuki Jeeps. The 1st Jeep proudly flying a large red Che Guevara Flag. We were privileged and honoured to meet The Cuban Minister for Eco-Tourism who presented the 4x4 Business with Cuba’s first Eco-Tourism award.

Given the problems caused by USA sanctions and paranoia over “Axis of Terror”

It was interesting to see a sign for Moron Baptist Church and that an extended family from Birmingham hired a mini-bus to attend a Sunday 7th Day Adventist Service in Moron. We noticed many changes in Cuba since our first visit, new busses from China, supermarkets, more shops, pork off ration but plenty of old American Cars and Ural Motor Bikes.

A great holiday, wonderful staff at The Sol which gets better each visit, would recommend to any who want a peaceful beach holiday without MacDonald’s and shopping malls.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Jerry  
Thornhill
June 2008
It never ceases to amaze me how friendly the staff at this resort, and others, have been. Reception, was quick, efficient and most hospitable. My luggage was already at my room when registration was completed.

My room was fresh, clean and attractive.

I understand a new chef was at the Sol. I awaited and looked forward to the meals ie lunch and dinner in the buffet. I was surprised with the menu. Alas the new chef yhad a wonderful presentation of the menu. Other places had good food but here herbs and spices were used and a variety of meats and vegetables presented great flavors to the menu. Terrific.

A small Pizzeria was the focal point at the pool bar in the evening with candles, chequered table cloth and a wonderful atmosphere. Nadia, the hostess / waiter made you feel right at home and special. A menu had a nice variety of tasty entres. Service was excellent there and I went back severl times . Because of the service and attention to the customers I left a very good tip for Nadia and the staff.

The facilities were very very good, the general manager and other managerial staff were always available. The pool was good and the beaches were great.

I was there for two weeks in April and I will be going back again in November.
Thanks to the Sol Cayo Coco, and those there that made my stay one to remember
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Rod 

November 2007
We (my wife and I) have just returned from a 2 week holiday at this hotel.

This hotel is described in the brochure as being 4 star. It may have been when first built but it is now about 2 star, and should not, in any event, continue to be sold as a decent holiday.All rooms are shabby and damp.

Upon arrival we noticed that the room was damp. From talking with our representative, and many other guests, this seemed to be the norm. Everything that we bought home, that did not need washing, had to be left out to air off before being put away. The shower worked (many other guests reported that theirs’ did not and/or they never had hot water). After about 2 days I got diarrhoea. It lasted for 8 days. From speaking with other guests least 60% of all guests experienced the same. Our representative (Paul) confirmed that there was no cure (I tried Imodium pills but they( as was the experience of everyone else) did not touch it), and said that you just have to let it pass through you. I had no sickness but I was off of my food for the rest of the holiday. Paul said that they had done bacteria swabs in the buffet restaurant but could not find the cause of the illness.

The majority of people had one or more complaint. People without water were moved after a couple of days but they then moved other people into the same room without repairing the water supply. When waiting to see our representative I was in a queue of 3. The first lady still had 7 days of her holiday to go but wanted to fly home that day because she could not stand being there any longer. The other person in the queue was a young lady of about 18. She said that she found a rat in her room.(on the 4th floor) When she screamed the maid, who was in the room, trod on it and then picked it up and through it over the balcony. Another man took a photo of a rat that he found in his room. Staff caught a rat but it was a small one unlike the one the man had seen. It turned out that there was a rat’s nest in the base of the bed.

The staff were very friendly and helpful but they need to be trained in basic hygiene. I saw a waiter drying knives and forks in the buffet restaurant. He stopped to wipe the sweat from his face, using the same cloth, and then continued to use that cloth to dry up the cutlery. This also happened in the pool bar when the waiter stopped drying up a glass to use that cloth to wipe his face, dry over the bar surface, and then continue to dry up the glass.

My wife was washing her hands in the ladies toilet near to the pool. After a about 30 seconds one of the toilet doors opened and a waitress came out and went to walk out. My wife called her and indicated that she should wash her hands before leaving. She did not understand her and beckoned my wife to follow her to the pool bar, thinking that my wife needed some help. My wife explained the problem to the waitress’s English speaking colleague who then spoke with the waitress. Neither seemed to understand the problem although the English speaker said that she (the waitress) did not work there. My wife pointed out that she had just gone into the bar kitchen.

On the plus side the beach was fantastic and the staff worked hard to please people,and to entertain us.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Anna 

June 2007
Awful. The main kids club (under 4's) was closed for some reason for the whole time I was at this hotel so the kids club was in a standard hotel room with double beds! very little toys, rude and unenthusiastic staff. I caught staff laying down on bed watching tv after taking my 2 toddlers there and turning round to pick them back up after 5 mins of feeling guilty. Electrical socket hanging off wall in our room, dirty stained covers, mouldy air vents, taps full of limescale, rusty fridge door in hotel room. All in all unhappy with 2 weeks at this hotel which is in no way a 4 star and will be contacting ABTA about this. Would certainly not recommend for children or adults.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Lisa 

April 2007
We fly from Montreal by Air Canada. Good Service and hot meals during the flight.

Unfortunately, the Sol Club Cayo Coco is not what I was thinking ove. First, the air condition did not work, no water in the fridge, the tv did not work and no toilet paper all that when we arrive. No fine sand and the beach was dirty. The beach bar and restaurant closed at 3:00 in the afternoon, so if you want a drink you have to go to the pool bar. Concerning the buffet, the hot table did not work too much and they did not have a big variety of meals but what they have was good. I do not know who rate that hotel 4 stars but I think it should be only a 3.5 stars only. And finally you have to watch your glasses and dentures and all your stuff on the beach all the time.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Rick & Lucy  
Canada
March 2007
US
We are 40ish and are easy going people who do not fret over the little things. Neither one of us are picky or petty. I (Rick) will be writing this for both of us.

FLIGHT
Flew Skyservice out of Toronto. The flight was delayed over 6 hours. They did not have my gluten free meal as requested both directions and the music/movie was not working on the way down. Skyservice offered a $50 voucher per house hold for the delay. I filed a complaint with Sunquest with no reply to date. I do not feel an airfare voucher is good enough. The seats are way too close. The emergency exits went to some tiny girls and smaller people. I am 6'1" and found getting my legs in difficult, especially when the person in front reclines their seat. Thanks lady in seat 19F!!

RECEPTION
A little slow, but I was not in a race anyway. No drinks were brought to us while we waited in line as other have stated they had.

BRIEFING
The late arrival due to the flight bumped our briefing to the next day, which in turn made us not able to get our beach towels to the third day. Our rep. was very nice, but really seemed focused on selling day trips. She left out details like, when beach towels are available and things to do in the resort. I saw some people scuba diving in the pool which I knew nothing of.

ROOM
We stayed in room 2314 with a view of the pool. We wanted to have the room made up every second day as a courtesy, but someone took the "do not disturb" sign. I told the maid to come every second day, but came every day any way. We wondered if it was because we tipped the first day and she was looking for it every day? The room smell musty upon our entry, but went away fast. The room was clean and in fair condition. There were some small things that needed attention. The sliding patio door and closet door where in need of repair and adjusting and where stiff to move for one. Water pressure was low, especially in the mornings, but wasn't a real bother. There was always hot water. We found the bed(s) and pillows comfortable. Always had clean towels and fresh sheets if we wanted.

HOTEL
The reflecting pond was being repaired and painted when we where there. It would have been nice to see it functioning. Everything was kept clean for the most part. We did see cups and glasses that guests had left around. They where not always picked up until a day or two. I saw path flood light that had been damaged and only would require some small attention to repair, but stayed dangling by the wires for the whole week. You are allowed to go to the TRYP which is a 20 minute walk down the beach or the Sol Cayo Guillermo (which we did not go to). The TRYP appeared to be in better shape and looked after. A word to pass on if you are visiting the TRYP. If you enter any contest, you cannot collect the prize. You need to be off the resort by 5pm and they hand out the prizes at the night show. I was just told too bad when I won a contest.

FOOD
Many choices. We ate at the ala carte Cuban and Don Diego's twice each. The food was great! We equally enjoyed the buffet at all meals we went. Never had any difficulty finding something to eat. We had lunch at the TRYP beach bar one day. It was very good as well. The service at the TRYP was far above the Sol.

TIPPING
We tip on occasion and not frequently. I did notice if you tipped regularly, you became the bar tenders buddy and got better service. They would come to your table and check on you. No different than going to a bar at home. We tipped the maid a couple of days only and left small items for her and her family.

BEACHES
We really enjoyed the beach and spent a part of every day there. Lined with palm and coconut trees. There was always a beach lounger available. Some sea weed on the beach, but I didn't see it as a problem. We went to the beach at the TRYP and didn't care for it. There are lots of rocks to watch for (I stubbed my toe) and no trees. At high tide the beach really gets small. It is still a nice beach, but we spent beach time at the Sol.

BARS
There are 4 bars. The pool bar, the lobby bar, beach bar and another smaller lobby bar that is only open at night. We had no problems using our thermal mugs. There seemed to be a problem with the bar tenders knowledge of making drinks. We found one could make a Blue Coco and another could not, but he could make a Paradise Love and the other could not. No problems getting the basic drinks. All though we did have one bar tender tell us he didn't know how to make a Banana Mama. When we went to the TRYP the bar tenders are far above the Sol's. They could make a larger selection of drinks and made a show of it, by throwing ice in the air or spinning bottles.

ENTERTAINMENT
The night time shows where good and colourful. They work very hard to put on a good show and did a lot of dancing and lifting of the girls. The performers really seemed to enjoy putting on the shows. We enjoyed going. My only complaint is that there is not enough seats. After dressing up for a ala carte I did not like sitting on the ground. So go early.

ACTIVITIES
We both went para-sailing off of our beach. This was really cool and you get a good view of the area. It cost $40 CUC.

TRIPS
We did a day trip to Moron (alligator farm, sugar cane plantation, steam engine ride and Cuban lunch) and Playa Pilar (beach, snorkeling and lobster lunch). We enjoyed the trip into Moron. It gives you a chance to see some of the real Cuba. We found that souvenirs and rum was fairly close in price no matter where you went even at the resort. As others have stated previously Pilar Beach is so beautiful. The snorkeling was not what I expected. The tide was low and the waters are VERY shallow. You needed to be careful or you would cut your self on the reef and some did, including my girlfriend. The reef is getting severally damaged and I was amazed they allowed snorkeling in this spot. The lobster lunch was fantastic. We then went back to the beach where we walked away from the main area and enjoyed a couple of hours on what I can only describe as our little piece of heaven. This is one of my fondest memories.

CONCLUSION
We would have had a great time going any where. The things I noted didn't bother us or hinder or enjoyment of our vacation. Well flying Skyservice sucked. (note to self, never again) I just wanted to give an accurate description to others. We loved the beach at Sol the best. The question if we would return to this resort? If we where to return to Cayo Coco we would probably go to the TRYP. We really enjoyed our time spent there.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Shannon  

February 2007
Left Ottawa
Booked via Tripcentral without any incident, and the tour provider was Sunquest.
My forum name is Shnoune

Flight
We flew sky service, not much to say other than you can bring your own head phones to be able to hear the movie and radio stations.

Airport
We stopped over in Holguin on the way there to pick-up/drop off passengers. If you can, get some money converted to CUC's , makes tipping the bus driver and resort staff easier as soon as you get there.

Check-in
The check in was orderly and efficient. We arrived at 17:30, and our room was ready. Some others who were checking in were not able to get to their room as the laundry service had a problem and the clean sheets were delayed, but their luggage was to be secured in the main office to keep it safe. I had emailed asking for a top floor room at the end of the hall with a nice view and they delivered. We were in room 1426 with a view of the ocean.

Staff
The staff at this resort were great. Its a smaller resort with less than 300 rooms, so staff would get to know you and would say Hola and ask about your day each time they saw you. Language was a little bit of an issue, but staff were patient if you were and more than willing to try to understand what you needed. I tip almost everyone, the waitresses, bar staff, cleaning lady as well as use basic good manners. All gave the impression they were not expecting it and were always very appreciative. I know its an all inclusive resort, but the way I look at it, if I win a voucher for a free dinner, I'd tip the person who served the table, so I apply the same rational to all inclusive resorts. I did notice that less than polite guests could be heard complaining about 'staff who don't speak English's, and I'm going to assume that its a selective non-understanding... If you treat the staff with courtesy and respect, the way you would staff at Canadian restaurants, you're all set. (They'll even keep a stash of diet pop at the bar for you!)

Resort In General
Our room was clean and not smelly at all. Everything worked fine, though bring an old bus pass or something because the power in the room only works if you slide a card into it. Water pressure was better before dinner, which is fine because I prefer to wash all the sun screen off at the end of the day. The water was very hard though so bring a little extra soap.
The food at the buffet was always good and there was usually plenty of selection. At one point we were without lettuce, but only for 2 days. The bars were well stocked as well and if you could name the mixes in a drink not listed on the bar menu, most bartenders would mix it up for you. I recommend bringing travel mugs, the only bar with real glasses is the main one in the lobby. We also brought wide mouth water bottles that we would have filled daily with ice and water.
The pool was always clean, though a little chilly. On the last few days people started laying claim to pool side loungers and never showing up to use them... There were always plenty of chairs to be had on the beach though, and with the wind off the ocean it was more comfortable anyway. The beaches were great, both the one in front of the resort and the one that leads to the Tryp. I found there were less fish if you went swimming at high tide, but even in rough waters I never saw any jelly fish. The ocean water was warm, and only on one day did I hesitate on the way in.

