logo Old Reviews - Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
December 2008
Arrival: November 28th - December 5th
Once we arrived I left the luggage to my other half and went to check in. I was the first in line and every thing went quickly. Our room was ready so we were all set.

Some of the buildings are not being used at all as they still require repairs after the huricane. The 1st (4629) room we had was a 2nd floor corner as requested. However instead of a king bed, it had 2 doubles shoved together. We spoke to the front desk and were offered a room in the middle of the building with a king which we took (4627) It was clean, lots of room and the maid cleaned it well each day. Water and coffee were left each day. The air conditioner worked very well and only needed to be on low. Our fridge didn't work and after calling the front desk and then stopping by the front desk a few hours later, a new one was brought in. One thing I noticed was there was no CD player in the room and there was in the past. Maybe there were in other rooms, but as it didn't matter to us we didn't ask for one.

Restaurants and Bars:
We ate at the Italian, the Japanese and the Cuban. Our favorite was the Japanese where Luke was our chef. He puts on quite the show! And the food is amazing. Second would be the Italian. I had the beef and it melted in my mouth. the atmosphere is really nice, too. The Cuban was nice, but there were a lot of beer bugs flying around wheich was a bit of a pain. I had the beef which proved to be interesting. The parts that I could cut were very tasty. Problem was I couldn't cut a lot of it and they didn't have any steak knives! The buffet was smaller than it has been the last two times we were there, but there was still lots to chose from. There was always lots of fresh bread which we found out some hotels didn't have for 2 days.

It is so sad that you can now see all they way to the beach from the far side of the bridge where as before your view was blocked by trees. They have built some new palapas for shade. The snorkelling was good - a bit cloudier than in the past - but we still saw plenty of fish. We even saw one that we have never seen before. We think it may have been a scorpion fish but aren't sure. If I can figure out how to post a photo of it I will as I am sure some one on the forum will be able to tell me what is is. We are not pool people so I can't comment too much on it other than to say it looked very clean. The grounds are minus some trees but there is still plenty of greenary and it looks amazing all things considered.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We decided to try deep sea fishing this time. There were the two of us and to other gentlemen on the tour. We rode around on the boat for 3 and 1/2 hours and didn't have a bite. Not the tour guides fault but it made for a pretty boring trip. They didn't have any music playing so you just sat there and bobbed up and down. Which left me feeling a bit queezy. Next year I think we will try swimming with the dolphins - at least we know we will see them! We went to Guadalavaca and although we were told there were fewer vendors we actually felt like there were more.

Other Comments:
This was our third visit and we will probably go back again. The people are so nice and we know what to expect at the resort. They have a repeat guest dinner as well as an afternoon get together and both are nice. The guest dinner was held in the Italian restaurant and was excellent.

If you are going in the near future be sure to bring lots of bug spray. The sand fleas as others have said are bad right now. On our last two visits I can't remember getting one bite. On this visit we had many, many bites. If you have any questions please feel free to ask - I would be happy to try and help.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
August 2008
I have never written a review before but feel compelled to do so about this resort. My boyfriend and I went last October and are returning there this October - we are booked and can't wait! We can't say enough about this resort and haven't stopped talking about it since we went. We've travelled extensively in Cuba (Varadero, Cayo Coco, Cayo Santa Maria) and by far this is the best resort we've been to in Cuba.

The buffet food (by Cuban standards) is surprizingly good and the a'la carte restaurants are very good as well. In particular the Japanese which is not to be missed! It is a great way to meet others and we really had a fun time with the chef who encouraged most at the table to participate in one way or another (for example - with the cooking, with trying to catch a shrimp mid-air, etc.).

The rooms are basic but large. Ours was clean and well kept. The bed is a bit hard but who cares? After all the sun, drinks, food and relaxation we fell asleep quickly anyhow! No problems with water pressure, air conditioning, fridge restocks, TV or anything. We were in block 3200.

The absolute best thing about this resort is the beach and the snorkelling! Because of the cove location the water is calm and picture-perfect blue. Armed with a banana or bread you are sure to be swarmed by many colorful and beautiful fish who are always looking for a treat. You don't have to go very far out to see lots of marine life and, if you are a bit uncomfortable with snorkelling no worries … just stand in waist deep water over a rock, put your mask in the water and view away - I guarantee you'll see something!

Also not to be missed is the mini-tram ride into the nearest town, Guardalava (sp?) and a pre or post dinner drink at the beer corner where there is always a party goin' on!

I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone. Relax and enjoy the great service and kind, caring Cuban people. You won't be dissappointed!
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde

July 2008
STAY AWAY - DON'T GO. Although some people go back year after year. 2nd visit you are a VIP. 5th visit you get a free week. We will never that advantage of this offer. I read one review on another site after I wrote what follows and I was not impressed to find out about the USED condom in the pool - our rep found out it would have cost 44CUC per night for 10 nights to move to Playa Pesquero, we probably should have spent the money.


June 29 to July 13 ~ This was our 10th time to Cuba.

Number of people traveling : 3 ~ my wife, nine year daughter, and myself.

Arrival and Flight: Flew with Cubana – the flight was good. The landing typical Cubana, bumpy. Food on the flight was good. We watched a recent movie and enjoyed the flight. All in all nothing to complain about. EXCEPT: My wife's luggage did not arrive. Even though the three of us checked in our luggage together and the bags were a bright pink in colour they still managed to lose one of them. The bag stayed in Toronto for TWO FULL weeks!!!!

***Here is a Tip -- If you are traveling with others split your clothing between each other, that way if a suit case does goes missing you will at least have some clothing . It is also a good idea to pack a full change of clothing and a bathing suit in your carry on. ****

As I have said before Cubana lost our luggage on the Sunday and our Hola Sun rep found out the next day that it never left Toronto. We then went through a week of broken promises: - it was to arrive on the Wednesday via Sky Service, then on Friday via Air Transat, and then for sure on Monday morning a week after we left via Cubana. Finally we were told on the Thursday before we were to leave that they could deliver the bag the day before we were to return back to Canada. We told them to leave it in Toronto at this point because we would be arriving home within 24 hours of the bag arriving in Cuba and who could trust that it would even get there!! When we picked it up in Toronto on the way home we discovered that it had been broken into. A nice end to an already bad experience. We were also told by our rep and the Cubana reps at Holguin airport that we would be met in Toronto and be reimbursed for the clothing money we had to spend during our two week stay. Still waiting.

Rooms: We went through three rooms and settled on the 2nd room. Our room was not nice, or large, or overlooking the Jacuzzi (which we did not use).

Room "ONE" - after waiting at Holguin airport until 3 AM trying to find my WIFE's luggage, we arrived at the resort and were given room 2122, a corner room with large balcony -- but no working air conditioner. Technician came out and said "yep I need a part" which he did not have. Next day about noon, we went down to the front desk and tried to get moved. No rooms available until after 3. Even despite the fact that have the resort was half empty.

Room "TWO" -Room 2621 a small balcony -- first thing that went wrong was when my nine year old sat on the king bed which promptly fell down. She then turned on the TV to watch the Disney channel and the picture on the TV was as Red as the bag that was left in Toronto. The balcony door would only locked if you played with it it - took to 3 or 4 times to get it to work. The tech that came to look at it said that if you put the lock lever in the middle and then push the door in it would lock. It did , BUT at a 4 Star, come on.

Room "Three" - Back to the front desk and showed another room which had a working TV but like the first room no working Air Conditioner. The room also smelled of mildew. So back to room two.

Back To Room Two - They changed the TV and tried to fix the bed and the balcony door lock. The bed never did get fixed and so we had to put up with a bed that would fall down from time to time. We were lucky in that we weren't the people below us who had to have their door lock changed every second day. They were across from a room that was uninhabitable as the ceiling AC unit was full of mildew as it had quit and there were no parts for repairs. The maid was very diligent, I really enjoyed her walking in on me as a was getting out of the shower but after the fourth time it got old - this was after my nine year old had asked her to come back every time.

Make sure that you bring soap as you may not get any unless you push for it.

We asked to change hotels and we suggested Grand Playa Turquesa. The rep agreed and then told us that that hotel is on its 4th manager in the past 3 years and that most reps eat at our hotel because the food is better.

Restaurants: Much to our surprise, our favourite was the Japanese. It was the BEST!!!!! It is very entertaining and fun. You are allowed only three ala Carte’s per week. Book as soon as you can! The booking table is to your right at the reception desk. The next best is the Italian restaurant, nothing spectacular, but still very good. Both of these are Air Conditioned, they are the only ones. The Vegetarian restaurant, which we enjoyed, and the Cuban which we didn't try do not have A/C , nor does the Buffet.

The Buffet is open to the elements and to the birds which will help themselves to the buffet while you are trying to. In other words you share the buffet with the birds!! The staff will once in awhile try and make a half hearted effort to wave them off. The food even by Cuban resorts standards is not great. We have been to Cuba ten (10) times this was one of the worst. The buffet food was repetitive and the food from this morning is going to be your food for this afternoon,I understand the need not to waste but they might at least chop up the baby squid. For good food try "Tryp Cayo Coco or Melia Las Dunas.

Buffet had a pizza station, not great; a grilled meat station (chicken, beef, pork, etc), a pasta station, make sure its cooked. Bread was good. Ice cream runny. Usually at other resorts there are line ups for the buffets, not here.

The Snack bar was very good, sandwiches, salads, pizza, fries… all available 24 hours. BACON sandwiches yum. Spent many happy hours there during the night. There was an ice cream parlor that was close to the pool and across from the checkers or drafts and often had very soft ice cream.

Bars : We frequented the Lobby Bar and Swim Up bar for most of our two weeks. All of the bars were all right - the guys at the lobby bar deserve a shout out. We really enjoyed Cuban Libra and Spanish coffee. Drinks were usually pretty strong. In the lobby & disco your drinks came in glasses, but at the pool bar they were in small plastic cups, so definitely worth bringing your own insulated mug.

Beer garden closed at 11 pm far to early. The most fun was at the snack bar around 4 am when the disco ended. One night I witnessed a guy deck a young lady after she slapped him for spitting on her. When asked for security the staff turned away and only when I asked the bartender twice to get security did she call. Twenty minutes later someone did show up.

Cigar bar was great when the A/C worked, staff was friendly and drinks great.

Beach and Pools : The pool sucked. Many, many , many missing tiles. The pool is a health hazard on a number of levels.

1 The number of missing tiles is beyond belief and leaves sharp edges all over the place.A high number of guests were subjected to little nicks and cuts.

2 The algae round the walls of the pool would allow a killer whale to live for a couple of months,it was disgusting. Did not see anyone vacuuming it or cleaning the algae growing on the side and there was no, repeat no evidence of anyone cleaning it off. I usually went to bed about 4 am and the snack bar is right by the pool and I did not see anyone cleaning it. No one went around picking up cups or plates etc. The pool was shocked with chlorine only once while we were there.