We also visited the Tryp on a daily basis. It was a 30 minute walk there along the beach (don't walk the road, its REALLY REALLY boring), and the Spanish coffee there is the best ever. We had lunch there twice and while it was good, there wasn't as much selection as our buffet.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Julian  
Canada
January 2007
FLIGHT
Flew Skyservice out of Ottawa. Short stop-over in Holguin (to pick up people that were headed back to Ottawa) then on to Cayo Coco. Typical Skyservice flight. Enough said.

RECEPTION
Very quick and efficient. Staff was courteous and friendly. Drinks were brought to us while we waited in line.

ROOM
Stayed in room 2201 (second floor) with a view of the pool.
I suggest staying on the 2nd or 3rd floors. I emailed the hotel a few days before our arrival and requested a room on the second floor. Rooms were clean and were well-maintained. My only complaint was that the water pressure was really low, especially in the mornings.

HOTEL
The hotel is very nice and well-maintained. Staff constantly cleaning the grounds and gardens. Smaller than the other hotels in Cayo Coco, but I think this is a plus since the staff get to know you pretty fast (The sol has about 250 rooms I think).

FOOD
The food was great! So much to choose from.
Typical breakfast for me consisted of an omelet (made to order of course), pancakes, sausages, fresh fruit, and either fresh papaya or pineapple juice. If you happened to miss a meal, the pool bar has burgers, fries, and pizza available.
If you’re gonna eat at the pool bar, make sure you bring your own ketchup. Trust me on this. For lunch and dinner, I usually ate from the grill in the buffet restaurant. The grilled shrimps were so good…yum!
There was only one a-la-carte restaurant open during our stay, Don Diegos. The food was ok but nothing special.
If you happen to get bored of the food, head over to the Tryp or Sol Cayo Guillermo, because you can there as well for free.

TIPPING
Any tip you give is appreciated. I usually tipped $1CUC whenever I got good service. I also left small items such as shampoo, conditioner, and lotions for the housekeeping staff.
I also gave away medicine such as Aspirin and Tylenol.

BEACHES
There are two beaches. The one to the left is larger and more beautiful (Playa Larga). The sand is like white powder and the water is crystal clear. The most beautiful beach I have ever seen! Just pick a spot, and wave someone over to bring you a lounge chair.

BARS
There are 3 bars. The pool bar, the lobby bar, and another smaller lobby bar that is only open at night. I avoided the pool bar because it was always pretty busy. Roly, the bartender at the lobby bar, is the man. Get him to make you a daiquiri, pina collada, or marguerita. Yoel, the waiter at the lobby bar, is great. Duanne, the bartender at the smaller lobby bar, makes the best mojitos.

ENTERTAINMENT
There were lots of activities to do throughout the day. The animation staff was very friendly and always trying to get people to participate. Activities included, dance lessons, aqua aerobics, games, bingo, pool tournaments, etc. The evening shows were pretty cheesy, and usually consisted of guests going up on stage and making a fool out of themselves. Otherwise, pretty entertainment (as long as you are having a few drinks of course!).

TRIPS
We did the speedboat trip ($41 CUC/person) and the Nature Park trip ($25 CUC/person).
The speedboat trip was pretty fun. We got to drive pretty fast and after about 20 min, we stopped at a secluded location and went snorkeling. Saw tons of beautiful tropical fish. Remember to bring some bread with you to feed the fish.
The Nature Park trip at the La Baga Natural Park was great. We got a private tour (only the two of us were visiting the park that afternoon) which lasted about 3.5-4 hours. We learned a lot about Cuban history and culture. We also got to see flamingos, crocodiles, tortoises, deer, goats, turkeys, iguanas, some animals that are only found in cuba.
I highly recommend this trip.

CONCLUSION
I would rate this resort a 4.5/5.
We would definitely return to this resort. If you want to party and get drunk all the time, you’re probably better off going to Varadero. But if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation in a family-oriented resort, this is the place. Will be back next year if the price is right. Otherwise, we’ll be heading to Holguin to see what it’s like over there.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Jerry 
Canada
December 2006
Sky Service
December 15 2006

I just returned from Sol Cayo Coco. This was my fifth trip to Cuba and my first to Sol CC. As mentioned in other descriptions, flight 'Sky Service' , customs, trip to hotel, were all orderly and efficient. The luggage was unloaded by hand and was as quick as it could be.

Arriving at Sol CC was more than I expected. Check in was expiditious and more than I've encountered anywhere. There was a cold drink, comfortable and gracious greeting. The staff could not have been nicer. My bags were in my room as I reached it. My room was pleasanty decorated, very clean and fresh. My room recieved this attention daily for two weeks.

Renovations were taking place during my stay but did not interfere in any way with my enjoyment. Due to these renovations the resort was not at capacity. It was quiet, however there was still a great deal of activity for those who wished to be. there was always something going on for the younger group as well as the older crowd. there were quiet place to be found, at the lower pool area or at the beach.

The food was very good at the buffet and other dished would be prepared for you at the grill, at breakfast and other meal times

The beach was wide, white sand and spacious. A wonderful place to relax, feel the warm breezes, the sun, listen to the wave come up to the shore, rest and read a book. The best drink at all of Sol were made by "Nadia" at the little beach bar. Just check it out when you are there.

Overall it was a wonderful experience, a great place to stay. I will be retuning to the Sol CC.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
from Debbie's member "Alexa" 
Cambridge, ON.
December 2006
We were at the Sol Cayo Coco from November 23-December 2. We flew Skyservice out of Toronto at 6:20a.m. (on time) which was the usual Skyservice experience. They served a boxed breakfast - turkey sandwich (???) and a granola bar, followed by open bar later.

Arrival and processing through customes was fairly smooth and speedy and we were at the hotel by 11:00a.m. The bus ride was only about 10-15 minutes and everyone on the bus was going to the SCC so no other stops along the way. We had to wait until 12:30 for our room but didn't really expect to get a room before 3:00p.m. so it was an added bonus.

We arrived to overcast skies, and slightly cool temperatures although we were still in shorts and tank tops. Apparently, the week prior to our arrival was solid cloud, rain and cold. The people leaving when we arrived said they had not gone swimming all week. We were told it had been the worst weather for this time of the year in 50 years. How unfortunate and sad for those travellers unlucky enough to be honoured with that statistic!

This is a lovely little resort. The grounds are well kept and lush. The rooms at SCC are clean, spacious and all seem to have a pool/ocean view. There are 2 pool areas. One is lively and situated by the pool bar & grill.

The other is on a lower level and more on the quiet side. There are waterfalls from the upper pool to the lower pool. There is plenty of music and activities around the upper pool and gets quite lively which is fun and conducive to meeting people.

The food is plentiful and quite good, with enough variety to suit even the most picky people. The breakfast buffet opens at 7:30a.m. (although you can get a coffee earlier at the 24-hour lobby bar) and serves the usual breakfast stuff mentioned at pretty much every other resort. At lunch time, the pool bar/grill served burgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and very tasty french fries as well as made-to-order personal size pizzas which were quite yummy. The buffet opened at 1:00p.m. for lunch and we were very happy to discover a wide variety of salads and salad fixings for a lighter lunch as well as cold cuts & bread, veggies & fruit, hot items and a grill where you can have your meat grilled per order. Often they had fresh calamari which was absolutely delicious. Much more tender than often served at home. It was nice to see different condiments such as mustards, mayo, salsas and even a Curry Sauce.

There were two dinner options while we were there. The buffet and the International a la carte. The International had 2 seatings - 6:30 and 9:30. Mid-way through the week they changed it to 7:00pm only because they were not at capacity and one seating was sufficient. The menu offered hot and cold appetizers, 2 different soups and approx. 7-8 entrees. We ate there 3 times. You can go as often as you like but you must make reservations at the Customer Service desk in the morning, seating permitting. This is an indoor restaurant with no smoking permitted. The wines were a better quality at the a la carte but we certainly didn't have a problem with the drinks at the buffet and quite enjoyed the dinner buffet when we ate there. The buffet had outdoor and indoor seating. The outdoor overlooked the pool and was very nice, with smoking permitted. There was a great dessert set up outside the buffet where they made flambed bananas served on crepes. Outstanding!

There were only 2 negatives regarding food. #1 - the beach restaurant was closed for repairs to the roof. Apparently it's been closed for quite some time and there is no indication to when it will be fixed and reopened. This was very disappointing because it is right on the beach with an outdoor patio and an indoor, open seating area which would offer an absolutely breathtaking view of the beach and ocean. If it had been open, it really would have completed our dining expectations and experience. #2 - nothing available to eat after 10:00pm. They offer "snacks" in the lobby bar, which seem to be very small leftover sandwiches from lunch (not appetizing) and occassionally, little potato puffs or turnovers in a little heated oven.

This is what we missed from a resort such as Playa Pesquero where you can get numerous different food selections after a late evening at the disco. The beach, in our opinion, is the best along the Cayo Coco stretch because it is the deepest, with many trees available for shade if required. The Melia next door and the NH Krystal and TRYP had very narrow beaches, with no trees, just sand dunes which tended to look unkept. Also, at higher tide, there was barely enough room for the loungers. Often when walking the beach, we had to walk in water to get around the loungers. The Sol beach was definitely the nicest. Also, the Sol has access to 2 beaches. The one on the right (looking at the ocean) was the deeper, wavier one. The one on the left had incredibly soft, white sand, was calm and shallow for hundreds of yards in the morning when the tide was out. Absolutely breathtaking. The only negative we had about the main beach area was the high winds, compared to the Holguin/Guardalavaca resorts. Every day was red flag. Often the beach bar did not open because of the high winds so you would have to walk up to the pool bar to get drinks to bring back. Granted, it's not a long walk but a beach bar is much more convenient. Bring travel mugs to solve this problem. The waves brought in quite a bit of seaweed during our week but the staff really stayed on top of keeping it clean. More so than the other beaches which still were not cleaned by the afternoon. We tended to spend the morning on the beach and the afternoon by the pool, enjoying watching the activities. No problems getting chairs at the beach or the pool at anytime. One extra perk was having day passess to the TRYP. We spent 3 days at this resort and enjoyed the change. It is much larger, with more amenities but we enjoyed our hotel with the added bonus of visiting the TRYP for a change of pace. We did hear many negative comments about the rooms at the TRYP, needing repairs, leaking, etc. but the outside certainly looked well kept and we enjoyed our visits. You could also visit Cayo Guillermo which is about 30-40 minutes by bus but we simply did not feel like packing up and going off-site. I'm sure it would be a nice experience as well.

All in all, if we were to visit this area again, we would probably try either the Melia or Cayo Guillermo only because we like to experience different results but I suspect we'll go back to the Holguin area. We have a soft spot for Brisas Guardalavaca and absolutely loved Playa Pesqureo.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Laurie 
Bracebridge, ON
July 2006
We agree with the Carr’s summary of a delightful vacation at Cayo Coco in Cuba in April. We were there in late March/early April 2006 for two weeks and had a great time.

The staff did indicate that later in the spring there could be mosquitoes, but we noticed hardly any.

Of course we had very windy days most of the time we were there and I did not get the sailing in I had hoped as the red flag was up a lot.

It is probably a good idea to check on conditions during the different seasons. March and April was great for us!
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Jacquie 
Toronto, Canada
June 2006
Four of us, two couples just spent a nice week at the Sol Club, Cayo Coco. This was our 3rd visit to Cayo Coco having stayed at the Blau Colonial and Tryp hotels in the past year. We perfer the Sol over the other 2 hotels. We got a sell-off for $488 plus tax. The hotel is rated a 4* by Sunquest Vacations and that is what I would give it also. We would return to this hotel is the price is right. Weather was not good as we had solid cloud cover 6 of the 7 days and rain off and on for 4 of the days but it did not ruin our vacation. 98% of all the guest were from England and the other 2% from Canada and Germany.

Flight: Skyservice A320, flight was 3hrs 9min from Toronto. We left on time. We were lucky and got row 1 as my husband has a medical letter for bulk head seating. Not as lucky on the way (we were promised by Skyservice and our Sunquest Rep that we would have the same seats both ways) home as they gave our seats to someone else and we were stuck in row 15 which was cramped and hot but at least we arrived saftley.

Hotel: The Sol Club is very nice. Check in was fast. There was no one to help with luggage and we were on the top floor room 1404. My husband has a bad knee and has a hard time climbing the stairs. Our room was nice and clean we had extra blankets and everything was in working order except the bathroom light switch which wouldn't turn off so we just closed the door at night. Never noticed any musty smelly that I read about in other reviews. We had a nice view of the ocean. Lobby area was very nice and always plenty of room to sit and have a drink at night the lobby bar is open 24hrs. and serves snacks.

Food: I usally don't like the food in Cuba but found that the food here was very good and it was always hot when is was supposed to be hot and cold when it was suppose to be cold. Lots of variety. The beach grill was a nice change for lunch and you could either have the buffet or order from the menu of burgers, hot dogs, grilled fish, roasted chicken or pork. The international al la carte was very nice. We ordered the lobster and shrimps (extra$$$) but it was well worth it so I can't comment on the other food on the menu.

Beach: The beach in front of the hotel is very nice, they have plenty of loungers (which a young man would get for you, clean it off and put it where you wanted to sit) and never had a problem getting one. There were the odd ones that put their towels out early but not many that they took all the space. Water was warm and crystal clear.......we did have a problem with jelly fish the last 2 days we were there and lots of people did get stung but most of them it was their own fault as the lifeguards told everyone to stay out of the water and people kept going back in even taking their small children with them!!! When someone did get stung help was right there the workers on the beach where great.

Pool: The pool area is nice and lots of loungers, no one saved chairs at all. There is a snack area and bar. You can order pizza, burgers, pasta, hotdogs and fries here. Food was good and the service was great. Our server was René and he was fantastic, did a great job and we never waited for anything.

Mosquitoes: They sprayed everyday and night and also the plane flew other numerous times spraying but the bugs still lived on!!!! I couldn't imagine what it would be like if they didn't spray. The bus from the airport was infested with them and some people got eaten alive..........takes lots of spray with you.

One thing that I must mention and I did email the Sol Melia Hotel chain about this. The under age drinking of alcohol. We sat night after night and watched children as young as 10 drinking beer and alcohol drinks the children were all from England and were in a big party of people. Parents didn't seem to mind!!!!! They would run wild around the hotel lobby (they broke the computers in the internet area) and pool area until the wee hours of the night with no supervision at all (some of these children were toddlers that were running around)........the parents would be in the disco and the kids were running back and forth form there to the lobby and pool.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
David 
Swindon, England
May 2006
Photos
Sol Cayo Coco 4* Hotel Tour Operator Thomas Cook 12 Oct to 19 Oct 2004 & 14Sept 2005 to 28 Sept 2005

Hurricane Rita
1st Praise where praise is due. Tropical Storm / Hurricane Rita passed during our stay. The hotel went on Cuban Government Alert, the safety plan was well executed windows sellotaped or boarded up. The Thomas Cook Rep stayed with us through the emergency and kept us informed. We always felt safe and were impressed by the extra duties performed for our safety by hard working staff. Yes the beach was closed for 2 days, but the bars remained open I don’t remember any drunks.

Flight & arrival 2005 We paid extra for “long legroom seats by number” we were moved out and never refunded by Thomas Cook. The flight was thus long and uncomfortable knowing we had been cheated probably by an air stewardess on the take.
We were not impressed by Cuban Customs, yet again hand luggage searched aggressively. Customs Officers did not like my diabetic medication even though they were shown a letter from my Doctor on Official Headed Paper. Even worse they thought my HP photo printer was a secret radio. Since they don't use mobile phones they don’t worry about them. Do these people realise they are competing for tourists and friendly welcomes elsewhere in Caribbean and their aggressive behaviour means we are less likely to return to Cuba?

Reception
2004 we flew in from Havana early morning and were directed to the buffet breakfast whilst rooms and paperwork were sorted.
2005This was our 2nd visit to Sol Cayo Coco, we produced our Sol Melia Card and were whisked through.

ROOM 2342
Had not been refurbished and bath was in urgent need of replacement enamel missing from several areas. But shower worked, loo flushed and Maid kept room spotless. We are over 50, beds were comfortable room size and furniture satisfactory. Due to large numbers of predatory mossies one avoids using the veranda.
There was a refurbishment program going on, management had taken notice of earlier complaints about smell from paint and dust so for 2005 we could not return to our 2004 Room on the left of reception but stayed on the right.

FOOD
We noticed many changes in staff from previous year. A pity that there seems to be a policy of replacing "cuddly mums" who understand food with young dolly birds who don't. But Mr Sunneysideup cooked fine breakfasts, and pasta lunches at the beach grill. Range of food at breakfast and lunch was so good in quality and choice we were not bored during our 14 day stay. Fresh fish charcoal grilled at lunch was wonderful. Dinner at main buffet we consider well above AI average, we enjoyed fresh cooked food every evening a little time waiting brings great rewards.

The International Restaurant provided a Beef Wellington The Duke would have enjoyed, and pianist with a grand range including music from English Speaking Composers. A wonderful contrast to the main Buffet where Spanish Management think British Holiday makers should be subject to Brahms, Beethoven and Bach for breakfast! My suggestions for a little Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sir Tim Rice, or Sir Cliff Richard or Elton John at breakfast were firmly rejected by Spanish Management who were very hands on at ordering Cuban staff, reminiscent of The Colonial era.
Dinners at the Beach Restaurant provided sublime delights from the local Caribbean sea. Many complain about Cuban food, having completed the Thomas Cook tour WE know why state restaurants can be bland and boring. We maintain that if you are patient the standard of cooked food at The Sol is well above other AI Hotels we have stayed at in Africa, Asia, Caribbean and Europe. The local wine is an acquired taste but one’s palate adapts and a few glasses at lunch are most enjoyed.
There is a bonus lunch Saturdays in the International Restaurant with the Cuban Manager for returning guests, we enjoyed this occasion.

BEACHES
There are two. One for fun and games, the other for peace relaxation and enjoying a good book. Many reviews state how wonderful they are, on sunny days the white sand and warm shallow sea combine to give a feeling one is in paradise. Delighted the Rickety Rackety Bridge was eventually repaired and there is again safe access to "THE QUIET BEACH". Let us hope Sol management sustain these 2 beautiful beaches as they are. The sea is perfect most days (except after storms) a pleasure for swimmers, and other activities

BARS,
An Outstanding Performer is provided at the Cocktail bar with an endless range of Specials do enjoy his gifts before and after diner. The other bars are satisfactory in their own ways, but what is really required is a mossie free air conditioned retreat as opposed to the "Main Barn Bar" where mossies outnumber humans by at least 10 to 1. Staff do appreciate tips and service follows donors.

Entertainment.
My children have grown up and fled the nest so I won't comment on the Children’s Club except to say families we spoke to enjoyed their visit to the local farm and children loved the staff.
The evening shows are always a matter of taste. I enjoyed them, my wife did not. I admired the way so many young people worked so hard in the heat of the day to dance and sing evenings in the best "Jester Traditions"

Trips
There are many via your rep, compared to Turkey they are expensive. We have completed the Thomas Cook Tour so our needs are different. We would recommend any visit to Havana that includes The Tropicana. Comments from Families and young couples show they love either swim with dolphins trips (by air or coach). We enjoyed our ”Eco trip on Old Soviet Lories2. Boy racers enjoy the speedboats trough the mangroves. We recommend the Colourful Cuba visit to crocodile farm, steam train around a sugar plantation, speed boats across a reservoir and horse and cart around Moron where you have a chance to do shopping.

Conclusion
Overall The Sol is blessed with friendly Cuban Staff who all want to help us enjoy our holidays. Some reviews complain about the tip culture. We visited some staff homes in Moron we know and have seen overcrowding and poverty that would not be tolerated in England. I have no regrets about any trivial sums we donated to these hard working people, or odd shirts given for families. Remember there is still rationing for Cuban Families and USA sanctions. The Sol is a 3rd World Beach Resort where we from Europe have value for money, if you want shopping malls, chips and burgers try Florida.

Finally if you can't get a VIP place at Airport, take an early taxi it saves hours of high blood pressure queuing for checkout and exit vis
I am happy to answer any questions - david.templar@ntlworld.com
Sol Club Cayo Coco
The Carr's 
Owen Sound, Ontario
April 2006
Just got back from one week at Sol Cayo Coco, April 14/06 to April 21/06. This resort was absolutely great. The staff was friendly and very accomodating. The food was great there was something for everyone.

The rooms where clean and spacious. We had a great view of the beach and the gardens.This was a standard room and had better view than the more expensive rooms. They let us see the difference as we were thinking of upgrading but after looking we decided to stay with our original room and we had no complaints.

The resort was always clean and in great shape. We had no problems with the water as the resort now has a filtered system so you can drink the water but they still give you a very large bottle of water everyday so if you prefer you can use this. You can also use the water for brushing your teeth.

The beach area was very clean and had plenty of lounge chairs for you. You could get a new towel everyday at the pool hut.

You could not want for anything with all the different food they had. You also had the opportunity to book reservations at two other al la carte restaurants if you wished for a change.

The staff were very friendly and went out of their way to help us. Even the bus ridge to and from the hotel the attendents where very pleasant and kept us informed of any information we needed to know.

They was never a long wait for anything. We did the glass bottom boat and snorkling that was included in the all inclusive and it was a blast. The also had parachuting, deep sea diving. something for everyone. They also had a playland with sitters for Kids to give mom and dad a break. (if you had kids as we did not but many used this services)

This was our first trip to CUBA and to Sol Cayo Coca which was an all inclusive and the airline was SkyService and we had no problem with the airline there or returning we will definietly will be returning again.

Before going I had read all the reviews and must say we never seen or had anything go wrong or happen and thoroughly enjoyed our vacation
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Carol 
UK
March 2006
My husband and myself are both 53 years of age and very active.

Good flight with Thomas Cook out, but upgrades cancelled in Manchester for the return journey , reimbursed there and then and no upgrades available for the journey home as we flew with Thompson.

Firstly I will say that I did read all the previous postings and still went ahead and booked this hotel. I found all of them informative.

This hotel is NOT a 4*. The rooms are very chatty. The note about the brown doors is not 100% accurate we looked at 3 rooms before settling in one and none of them were particularly well decorated and all had huge knocks in the furniture and little things wrong or not working here and there. All had brown doors. We do not accept that a room is fine because after all "you only sleep there". Having said that ,every where was immaculately clean. We have travelled to a lot of Caribbean Islands and stayed 4* or 3* plus. All the hotels beat this one hands down for the standard of the rooms. Our room was 1314 and we had the sound of running water all night for 10 days then it flooded the room we had to move.

We had a great holiday and met some lovely people. The local beach is beautiful and one of the nicest public beaches we have see. The hotel do have lots of sun loungers on this beach as well as there own beach front, and the staff at the beach bar will bring you drinks over (If you tip them well) The food is boring and I don't know why. They have all the ingredients but just fail to deliver much that is interesting. That having been said we always found something to eat and you would not go hungry.The table cloths were nearly always dirty, it is not the staff being lazy, they just do not get enough clean ones. That having being explained we did not like it one bit.

We found nearly all the staff very pleasant and polite, but we paid for it. Tips given about £100 in two weeks. We are good tippers anyway if we get good service, here you have to tip and then get the service. We always got served quickly at the bars and had a table waiting for us in the buffet restaurant for meals. The people that we met that did not tip were often waiting for tables and drinks. I am not keen on this Caribbean approach to tipping it seams all wrong to me but believe me just get on with it and things will run smoothly.

The hotel was very quiet the first week. The second week not so. For the first time on all the all inclusive holidays we have been on there were a group of out and out drunks. They were very noisy and rude and they were also British from Liverpool. People say the Canadians are noisy and there are lots of them at this hotel, we found them nice and pleasant and just generally intending to fully enjoy their holidays.Great fun.

The rep was first class. Tess. Sadly she moves soon to Lake Guardia for the summer. The best rep we have ever had and far too good for a company like Thomas Cook.

Cuban Convertible Pesos (ccp) the about same as a $ we got 30 for £20. For any one interested in trips, there were quite a few available. If you want to do Havana book it before you go as it was 295 ccp to book in resort. You fly there as it would take 8 hours by road.Horse riding 10 ccp and buggy rides 6 ccp for 35 mins or 20 ccp for a long trip including drinks. Scuba diving was 180 ccp for 6 dives and was a few mins walk up the beach at the Melia Hotel. Gear very cheap to hire or if you take your own as we did you can leave it there whilst you are on holiday.

One last thing you will have already read the other postings and the people are quite poor. We were not prepared to be hit on as were for clothes and things during our last day. Every waitress asked us for things that perhaps we did not need to take home and we were a little uncomfortable with this especially as we were trying to eat at the time.We always leave every thing behind that has been opened also beach towels ect: I know that they were poor or a least some people were poor but these girls were netting quite a large sum of money every day and also the boys at the bars were doing very well. Sorry but we did not like it.

We also saw at the airport one check in lady asking a passenger for money to buy her child a toy. The english lady said that she did not have any ccp left so had none to give, undeterred the check in clerk then asked for sterling. The english lady was very unhappy about this and told the clerk so, but I did notice that she continued the same line with the next passengers. Will we go to Cuba again. NO

This is also the last time we will book with Thomas Cook.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Aramel and Anabela 
Peterborough
January 2006
If there's one thing that could summarize my experience in Cuba, it would be something a new friend said to me: "Cubans may not have much, but when they invite you into their homes, they'll offer you everything they have."

This was the first time my wife and I went to Cuba and thanks to all the reviews available we were prepared for just about anything. I have to admit that after reading some things, I was a bit worried that we might end up in a place resembling a Turkish Prison. What can I say, I was pleasantly surprised. The Facilities were great, there was lots to do and most importantly - the people were great.

We came back with many great memories and new friends both from Cuba and Canada and we still wake up with a smile every morning. In fact, we are already thinking of our next trip, perhaps a bit more adventurous and go exploring Cuba more and we would definitely come back to Sol Cayo Coco!

Arrival and Check-in
Arriving at Jardines del Rey Airport and getting onto our bus was painless. We didn't have any trouble with customs, but it's a good idea to check before you go.

After a short bus ride from the airport we arrived at the Hotel and lined up to Check-in. It was kind of late, we were tired, so we weren't too impressed about the long line up. Luckily, I married a very clever girl - when my wife heard some party-goers walking by asking why everyone was standing in line, she understood that we didn't really have to wait in line and we could go to the lobby bar and have a snack and/or drink. So that's what we did until there was nobody in line.

No, we weren't welcomed by a thousand Cubans dancing a song of joy, but then again, we weren't expecting that and it was a bit late to be causing a lot of hoopla.

The Rooms and Facilities
We arrived late in the evening and the room we were assigned was just overlooking the lobby and we could hear everyone there all night and to a certain degree, the disco nearby. Next morning we asked to change rooms and the staff were more than happy to accommodate us. The newer room had a much nicer view, was quieter and the decor was much lighter than the first.

We found the grounds and other facilities to be clean and well looked after, and yes the tablecloths in the buffet were not changed between dining guests. That wasn't a problem for us, we just tried eating more carefully so as not to leave a mess for the next person.