We went to the beach twice, the pictures that you see of the beach are very misleading. BRING WATER SHOES!!!!!!! There is a sandy beach (the dry bit) but once you are in the water it is very rocky, with some of them being very sharp. To get to the sandy part of the beach (the part in the water) you have to make way to it via a path through these same sharp rocks. Once you get to sand in the water you soon discover that it becomes it becomes deep very fast. This is a great beach for snorkeling or diving but certainly not for children. The couple of times we went down, we didn’t have too much of a problem getting a lounger which is totally not the case at a popular beach like Caya Coco or Cayo Santa Maria. What was also strange was that every time you got up the beach staff, who usually sat around, tried to collect the chair., and also beware of the sand ants, especially under the trees.

For a good beach try Cayo Coco or Cayo Santa Maria. They are fantastic for young kids and families!!!!!!!!

Grounds : Grounds were pleasant enough and kept up.

Activities and Entertainment : The nightly entertainment was a good place to be in the evening, as a lot of guests were there; we enjoyed some of the shows. We also spent a lot of time in the lobby, which gets pretty busy at night. The Cigar bar and then after 11 pm the snack bar.

Other: Bring bug spray. We did but I still got quite a few bites. They weren’t constant, but the evening seemed to be when they came out. Just a little bothersome.

Departure and Check Out: Our flight left on time. Checkout was easy. The bus was on time and the hour to hour a half ride to the airport was interesting. I heard lots of people complaining that the line at the airport was too long, but what do you expect, a couple busses pulled up at the same time! Everything went pretty smoothly. One word of warning for the airport, if you go upstairs to the “lounge”, the sound system is not very good, but it is cooler. The lounge was a good place if you wanted to get away from the crowd, as no one else was up there. Also the water was off at the airport so the smell in the toilets was not pleasant.

We would never go back to this resort as Tryp Cayo Coco , Sol Club Cayo Coco, the Old El Senetor along with Melia Las Dunas in Santa Maria are far superior in EVERY WAY.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Katie & Rich 
New Brunswick, Canada
June 2008
My husband and I stayed at the Playa Costa Verde from April 12-19. We travelled with a group of about 20 people for a wedding.

As a side note – this was my second time to Cuba (last time stayed at the Barceló Solymar in Varadero); it was my husband’s first time to Cuba. We had also previously stayed at the Bahia Principe San Juan in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

Arrival and Flight: Flew with Air Canada Vacations – flight was turbulent, but good. Watched a few movies, got some food, nothing to complain about.

Rooms: Our room was nice, large, overlooking the Jacuzzi (which we did not use). Fridge was restocked everyday, whether we had used the items or not, which was nice, we always like having extra water. TV had many channels, some Chinese, some Spanish, many English, but we only had it on when we were going to sleep anyway. Shower worked well, room was always cleaned. Had some trouble with the safe, but eventually got the hang of it.

Restaurants: Much to our surprise, our favourite was the Japanese. My husband is the fussiest eater I know, so he was very skeptical about the Japanese restaurant, but we were there for a wedding, and this was the “night before meal”, which is why we went. Well the food was spectacular… There was chicken, beef, shrimp, and fish, so a little bit of something for everybody. It was very entertaining.

We also liked the Italian restaurant, nothing spectacular, but still very good.

Buffet was very good as well. Tons of options, anything from pizza station, to a grilled meat station (chicken, beef, pork, etc), to a pasta station. They had lots of options around the buffet as well that varied every night. A little something for every body. I particularly enjoyed breakfast… the omelets were delicious, and pastries were really good. Coffee was very strong, but we like it that way.

The snack bar was very good, sandwiches, salads, pizza, fries… all available 24 hours.

Bars : We frequented the Lobby Bar and Swim Up bar most of the week, although late in the week we also went to the Disco Bar. All of the bars were great. We really enjoyed Pina Coladas, “Crazy Canadians” and one person in our party liked going to the lobby bar for the “Pedro Surprise”… not sure what’s in that one. Drinks were usually pretty strong. In the lobby & disco your drinks came in glasses, but at the pool bar they were in small plastic cups, so definitely worth bringing your own insulated mug. FYI – if you go to the disco before the evening show is over, it’s the easiest place to get drinks as no one is in there.

The disco was pretty fun. After the evening entertainment was over, many people would head over, and some of the Animation team would come and get everyone dancing. The music was a mix of local music, and “hits” from the 80’s, 90’s and today. We didn’t dance much, but had a good time.

Beach and Pools : We didn’t spend a lot of time on the beach (I am a pool person). The couple of times we went down, we didn’t have too much of a problem getting a lounger, although I’m told that lunch time is the hardest time to get one. Sand was soft, water was warm, no complaints.

Pool was nice – not too noisy, just some announcements when they were trying to get activities going around lunchtime & in the afternoon. My husband played a very competitive game of water polo one day that was very amusing to watch.

The Poolside Bingo was pretty fun to watch some days as well.

Grounds : Grounds were very well kept, lots of greenery, no complaints

Activities and Entertainment : The nightly entertainment was a good place to be in the evening, as a lot of guests were there; we enjoyed some of the shows. We also spent a lot of time in the lobby, which gets pretty busy at night. And, as I mentioned before, the Disco was pretty fun.

Tours : We did the Holguin City tour, which we enjoyed very much. If you have ever been to Havana before, this is very different, but interesting. On the tour we got some pretty spectacular views of the city and countryside. I wasn’t asked for money very often (once or twice), and my husband got asked a little more (5 or 6 times), but if you firmly said no, they left you alone.

We also took a taxi in to Guardalavaca. Nice little market if you’re looking for jewelry or some kind of souvenir.

Wedding: The wedding was very nice. Calm, cool and relaxed. It was friends of ours getting married, and they said the wedding planner checked in with them regularly to make sure they had everything they needed. It was lovely.

Other: Bring bug spray. We didn’t, I got quite a few bites. They weren’t constant, but in the evening seemed to be when they came out. Just a little bothersome.

Departure and Check Out: Our flight didn’t leave until late, so we requested a late checkout, which was no problem. Checkout was easy.

I heard lots of people complaining that the line at the airport was too long, but what do you expect, a couple busses pulled up at the same time! Everything went pretty smoothly. One word of warning for the airport, if you go upstairs to the “lounge”, the sound system is not very good, and we did not hear the boarding announcement (they boarded early) and we nearly missed our flight. The lounge was a good place if you wanted to get away from the crowd, as no one else was up there but us, that is also why we didn’t notice our flight was boarding.

Conclusion: As previously mentioned, we had previously stayed in the Dominican Republic. We really enjoyed our resort there and had no complaints, however, we have to say our experience in Cuba was fabulous, and cannot wait to go back. My husband has said he won’t go back to the Dominican as he enjoyed Cuba too much.

I love Cuba (I had no reservations about coming back to Cuba a second time), and we cannot wait to come back again. We would go back to this resort tomorrow if we could. Our next trip to Cuba may not be to this resort (simply because we want to experience other areas, and would like to be closer to Havana), but would have no hesitation to recommend this resort to anyone. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. My email address is Katie_STU@hotmail.com
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
May 2008
Arrival and Flight - Flew SkyService, there was a mix up with our boarding passes and one of the members of our party of 9 ended up with Alison someone's boarding pass (his name was actually David). This made me feel like security was a little lax. The flight was as good as a flight can be (we dropped people off in Varedaro) and there was some huge issue about seat assignments when we carried on to Holguin. Airport was fine, bus ride was good also (don't forget to have some cash at the airport so you can buy beer for the hour long bus ride to the resort). Check in went well. With 9 of us in 4 rooms I thought it would take longer, but it was pretty fast. 5 of us had been to this resort before but there were only repeat customer wrist bands for 2 of the group (the rest of us easily got ours the next day along with our bottle of rum and welcome back package).

Rooms - Our rooms were all in the same building but there was a mix up with who needed what beds (my husband and I and 1 other couple had 2 double beds instead of one king and some of the single friends had 1 king). Last year we a perfect location for our rooms on the resort and they were awesome, this year the location was not as good and the rooms not as well maintained. 3 of our rooms were on the second floor, that was really nice, and my sister and I (with our husbands of course) were given adjoining rooms, this was also nice for us. Really, you spend so little time in the rooms, who really cares what they are like.

Restaurants - Good. A'la Carte: we had Italian, Japanese and Cuban this year. The Italian is OK (good tomato soup), the Japanese was super fun and the food was great, and the Cuban was also great. A call ahead from the sweet girl working at the Beer Corner and we were all seated at 1 table together (and the chef gave us extra lobster). The Buffet: I love the buffet! I'm a bit of a picky eater and I always found something good (pasta bar, dessert). I am also not a morning person and I got up early every day for fresh squeezed OJ and croissants. The snack bar by the pool was also very good (late night hot dogs) and we all adore Carlos.

Bars - We didn't go to the beach bar a lot but it was fine (good service and selection). We spent time at the pool bar everyday (of course) and it was great. My husbands favourite place on the resort was the cigar bar (it's nice and air conditioned) and we loved the girls who worked there. The snack bar was also great, the staff was very nice and we spent a good portion of our drinking time there. The beer corner was very close to our rooms and made a great meeting place for all of us. The disco was fun. The lobby bar was very nice, but often too busy. Look for Joel in the lobby bar, we love him.

Beach and Pools - The beach is fabulous and I could have slept there I loved it so. The sand is great, the water is great and the sun is especially great. Most of our group snorkelled and they said it was amazing (I mostly sat on a beach lounger and watched). The pool is also a good place to spend the day. The animation staff is fun (I love bingo). We spent most of our mornings at the beach and our afternoons at the pool.

Grounds - The grounds are perfect. It is one of the nicest kept places I've been. There are tons of pants and trees and flowers. It's always clean and very well tended.

Activities and Entertainment - Last year we watched very show (we had a 5 year old with us) and took part in many activities. This year we mostly ate, drank and relaxed. We didn't really see any shows.

Departure and Check Out - As repeat guests, several of us got complimentary late check out (this was handy as we went to the pool until just before we had to depart) so we could leave our stuff in our rooms until it was time to go. It is always sad when a holiday ends. The bus ride to the airport was crazy (not going to lie, some of the group was scared for their lives).

Conclusion - I love this resort and I will come back again and again. The staff is so friendly and the resort is wonderful. My sister and her husband have been there twice before, last year 3 of us (plus my 5 year old niece, who had to stay home this year) made the trip with them and this year 4 more people joined our group, so obviously we have nothing but positive things to say about the PCV. I travel a lot and I definitely recommend this destination. Our group of 9 ( ages 22 to 32) consisted of 3 married couples and 3 singletons and we all found it a good place to vacation and everyone had a great time.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
(2 couples)  
Brantford, Ontario
May 2008
Arrival: Flew Skyservice and arrived on time. Airport was very easy and quick. Our bus met us and we went to our resort where only the 4 of us got off and registered within minutes. We were thrilled to be having a drink on the beach within 2 hours of landing.