If there was anything that I wasn't too thrilled about, it was the water. Everyone mentions how it's not a good idea to drink it, and fortunately, the hotel provides guests with bottled water. I don't know if it was because of the pressure or the consistency of the water but my hair never felt washed. Luckily I wasn't there to impress anyone, and with the opportunity to jump into nice blue ocean, who really cares? We did experience low water pressure and I heard someone complain about it, but when you think about it, if hundreds of people decide to take a shower at the same time, just before dinner, what can you expect? The water pressure was fine when we took a shower at other times.

Things to do
Everybody's different and I think the resort managed to accommodate all their guests' needs well. Usually you have an orientation meeting with your Tour Representative who will explain what activities and tours are available, but don't be shy - ask around and you'll find there are even more things you can do. Keep in mind that some activities depend on the weather conditions, such as the Paragliding and Snorkelling/Glass Bottom Boat. Most excursions need a booking, so get in early to not miss out.

I found that most guests were content to stay at the resort, or to visit the other nearby resorts - you can ask at the front desk for a band that will allow you to enjoy the all-inclusive benefits of Club Tryp, a sister resort of the Sol Club, from 9am to 5pm - but we wanted to see more of the real Cuba. So we asked around and ended up hiring a Taxi Van to take our party of 8 to the nearby town of Morón, where most of the Resort staff live, as well as Ciego de Avila, the capitol of the Province.

There was a day tour available, but after asking around we learned that hiring either a Taxi (Ask at front desk) or a friend of someone working there (ask around) was better because you can go as a smaller group and that person is more than happy to take you around wherever you want, whenever you want. We found that it was a LOT cheaper for our group and our driver was very friendly and accommodating.

The resort also has lots of activities going on. There is an animation team that is responsible for keeping guests entertained. During the day, they run the various activities such as aerobics, games and contests, archery, etc. In the evening this team puts on a show. Some nights it's a full on performance, other nights they take a bit of a break and it is an audience participation show.

And of course there's the Resort facilities such as the pool, the 2 beaches, the paddle boats, miniature golf course, disco, boats, etc to keep you busy. Not to mention the lobby and poolside cafe/bar where you can just hang out with friends.

We found our days full and varied, and still have many things to try next time!

The Food (and Drinks)
I consider myself a very fussy eater. After doing some research, I was seriously worried I would starve and was prepared to fast, and to take food to my room for times of need. Boy, what a silly Dodo I am. The food was great. I found there to be enough variety, and the quality was very good too. There were many prepared dishes in the buffet, as well as freshly prepared foods such as Pastas and grilled meats. Having just changed to a greener diet, I only wish there were more greens, as a lot of the dishes were meaty. No that it's a bad thing, just my preference.

By the way, if you want to know what a real potato tastes like, try one here. The food grown in Cuba tastes like something, unlike a lot of the fruits and vegetables we get in our grocery stores. The meats too!

Armed for any possible gastronomic crisis, we only had one negative incident with the food. My wife ate a seafood medley of some sort, which we are guessing was made up of leftovers. Asking around we found that a few other people also became sick and they had the same thing. It happened on the last night of our vacation, so it was a sad end to an otherwise fantastic holiday.

NOTE: We discovered that if you go out for an excursion, you can go to the Customer Service office and organize them to pack food for your trip. We had more than enough food for our trip, as well as drinks.

My wife and I aren't very much into alcoholic beverages, but we did discover a thing or two. Firstly, The quality of the drinks differs between the bars. Personally, I would go see Mercedes down at the restaurant on the beach (Cuban Restaurant) for a Piña Colada, but I heard that the bar in the lobby, the little one at the back, open for only a few hours, where the bartender is doing the Tom Cruise/Cocktail thing - apparently that's the best place to go. I kept missing out - yet another reason to come back! :-)

Also, don't forget that other than the Buffet, you can dine at either the International or Cuban (Beachside) Restaurant in the evening. For this you need to book that day, so get in early. We dined at the International and it wasn't the best experience. We just stayed at the Buffet where we could see and choose what we wanted to eat. I found the menus a little difficult to read, with all the cursive writing, and even though we were one of the first groups in, we were the last to be served. We didn't try the Cuban restaurant for dinner, but next time we will, as we did go there for lunch and the grilled meats were great!

Weather
My wife complained that it was too windy or cold. For the Cubans, it was winter and they were walking around with running noses and wearing 2 shirts sometimes, while all us pale Canadians were frolicking on the beach. If you want to tan and it's windy, hang around the pool area - hardly any wind. Even though I'm not a beach person, I found that I went swimming more than my beach-loving wife did. Keep an eye on the weather when you are planning to do some activities such as Paragliding or Snorkelling.

Tips on Tipping and the Gift of Giving
We went in with the attitude of showing our appreciation to the people who allowed us into their 'home' and took care of us and looked after all our needs, allowing us to enjoy our vacation. In fact, we made a game out of it. It was our intention to give tips or gifts as a way of showing our appreciation to these people who frankly, have less than we do yet are always smiling and ready to help us.

Sure, everyone tips their waiter or the bell boy who carries your bags, but what about the people you don't see? We learned that there are people who have little or no contact with the public and earn less, and make absolutely no tips since they are not directly helping anyone. Well, you can imagine the expression on the face of the woman who cleans up after us in the lobby when I gave her a tip. It may have been a days wage for her, but I think she was more happy that she was appreciated.

Also, most staff are not permitted to eat or drink what is unlimited to the guests. However, the guests are permitted in some instances to offer staff drinks for example. Every now and again when we saw a gardener (jardinero) working away, we would offer him a nice cool drink. You'll also fnd that some gardeners will offer you something that they have made, such as animals or hats from palm leaves - nice little souvenirs for a tip. We gave bundles of clothing and toiletries to most gardeners we met, all were very appreciated.

About gifts, thanks to previous reviews here, we knew what items to take to give as gifts. We filled half our lugguage with clothes we didn't need anymore, and whatever other items we could fit. Goods, such as medicines and soap for example, are rationed. So if a Cuban has used his soap for the month, that's it - No more soap. Also, some items in Cuba cost the same as they would in Canada. Remember that the people working at the resorts get paid in Cuban Pesos (24 Cuban = 1 Convertible Peso approx).

We gave bundles of clothing, toiletries and things for kids. We didn't take many medicines, but they were the most appreciated. By medicine, I mean things like Tylenol/Advil. At times I was worried that I would insult someone by offering something inappropriate, but I found that whatever we gave, they were very appreciative as if they couldn't use it for themselves, they could give it to someone else.

One of the most memorable moments was on our day trip into town. We happened to pass a rural school. My wife intended to go to a school and give gifts to the kids, so it was the perfect opportunity. Just before I left canada, I ran into a Price Chopper and bought $15 worth of pencils, crayons, I wish I bought more, because we found out that at this one room school, all the students and the teacher had to share the ONE pencil. That's it. You can imagine their delight when we gave them colouring pencils, paints, markers, watches, etc...

The point is that we can give so much and really make someone's day (or month!) with just a little thing, and not just to get favours in return. Clothes, Toiletries, toys and medicines will always find a good home.

NOTE: When you give a gift to a staff member, they must complete a form and notify the hotel of what they received. The Resort is very serious about security and preventing theft.

NOTE 2: Try to be discreet. The resort has rules about staff members conduct and they could lose their jobs. Staff members are not permitted to eat with us, even if they are our guests. They are also not permitted to ask us for anything such as drinks or food, but in some instances we are allowed to offer. Ask first.

Departure
Perhaps the saddest part of our trip as my wife was sick, hates flying and the departing flight was delayed. The hotel quickly took care of this, by giving everyone their rooms back so they could have a nap before the bus arrived. No problems with the airport, only they made my wife see a doctor as she wasn't looking very well.

In summary, if you are looking for Diamonds and Caviar, go somewhere else. Sure there were some rough patches here and there, but when you step back and look at the big picture and see what the Cubans have to work with and what they give us, we are pretty lucky.

We will go back to Cayo Coco, and more!

Thank you to ALL the staff of Sol Cayo Coco!
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Jill & Iain 
Scotland
October 2005
Travel & Check inn
Flights and transfers were fantastic. Airport security tight & took some time to get through passport control.

Not much of a welcome at arrival although the process was quick and well organised. The porter brought our luggage to the room and explained how the AC worked etc.

Room
Unfortunately, we were not impressed by our room and it was in need of upgrading. There was a musty damp smell & rust over the bath. We often ran out of water and had to ask for more at reception. This was despite tipping the maid every day!!

Pool & Snack bar
The pool area was nice and there was a sunlounger available at all times of the day. We found the complimentary beach towel service fantastic.

The snack bar provided delicious burgers, pizzas, chips and hot dogs. The bar staff were friendly and welcoming. A simple Peso would provide special treatment all day long. Our drinks were often replenished without asking!!!

Dining room
Again the waiting staff were lovely. We were welcomed each night & they would remember what wine we drank with dinner! (the red wine was delicious!!)
The food in general was not great but we never went hungry!
The buffet food could be a hit or a miss sometimes but the freshly prepared areas were good. You can choose from a selection of pasta & sauce, pizza, grill area with chicken, prawns & steak all made to order. I can highly recommend the crepes flambéed with Cuban rum and banana for dessert. I had this every evening!!
The only downside to having your food prepared was that there was often a large cue.
Also there was generally the same on offer each night.
We Never ate at the restaurant as it was always fully booked.

Lobby
The lobby provided a 24hr bar and cocktail area. The cocktail were delicious - beware they are very strong!! The 24hr bar was nice but they often ran out of glasses and it could become very hot in the evening.

beach
2 beautiful beaches with lots of activities on offer. The beach bar staff would ensure your drinks were topped up and there were plenty sunloungers available.

In general
We had a great holiday and met some lovely people. There is plenty to do an the Cuban people are fantastic.

Unfortunately, we would not return to the Sol Cayo Coco due to the poor standard of our room.

I suffered form diarrhoea during my stay and knew of others who had to see the doctor because of this. Make sure you take plenty of medications from home to help this.

Bear in mind that it costs 25 pesos per person to leave the country including children so account for this in your spending money.

The Cuban people never expect a tip but are so grateful when they do and will provide you with excellent service. The bar staff got really excited one day when I gave them a magazine! It was passed round every member of staff!
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Donna, Grace, Jodi and Jen  
Mississauga, Ontario
August 2005
We had been in Cuba last year in August, at another Sol Melia Resort, The Tryp Cayo Coco and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We tried the Sol Club Cayo Coco this year to experience another Melia resort.

I will attempt to give an honest comparison of both resorts as I go with the thought that my comments may help some of you decide which resort might work best for you.

TRAVEL THERE AND BACK:
What can I say? Skyservice is Skyservice! Basic service, they are often late (apparently every Friday night this summer flights have been delayed in Cuba, and ours going and coming home were no different- huge delays both ways- ridiculous- if you want to make sure eveything goes more smoothly and you have more "perks" book through Air Canada Holidays- it costs more, but is apparently more reliable and worth it. Customs coming and going? No problem. Fine both ways, check in and out no more than the usual waits you always get at any airports. Travel time from the airport- the best reason to choose one of these resorts- only a 10-12 min. bus ride- the poor buggers who stayed at the Sol Cayo Guillermo (another Melia resort on the island) had a 45 minute ride from the airport after all our other delays, not great.

RESORTS:
The Tryp is much bigger, almost 2 1/2 times bigger than the Sol Club. There are 2 pools at the Tryp and another "adult" or quiet pool between Bldgs 10 and 11 which I really enjoyed and missed at the Sol this year, as the Sol has only 1 deep pool which gets pretty busy after lunch when the teenagers wake up and start taking over the pool, jumping in, and running amok,not really caring who they splash or land on, in the process.(Do any of these kids have parents? If so, none of them said a word to their kids or tried to rein them in, but this was typical at both resorts, size of the resorts didn't seem to matter....) If you are a beach person though, then the Sol is for you! There are 2 beaches at the Sol and the one at the Tryp is far inferior to either of the Sol's. The fabulous beaches and the more intimate smaller setting are the two big selling points of the Sol in my opinion. There are like 238 people at the Sol compared to about 600 at the Tryp. The Sol has 2 buildings that abut onto the pool areas. The Tryp has 14 far-flung buildings, just to give you an idea of the expansiveness of the properties. Staffs at both resorts (and Animation Teams) were second to none, so on that point, they both win.

Rooms at both the Tryp and the Sol were fine, we didn't see any bugs at either (on second floors both times). However, the rooms at the Sol (we were in a renovated room- brown door) were much brighter and larger than at the Tryp. Also, there was no musty smell in our Sol room; we had a bit of a musty smell all week at the Tryp.

FOOD:
Good at both resorts, but freshly grilled shrimp, salmon, calamari, steak, chicken, pork and chops were a nightly treat at the Sol. Did not remember that large amount of choice nightly from last year at the Tryp. However,this year, the Tryp had the BEST smoked chicken- if you do stay at the Sol, take a day pass to the Tryp and try the smoked chicken at the buffet- excellent!

TRIPS, ACTIVITIES:
Great, plentiful and fun at both resorts- as mentioned before- the Animation Staff at both Melia resorts were exemplary and professional. Shows at both resorts were excellent and entertaining. Likewise for the kids' shows. Our Sunquest agent, Frank was wonderful, very helpful and available daily. His tips were well intended and appreciated. Last year it was some lady, only saw her there talking on her phone or to the other reps, very "uninvolved", didn't even get her name! Frank was a big improvement- scored BIG brownie points right off the bat by telling us that if he found out that our flight home was going to be delayed he would arrange for us to stay AT THE RESORT for as long as possible so we didn't have to sit around the airport for hours, and he was good to his word on that- when we finally heard that we were actually leaving Cuba at 11:45 pm he did not have the bus pick us up until about 10:15 pm so we could enjoy the buffet, and the shows and relax at the hotel with just a short stay at the airport. Great!

NIGHT LIFE:
We really lucked out at the Sol this year! Last year at the Tryp we heard about this train you could take to another resort for a small fee for a "Salsa Tech" disco night offered twice a week, Tues. and Thurs. nights. We did not know where it was, and were reluctant to send the girls (17 and 23) alone, so they didn't go.
Imagine our surprise and delight when we found out that the Sol Club was where this well-known and sought after disco was! It was amazing, lots of fun, our Cuban friends we met at the Tryp last year who we wrote to all year and now mostly working at other jobs came to see us throughout the week, and spent the two salsa tech nights with us at the Sol . What a lot of fun! We had such a good time, and the local bands and dancers were out of this world. We never wanted to see 2 am come, when it ended and the trolley train arrived to take the off-site guests home.

OVERALL:
At first the girls were quite upset that we had picked the Sol and not gone back to the Tryp. But as the week progressed and they made new friends from the Animation staff and hotel staff at the Sol they came to really like it, and we have all decided that next year we will go back to the Sol Club for the cozier and smaller size resort and take day trips to the Tryp Hotel ( a 15 min. walk along the beach or a 5 min taxi ride (3 pesos for the whole taxi one way) to visit our friends. The 24 hr lobby bar at the Sol had the best coffee au lait but the sandwiches and snacks were pretty pathetic - if you like eating at night, take something from the buffet at 10 pm before it closes- The 24 hr lobby bar at the Tryp has THE BEST "warm" ham and cheese and chicken salad sandwiches and snacks ever! The night life at this lobby bar is continually hopping, so if you can't sleep and want to hang out somewhere with good food and action all night, go here.

The shops at the Tryp are where we bought most of our stuff. Lots of choice and variety to spare. There are about 5 indoor souvenir shops, 1 that sells exclusively liqueurs and cigars, and a few outside kiosks at the Tryp selling everything from beachwear, thong type sandals, coverups, hats, T shirts, CD's, fridge magnets, snacks, keychains, etc, etc. even Che Guevara type hats this year- more than you can use or choose! There is also a vendor area down by the buffet entrance at the Tryp that also has different vendors daily. This year, the stagnant water under the bridge by the lobby bar was still stagnant, but didn't smell foul, last year it was really bad....don't know why? it certainly was hotter and more humid this year than last summer, go figure....

The Sol has one liqueur/cigar store and one souvenir shop. Vendors come every day, but if you see something you really want- don't wait- tomorrow it will be another group in, and if you are only there for a week, you probably won't see the same vendors twice, so be warned!

ADDITIONAL TIPS:
After 2 years you think I would learn my lesson- bring cash and leave the credit cards at home!!!!! Last year I brought my Citibank M/C and of course they wouldn't take it, being that Citibank is an American based company. This year I brought my GM TD Visa, should have worked, however when my daughter fainted at the Tryp and had to see the doctor, they only wanted cash ($25.00 convertible pesos, and that was for a glass of sugared Coke and a quick look/see at her eyes and blood pressure only- can't imagine what I would have done if she had really been sick- obviously the credit card was no good in that regard, so keep that in mind- take cash whenever possible.

Tipping 1 convertible peso enables the locals to trade it for about 27-29 of their own type of local peso, so they are quite happy with a peso here or there- of course remember that Castro has made his convertible peso (used in the resorts) equivalent to $1.00 US (unbelievable but true) so remember that each "peso" you tip is really worth whatever your currency is, against the American dollar value. Oh- another thing- this peso is worthless anywhere outside of the country- when you exchange it at the hotel before leaving, you will be given the exact same amount in US dollars. Then it was up to us to exchange the American into Canadian .

Mosquitos- were they bad? Worse at the airport, and maybe at the Tryp, where my friend and her daughter got eaten alive while having dinner INSIDE the air conditioned and enclosed buffet restaurant- figure that one out. Overall, no worse than at home this time of year, given the humidity and heat here at home this summer too. Just bring some good repellant along and you should be fine. Also, avoid putting perfumes on when you go out at night, and wear lighter colors- the smell of the perfume and darker clothes seem to attract them more.

Have fun, the people in Cuba are lovely, once your friend, they will stay your friend. They are extremely friendly, gracious, polite, educated, and kind people. They love to dance, love to learn all about your country and are extremely grateful and thankful for anything that comes their way (gifts, money, etc). Take the time to appreciate what Cuba has to offer, it is a third world country, not like home but they do their best to please. A holiday is what you make of it, keep an open mind, relax, unwind and just enjoy yourself, whichever resort you choose to stay at. But remember to get a visitor's band at the front desk and take advantage of day passes to the Tryp, Sol Club, or Sol Cayo Guillermo (about 45 min. and a $5.00 shuttle ride away). Next year we will go back for our third summer holiday in a row. Now we will have 2 sets of friends who will come to meet us at the airport and visit us throughout our week to make our next year's holiday so memorable. Enjoy! A special "hello" to Johnny from the Animation Team at the Tryp, our friend Leo who now works at Cubacan, and came to greet us coming in and meet us as we left, to the Animation Staff at the Sol- Shirley, Rudy, Alex, Enrique', Elliott and Pootchie, to name a few, also our waiters, Mikel, and Carlos, and Luise you are special guys. And to Dianelys in the Customer Service area- you too, are one special lady! So generous to lend us your own personal CD player when we wanted to listen to our new Cuban CDs. And for all your help in trying to get us a room for my daughter's friend who has the heart condition when we were anticipating a huge delay.Thanks so much for everything.I sent you an email- please write me back, ok? And Frank- you were wonderful and a great service to Sunquest- hope they know how lucky they are to have you! Hello and glad to have met you, my special friends- Moira from Scotland, Angela and Manuel and Danya, Orest, Anna and Maxim from so close to home- can't wait to get together with you all and share our photos and memories back home soon! We'll be back next summer!
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Louise 
UK
July 2005
We (myself (20) and my boyfriend (25)) stayed at the Sol Cayo Coco between 22nd June-6th July 2005, travelled with Thomas Cook.

AIRPORT: Security is very very tight! Expect to queue to get your passport and visa checked - this takes them a few minutes, then you go through a metal detector and your baggage gets screened again! There are lots of security people around and a few dogs, sniffing suitcases as you get them off the carousel. A few people had their suitcases checked too. On the way back, I found the staff extremely helpful - I needed a wheelchair and they got one for me straight away, wheeled me around! I do recommend the VIP lounge on the way back.

TRANSFER: All I can say is fantastic! Really quick! Air conditioned coach. Some people got a taxi to the airport on the way back - no need to whatsoever, as it is only 12 mins to the airport.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Hmmm..... not great, bright colours everywhere!!! But then after travelling for 19 hours and not sleeping that night I am not surprised! This soon changed!!

CHECK IN: There were 120 people from my flight staying at the sol cayo coco. Check in was really quick - you receive a piece of paper to fill in on the coach transfer along with your key, and tags to put on your luggage with your room number on. We were taken into the disco to check in - given a cocktail, a 2 minute welcome from the rep, and then the Cubans did their national dance! You then get given a wrist band, and get shown to your room. The porters bring your luggage to you.

ROOMS: We were in an un-renovated room, in block 1 (although a lot of block 1 is now renovated). Basically, if you have a brown door you have a renovated room, white door - it isn't! However, we thought the rooms were still really nice - 2 double beds, few chairs, few tables, fridge, mirrors galore (even full sized girls!!), lovely sink area, plenty of storage space, and then a bathroom. They are a tiny bit dated, but I should think within the next month or so they will all be renovated. Air conditioning is fantastic; you get a bottle of water in your room every day. If you want your towels changed, put them in the bath (we didn't notice this for a few days!) and if you want your bed linen changed a bit quicker, you can strip the sheets off and put those in the bath too (some person complained their bed had not been changed for 3 days).

GROUNDS: Gorgeous! Really well maintained by a group of gardeners. One of them, after giving him a peso (61p) made me a bouquet of flowers everyday! The maids wash the floors, steps everyday in the main areas. If it rains, as soon as it stops the maids come out and sweep away all the water etc. Where the renovations were taking place (block one) there is a tiny bit of mess – just a bit of dust, but this is cleaned up daily. Some people do leave their cups around too which is annoying- just put stuff in bins, saves the ground staff some work!

RESTAURANTS & FOOD:
- BUFFET: nice restaurant, although there are a few OLD stains on the table cloths. I went in the kitchen - very clean - nothing to worry about there. Seating inside and out. Air conditioned. Service - good!! If tip it can be better - pancake man in mornings (pizza guy in evenings) is fantastic - will bring to your table etc etc.
BREAKFAST: not the best meal of the day. However, they will do fresh pancakes, french toast, omelettes for you, and at another part in the restaurant, will fry sausages, eggs etc for you there and then. The food actually out is not so great, but as I said, if you want to eat those kind of foods (like sausages, bacon) they will do it fresh. Plenty of fruit (papaya, bananas, water melon) which I had for breakfast mainly, "cakey" things, few cereals, bread rolls, croissants etc. Orange juice was watered down at breakfast time ONLY.
DINNER: Salad bar is fantastic! Have a choice of lots of different items, then they will mix them up in whatever oils or herbs/spices you want! I loved it and had some every night! Soup, cheeses, bread galore, are all available as starters. Main courses: you can once again go and get your own meat/fish/king prawns grilled, they make fresh pizzas with your own choice of toppings, there is usually someone carving a joint of meat or fish, more salad available and then the stuff in the main dishes comprises of different options each night, e.g. duck, veal, rabbit, lamb, chicken, beef, squid, fish, spring rolls, vegetable curries, rice, pasta, chips, potatoes, vegetables, curries, meats in different sauces, stir fries etc, etc, etc. There is plenty of choice each night. I am a VERY VERY fussy eater, and I didn't go hungry whatsoever. Ok, the cuisine isn’t amazing, but Cuba isn't known for this, but it was still very nice! Veggies are more than adequately catered for every night. I really do recommend the duck! Puddings: ice-cream, fruit, cakes, pancakes/crepes done in rum and orange juice, along with whatever else you want in the pan (I recommend banana!).

Tuesday night is fantastic- Chinese night - don’t book an al a carte for that night!!! Usually a guy goes round playing guitar as well which is nice DON DIEGO - service was a bit slow, but didn't mind whatsoever! Lovely air conditioning, good choice on menu (recommend asparagus soup, beef Wellington, duck, lobster (20 pesos extra), peach melba, but all is very good). There is a pianist playing in there who is fantastic! Food is good too! You do need to book at the club house fairly early, usually before 10am BEACH - lunch time: fantastic! best place to eat at lunch time - they have a buffet, selection of salads, ice cream, fruit, drinks, different meals. OR you can order off the menu - chicken and fish of the day are highly recommended. Best place to eat at lunch time. Dinner: mozzies galore, food wasn't that great - definitely recommend don diego over this one, but it is worth going once.

POOL BAR:
serve a variety of food from 10am-11pm, from chips, pizzas, burgers, pastas, which are nice. We eat here a few lunch times.

DRINKS: available from 24hr bar all day, pool bar, beach bar, bar in amphitheatre and disco during show times. Most evenings in the reception area they have a cocktail bar - highly recommended. The reception area is gorgeous to sit in.
You can go to Al a carte restaurants as many times as you like, as long as you book that morning.

POOL: Shallow, ideal for children, with a deeper end towards to pool bar. If you want an umbrella, you do need to reserve your sunbeds quite early. Later on, if sunbeds are gone, you can ask one of the grounds men to get you one from the beach (be prepared to give them a peso though!). One day the pool had some sick in it (consequently I went down with a not so nice stomach bug) and a few children had ear infections (do not let the nurse try to wash the ear out - make sure they are given antibiotics). After these complaints I believe the pool was being completely emptied and cleaned this week, so you shouldn't have anything to worry about after 13th July2005! They do activities around the pool at times throughout the day, along with water aerobics and volley ball in the pool. Nice area though to sunbathe in. Jacuzzi wasn't that bubbly, but was a lovely quiet area to relax in (just behind the gym). The pool does have a few tiny mosaic tiles missing on the bottom. There is a waterfall feature to another small, shallow pool (which tends to be lovely and quiet.). There is a children’s area which is separated by bars. They are replacing some of the white trimmings round the pool at the moment. They are keeping on top with renovations etc, so nothing to worry about. The snooker table, chess board and table tennis are by the pool, along with the club house (where you can change your towels between 9-12 and book for a la carte restaurants.).

BEACH: ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!! There are 2 beaches - the main beach, which has all the activities and the beach bar on, then there is a 2nd secluded beach, which is a lot quieter. Each has a lovely breeze too.
Main beach is directly down from the hotel. This can get quite busy, so be prepared to reserve your bed if you want a brolly (or walk further up the beach). Lots of activities, such as volley ball, football, pedaloes, snorkelling, wind surfing, hobbie ?cats (some type of boat), etc etc which is all inc. Kids club is nearby in a hut from here. Beach bar is good for drinks close by, and a man goes along with coconuts to drink out of. Sea weed is cleared up by a tractor. From here you can pay for activities such as scuba diving (courses available – I have prices if interested), snorkelling from boat (11 pesos), glass bottom boat snorkelling (very good) (20), banana boat, water skiing, plane ride (50 for 2), parascending (amazing photo opportunity – my bf said it was unmissable – 40), even jumping out of planes – free falling, learn to surf in the air etc etc!!!
2ND beach - where we spent so much more time! Its heaven! Plenty of sunbeds, canopies providing shade, ankle deep sea for at least 80m with fish swimming round your feet, no seaweed (apart from after a storm), much more sheltered so sea is very calm, pretty much deserted (apart from sat and sun when the locals do use it!). Just see the picture! There is a stream running down into the sea with fish in - we snorkelled there a few times. It’s not very far to beach bar either - just cross over in the sea to the "mini" beach, and from there is a pathway to the beach bar. To get there - head towards block one - and there is a gateway (towards the back of the jacuzzi area) - go through here - then there is a wooden bridge - just cross over there! It’s actually the closest beach to block 1 of the hotel.