Rooms: The rooms were lovely, large and clean. No problem with water, noise or A/C. Everything worked great and the rooms were very large. We even had a bidet!!

Restaurants: Japanese was a wonderful experience. Luke was a great cook and knew everything about Ontario which really impressed us. He was very entertaining and the food was great, and he was nice to look at!! Italian was different. The décor was nice, the antipasto was good but we wouldn’t exactly call it Italian. We were looking forward to garlic bread and spaghetti and meat balls. But instead got beef and seafood. Not that impressed!!

Bars: The lobby bar, beach bar and 24 hour bar were awesome!! Great service at all of them and we even got Baileys to take back to our room for our morning coffee at the lobby bar. Which brings us to another topic COFFEE. The coffee in the rooms was not too bad but at the Buffet it was STONG even with the extra hot milk. If you are at Tim Hortons lover……you will be very disappointed. But that’s Cuba so get over it!!

Beach and Pools: Lovely, always a lounge chair available whenever you needed one. Swim up bar was great with lots of variety. The “Crazy Canadian” drink was a treat, but don’t drink too many at once.

Conclusion: We were there for some relaxation, sun, fun, drinks and we found it all. The overall resort was very clean and well kept. We would go back for sure and recommend it to our friends. Just remember you are in Cuba and things will be different but still wonderful to get away to such gorgeous surroundings. You will not be disappointed with the wonderful color of the water and the snorkeling right at the beach. The rocks and coral near the shore make it obvious that you should bring your water shoes.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde

April 2008
We stayed at Playa Costa Verde from February 29 - March 14. We were a group of 10. We had two incredible weeks of heat and sunshine. No rain at all. This is our third time to this hotel over the years and our 7th time to Holguin. There are always small differences between visits but this hotel consistently meets all of our needs and has become our favourite. The rooms are very spacious and clean. The water pressure is fantastic. The beach (Playa Pesquero beach) and the Cuban people are what keeps us going back. It is not the longest beach as compared to Varadero but it has consistently calm waters for swimming and boat activities and the water is crystal clear. The snorkelling is amazing in this bay. Because the bay is somewhat sheltered from the rest of the ocean we have never seen a jellyfish in the water or on the shore (such as our many experiences with jellyfish in Varadero). Once you see jellyfish it is hard to enjoy swimming in the ocean. A big plus for us!! Also when it is extremely windy you can still swim and enjoy boat activities. Once you get outside the bay the water can be very choppy. The only down side is a bit of coral to go over when going in swimming. This year the coral is alittle more exposed than other years but nevertheless never keeps us out. If you like water shoes I think they would be worth bringing with you. The food is pretty good and the variety is good. Lobster night is Thursday evening at the buffet and there can be a line-up to get in but definitely worth it. The Japanese restaurant is a great restaurant, entertaining and good food. We did not try the Italian and Cuban or Vegetarian restaurant this time. This year we did experience mosquitos at dusk. We never have had any trouble with mosquitos in previous years at this time of the year. I believe Holguin has had more rain than usual this year which is probably contributing to this problem. Bring insect repellant with you just in case. Also don't be alarmed if you see a little truck fumigating the resort around dusk from time to time. It seems to control the mosquitos. We have never seen the fumigating other years. The Cuban people are so friendly and we just love socializing with them.

If anyone is going to this resort and has any questions feel free to contact me at met.cuba@hotmail.com. I would love to help out. Also if anyone has been to Punta Cana in D.R. I would love to hear your comparison. We have never been to D.R. and nervous about trying it. We have been to Cuba 10 times and just love it and don't want to be disappointed. I would love to hear your comparison as we may try it out next year. We love calm waters for swimming, without jellyfish!
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
April 2008
Arrival and Flight: We flew Sunwing Airlines. The flight was good ( however I was suffering from major head cold ! ) The food is actually really good, we got free champagne, wine served with dinner and watched a movie. The airport was easy, and the hour long bustrip to the ressort was fine.

Rooms : HORRIBLE !!!! Our room was dirty !! We got there late at night, and got to the room. The safe didn’t work, we had no alarm clock or coffee maker, the minifridge didn’t work and we didn’t have our beach towels. There was a TON of flies/mosquitos in the room, not to mention the half dozen mosquitos that were splattered dead on the bathroom wall. Those mosquitos remained dead on the wall the entire week we were there. The maid didn’t wash them off. She was HORRIBLE at cleaning our room. It was gross.(and yes…we tipped our maid daily with money AND gifts…which irritated me to no end that she still did a horrible job ) The room was dated, the bathroom smelled like a sewage plant and even after a shower I didn’t feel clean. We didn’t see any cockroaches thankfully, but there were plenty of other bugs !! The kicker was that on checkin, we saw on our envelope that they had changed our room prior to us checking in ( the original room # was crossed out ) So, we went to check out where our original room was. It WAS a 2nd story room with a huge corner balcony..we got bumped to a main floor room at the very far corner of the resort..close to NOTHING !

Restaurants: Italian…so-so, The Cuban was great..have the lobster…it’s the best I have ever had ! Our favorite was the Japanese Restaurant !! Amazing !!! Say Hi to Jackie !! She is the best waitress/chef ! The buffet was pretty good, lots of choices. The omelet bar seemed to be popular at breakfast. The service was hit and miss there with the servers…some were great, some were miserable..

Bars: they were all good, drinks were good. The coffee in the Lobby Bar is strong, but just add a bit of Baileys !!

Beach and Pools The beach was nice ( im used to Dominican..with huge beaches ) The water is the clearest I have ever seen, and the snorkelling was pretty good right off shore. Again, I like white powdery sand. The sand here was hardpacked, and the beach is not very long, but the water was warm and the sun was hot !

The pool was nice and big, but could use some repairs ( missing tiles etc.. )

Departure and Check Out : check out was easy

Conclusion: I have never written a review about a resort, and I have to say, Im pretty easy to please. This was my first time to Cuba, and I wasn’t totally put off by it, but I was slightly disappointed in the resort. Its showing its age. The front desk staff was less than friendly and I was really upset with our room. Cleanliness is important to me. I don’t care how big the rooms are etc…but they at leat have to be clean and not smell like a toilet.

The food wasn’t the best I have had, but then again, it wasn’t the worst. I would go back to Cuba, but not to this resort. The beaches are nice, the sun is hot and the drinks are cold…so if that is all you need….go for it !! But if you want a slightly nicer resort, pay the extra and stay at The Paradisus Rio Del Oro ..just the next beach over !!
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde

March 2008
Myself, my boyfriend (17) and both our moms (in their 50's) went to playa costa verde on february 18th 2008. We flew with Skyservice and the flight was pretty uneventful but they gave us lots of food! We had a quick stop over in varadero and then arrived in Holguin at 8 PM. Right when you get off the plane its so warm and humid its amazing!!! Right Away we could tell that the Cuban people are so happy to help and very friendly. Our bus guide even got the bus driver to pull over so we could all get beer for the short 1 hour drive to the resort! haha.

Check in was fast and easy and they had a golf cart ready to take our luggagge and us to our rooms. I knew I was gonna love this place when we passed two drunk people stumbling around the lawn LOL. Our rooms, 2722 and 2721 were top floor, spacy, clean and very nice! We spent little time in the room but if we would of had to it wouldve been ok.

The Bariay Buffet was pretty good! id heard before that the food in Cuba was terrible, but that definetly was not the case! every morning there was so much to choose from, different eggs, fresh fruit, bread, pancakes, bacon, sausage, etc, and you could get a fresh crepe or an omelte made the way you want! The fresh orange juice is sooo delicious. And thursday night is usually lobster night!

There are also 4 a la carte restaurants, we got to try all (you have to make reservations). The vegetarian has turkey and fish so its not really vegetarian, and watch out for the mariachi man who plays the leaf! he was hitting on my mom lol but it was funny. My favorite was the Kyoto Japanese restaurant. The chef comes and makes your food right at the table and you can order everything on the menu and it was all really good, except they didnt have the sushi. The Italian restautarant was pretty good, except our waitress wasnt very nice. The Cuban restaurant was good get the cuban soup! and the lobster was really good!

Be careful at the restaurants theyll refill your wine constatly and youll have no idea how much youve had till you stand up! And yes.....we may have been the drunk canadians singing with the french canadians at the piano in the lobby bar after......oops

There is also a snack bar where you can get fresh burgers,hot dogs, pizzas, fries, ets which is open 24/7 so you can get food when your hammered its great! On our last night here we did tequila shots with the bartender it was great. All the bars and drinks are great. The lobby bar is the biggest and you can get any drink, mojitos, daiquiris, bloodymarys, rum n coke, beer, anything. Say Hi to Jorge the pianoman!!! he really likes when people bring him drinks (non alcoholic) and request songs and sing! lol it was nice to sit in the lobby at night and drink and just listen to the music and meet new poeple!

The beach bar was great! bring your own to go cup so you get more drinks and it stays cold. My favorite was the lemon slush and vodka! Say hi to eduardo! he was great he always knew just what i wanted and was defineltly not stingy with the booze lol. Sometimes there was a bit of a line up but max like 5 minutes and youd get your drink. There was also the Beer Corner and all the restaruants had their own bar, also the night club (which was kinda gay) had a bar too.

The beach was so nice, lots of trees and huts for shade but lots of sun too! the sand is soo nice and the water is soo blue and warm! theres a bit of rocky coral you have to cross to get to the sandy part in the water but it was fine. Theres also a nice reef close to shore for snorkelling! bring your own snorkel gear. You can also walk over to blau or go off the scuba diving dock for great snorkelling. Bring a banana from breakfast and the fish will jsut swarm you! i even saw a dead octopus haha. There is a short walk over a wetland to get to the beach but it was nice as there were alsways birds and such in it and it was only like 2 minutes.

The pool was nice with a little kids pool too, and there was an acua bar. We were mainly in the ocean and on the beach tho.

There are many different excursions that you can book! definelty go swimming with the dolphins ($99 CUC) and do the foot push where the dolphins swim up underneath you and push you out of the water with their noses ($10 CUC). There is also a sea lios show and a dolphin show. You take a boat to get there becauase it was in the ocean! it was sooo cool and definelty one of the highlight!

We also went horseback riding at the Rocazul bioparque, and we took the horse drawn buggy to get there instead of a taxi which was really cool becuase we went through a little town and could see the houses and really how the poeple live! The buggy costed $12 CUC roundtrip, and horseback riding was $16 CUC each for an hour which was nice. We also took a taxi into Guardalava where there is a nice little market to buy art,crafts,clothes,etc. The taxi was $10 CUC each way and a short 10 minute drive! The roads are kinda scary as they are one lane for 2 ways of traffic and have lots of potholes but its all part of the expierience!

Theres a little gift shop at the resort where you can buy rum and cigars for cheap too!