REPS: Thomas Cook reps were Ruth (english) and Nerdys (cuban). I must say they were absolutely FANTASTIC! I cannot give them enough praise. I was ill with this stomach bug, and didn't want to see the dr, due to being on morphine (illegal in Cuba). Nerdys explained everything to the dr for me, came to see me in my room, even gave us her personal telephone no. to contact her if we needed her. Ruth was fantastic too! Helped us out with some other stuff. I can't see how anyone can complain about them - we didn't get our room water one day - took us to customer services, organised water to be delivered, etc. I heard many other guests praising her to.

ENTERTAINMENT: There is plenty going on during the days if you want it - spanish lessons, salsa lessons, football, volleyball, etc etc. Mini golf is also available, one (dodgy) pool table, chess, table tennis, gym, activities on beach etc which I mentioned earlier (and lots more I cant remember!). Can do horse riding too for 10 pesos. Each evening a show is on- these are professional dancers who are amazing! Try to go to at least a few! There is a weekly magic show too. Children’s shows are in the amphitheatre each evening (between 8.30-9.30). I heard nothing but good reports about Jumbo and the mini/childrens club (I saw her with the kids on the beach one day and they all loved her and she was fantastic with all of them.) There is usually live music each night in one of the bars. Salsa evenings are on in the disco each tues and thurs. However, if you want to relax, it’s good too! Although, sometimes there is music on round the pool (which didn’t bother us at all!).

TRIPS
We did the glass bottom boat from off the beach which was amazing- so many fish. Take a banana with you to feed them!!! Definitely recommended. You can also snorkel with the dive centre for 11 pesos but it’s not a glass bottom boat and you don’t get to snorkel for as long.
My bf did the parascending which he thoroughly enjoyed – highly recommended. We got some amazing pictures from this (but sadly don’t have them on the computer to show you).
Diving – my bf did his PADI last year – the diving is fairly cheap and he saw some amazing fish – held an octopus, went to a ship wreck. They also do courses here.
Jungle tour – drive your own speed boat and go snorkelling! Amazing trip –definitely recommended, can buy picture at end for 10 (pesos). Get your snorkel as souvenir!
Dolphins! This is something I have always wanted to do and it was amazing! It was 159 pesos each (but is cheaper if you pay by card in US $). You fly on a fairly small plane (which was an experience but still really enjoyed it!) to Cienfugos – have lunch there (fish and chicken are good!). You then watch a sea lion and dolphin show (if you want to participate wear a cap hint hint!) which was very good. Then you swim with the dolphins for about 20 minutes – they kiss you, sing, you can put your head in their mouth, cuddle them, then they either push you up into the air on their noses and take you along, or you can hold on to their fins and take you along!! You can pay an extra 30 pesos to swim with them again (20 for kids). You then get taken to Cienfugos (where you can buy pics of you and the dolphins for 10 pesos) and get to look round the city briefly. When you see how these people live, you realise just how poor they are. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Oh and the coaches are air conditioned.

A few people have complained about the tour guides – ours were fantastic, but they are not anything to do with Thomas Cook We were going to do Colourful Cuba (good reports off other guests) and Sunset Cruise (which isn’t supposed to be great) but I was ill. VIP lounge at airport – definitely worth it. For 20 pesos each you get express check in (didn’t have to queue at all, whereas some people had to wait about 1 1/2hrs!), free drinks, comfy chairs, free sandwiches, guaranteed to sit together on plane, really good air conditioned room, and priority boarding. Oh, and much nicer loos!

OTHER THINGS: take plenty of mosquito repellent! Also take the plugs for the room and if possible, take enough to have it on day and night! They do fumigate the hotel, but still wear plenty of spray!

Fantastic hotel for families, couples, young and old. I can imagine more children being around in summer hols, so if you don’t like kids I suggest the Melia next door (which is better than the Sol apparently.) Children are very well catered for, and I would definitely recommend it for families. As a couple, we really enjoyed ourselves Pretty flat, a few stairs around, but it is suitable for disabled people. Take plenty of immodium and montilium (sickness tablets), just in case. Doctor is fantastic (I am a medical student and he was so thorough) – 20pessos if you go and see him (just by don diego restaurant) but 50 if he comes to room! Be careful with nurse and ear infections – DO NOT let her rinse the ear out!

Electricity – 220v – European style 2 pin plugs worked. American style didn’t! Hair dryers aren’t fantastic (but I managed!). Better exchange rate at hotel reception There is a market at the hotel from 10-3 with some fantastic items for presents in. The shops in the reception area are very reasonably priced (Actually cheaper than cienfugos!) The duty free shop at the airport for things like alcohol is cheaper. Do TIP! These people only earn 11pessos a month (about £6-7). I took some clothes I didn’t want any more and they were so grateful. This guy gave one of the waiters a watch and sunglasses set – never seen someone’s face light up so much! I gave a local child on the beach some goggles and snorkel – made her day as well as mine! Its 25 pesos each to leave the country!!

Take your own cups if you want larger glasses (or when you get one hang on to it!). They give you these small plastic glasses at the beach and pool bar.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Leslie 
Canada
July 2005
June 17 – July 1 2005 Solo traveler. 4th time to an all-inclusive.

Arrival
One of the last to get my suitcase due to the NJT donations. The 5 officials were pleasant. Didn’t get a chance to change my money but there was no problem changing at the hotel 24 hours a day.

Check-in was painless. The front desk directed me to my room and advised the bell boy would follow with my bags. The rooms are not villas therefore very easy to find. Bags arrived 4 minutes later. I thought the air conditioner did not work as it did not make any noise. The bell boy assured me it worked and that the highest number is the coldest. A few hours later I realized he was not lying.

Room
1314 – on the 3rd floor but did not seem like it. A fast few stairs. 2 double beds, pushed together TV with a few English language stations and of course many great Spanish channels, mini fridge with a large bottle of water daily, not much drawer space but ample space to hang clothes, blow dryer, and a nice vanity separate from bath and toilet room. My AC was efficient and quiet. Balcony with 2 lounge chairs and table. The safe opens with your room key at no charge. Your key is required for the electricity & AC . Although I turned the AC off most days I did use my monthly bus pass to keep electricity on. You can even use a playing card.

Lobby
Quite spacious with very comfortable chairs. 24 hour lobby bar. Small pond and aquarium with gold-fish. Cigar & rum store next to a souvenirs shop with a small selection of t-shirts, flip flops, diapers and snacks such as candy, soft drinks, crackers & the occasion chips ( tourists fought over the chips know as crispers)

Internet
5 pesos for 1 hour. 3 pesos for ½ hour.

Pool
Nice with chairs and papalas. Never swam in it but I did see people cleaning and checking it in the morning. Pool side grill with hamburgers and the most amazing pizzas. I did see people eating spaghetti and hot dogs but the pizza was so amazing never really tried the others. Cheese burger & fries were tasty also.

Buffet
Breakfast opened at 7:30. Eggs: Poached , scrambled, 3 minute boiled, freshly made omelets, freshly fried, sunny-up or over easy. Many types of sausages (although I never eat them abroad.) bacon, beans, fried potatoes, cheese & fish. Toast & breads, fruits & cereals, pancakes & French toast , coffee & juice.

Lunch opened at 1:00. Various selections such as salads, cold cuts & cheeses, soups, pizzas, pasta bar , grilled fish, chicken, steaks etc…. various rice selections , veggies .. too much to name.

Dinner opened at 6:30 Salads, breads, cold cuts & cheeses, Smoked salmon to die for, freshly grilled meats such as lamb , chicken , pork chops , steaks, various seafoods. Carving table had ham , roasted pork, and turkey. Buffet table had many choices of veggies and addition meats such as chicken & roast beef that was not tough. A couple of times there was a seafood cocktail table with crab & crab claws, mussels and seafood rolls, cold pasta salad & seafood mixes.

2 a-la- carte restaurants. Cuban at the beach and International. Never bothered to try. You can go unlimited times. Make reservations where you get your clean towels.

Food – very good. I was never disappointed the 2 weeks I was there.

Beach
Amazing! My first morning I saw 3 dolphins . It was amazing how close to shore they were.

In my opinion is the nicest beach in Cayo Coco & the parts of Guillermo I saw. ( Sol , Melia & the Iberostar Daiquiri) The SCCC beach had a slight slope once you reach water level not allowing the tide to come in as with some of the other hotels. During my visit to Guillermo the tide was coming in although it looked beautiful I found it limited beach space and the water was quite shallow causing you to walk quite a ways to find water you can swim in or do water aerobics which is what I truly enjoy.

In Cayo Coco I think El Senador’s beach is great also. Once the tide is in there is still plenty of space as they do have 2 different beaches. When the tide was not in it was absolutely spectacular although water gets very shallow also.

An abundance of fish can be found. Great area for snorkeling .

Activities & Excursions
There are many activities mainly at the pool side. There are activities on the beach for a short period in the afternoon. Great kids club also. I have submitted activities schedule for the SCCC & the Melia next door ( which I stayed 1 extra evening due to flight cancellation)

You can visit the Sol Guillermo and the Tryp for the day by going to the front desk and getting a wrist band. There is a shuttle bus which cost only 5 pesos round trip. You can walk along the beach to the Tryp . It takes roughly 15 minutes.

Tryp Cayo Coco
Must see the flamingos & peacock’s on the premises. I did not eat there as I was only there for the scenery on my last day. Very large hotel compared to the Sol CC. The gardens are nice and many restaurants to choose. El Senador to the east and the Blau to the west all sharing the same beach.

Sol Guillermo
The last stop of the shuttle. The lobby is spectacular with murals on the walls & ceilings. The lobby restrooms have a live size mural of a woman & man at the entrance. I was not impressed with the gardens – that could be coming from the Sol CC which had wonderful gardens. The beach is long & narrow. From here you can walk along the beach to the Melia Guillermo & Iberostar Daiquiri . The Club Cojimar is next to the Daiquiri but did not make it that far to see their beach.

Playa Pilar
A must !! The beach takes your breath away. Perfect spot for lovers ( not in the hotel beaches please.) I combined Playa Pilar with my day excursion to the Sol Guillermo.
From the Sol Guillermo you can take a taxi for 5 pesos round trip. You arrange the time for pick-up and he will be there. The lounge chairs are 1 peso and you can find a few huts for a bit of shade. There are fish for snorkeling and a bar with drinks & food (only had a cervesa)

Trolley Train
Adult 12 pesos Child 8 pesos

Train picks you up at the hotel and takes you to a bat cave which is a disco at night. You then visit a farm where you watch a dog show and are able to take pictures on Pepi the water buffalo. Then on to Playa Flaminco (no flamingos ) A few rocks the first few feet but once you get past the rocks it is quite nice & shallow . Bring your mosquito spray. Well worth the money. The train ride is also pleasant.

Combo Tour (Ciego de Avila & Moron)
Adult 72 pesos ($105 CND on credit card ) Child 36 pesos

I really enjoyed this excursion. Start with a boat ride through mangroves. Then on to Moron where you view the city by bus , Bicitaxi (2 seats in the back of bike driven by local) & horse-drawn cart. Visit the cigar factory. Ride in an antique steam engine train traveling through the fresh greenery of Cuban sugar cane fields along with a trip to a sugar mill. There was free time to walk around the city.
The lunch – followed by a trip to the capital city of the province Ciego de Avila.

Jungle Tour
Adult 39 pesos ($55 CND on credit card) Child 19.50 pesos

Great fun! Drive a speed boat through a mangrove. Snorkeling included. Water was not that clear as the ocean but plenty of beautiful fish.

Havana 179 pesos ($245 CDN on credit)
Fabulous! I decided to do this 4 days before departure & I am so glad I did. There is just too much to describe. I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to Havana. I will return. I think the 1st timers should all start out with a tour. My tour guide was very informative.

Glass Bottom Boat 20 pesos
I did this twice. Some of the tour companies do not offer this. They try to tell you the boat is always not working – not true. The whole 2 weeks I was there it worked every day except for the red flag day. If you enjoy snorkeling this is a must. If you’ve never been snorkeling and really want to try this is a must. If the captain is Rafael, he will notice you are not a snorkler and take you around and make you feel comfortable. I was just a bit nervous to do that first leap into the water . He took me all around the boat and dove to the bottom to point out some of the beautiful coral. The fish were amazing. He even got me to go underwater near the end which I refused to try. Do not miss this opportunity to see spectacular fish & coral reef. I guarantee you will not regret it.

Shows every night rain or shine. Disco on site. Quite popular with other hotel guests.

Activities also at night such as karaoke, bingo & live bands. Plenty of day & night activities.

Summary
Weather -I am not a weather lover but found this was not a problem. The day weather was fine if you’re a swimmer. The days I did a tour with no water exposure you were happy to go into air-conditioning.

Only 1 day out of the 2 weeks was there a red flag due to wind.

It rained almost every night for at least 15 minutes. Some evenings it rained quite hard with thunderstorms & spectacular lightning storms but once you woke up in the morning you would never know. It may have rained in the daytime 2 times out of my 2 week stay but for a short time.

I would definitely return in June. This is a great summer vacation as I do not have acess to any water sports in Toronto as enjoyable as in Cuba

I was very happy with my choice of hotel. I would most definitely return to this hotel and certainly will in the future. The food was great , the staff were wonderful, the beach was awesome and the hotel very well kept.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Ellen 
Toronto, Canada
June 2005
We stayed at Sol Cayo Coco for 2 weeks from May 13-27. We really enjoyed this hotel. We were looking for a relaxing beach vacation and that’s exactly what we got. It is small enough that the staff soon recognizes you and you have no trouble meeting other guests. You don't get lost in the crowd.

ROOM: We were fortunate in getting a top floor room looking toward the ocean and overlooking the mini golf. A bit of a hike to the lobby, etc. and there is no elevator. The room numbers starting with a 2 are in the renovated building. Definitely quite nice – bright and airy with 2 double beds, pushed together if you like, TV with a few English language stations, mini fridge with a large bottle of water daily, iron and ironing board, not much drawer space but ample space to hang clothes, blow dryer, and a nice vanity separate from bath and toilet room. Our AC was efficient and quiet. The maid kept our room very clean and was friendly and helpful.

RESTAURANTS : Most important to us was that there is an outdoor eating area in the buffet restaurant. We were always able to find a free table there. The food is fine, nothing great but Cuba is not known for its cuisine so we weren’t expecting any thing more. Always something on the carvery (the ham and the turkey were very good). There was tasty smoked salmon and proscuitto every evening on the appetizer table and a couple of evenings, crabs legs, shrimp, etc. The pasta station was good as were the crepes with fruit and rum made to order.

We were disappointed in the 2 a la carte restaurants.. We usually prefer a la carte to buffet but not at this hotel. Food was not particularly good and the Cuban (which is the beach restaurant at lunch) appears rather grubby and weathered. The service at both was good.

You can have lunch at the buffet (quite good), although we only went a couple of times, at the pool bar which serves good hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, pizzas and sometimes pasta or at the beach restaurant which we did not care for. The pool bar is very nice, with excellent service (as so many others have stated in reviews). It’s a short walk up from the beach and you can eat in your bathing suit. Enjoyed this area so much.

The pool is not large but quite nice with a quieter area and a shallow children’s area. Lots of kids in the pool.

BEACH: Lovely beach and since this is why we picked this area and this hotel, we were very happy. Lots of beach chairs. Not that many palapas but there is quite a lot of shade from the trees. We spent most of our time at the main beach because it is closer to the bars and restaurants, but there is another area which is also lovely with very shallow water and you can walk out quite far. It tended to get windy at the beach by the afternoon.

TOURS AND OTHER HOTELS: The only tour we tried was the snorkelling tour. You are taken by boat out to the reef which is about a half mile out from the beach and you can snorkel for about an hour or so. It costs 20 CUC. If you take bananas or bread, you are quickly surrounded by schools of fish. Quite good.

You can use 2 other hotels from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. which makes a nice change. We walked down to the Tryp Cayo Coco. It’s about a 20 minute walk along the beach. The pool is nicer than the one at Sol Cayo Coco and the beach is good. However, we ate at their beach restaurant which is kind of run down and the food was terrible. The second time, we ate at the buffet which was okay but they don’t have an outdoor table area. We liked Sol Cayo Coco much better.

We also took the shuttle bus (5 CUC return per person – 45 minutes one way) 3 times to Sol Cayo Guillermo. Really liked this hotel. The beach at low tide is absolutely gorgeous – water several shades of blue, with sandbars way out into the water. At high tide you can swim, but at low tide you just keep walking and are only at knee level which is both good and bad. Their beach restaurant was open, airy and the food was pretty good. They have delicious Cuban sandwiches which are made fresh for you at the pool bar. Didn’t try their buffet, but were told that there is not an outdoor eating area other than a few tables at the entrance. Not nearly as many kids as at Sol Cayo Coco, so it is a lot quieter.

TIPPING: We found the service was very good even before we tipped. We gave money to the maid, wait staff, bartenders, etc. and T-shirts, toiletries, small gifts for children, bubblegum, etc. to all of them plus gardeners, towel personnel, and animacion staff.

All in all, enjoyed our vacation and would recommend both Sol hotels. We will return to Sol Cayo Coco and enjoy Sol Cayo Guillermo on day trips.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Canada 

June 2005
Just returned from a week long honeymoon/vacation at the Sol Cayo Coco in Cayo Coco, Cuba May 20-27. Here are my thoughts:

Currency
We changed 500 CDN into Cuban convertible pesos at the airport and it was just enough. We spent money on 2 day trips, rum, cigars, 2 souvenirs, and tipped what we thought we needed to. If we hadnt gone on the day trips we would have needed less money. You could probably survive on 100 CDN if you don’t go on any day trips and just buy minimal souvenirs and tip modestly. More on tipping later. NOTE if you go into the towns don’t be duped - the convertible pesos you have are equivalent to 1 USD and are NOT the same pesos they use in the towns. Ask somebody there to explain it to you (preferably your tour operator) or you may end up paying 25 times more for something than you are meant to!!

Check-in
Check in was fine. No big delays or anything. Only complaint was we arrived in the dead of the night (almost 12) and were very, very hungry. 24 hour snack bar had only very burnt, very hard food.

Orientation
Orientation was great (by Sunquest who booked us) but my advice is to not think that these are the only things you can do - ie myself and my husband, being first-time resort travellers, relied on this orientation to tell us what we could do during our stay. We found that the orientation only mentioned the things you could do (ie to spend more money) with Sunquest. It told us nothing about the vast services included in our all-inclusive stay at the resort. But it was still good. But still, ask the desk staff what things there are to do on the resort.

Food
Food was okay. Potato fritters in the morning were the best in addition to some good old eggs and bacon - they also had an omellette bar and stuff. Lunchtime the poolside grill was good (basically, hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and pizza) for a snack. Lunch buffet usually included paella, pasta bar, grill with chicken, beef and seafood, salads etc. I pretty stuck to the pasta and salads. Dinner was more of the same. They also had pizzas. Food wasn’t the best but we were not there for the food! Ice creams were tasty. A la carte was okay - not great but okay. You will get sick of the food by the end of your stay - my advice is to take advantage of the Tryp (resort, also owned by Sol, which you can attend for free until suppertime) down the road for a change, or for a bigger change, pay 5 pesos and go to the Sol Cayo Guillermo where I found the buffet to be better, and the whole resort to be much nicer and quieter. Overall food was okay but I was missing my own food well before the end of the week.

Room
Room was fine although the first few nites the A/C didn’t appear to be working properly. We were supposed to be getting a bottle of water in the fridge each day but didn’t get it half the time and had to call down for it. Bathroom, shower was perfect. Towels were fine - I had read somewhere to bring own towels and I did, but didn’t end up using them at all as the room's towels were clean and more than I needed. Also the club provides a beach towel daily which we used to lie down on and whatnot at the pool/beach. Room has a safe that opens with your room key. Also the lights only work when your room key is plugged into the light thing which I found odd but also was good I guess in terms of saving energy when you are not in the room. TV had all the Cuban government-controlled channels, plus ESPN, CNN, CTV and CBC (but CTV is on sattelite and it went out while we were there).

Weather
We heard May was the rainy season but while we were there we only got rain twice - at nite when we arrived and the nite we left. All the rest of the time it never dipped below 30! It was beautiful hot and sunny every day. May is a great time to go!

Beach
The beach was awesome - clear and clean and lots and lots of fish! If you enter the beach from the other entrance (right side) you can get free snorkel gear from the hotel and go snorkeling and see all the great fish underwater. The fish swim right around you - some people even fed them bananas right from their hands! The beach was gorgeous. However - Canadians just be ready to see a lot more bare breasts than you would expect. There are a lot of great European people who visit the resorts and they are a lot freer with their bodies than us North Americans are!

Pool
The pool area was gorgeous. There were 2 areas for kids and one big deep pool. For most of the week there were more pool chairs than there were people but weekends get crazy as during that time there are the most amounts of people there (since groups arrive on Thursdays, fridays, saturdays and sundays). Didn’t hang around the pool all day as the little kids tend to hang out there most, and can get the way kids get. Waiter from the poolside bar/grill was GREAT (Shout outs to Luis!) and would come around and ask you if you wanted anything. If you go there and see Luis, tip him well at least once.

Entertainment on the resort
There was an Activities team who were very friendly and worked very hard on their nightly shows, which reflected their hard work. We only watched two of the shows because a) the shows were just a bit cheesy and b) in evenings ravenous blood-sucking mosquitos would come out and bite the hell out of me if I even ventured out once the sun set. But yes, the shows were cheesy. The first was a Walt Disney show that the kids would really enjoy. The second was a "Romance Night" which was just… well… odd. We had a group of rowdy Brits behind us who loudly and drunkenly voiced many of our reactions that we shared. See when we pictured romance we thought of well… romance. This show had very abstract and some downright weird things going on (a bizarre snake-woman playing with an apple, and couples mimicking sexual moves in silhouette, including a three-way). It was entertaining, no doubt about that. I heard that the comedy nite was very good and that the quiz show was also good. I say: cover yourself in bug repellant and check out the shows.

There was also nightly discos which we never went to for reasons I don’t know and which I somewhat regret. I heard its mostly locals and that on the Cuban nites they dance up a storm. I think it would be lots of fun for singles who can and who enjoy dancing.

During the day the Activities team did lots of fun stuff - aside from aquafit and aerobics they did little competitions and contests and stuff which was fun. They were very nice people, never bothersome, just doing their jobs and having a great time doing it.

There were signs indicating hair braiding and massage on the resort, but every time we went there the place was closed.

Day trips
We went on two day trips through Sunquest:
Half-day "Snorkeling Seafari" - for about 50 Cuban pesos each we were taken by A/C bus to Cayo Guillermo, then 30 mins on Catamaran to the reef where we snorkeled for a few hours. It was GREAT! Open bar but best of all lots of fish. Bring an underwater camera. This was a great trip! Snorkeling gear provided but you can bring your own if you want.

Full-day Trip into Towns Moron and Ciego de Avila - trip to the two closest towns for about 75 pesos each. After we booked this, a fellow guest told us that for 55 pesos a cab could take her and 3 others into the town of Moron and if we wanted to join (we didn’t because we had already booked). We thought we were chumps - but she came back telling us we were good for not having joined her. There was no "market" in Moron and the "market" the cabbie took them to was just a bunch of houses where locals surrepticiously sold souvenirs out of their living rooms. So we went on our day trip. It was tiring and hot, a very long day. It was good tours of the towns but there are no markets where you can buy goods and barter and whatnot - just a few places here or there. Lunch was included at an authentic Cuban place but it was really hot, lots of flies buzzing all over the food and walking all over it and the majority of us just couldn’t get comfortable enough to eat, what with slapping mosquitos from our bodies to waving flies off our food. The people were very, very friendly however. One thing I didn’t get used to was signs asking us to "don’t forget to tip" this person or that person. I felt kind of bad but at many places the person who had the sign (or for example at the restaurant the chef stood by the exit with a "tip" basket in his hands) got nothing from anyone. But it did seem odd - as though tipping was expected no matter what. We didn’t tip everyone, only where we felt we needed to. More on tipping later.

Other guests
This club was pretty okay most of the time - quiet-ish with a fair amount of kids, young couples and older couples. Not a whole tonne of singles (which was good) but def more kids than we wanted. This would be a great club to go to if you have kids. When we went to Sol Guillermo it was much quieter (no kids at all) and we preferred that.

Bugs
The place gets sprayed pretty much every nite, but the bugs are hardy suckers. The first nite I wore a tanktop and skirt and got the hell bitten out of me. The second show we ventured too I looked odd but wore full pants and a full-sleeved shirt, and only got some bites on my ears. Let it be known that I was stupid and didn’t bring bug repellant. You should bring some bug repellant but be prepared for the fact that some bugs will just burrow into the crevices of your body and just have a buffet on you. Mainly at night after the sunsets but all day around the lagoons. There is a mini-golf area surrounded by a lagoon and I got the hell bitten out of me there.

Tipping
Although the brochure says tipping is appreciated but not expected, it is kind of expected, especially once you are off the resort. My advice is to not pressure yourself on tipping everyone - just truly tip where you feel it is deserved. Appreciate the poolside grill waiter serving you with a smile in the heat? Tip him a few times. Appreciate how the pasta chef makes you great pasta with a smile, while sweltering between the grill in front of him and the oven behind him? Tip him. See a man standing there with a basket marked "TIPS" whose face you don’t recall having served you, and feel a bit weird for being confronted with this? Don't tip. Etc etc. One thing they will appreciate however is giving them stuff. I brought a bunch of old bras and my husband brought some old (still in great condition) shirts, as well as razors, toiletries and candies. On our second last day my husband asked the waiter if he wanted some shirts - that if he wanted them, he had some to give away, but if he didn’t want them,it was okay. In lieu of a daily tip, the waiter got 5 shirts, 2 razors and a bag of candy. He was happy. We also gave our maid my bras and some toiletries. We wanted to spread the stuff out more but didn’t get into enough conversations with the staff to do so, but we saw one mother give the children's activities team member a bag of clothes which she greatly appreciated. Cuba is a very poor country but the people are very nice and have a lot of pride in themselves and their country and the resort staff do honest day's work - ask them if they need something that you have and give it to them if they do, they would really appreciate it.