Overall i absoluty loved PCV and Im definetly going back! everyones so nice and its so relaxing and was definelty a memorable trip. I got a really good tan too, and I cant wait to go back! I wish i stayed for two weeks.....better yet, forever.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Kevin & Chantal 
Ottawa, Canada
March 2008
December 18 - 25, 2007

I promised a review of this latest trip, and true to form it is late. But better late than never, eh?

So at this resort, as with most, it really, really pays to be prepared. By that I mean read these reviews, go to the web site for the resort, consult as many sources as you can so that you have a good sense of the good, the bad and the ugly (or beautiful, as the case may be) ahead of time. I like surprises, but when your vacation cash is on the line, the last thing you want is to be standing in the airport, or resort lobby looking around trying to figure things out. For us, we figure we only have a week - we're not going to spend it wondering about where to eat or get a drink. So here goes:

Take note of the big sign at the airport when the plane lands "Socialismo Ou Muerto". That's kinda cool. Once inside, the usual immigration and customs procedures. There are never problems if you have things done (visa filled out, passport in hand) and nothing crazy in your luggage. This process is fast and painless. If your traveling in a pair, share duties. One goes to the currency exchange, the other waits for the bags to arrive. If you need to use the washroom, be prepared. There are girls there selling bathroom tissue. And in the men's washroom they'll just stand there chatting while you use the facilities - very strange. I've never encountered that before. I didn't have pesos yet, so no tissue for me.

Currency exchange at the airport is pretty standard and I find for the couple of bucks you MIGHT save by going elsewhere, its worth it just to have the CUC in hand right away.

With that done and bags in hand now, step outside. One finds your bus (there will be several - you just need to know which is going to your resort - ask the reps that are there) while the other goes and buys 4 Cerveza at the little drink stand off to your right. 1 CUC per beer - get 4, pay 5 - everyone's happy!

Bus ride to the resort is, like an hour long. Now you're glad you bought the cervezas while most other people are looking at you wishing they had thought of it.

Check in:
Again - split duties. One goes directly to the check in counter (with booking tickets and info in hand) while the other retrieves bags from the bus. Be within the first few in this line and you'll be very happy.

We were very satisfied with ours. Chantal had emailed them ahead of our arrival asking for a particular location (central) and a corner unit on the second floor. We got exactly that. The corner unit gives you a good sized, wrap around balcony. Being on the second floor ensures no bugs can stroll into your room at their leisure - all good. Bring a piece of heavy string or light rope to fashion a make-shift clothes line on your balcony. This served us very well - we used it every day. Shower was fine, although it leaked onto the floor every time, but had good water pressure and temperature. The A/C was also fine. My Shopper's Optimum card slid into the slot kept our room cool for our return and the lights and everything ready to work.

We also had a bottle of rum and some pop in our fridge for us as we went with Sunwing, but were supposed to have a fruit plate that was not there. But the rum was yummy. Try it with orange soda - quite good.

We had a small issue with our safe and one of the room card keys not working, but I reported it to the front desk and it was looked after almost immediately.

We were close to the pool and the little beer corner on one side, ice cream stand on the other. Great choices! (I wonder how that ice cream was, hehe).

All staff was great in my opinion. As usual, Cuba benefits from genuine, friendly, attentive and happy staff at these resorts. The only exception was the lady working in the gift shop in the lobby - a tad snobbish, but no big deal for sure. We also find everywhere we go in Cuba we can never get enough bottled water. So either buy extra or take your empty bottles to any bar to re-fill.

Oscar! When you go to the main buffet, ask for Oscar - he is THE BEST, and say hi to him for us. But I digress...

Restaurants & Bars:
Well, let's see..... Have you heard about this Japanese restaurant there? DO NOT, and mean seriously DO NOT miss out on this! It is fun, the food is amazing, the staff are great and the wine flows endlessly. It also presents an opportunity to meet people. I tend to be a "keep to myself" kind of guy, but hey - you're on vacation - chill out, ya know? So we met some really fun people from the UK. One couple told us this was their 5th or 6th time to this resort and the main reason for coming back is the Japanese restaurant. So use the chop sticks, sample everything, chat and raise a glass with new friends - a great experience.

The lobby bar is also nice and has a very good selection of drinks including a variety of coffees, both spiked and virgin. I found the staff very nice, friendly and attentive. Some people complain about not being immediately served - helloooo - they can't serve everyone at the same time. Be a little patient and relax.

The buffet - quite good. A good variety of foods, some really nice choices of cooked to order dishes, like grilled fish and pasta. Some decent deserts. Again - very good staff to look after you, and again - Oscar - 'Nuff said. It's a buffet, so you get buffet style dishes. Keep your expectations realistic and you'll be happy.

The little luncheon near the beach has really good pizzas and a few other pretty decent choices. Again with the good staff. Like anywhere in Cuba, a peso, a smile and maybe even a touch of Spanish speaking go quite a long way to making staff happy to see you when you arrive for lunch. Trust me - say Hola, Como estas? Cerveza pour favour. Add 1 peso and a smile to that and you're golden baby.

The other restaurants were all pretty good. The lobster is worth having, but is no longer served at the buffet. This was a disappointment to us because we planned our meals around getting the seafood feast at the buffet only to find they no longer do it - bummer. But it is still warm. There are palm trees and flowers all around. Be happy. For us, we had a special Christmas dinner on top of our regular a-la-carte dinners, so we did pretty darned good I'd say.

The negative thing was the line up for making dinner reservations in the lobby. So be prepared. Have all your choices made and have some alternatives ready just in case. I spent over an hour in line only to end up two away from the desk when the girl finally had to go for lunch. God lover her, she did her best, but she was alone and had to eat. So those of us left in line took it upon ourselves to make a list of who was in line and in what order so that when she came back from lunch we could be served without waiting. That worked out ok, but still - it was a waste of valuable beach time for us.

Beaches and Pools:
We were satisfied with both. Didn't much care for the rough tiles surrounding the pool. It was gray and lacked colour, but also resulted in little bits of dirt sticking to your feet, which inevitably end up in the pool. Must be a pool cleaning nightmare. Also a little better maintenance of the pool wouldn't hurt. But it is a really big pool with lots of room for wading, a good swim up bar (which is usually too crowded to get a drink very easily) and a good towel exchange right there with good hours so you don't have to rush to get fresh towels. As pools go in these resorts, I'd say this one isn't great, but its OK. Some night time entertainment around the pool is fun if you get there early enough to get a decent seat.

The beach. Well, it all depends on what you're looking for. If you want white powdery sand with not a stone or blemish in sight, go to Cayo Coco. If you want a more utilitarian beach with a few blemishes, some marine life and a pretty decent stretch of whitish sand - Playa Costa Verde is the place. There's, like two levels. The back part with trees and a sandy floor feels kind of detached from the beach, but offers great shade and plenty of little curly tailed lizards running around for entertainment (they are really cool). There are plenty of chairs as well.

The water-side area is more sandy with no trees and very little shade at all. In December shade isn't that much of a big deal with temps around 25 to 29 every day. But if you go in April or May with temps around 29 to 34, you might want shade.

There is also wind surfing and sailing available here along with kayaks and peddle boats.

I recommend bringing your own snorkeling gear so you can go at your leisure as we did. Bring a few bananas from the breakfast buffet to feed to fish, swim out (not far at all) to the nearest coral reef and feed the fishes right out of your hand. You'll soon be surrounded. Its quite fun as long as you're not frightened. There are a few fish that can be a bit aggressive, but rest assured - its the food they're after, not you. When the banana's gone, they are too. You can also see some neat worms and other sea life, but please keep off the coral. Not only can it easily cut you, but touching it ruins it (and you can see plenty of evidence that others have not been kind to it).

Also, take a peddle boat out to the point off to the right (you'll see it) and go snorkeling there. Lots of fish to be found.

I was impressed. Very well kept and I really appreciated the little tags they have in front of the different kinds of plants to tell you what variety of flower or palm specimen you're looking at. Everything well kept and neat. There was a new family of kittens while we were there which was cute, along with a hungry, but remarkably polite cat hanging around the place. You'll see her in different locations. If you don't like cats, just ignore it. If you're an animal fan like us, you'll get a smile from it.

Don't miss out on the beer corner. It is quiet, but get to know the staff there and have a good place for a nightcap or a pre-dinner drink. We got to know Amoricio (sp?) who worked there and had a lot of fun with him. And you can choose one of the three Cuban beers - Buccanero, Cerveza and - darn, I can't remember the third. You'll have to go find out I guess!
Most of all - don't miss the Japanese restaurant!
Would I recommend this place? Yes - definitely. The value for your money is there and I doubt many people would have any regrets.
Cheers, and happy vacationing! Don't forget to say hi to Oscar for us!
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
John and Judy  
Kitchener, Ontario
March 2008
Our Photos

Arrival - Flew Sunwing, Arrived one hour behind schedule. Waited 35 minutes to check-in due to shortage of staff at reception. For a bus-load of guests arriving they should have more staff at the counter. When we did get to check-in things went quickly.

Rooms - We were in the block furthest from the reception and main buffet, room 3522, a south facing room. We liked being away from the nightly noise of the entertainment.

The room was large and clean. A/C worked great and was very quite. Water pressure was strong and warm water was always available. Safe included operated by card key. Entry to room worked first time every time - best yet.

Restaurants - Kyoto Japanese was by far the best. Go prepared to get lots to eat. Italian was ok, nothing Italian about it though in my opinion. Cuban restaurant on the way to the beach was tastefully done, lots of mosquitos though. They fogged while we were sitting at our table and the mist was thick. The lobster was fine.

Bars - Pool bar was busy like most pool bars. Staff were great and friendly.
Lobby bar staff a bit snotty. This place is a zoo after supper and seats are not readily available.

Beach and Pools - Pool large and clean. Water goes right up to the edge of the pool which makes it easier to get in and out. Too much music by the pool, but at least no relentless Marenge!

White sand beach, but not the whitest; rocky upon entering the water in places. Great snorkelling at the rocks to the west a couple of resorts down the beach.

Grounds - Lots of interesting trees and cacti. Palms hang over the walkways in places.

Activities - Bingo, fitness, kids activities. All were done over loud speakers which was too dominating.

Conclusion - Good value for the money. Lots and lots of kids at this resort if this is a concern. Some very good food and then some plates you might want to walk past and leave alone. Not much cheese variety, fatty cold-cuts, bacon always under-cooked, boiled eggs always watery and not done nearly long enough, but always something that is palatable is available - just look around. I don't think the staff have enough time to prepare some foods properly. Would recommend Playa Costa Verde for the right price.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Ontario Canada
February 2008
Arrival - Flew with Air Canada. Arrived 10 mins ahead of scheduled time. Aircraft had LOTS of room, unlike those tincans Skyservice and Air Transat use. Air crew were great too.

Rooms - Room was "dated" The whole resort is beginning to show its age.

Restaurants - Food was fine. No big deal, the usual buffet-type food. The a la cartes were very good. Wear long pants to the Cuban one. They are mosquitoes there!

Bars - Pool bar understaffed. 25 people waiting while just ONE person serves. This was true at the lobby also.. Under-staffed !

Beach and Pools - Pool clean and water refreshing.It was just fine,and so was the beach.

Grounds - Not really very "lush" but tidy and generally well kept.

Activities - Playing water polo is fun. The excercise class was a good stretch too.

Tours - We did the Catamaran one. it was G R E A T ! Thank you "Kenny" and crew!

Conclusion - The place needs some immediate upgrades. Its beginning to show its age. The Cuban people are beautiful. Be sure to take lots of clothing for the locals. There are poor and really need our help.
Cubans are intelligent, friendly, and we will always return there at least once a year. We had a ball at Playa Costa Verde. Adios ! ---------------------
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
>Nancy a.k.a. Seachick 

February 2008
Our Photos

We read all the reviews on this resort before reserving and they were all pretty positive. We were expecting a standard resort and I think that’s what we got. It was good value for the price we paid. We were at the PCV from Feb.3-10, 2008

Arrived on a Sunday. Very efficient at reception desk and we were checked in very quickly. As we arrived at 11 AM we had to wait for our room to be ready. They told us to come back at 1 PM and it was! We had asked for second floor but there was none available. The resort was in fact overbooked and they were offering a free night to Santiago if you would give up your room on the Saturday.

The site:
Beautifully landscaped as this is an older resort. Everything was clean and there were lots of staff to maintain. Buildings looked in good shape. Lobby a bit outdated with hanging plants from high ceilings but a nice place to sit in the shade and enjoy a drink. Always a nice breeze blowing through.

Our room was in block 35 – the very last block on the beach side and quite far from the restaurants and pool. Rooms quite large and very clean and the furniture was fairly new. No musty smell and air conditioning was completely silent. We had a king size bed. Only problem with the bed was that it had a rubber/plastic mattress protector on it which crackled whenever you moved and also woke me up many times during the night because I felt damp and clammy. Fairly large vanity area with lots of cupboard space and mirrored closet doors. Free safe in room which operates with your credit card or any card that has a magnetic strip on it. Bathroom is separated from the vanity area and includes a toilet, bidet and bath/shower. Bathroom tiles were a bit wild looking and the grout needed changing – along with a coat of paint to the bathroom door – it was quite grungy and moldy. Whenever we took a shower the bath and shower would come on together and you couldn’t close one without closing the other. Not a major problem but a waste of water. One evening, the whole tap broke off in my hand and we couldn’t close the water at all. A technician came in 5 minutes and managed to close the water. He came back around 9 with another faucet – same type and age as the other one, lol. Fridge in room has a litre of water and 2 soft drinks. The water is replenished every day but not the soft drinks. When I asked the maid for some I got them the next day but none the rest of our stay. The fridge worked but was useless. The t-stat could not be raised and the motor was very noisy so we unplugged it for our stay. Coffeemaker in room but that didn’t work either. It took 5 days for them to replace it which was annoying as I really enjoy my early morning coffee on the balcony watching the sun rise and listening to the birds. I walked the 5 minutes to the snack bar one morning to enjoy a Cuban coffee. They only serve small cups so you have to get 2 or drink one there and bring the other one back to your room, spilling half of it on the way. Maid service was very good and they made amusing towel art for us. We left money and gifts everyday on the pillow. They appreciated everything, especially childrens things. Tuesday we came back to our room and hubby slipped on the bathroom floor. There was ¼ inch of water all over the place, coming from the closet ceiling. Looked like the a/c conked out and was leaking. Luckily it was following the door and not leaking on our clothes. It took 2-1/2 days and 5-6 visits to the reception to have it repaired properly. We slept with no a/c for 2 nights and it was getting stuffy in the room. Water would leak even if a/c wasn’t on and I was nervous about using the hair dryer, lol.

Beach was lovely with lots of shade trees and palapas. No need to reserve – we were able to get shade even at 11 AM. There’s a strip of coral going into the water but you can find paths through it and get to the sandy part. We saw some people hurt themselves so bring water shoes if you’re unsteady. We saw fish close to shore and about 5-6 varieties further out. People sit very close to the water as the beach is not very wide after the trees. Hobies, pedal boats and kayaks are in good condition. Snorkelling equipment is available at the pool hut – I don’t know why because it’s quite far from the beach. There’s a bar at the beach and that’s about it. Expect to wait 5-10 minutes in line for a small plastic drink. A thermal mug is a necessity here. They have 2 slushy machines and delicious juice. A self serve soft drink/juice machine would have been appreciated as there were lots of families with children. No toilets on the beach – you have to cross the footbridge to get to the Cuban a la carte to use theirs. Bathrooms are kept clean but no towels or hand dryer. There is no food on the beach – you must walk a good five minutes to get to the snack bar or buffet. Seems to me the a la carte could have been used for lunch to accommodate people? We enjoyed watching the wildlife from the footbridge but it was a good walk in the noon sun to go from beach to buffet.

Pool was beautiful! All the action is centered around it so if you’re a pool person you’ve got it made. Everything clean and lots of loungers but not enough umbrellas. Twice a week vendors come with their wares. The usual water polo, volleyball and salsa lessons can be had here. Seemed like the pool bar was popular. We’re not pool people but enjoyed sitting there with a beer at the end of the day.

Snack bar open 24 hours where you can get sandwiches, hamburgers and pizza and great espresso. Frozen French fries were also popular. Handy if your bus picks you up before the buffet opens.

Buffet served good food although very repetitive. Service is very efficient and most of the staff are very friendly. Omelette station very slow as they only have a little burner and a small frying pan. After 3 days of waiting 10 minutes for your eggs, they opened up another station where they could serve 3 customers at once. Pasta station very popular. Great juice in morning – fresh orange juice that they make on the spot. Salad bar was always the same, lettuce once a week but lots of cabbage and onion chunks. Hardly saw any bananas except occasionally at the pancake station. Soft ice cream was available at supper time. Desserts were plentiful – especially liked the rice pudding! Thursday is lobster night. It upset me to see people going back for seconds and thirds – maybe they didn’t know that Cubans are forbidden to eat langoustes – the government keeps it all for tourists. I found the staff very quiet and reserved that night and when I sympathized with our favourite waitress she looked down and said ‘That’s life.” It must be difficult for the person who is grilling hundreds of lobsters when she can’t even get any for her family for a special occasion. I didn’t think it was fair and I didn’t eat any.

The Japanese restaurant was a blast and we really enjoyed our meal and our chef Leo. Although sushi was on the menu, they didn’t have any. The Miso soup tastes like fish.

Italian restaurant was quite elegant – great service and good food. I had the chicken and hubby had the beef which was very tender. You don’t have to order the pasta if you don’t want it.

Cuban a la carte was lovely. We sat outside under the stars and enjoyed a great meal with great service.

We enjoyed the lobby bar in the evening. All the bars have TV’s playing Spanish MTV type music and there’s a pianist who plays popular songs. We were disappointed that we couldn’t get the Super Bowl it would have made for a fun evening. The ladies washrooms were old and reeked of urine. A change of tiles would fix this problem. The shows were entertaining and the dancers worked hard. We didn’t see any participation shows during our week – which was nice! The house band plays from 9 – 9:30 and they are great musicians! They also serenade at the Buffet in the evenings. It was a treat listening to them and watching guests dancing – everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We took the tour of Holguin and didn’t regret it. We had a very informative guide who explained a lot about life in Cuba. We took a steam locomotive around a sugar plantation, visited a cigar factory, had a wonderful Cuban lunch at a mountainside restaurant, went to the top of the Mountain of the Cross and spent an hour walking around the centre of Holguin. We were off the resort from 9 till 5.

All in all, we enjoyed our stay mostly because of the great staff that work at the Costa Verde, the great weather we had and the welcome break from the nasty weather we’ve been having.

If we could be assured of getting a room closer to the beach and buffet or if they opened up the Cuban a la carte for lunch, we might consider going back one day. For this reason we preferred Sol Luna Mares down the beach .
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde

February 2008
A group of eight of us spent the week of Jan 19-26th at the Playa Costa Verde. It was the first time any of us had traveled to Cuba, though some of us had been on cruises and to the Dominican, so we had something to compare it to.

Flight - We flew down on Skyservice, not many enjoyed the flight, packed in so tightly, but that's not unusual. We arrived 30 mins late due to the plane arriving late in Toronto. Getting through customs in Cuba was done pretty quickly.

Check in/rooms - We arrived at the hotel around 10:30 pm and were the first group to check in. There were two people working and it took 15-20 mins to get us all checked in and heading to our rooms. The rooms were clean, quite large and had everything we needed, with the exception of an alarm clock, which was only needed on the days we had booked excursions. Overall we were all pleased with the rooms.

Grounds - Very well kept, spacious, but never more then a few minutes walk to anywhere you wanted to go. The variety of plants, lizards, toads and a few chickens made walking around the resort enjoyable.

Beach/pools - The pool was clean quite large and fairly warm considering it was January. I was worried about it being to cold after reading some of the forums, but it just depends how warm the air temp has been during your stay.

The beach was great, lots of shade for those who want or need it. The short walk to the beach was no big deal, you cross a bridge over a wetland area.

Every day you'd see ducks, egrets, herons, etc. The water was clear and warm, the only obstacle being a band of coral you have to cross to get out further. During high tide you could swim across it, or at anytime walk carefully over it...wearing water shoes worked well too. The snorkeling was pretty good, you can see fish along the band of coral, but it's much better just down the beach to the right ( in front of the Blau Costa Verde ). Head out along the rock wall at that end of the beach and you'll see lots of fish, from 1" long to over a foot or more, as well as sea urchins, crabs etc. If you take a piece of bread or a banana out with you and start breaking it up you'll quickly be surrounded by dozens of fish.

Food - My biggest concern was about the quality of food in Cuba in general.
I read so many reviews where that was a major disappointment and I'm a pretty picky with food, as well as not caring for much in the way of seafood. Overall the food was not bad at all, the pickiest of eaters could always find something at the buffet, from an omelette made to order at breakfast, to made to order pasta or pizza at other times. The less fussy eaters had plenty to choose from at all times. If you couldn't find something you liked at the buffet, the 24 hour bar/restaurant always had burgers, hot dogs, fries, pizza or salads that were good. We tried all four a la carte restaurants ( you get 3, we got another because we were there for a wedding ). Everyones favourite was the Japanese, entertaining and great beef, chicken, shrimp, fish and rice. The Italian was also well liked by all, the only one of the four we didn't enjoy much was the vegetarian. The most fussy of us never came close to going hungry, you can always find something you like.

Lobby - We usually ended up in the lobby in the evening, a nice place to relax, get a drink, meet people or just chat. They have a pool table, ping pong, foosball, store and bank all in the lobby.

Wedding - The wedding package was nice, a room upgrade, choice of where in the resort you wanted to get married, taken there in a horse drawn carriage, cake, champagne, photos etc.