OVERALL
I don’t think I would go back to the Sol Club but only because I want to see other places. I would recommend this place to couples with small children or anyone really, and May is a good time to go. Hope this review helps.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Manchester 

April 2005
Just returned from a two week holiday at the Sol Cayo Coco. At first i thought how was my 15 17 and 18 year old going to enjoy their holiday because I knew I would and my husband at first glance after the long journey with Thomas Cook airlines from Manchester. We had a lovely welcome when we arived and suitcases were delivered to our rooms we had to book two rooms because of us being a family of five and yes they were next to each other with three double beds for my boys. My boys made friends with the entertainment staff from the start and enjoyed their stay very much and made friends with the Cubans which was very polite and friendly, They tought our kids how to dance salsa every night in the disco which they enjoyed. Because our kids had such a good time being involved in all the activities, made us have a fantastic time without them moaning in our ears saying they were board. The staff and the food and entertainment team was out of this world, loved them all. They looked after us so much and are now good friends. So much so that we have already booked for August next year because my two youngest will have finished important exams in school by then. All in all a fantastic holiday that we will never forget and made lots of friends. The holidaymakers there same time as us was a lovely bunch of people that was always friendly and there to have a good time like us. Im glad I changed from the Dom Rep last minute. My youngest son had his birthday out there, they made lovely cake and champaigne and gave him a gift and a letter saying happy birthday. Cant wait to go back from the people from north wales. Hasta lavista. X
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Debra 

March 2005
We were lucky enough to spend two weeks (february 14 to the 28th) at the Sol Cayo Coco, along with 50 other people in the group for my nieces wedding. We had the best time! The hotel staff couldnt do enough for us. The room was clean and bright, nothing fancy, but heh, you dont spend that much time in the room anyway. The dining room was big enough so there was never any wait for a table and as far as the food goes, there was always something for everyones taste. It was a little windy for a few of the days so we spent those days at the pool. Always enough chairs and shade. the days we were on the beach, there were always enough chairs and shade there too. the beach is beautiful and the ocean was cool enough to give a bit of relief from the afternoon bake for a tan! Snorkelling out by the rock outcropping was really interesting, lots of fish to see. some of the group did the parasailing from the beach and one brave soul even did the zodiak boat hang glider.

we did the the tour of Moron and Ciega de Avila on a day trip. Very busy tour but you really got to see alot. The snorkelling tour to Playa Pilar was great and not too expensive, with a nice meal on the island.

Anyone thinking of getting married at this resort...its a very good choice! They gave us the dining room down by the ocean for the reception dinner, with three waiters, two barmen and a band. A perfect evening with not one glitch. Dinner, lots of wine and drinks, wedding cake and champagne.

We would go back to this resort in a second. Just one comment to other parents, this is a family resort and the kids do have a ball. We are older so our kids are grown. I love to see the kids having fun, dont think I would want to be at a resort with no kids but keep an eye on your kids, some of the kids were running amuck, causing a few problems for the staff, who have enough on their hands just looking after the guests wants and needs.

Definitly a four star property!
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Terry & Lynn aged 40 
England
March 2005
Hotel -
4 * Sol Club Cayo coco - cayo coco - in Cuba

Flight -
Thomas Cook

Airport -
can take plenty of time up to 2 hours to check in with the Cuban customs being so thorough, once through the coach trip takes about 15 minutes to the hotel.

Money -
varies from 1.7 to 1.8 Cuban convertible pesos to the pound so £10 will get you 17 or 18 Cuban pesos. Cuban people have another currency in which they change 1 Cuban convertible peso into 27 Cuban pesos. The money you get changed at your hotel reception and get used to quite easily.

Weather
cover up with plenty of sunscreen for the first couple of days cos with the wind it is very deceptive, there was about 6 of us who had burnt badly on this holiday which is very rare for me to do cos I do generally take care by putting plenty of sunscreen on

Hotel
received a welcome drink when we arrived and not long to get your room keys. Room quite spacious with massive beds, fridge which is topped up with 1 ltr bottled water daily, air con and clean w.c and bathroom. Had a few problems with hot water at shower time but nothing major with weather being so hot. Television with about 5 English speaking channels showing some up to date movies and world news. Some live English football shown at 8 am Sundays and another day through the week, just ask the staff who will tell you. Cleaned daily.

Food -
buffet had plenty of choice to chose from but I found it to be very un-organised. eg. at breakfast if you wanted egg on toast with a cup of coffee you would have to queue for your eggs then go and queue for your toast and then at the coffee machine, then it may be a while before you get your cutlery to eat if the staff were too busy. Also after a week the food was repeated but generally the food was very good.

Restaurants
there were 3 restaurants where you had to book and once you went in there the service was brilliant, please note you had to pay extra for the lobster ( £10) in these restaurants but they had menus where you did not need lobster- the posh restaurant where they play classical music on the piano is excellent service but not really my scene, the beach restaurant is where you get serenaded by 4 musicians which is quite embarrassing for us English but on holiday you don`t care, after 2 songs give them about 3 pesos £1.60p and they will be made up and go and serenade someone else. Another beach restaurant which you would not notice was there is also very good- one couple had to wake the Cuban cook when it was empty one night- he just got up and cooked them a lovely meal on there own.

Pool bar
you can get chips, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizzas & all the drinks at will any time from 10 am to 11 pm which was brilliant . The service at the pool bar was brilliant once you have sorted them with tips.

Pool
plenty of sun lounges spread all over the pool area and excellent pool for both adults and children although I must point out a child who we got to know got a bad ear infection so be prepared. The Jacuzzi was broke.

Beach
Plenty of sun lounges which were given to you by an attendant and wiped down for a peso or 2. there were 2 sides of the beach split by a large rock what went out to the sea. The beach on the left side was absolutely beautiful and sheltered from the wind which made it too hot, but you could walk out into the clear blue water about 200 yards. Also on the left side the staff very rarely worked there to bring you drinks. On the right side it was much more windy but the 2 beach bars and staff were always around mostly to get drinks.

You could do sky diving, paragliding, snorkelling on the boat up to the coral reef for a few hours for about £11.There was also a flying dinghy what took up to the skies from the sea which was brilliant and showed you most of the island coast, also £11 & Banana boats. Snorkels with flippers, pedalos and canoes were free.

Nightlife
There were outside nightly shows from 9.30 pm mostly cabaret style which lasted up to 2 hours with a small bar for drinks while watching, same shows repeated weekly. After the show it was a disco which was allright but after these two there was nothing else accept 24 hour lobby bar with free drinks all night if you wished. The pool bar stayed open daily up to 11 pm every day.

Daytime entertainment
was mostly salsa dancing at the pool bar we seen but we did not have any children to comment really. I noticed there was a Gym with sauna and massage. A table tennis table, chess board. The pool table had no balls so could not be played.

Trips
best thing about this holiday is the trips they have. Jungle tour approx £12 each is a must where you will find hardly no complaints from everyone who went on it, your own speed boat for 2 and a snorkelling adventure, only 4 hours and your back in your hotel to sunbathe or relax so well organised. The dolphin trip was either a coach trip overnight or a 40 minute flight daytrip for £80 each. You fly to Cienfuegos, coach it to the dolphins, see a dolphin show, swim with the dolphins where they actually lift you from the water by the soles of your feet, get a 5 course meal and then go in the city Cienfuegos on your own which is full of beautiful buildings and shops and bars. You get back on your bus after about an hour and taken back to the airport and fly another 40 minutes back, brilliant and so well organised. Havana overnight had mixed reviews of brilliant to rubbish but generally they were glad they had gone in the end.The catamaran boat trip was good with the right crowd which included a lobster dinner in the price of about £50 each also well organised. Colourful Cuba sounded good by some of the guests which involved a visit to the local town of Moron where all the hotel staff are from.

l.luby@blueyonder.co.uk We found out by tipping them on the first order of drinks about 3 pesos they would look after you all day. Wait a week or ten days to pick out your favourite staff because the Cuban people are really poor and even though they may make plenty of tips they still can not get the basics they need to live on for it is too expensive.

The staff at the hotel appreciate all your old shirts and tee shirts. Crayons pens, pencils and paper is appreciated. We found most of the male staff got more clothes but there wives and daughters seemed to get left out so if ladies have spare clothes they would love you. If I was to go back which one day I will I would have loved to taken my playstation 1 which is in the loft and given it to Argelio in the gym and sauna for baby Alexandro. He told me it would be like winning the lottery to him and his family. Portable DVDs are allowed in the country along with playstation 1`s. playstation 2`s are not allowed or normal DVD players, I don`t know why.

Summary
The sol club cayo coco is a beautiful place which is more relaxed orientated. The trips are all well organised and well worth the money. The night times are a bit too quiet for my liking. The buffet restaurant was un-organised and confusing but the food was plentiful. You can use all the other hotels which are only five minutes walk away to 2 of them or a short 5 minute bus ride away. Be prepared with the culture change of food, take tablets for tummy bugs and ear drops for kids.

In general there was about ten couples on our flight who were booking immediately again for later on this year or early next year so that may speak for itself.

If any body is going to sol club cayo coco shortly please do not hesitate to ask any questions to l.luby@blueyonder.co.uk
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Linda 
Canada
March 2005
We just returned yesterday from Sol Club Cayo Coco, Jardines del Rey. The weather was fantastic!!!!

Flight: Skyservice from Toronto. On time, the service was okay. However, the seats and leg room was cramped. We didn't mind to much since the flight was only 3 hours.

Customs/Cuba: Very quick if your forms are filled out properly. Do be careful what you pack though, because we noticed a lot of people were being thoroughly checked.

Airport/Bus Ride: The airport is small. The bus ride is about 10-15mins.

Hotel Check-In: No more than 15 mins.

Hotel: Beautiful low rise building. Lots of flowers/sculptures. Lots of lounges chairs in the lobby. A small cuban bar. There is a larger bar with more drink selection, plus cappucino and expresso.

Buffet: We enjoyed the buffet. There was a selection of grilled fish, steaks, pork chops shrimps and calamari. Pizzas, pastas. Roast beef/pork/turkey and paellas. Different cheeses, smoked salmon and proscuito...all kind of breads. Dessert consisted of ice creams, fresh fruit, baked goodies and crepes flambé. These were enjoyed at lunch and dinner. There was a different type of roast each night. Hot plates with veggies, rice and fries etc. Wine was served throughout lunch and dinner. A la carte dining is available. Reservations required.

Pool: Kids pool. Another pool for older children and adults. There is a bar/grill in this area. Drinks, hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and pizzas. Lots and chairs and umbrellas and coconut trees. Just behind this pool there is a more quiet pool for adults. A gym, beauty salon and spa. The jacuzzi was not working.

Beach: Just beautiful. Soft white sand and warm blue waters. There is river at the end of the beach, but if you cross over, the beach there is pretty amazing. There is also a bridge from the resort to cross over....lots of chairs and shady areas.

Activities: The usual banana boats, paddle boats, kayaks etc.

NightLife/Shows: There is a disco, we enjoyed it. The shows are really worth seeing. The animation team is just fabulous, beautiful costumes and they work really hard to make your vacation enjoyable. They were always around the resort smiling and trying to help in anyway.

Summary: People need to remember that they are on vacation in a foreign country. So just chill and enjoy. These Caribbean destinations work very hard with very little salary to try and please us. So if people want the 5 star treatment at a 3 1/2 -4 star resort, then that is what they should book. I think the fussy people are the ones that don't travel often enough, so they will often be the ones that will complaint. No two resorts or destinations are the same. They each have their own charm. I will be more than happy to answer any questions
Linda.Chauvin@bbdo.ca
Sol Club Cayo Coco
Kelly 
Canada
March 2005
We visited this resort in 2002 when Cayo Coco was just beginning to come to life. The rooms were clean, the staff was pleasant, there were activities for the adults and the surrounding wilderness was beautiful to see and quite unique (our children and us had the pleasure of seeing baby jellyfish and other incredible things). The children’s programs consisted of plunking the kids in front of a Barney video, so we did not take advantage of these, but there were tons of kids at the resort to play with.

The food was good and the staff was very pleasant. All in all, it was a good trip.
Sol Club Cayo Coco
the Dickinson's 

January 2005
We have just arrived from Cuba on Jan 18.2005.

The resort was lovely with lots of lounges around the pool. The staff was very friendly and the resort was clean and relaxing. Please note: PORTABLE DVD PLAYER AND WALKIE TALKIES are NOT allowed into CUBA. My husband is a Paramedic and we bring a BP monitor and Stethoscope with us everywhere we go in case on an emergency or if one of the kids gets sick. The Cuban authorises at the airport gave us a REALLY hard time when entering and exiting the country because of these two items!!! Not sure why. These items will be confisquated at the airport by Cuban authorises. Do not bring these items with you when you go to CUBA. Our traveller agent had no knowledge of these restrictions and therefore we were not warned prior to booking our trip. We however happen to find out prior to leaving and confirming this with the CUBA embassy in Toronto before we left. When talking with the Sunquest Rep. at Sol Melia she confirmed that had we brought these items there would have been a fuss at the airport.

The resort is very relaxing and the food is wonderful. We had two girls aged 6 and 9, and my husband's parents with us. The have Pizza, Hamburgers and Hot Dogs every day so it is very easy to get food for the kids. The Buffet is small and limited but the food is excellent. The la a carte restaurant is fine, but the service is very slow, they only have two sittings 6:30 and 9:30 and the kids don't sit well for a 2-3 hour dinner.

The rooms are clean, but bring a room deodorizer with you for that musty smell. The weather is warm and very humid. My hair was 2 feet above my head for the first 2 days. Bring ear plugs with you as they do not believe in any type of insulation between the rooms. The TV is great LOTS of channel so you won't miss any TV shows. You even get CTV am before 9:00am so you can see what the weather is back in TORONTO.

We have a great time.