Extras - If you have a late flight home, you can get a late check out at 5pm for an extra 25 CUC. The bathroom 110 volt plug would take a shaver but not a curling iron as the iron has one wider prong and won't fit, best to take a converter.

Overall we had a great week in Cuba, enjoyed the resort and plan on going back next year.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde

February 2008
My son and I went to a wedding at this hotel. The rooms were musty and the bedspreads were tattered and stained. The food plentiful but after 4 days we were both throwing up and had water pouring out of the other end. $170.00 for medication and an extra 25 pesos to keep the room for 4 hours until our bus departed to the airport. Anyway the Cuban weight loss plan has helped me drop 4lbs. so if you are needing a really quick albeit painful way to lose those unsightly pounds please by all means visit Cuba.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Tammy and Brent 
January 2008
We visited this beautiful resort recently and loved it. We stayed at the Blau Costa Verde last time and loved it as well.

We flew with Sunwing out of Calgary and had to stop at Saskatoon. We were a party of 7. Myself, my husband, my 3 kids aged 11 (twin girls), and 12 (my son). My Aunt and Uncle, both whom have never travelled to a tropical countrywere also in tow. The Plane ride was OK. A little squishy, but aren't all charters? The plane ride was about 7.5 hours...a little long, but well worth it.The food on the plane was good.

We arrived at the airport and got through customs very quickly, at which time we picked up our luggage and got on the bus. The bus ride was a very humbling experience as the Cuban people have such a simplistic lifestyle and we have made ours so complicated. I am so glad that we chose to take our kids here as apposed to Disneyland. I think they have a new appreciation for the things that we come by so easily.

The resort is beautiful! I emailed the resort before we arrived and got everything I requested. Very impressive! We got to our room which was room 2426, my aunt and uncle were 2427 which is an ajoining room. We loved that! Our room was spacious. We had two single beds brought in for our kids, and another was brought to my aunts. My 3 kids slept on the 2 beds in our room. They had plenty of room. Bathroom area was large. The free safe was an added bonus. We recieved a bottle of Rum in our room...another added bonus. We had a corner room which gave us the wrap around balcony which had plenty of room when all 7 of us were out there.

We then went for dinner which was surprisingly good. MMMmm. The kids were in heaven with all the variety. They opted for pizza a few times and loved the desserts. They also loved the pretzely things at breakfast! There was plenty of meats to choose from , beef, pork, lamb, chicken and fish. Out of 7 no one had any stomach upset.

The beach is amazing!! We went snorkeling everyday. My kids loved the beach but eventually migrated to the pool. They had plenty of room there as well. There was always loungers at the beach. I am not sure about the pool as we were always at the beach. My aunt and uncle loved the pool as well and tended to stay up there. I would suggest bringing water shoes as there is alot of coral to step over to get to the good snorkelling. I had brought a waterproof camera (olympus 790sw), but unfortunately I think I cooked the battery and charger and it quit working after the first time out snorkeling. We found a better spot after our first couple days there. Bring a back up underwater Camera. (disposable kind) if you are planning on taking underwater pics. Lesson learned...

The grounds are immaculate. I am an avid gardener so I was intrigued by all the different plants and flowers. I was taking pictures of some of the flowers when a gardener asked me, "You love flowers?" I responded with great conviction, "I LOVE FLOWERS." So he walked over to a beautiful shrub, and cut a flower for me. It was beautiful. I wish I knew what it was. I loved the grounds!

The staff was the best we have had. I loved Serahi. She was a waitress at the 24 hour bar. I have learned to love the rum. I never drank it before going here this time. I really likes the Pina Coladas, and Bahama Mamas.

I can't say anything about the kids club as my kids didn't use it. We didn't see any shows either as we were beat by the end of the day.

We were in bed by 10pm, and up by 7:30am.

All in all we had a wonderful trip and would certainly return to this resort.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Lindsay ,Ontario, Canada
January 2008
Hi Everyone! When reading my review, please take into account that I am only 12 years old(but mature!)so my views may be different from those of an adult! I traveled with my brothers(18 and 19) and my parents in their 40s. We flew with SkyService, and our vacation was with Nolitours. We boarded the plane fine, but we left an hour late because of luggage. The plane ride was good, and i found it comfortable although my parents thought that the seats were a bit small and that there wasn't enough leg room. We went through customs easily and we boarded the bus. If you are going to Cuba, i would suggest that you take some shorts to change into because it is so hot. We checked in easily, but we had to wait about 5 minutes for the little car to come, to take us to our rooms. My brothers' room was fine, but you have to insert the room key into a machine for the power to work in the room, and ours wasn't working. We waited about 5 minutes again for a maintenance man to come, and he fixed it quickly, and then it was working.

Rooms - The rooms were nice and big, however we had to move a cot into my room so i could sleep on it. Our shower faucet was a bit stiff, but it still worked. My Dad liked that the rooms were in villa format, and not your typical hotel style. It is best to leave a key in the machine in the room(unless it is needed)so when you come in the room, it is nice and cool. Our room was central to everything, and had a view of the Jacuzzi.

Restaurants - We only went to the buffet and the snack bar, and both were good. I prefered the snack bar. Hamburgers, sandwiches, french fries and pizza are some of the things you can get at the snack bar. The buffet would be great if you liked many different kinds of food(as i do not), as they have alot of different things. Every night I would have spaghetti and then ice cream. The breakfast buffet is good, I've heard the omelettes are great. I have heard that the other restaurants are good, but there is a dress code and you have to make reservations in advance.

Bars - Bars are good, and there are alot. I always ordered Cola(TuKola) and sometimes a slushie. The swim-up bar is very handy. There is also and ice-cream bar,too. If you sit in the lobby, waiters will come around and take your empty glasses, and get you more drinks. At night, the lobby bar gets a little loud, and same with the Snack Bar after 2:00 (That is when the disco closes so they all go there.)Make sure you find José at the Snack Bar.

Beach and Pools - The beach and pools were beautiful! The beach has calm,clear,warm water! The snorkeling is great, but you don't see many colourful fish, however i did see a flounder on the bottom. The pool is very big, and had many different depths. There is also a child's area in the pool. Only problem is that there are no washrooms at the beach. If you like the ocean, make sure that you don't get a sunburn on your face. I did, and when i went in the ocean, the salt water stung really badly.

Grounds - The grounds were very spacious and well kept, with many different kinds of plants. You can also see some animals. I saw a lizard about 15cm long, some pini walis, frogs, bugs(ew!)and i even saw a wild chicken! On the boardwalk to the beach, i also saw ducks, an egrit, and many other big birds. The palm trees are very beautiful, and same with all of the plants.

Activities - There were many different activities you can do. Every day at noon they would have a kids game. Water excercise, volleyball, waterpolo and dance lessons are some of the other activities. There are defenitly activities for all ages. They also have an Internet room, where it is 6 pesos an hour. There is also a Mini-Club (ages 4-12) Also, there is a hair salon, where i got my hair half braided.

Tours - My parents and I went on one tour, the Dolphins tour. We went on the short version, which just included the Aquarium. However, you can take the full day tour, we includes catamaraning and snorkeling. The tour was excellent. You got to swim with dolphins, and if you paid extra, you got to do special tricks with them.(If you go on this trip, i highly recommend doing the "push" trick.)The boat ride to the Aquarium was fun,also.

Conclusion - Service is great and fast, and the Cuban workers are very friendly.
You will have a better time if you make friends with the staff.
Make sure you have pesos for tipping.
Make sure to bring LOTS of sunscreen, the sun is very hot!
If you wish to get a good table at the nightly entertainment, you will haved to go early.
Learn to say "Hola" and "Gracias"
Leave the maid some spare changes or little items on your pillows
(toothbrush,toothpaste,cosmetics)and they will make something on your bed for you, made out of towels,(so you also get some spare towels!), we got bows,elephants,birds,people,snakes,hearts...
You might want to take some Imodium

It is a great spot for a nice, relaxing vacation. :) ;)
If you would like more info:
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
January 2008
Conquest vacations;

We spent one Christmas week at this resort - we wish we could stay two J .We are in our 40s with 16 y.o. son. I am not going to write a full review, but as an addition to all the postings done already : here is some more factual info:

Flight and the Airport: SkyService flight from Toronto was uneventful, but what a relief – row spacing was sufficient so we did not feel packed as sardines in a can (last year flight by AirTransat was a trial). Passport control in Holguin was a breeze, and we boarded the bus and departed for the hotel almost immediately after that.

Check-In/Rooms: indeed – only one person at the reception at 11:30 p.m. but we got lucky being first in the line. What we particularly liked about the resort is that all rooms were in two-stories villas rather than in hotel-style building(s). Our rooms were on the ground floor. Both were clean and the maid service adequate. There was no mold and everything of importance was in order. AC was quiet , water warm, the in-room safe easy. All villas, with no exception, looked as they were just built, though the resort, as I understood, is not new.

Grounds/layout: Perfect size and layout – 6 min walk to any corner of the resort . Airy, light-filled impression; villas spaced enough and separated by gardens and palm trees. We did not find the short walk to the beach through a bridge over the lagoon to be inconvenient or bothersome. Quite the opposite – spotting the heron, other birds, fish was part of the fun.

The beach: wonderful, lots of shade, good for snorkeling and swimming. No seaweed at all. As for the washrooms – it takes max two minutes to reach from the beach the closest washrooms at the resort.

Service: bar and buffet service was fast; hardly any line-ups though it was a high season. We never felt displeased with the personnel. Our vacation was what it is to be - relaxation and enjoyment. Frankly speaking I did not notice the animation team to be very active, though volleyball matches were on time every day.

Facilities: they have four good tennis courts (three lit). We brought our rackets and balls and played every evening. There are also two ping-pong tables, one in the sheltered section of the lobby, and they are OK too.

Food – was OK, it was always possible to select something we liked from the buffet. One thing we found strange was the relative lack of fruits. Only a few trays and only the grapefruits were very good. Again, very good coffee (we drank practically no alcohol drinks).

Some notes:
For those of you who are sensitive to tobacco smoke – many guests smoke everywhere and all the time : on the beach, in the lobby/bar; in the restaurants; on the smoking side of the buffet. We saw a couple who started to smoke right during their check-in, puffing straight in the receptionist’s face.

Money exchange at the kiosk in the lobby: if you are against involuntary tipping then count it BEFORE you put it away; i.e. firstly see the receipt and the amount you should receive, then count the money on the spot. I changed twice and both times they gave me about 1% less than they should. When confronted – surprise and genuine disbelieve was expressed, money recounted and the shortage was added.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde

October 2007
We stayed at PCV from Sept.22 to the 29th.It was wonderful.The weather cooperated greatly until Friday night when it stormed.The ocean was so turquiosy and WARM, so peaceful and clear.I saw many different kinds of fish by wading out a bit.You see more by feeding them with a banana;the needle fish actually jumped out of the water to eat which caused great excitement for my nine year old grandson and his friend Emily who we met on the bus trip from the airport.Luckily,we met up because there were no other children their age to hang around with.(We wore our water shoes and they did the trick with the kind -of -slippery dead coral.) They went snorkelling and I floated on my back for what seemed hours,I just didn't want to leave.I heard a yell from a lady sunbatheing; a little tree frog had landed on her. It was so cute,the same colour as sand. I picked it up;it felt so cool on my skin.Then it jumped on my arm,next onto my head! and finally up a tree.We saw many different birds,lizards,etc as we walked over the mangrove bridge which was not at all smelly but was a place to see more varieties of fish.

My grandson was in heaven!!!!

He would swim up to the Pool bar and receive a "pina colada".even two! The pool water was very warm.I loved it!!! There were activities around the pool; my grandson played water polo every day.You could join up with the activities or just watch like I did. I didn't think it was noisy..it's active fun.You could still read your book you lucky people;I had to be Lifeguard for Noah,my grandson but that's my choice.

Every morning Noah would wake up and say"Let's go to the Buffet! I'm starving!" so off we went.We stayed in Rm.3125 upper floor,wraparound balcony..lovely.I had read on reviews the first floor can be mildewy so I wanted the 2nd floor.Walk to the Buffet was a windy,intricate pathway where we often became disoriented.I felt there should be more lighting in those areas not because I was afraid of anyone but because it was not even and i was afraid I might trip at night;then I saw big toads and frogs along the pathways and they'd jump and I'd yell.

Breakfast buffet was good: omelettes made your way,pancakes and a good variety of food.I noticed that the bacon was more well cooked by the end of the week. Could it be that 80% of the people staying there were from England had some influence? By the way, Noah was happily served Coca Cola by the waitresses for breakfast!!! I was shocked that he wasn't drinking juice but he said, "I'm on holidays too".hmmm.I didn't drink the Coke because it wasn't my pure Coca Cola from Canada..can only compromise os so many things...

I brought Heinz ketsup,real Maple Syrup and peanut butter which made a big difference.

Therer was always a variety of food even if it is bland;even the black pepper tastes blah but who cares? I'm in a different land not Canada.

We went to the a la cartes.At the Cuban restaurant,it had rained a bit before and it's out in the open . A little gecko sat up high and watched us as we ate.During dinner a bug landed in my water,then later on,another bug ended up in someone else's food.But that happens in our own backyard when we are eating outside.The food was good.Noah liked the lobster.

Japanese food was plentiful; it was fun and entertaining but don't go and think you are eating authentic Japanese because you aren't.

Italian was very elegant and everyone was happy with their food.I only ate the minnestrone soup as my stomach was slightly upset.A couple from England got married on the beach that day and were having their small reception there.It was a most beautiful setting for the occasion and the wedding cake they sent over to us was very delicious. We went to the market in Guardalavaca and Noah was able to buy his souvenirs for his Mom,teacher,etc. Then we swam in the ocean there;it was a beautiful beach too.

The highlight of the trip was delivering the NJT medical suitcase to a hospital in Banes;it was an hour's drive from our resort and the trip in was interesting.We met the medical nurse who took us to his house for dinner.His pregnant wife,his parents.,unt and uncle,brother and family all were there so warm and friendly.He had a huge Canada flag strung up in his dining room.They made us a meal as though it was Christmas. I was so overwhelmed by what little they had I ended up crying 3 times at the dinner table!!!! I felt humbled and embarrassed thinking of what little they have and how much we have. Noah was surprised too!! No TV.no Game Boy!! just a rooster out in front crowing.What an experience!!They were so proud of the crib for the baby but it looked very old to me.They desperately need mosquito netting.The gifts I brought were not nearly enough.

Please bring what you can to pass out to the people. Every day is a struggle for them.

We enjoyed the shows at night. Lobby bar was a great place to sit around,meet people,have a Cappachino while Noah played pool with some kids he met from England.There were very few people from Ontario and Quebec.I did meet 3 boys from Ottawa,age about 22 who stayed up their first night ALL NIGHT and drank until the breakfast buffet opened where they ate and went...to bed!!!

I would stay at PCV again.I met only warm,friendly Cubans who asked for nothing.A tip mattered or not;the room was always left the same way.I tipped the gardeners,the servers,the hot chefs at the pancake and omelette stations,girls at Front Desk even though Noah was saying you are giving your money away! and I was..a peso or two or three isn't going to kill me and yes I had to save for this trip out of my first year Canada pension.a gift for me too! Say "Hola' to Odalmis at Front Desk!! She is AWESOME and will try to make your stay as perfect as it can be.She has a six year old son ,Alex and she distributes items like pencils to her son's school.She is an angel. I am home now but part of my heart is still there in Cuba.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Ottawa - Canada
August 2007
We usually use Debbie's site as a guide to my vacations but this trip was arranged at the last minute when original plans went astray. Friends that were traveling with us advised that this hotel was a gem for holidayers wanting quiet, good food , great staff and surroundings. They were dead on.

TRAVEL: Ottawa to Holguin by Westjet. Everything on time and no hassels.Tour reps met us and all went smoothly. NOTE: Have a few Cuban $$ from airport if possible to get a cerveza for thef hour ride to Pesquero Beach.

RECEPTION: Hotel had split our group up a little and some of our party of 5 were on ground floor rather than second story......... Rectified by end of first day.Quite friendly and spoke very good English. Currency can be changed right at hotel for pretty good rate. No need for US currency as a surcharge is imposed which makes Candian $$ preferable for exchange.

ROOMS: Spacious, clean and only two story buildings. Maintenance was good to repair TV and light bulbs. Towls were mostly left as needed. Daily Water bottles were replaced when empty bottle left out. NOTE: Bring an extra card ( Air Miles etc.) to leave in the A/C unit to keep it on while out of the unit.

BEACH: Located between the Playa Pesquero Resort and Blau Coste Verde Resort with about a half mile of sand and shade. Beach is located away from resort over a bridge and makes for a great nature walk of 10 minutes through an inland everglade region with abundant birds and small fish to feed.

NOT GOOD: Overall not much except for musquitos around dinner time. Need to use your own repellent even though Resort staff use a defogger to try and keep them out of the open lobby where guests await restaurant reservations. Entertainement not the very best but varies from audience participation shows to the Cuban folk lore to a tribute to "Horror" musicals. As would be expected , the Cuban dance portions are great. Disco would not rate high with the younger set.

EXCURSIONS: Took 2 trips in our two week stay. The trip to town of Guardalavaca (Kill the Cows) was worth it in that you had a chance to meet locals, give out toys, cosmetics, statinery etc.before finishing at a large outdoor market on the town's beach.

A steam train ride into the hills as well as a visit to an old mansion in a fishing town , a climb to a cross overlooking Holguin and free time to shop in the City of Holguin was a rewarding day trip., not great , but unique in its own way.

FOOD: Buffets were the best we've had in the Caribbean "for the price"..... and we've been to just about every island out there, Lobster night on Thursday's at the main buffet is worth planning for; Turkey night is equally as rewarding on Sunday. Fish , Meat & Pasta stalls were daily items. Staff were very polite and not pushy but will appreciate a tip and reward guests accordingly. Pool bar staff were friendly, quick, and enjoyed sharing pictures of their families with guests and were interested in your pictures as well.

THEME RESTAURANTS: All pretty good.. Japanese Tappan is the most fun , but Italian has the best steak (suprisingly) on the resort. Caribbean Soup (Stew) is the most enjoyable surprise at the Cuban Restaurant.

OVER ALL RATING: Definitely a 4 star and we would most assurredly return for a quiet vacation
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
July 2007
Have just returned on 2nd July 2007 from this resort. Having never been to Cuba before I was delighted. The resort is excellent, clean and safe for the children. The food is great, for me anyway, my wife doesn't agree and says that it is aceptable but then she is a very picky eater and I will eat anything, but we all ate well for the two weeks, even my 5 year old twins, personally I had seafood every day and the Lobster is excellent. We were there for my brother-in-laws wedding, the wedding was set beautifully on the beach, the reception service was a little slow but then we were a party of 70 from the UK for the wedding!! Which I was told by the staff was the biggest that they had catered for.(Hardly surprising!) The people are incredibly warm and genuine, we left with a deep respect for the cuban people and have vowed to return at some point. The excursions again are excellent fun, the jeep safari/ catamaran trip was one of the best and the warmth, hospitality and general fun level of the guides and staff is top notch. If you speak a little spanish as I do it can help make it all the more enjoyable as the guides are only too happy to help your spanish language progress, although I can't repeat some of the phrases I learnt, not here anyway! The dolphin trip again was superb, my son was happy to swim with the dolphins, although my daughter was a little nervous so the handler had her help him feed the dolphins and stayed with him throughout the experience, my son soon cottoned on and the two of them sat with the trainer, feeding the dolphins. I recommend doing the "push" where you get lifted out of the water by two dolphins under your feet, this was an amazing experience and one of the best natural highs that I have ever had. All I would say is that although the resort is all inclusive, please do tip whenever possible, for us it is very little and we will never fuly appreciate what it means to the cuban people, who have very little. Also please do take some gifts(Regalios) along to give to your waitress/ bartender/ tour guide as these too are really appreciated by people who have very little, even if they have some good tips, there isn't always much in the shops for them to buy! Things for the children, sunglasses, outfits etc are all important. By the way, take a battery operated fan if you can, it will be a godsend when the humidity is up, which is always and it is a nice litle gift to leave behind along with some batery's. Have a great time, you will love it at Playa Costa Verde, I know we did!
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Woodstock, Ontario
April 2007
We stayed at this hotel April 6-13, 2007 with Sunquest as a group of 19. Canjet flight from Toronto arriving @ 3:00 in the afternoon. No sniffer dogs, went through immigration booth, x-rayed carryon, then picked up luggage. Walked out to buses, as there was no customs people present. Not 1 person had their luggage checked , & I was carrying a NJT suitcase.
Money exchange at airport fast. 77.20 CUC for $100.00 Canadian. Given a receipt without having to ask.

Outside airport I bought 2 cans of Bucanero beer, & 2 bottles of water for 6CUC. 2 beers was quoted at 5CUC. Transfer to hotel was approx 1 hour with orientation on the bus. A good use of time as we only had to see Nancy mornings to book excursions. Reception was painfully slow for the approx 30-35 people. We went last & it was over an hour until we had checked in. Front desk constantly taking phone calls & other staff coming over to talk with the 2 people @ Front desk. They photocopy your passport, & give you package with keys, info, & towel slips. 1 evening we where in the lobby having drinks after 10, when Sunwing people arrived & they also where over an hour checking in for the last people in line.

Room1111 was large & clean with a king size bed, wrap around patio. In- room safe worked from your room card as did your electricity. Tub/shower, bidet, toilet, large separate sink/mirror area with hairdryer. TV had approx 30 channels, TBS, a few english movie channels, ESPN, CNN & the rest either cuban, or Euopean, but I did not come to Cuba to watch TV. Fridge (no refills) had large bottle of water, 1 can of cola, & 1 can of lime soda (sprite). You can refill bottle of water anywhere on the resort, and asked for a 2nd bottle so we each had 1. Grounds, washrooms, facilities, & building where immaculate. Gardeners constantly raking, cutting grass with machete, trimming trees.

Pool: Huge, clean, & swim up bar. Clubhouse (open 8-5) by pool has towel exchange, library of books (I left 2), sports equipment, fins, masks/snorkel for loaning. Lots of lounges.

Beach: Only 2 days where all chairs where used. Chairs are stacked every night & beach cleaned/raked of leaves etc. Lots of tress & shade if wanted. Water was clear blue, white sand. A few areas you can walk out between rocky bottom. After 10 -15 ft sandy bottom, with a few areas to the side with rocky ledge where people snorkled & could see baby octopus, few different types of fish. Some people would take paddleboats out farther where snorkling was better. Paddleboats, kayaks, windsurfers, small sailboats, & catamarans. The catamarans went out for 30 mins, with a driver & could take 2 adults. Reservations required usually a few hours in advance. Only 1 afternoon where the waves too much for water craft. No washroom facilities @ beach. You need to walk back over bridge (swampy area) to washrooms beside Cuban restaurant. Volleyball court on beach, & massages available either on beach or at fitness centre.

Weather was overcast 1st day, then 6 days of 30-35 Celsius and humid. Great timing as the region had a lot of daily rain the previous few weeks. Sun very hot, & intense, beach had a breeze off the water, pool side you just baked. Seen a lot of sunburns! No issues with mosquitos/bugs. 1 night @ dusk staff drove by (golf cart) our rooms fogging the air. Just go inside for a minute. Food was great. Buffet had great selection of soups, breads, salads, seafood, meats & desserts. Omelette station for breakfast, pasta station, pizza station, & BBQ stations for lunch/dinner. Thursday night is seafood at buffet with candles, linen napkins etc. Grilled lobsters, shrimps, smoked salmon, mussels, calamari, etc., also full buffet for non seafood lovers. Coffee strong, fresh fruit the best, fresh squeezed juices.

A La Cartes: Have to stand in line @ 9:00 am to book for the week. We where over an hour in line with some people in our group still there after almost 2 hrs.

Italian: Great with a lot of food. Anti pasta plate, then appetizer, 1st course was pasta, 2nd course meat/veggies, then dessert. A lot of our group was getting full after pasta.
Japanese: A lot of fun & entertaining. 8 people at each table with a cook/grill. Food was awesome & cooked before you. Italian/Japanese dress code is enforced! Our patio was across from the entrances & every night we seen men who where sent back to change. Men must wear pants, shirt with collar & either shoes or dress sandals. No beach sandals. Children 0-4 are not allowed. Children 5-13 only @ 6:30 sitting.
Cuban & Caribbean: Children 0-13 only at 6:30 sitting. Caribbean is snack bar during the day 10-5. Hotdogs, fries, hamburgers, pizzas, fried chicken, sandwiches. Can sit down with full bar service or have food takeout.

Nightly entertainment outside stage around 9:30 to approx 10:15, & had stuff for kids before adult show. Hard to get chairs so we would sit by pool & listen to their music.

Disco: After nightly entertainment. Live Cuban band(resort employees) most nights playing for an hour. Then dj.

Money exchange: 8 am - 10 pm always given a receipt without asking. Avg: 77.5 CUC - $100.00
Lobby Bar -24 hrs with 2 pool tables & fuseball table. Other bars closed at 5 or 6:00 grilled cheese available, hotdogs & hamburgers outside of disco after 11:00 p m.
Scooters (9-5:00) can be rented out at 9CUC for the 1st hour then 3 CUC for every hour after. Need drivers license & passport. Also bicycles can be used. Bike tours daily at 9:30.
Other sports are outside large chess, shuffleboard, tennis, basketball, gym with weights & cardio equipment, table tennis.
Beauty parlour Tuesday - Saturday 10- 5:00. I did see hair braiding being done. Pedicure area behind gym/medical centre..
Car rental in lobby 9-5:00
Doctor on call 24 hours.
Giftshop: 8:30 - 9:30 pm Coffee, rum, beer, cigars, souvenirs, snacks, clothing, cds, books
Internet room had 4 computers. Open 24 hrs & always had someone in there.
Cigar lounge: open evenings for a smoke & liqueur
Beer Corner: open evenings for beer only (obviously). Enjoy a beer or two before or after dinner.
Ice Cream Bar: small portions, soft, delicious but eat quick before melting.
Kids club: Up to 12 yrs. supervised enclosed area with wading pool, playground.
Wedding Gazebo between Italian/Japanese restaurants. Did see a wedding taking place on beach, with photographer, band, horse drawn carriage, table with food/champagne & beautiful flowers.

Vendors: 5-8 different vendors every few days on resort, somedays on beach down @ Playa Pesquero. Other option is go to Guardalavaca flea market approx 25 vendors daily. Cab ride 10CUC each way best to be split with a carload. .

I rented a taxi for 65CUC for the morning to take NJT suitcase of medical supplies to Medical clinic @ Chorro de Maita. Also toured the archeological native site, toured a church, visited people in their homes.

Excursions: Full list of over 30 different ones available. In our group we had 12 do the Jeep Adventure tour with a few telling me it was the best thing they have ever done. 2 people swam with dolphins & 3 others took a bus trip visiting nearby museums, school, farms, flea markets. Full enjoyment by all.
Drinks: International & Domestic brands. Draught beer was Cristal with Bucanero cans available. Spanish coffees, cappuccino etc. Guests: No issues that I seen/heard. The week was mostly Canadians, with some Italians, Germans, British, & French. More adults than families.

Conclusion: Enjoyable vacation for the whole group. Resort was clean, safe, great service, food & drinks superb!

Constructive Criticism:
1. Checkin slow. Maybe when the know a busload is coming in they could add 1 person to deal with calls, & current guests inquiries freeing up the 2 staff.
2. Washroom facilities at the beach.
3.(this is a tough one) Italian restaurant had a lot of food. After an appetizer & full plate of pasta, the second course of beef/chicken/seafood, potatoes & veggies where hardly touched by 5 people in our table of 8. Only 2 had dessert.

We would not hesitate about returning, & recommend this hotel. Any questions feel free to contact slew021@msn.com
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde

March 2007
We were at this resort for 2 weeks from February 23rd. This is our second visit to Playa Costa Verde and, as with our first visit, thoroughly enjoyed it. We have been travelling since 1988 and it is the first time we have visited the same resort twice but wanted to bring friends of ours. Our friends have put this resort at the top of their list what with the cleanliness, friendly and expert staff, the quality of the food and the beauty of the resort both with the pool and gardens. They would also like to re-visit this resort again and we will no doubt do so with them.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Gil + Dol 
Markham , Ontario
March 2007
We are quiet married couple with a 6 yo daughter . We just returned from a wonderful week at this resort .

We travelled with Signature booked on line about 10 days before departure.

We flew with SkyService Air in the usual and expected tight seating but the flights both ways were on time and pleasant . The transfers to / fro the hotel were also A-OK .

The first room assigned to us , 2613 , bore a heavy mildew odour . Due to an asthmatic in our group it was unacceptable. At first we were told the place was full but with the explanation of the health issue we were immediately re-assigned to 4527 . It was an excellent room . It was clean and well maintained all week . The beds were comfortable (one king + fold out sofa for the little one) , effective lighting , a nice big balcony , good functional bathroom fixtures , lots of hot water and a small bar fridge that kept beer very cold .

The food at the buffet was good with a wide variety and nicely presented. Typical of Cuban resorts , they label the stuff cryptically - i.e. "fish" or "beef" - one knows not if it's mackerel or grouper - cheese is bland and always the same - crusty breads are best - good are pasta and pizza stations - omelet station OK - BBQ station produced smoke tasting chicken / beef - rice, beans , salad makings all good - excellent pickles/olives , over all we were satisfied with the buffet for breakfast , lunch and dinner .

We went to three a la carte restaurants and all were OK , not great, but OK and a nice change from the buffet.

The lobby bar is good. Ask for a double and you'll get one. The service is a little slow but just be patient and don't worry about someone cutting in ...the tenders always know who's next and never was my turn usurped. Pool bar is likewise.

Snack bar serves burgers , dogs and fries....it was OK and it's open all afternoon . There's a little bar in there too.

The cutlery and dishes were sparkling clean on every occasion in every restaurant and bar . I watch for this in all restaurants and this was the best result I have ever seen , even better than what we see in Canada . Never lipstick on a glass or greasy forks / knives / dishes.

Tipping is discrete mostly . I did not notice tip jars at the bar nor the cooking stations in the restaurant .

The pool is clean and huge - lots of chairs .

The beach is excellent . Lots of chairs and they deliver to your spot even if your way off . A peso is a good little tip for that lugging but is not necessary . In some areas you'll need water shoes to get through the first 10-15 meters but then it's nice and sandy. Excellent snorkeling about 200 - 250 meters out from the shore a bit to the right of the boat shop .

Kids club facilities seem nice and the club has it's own wading pool for kiddies . We did not partake .

Buy your coffee , rum and cigars at the airport on the way home - the prices are the same and it'll save you lugging the loot around .

This place is easy to recommend . We would consider returning.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Lionel & Connie 
Stratford Ont
February 2007
I will try to be short and let you know about our trip without going over everything again that people have said.We have been to Cuba now 5 times to Melia Cayo Santa Maria,Jibacoa, and Playa Pesquero.This resort by far surpasses the others in various ways.

The service is outstanding and friendly.We felt that out of all the resorts we have been to that the workers here were here to do their jobs and to please all the resort guests.They seemed to be the happiest out of all the resorts .The accommodations were top notch as well. The food was the best we have had in Cuba and changed nightly to different themes.

The beach was busy but very nice as well. The pools were nicely laid out and they had childrens pools off to the side.The grounds were grown up and lush and extremely well manicured.Rooms service was A1 and rooms were ready by late morning.

My wife had a dental problem and we were quickly advised by the Signature Rep to go to Guardalavaca to the International Clinic for assistance.We did and were received immediately.We ended up paying 45 pesos for a procedure that was in the process in Canada that had already cost $2000.00.This blew us away.The dental office was very clean and the equipment was dated however the dentist took no time in fixing the problem that originated here in Canada by a SPECIALIST. As a result we have no problems guessing how good their medical system is.

Again superior service and friendly people.Bars and bartenders were excellant.Food outstanding,rooms very nice.I felt I touched on everything and if I didn't ,don't hesitate for this resort as I can tell you it is now our most favorite.You will not regret it.

If there are negative reviews on this one I would have to question the person as there was absolutely nothing that anyone could even come close to grump about.

We will be going back on a continual basis to this resort.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Jim & Nat 
Kincardine Ontario Canada
February 2007
This review was a long time coming. My wife and I traveled to Playa Costa Verde in May 2006 for my best friends wedding and our first trip abroad. The flight from Toronto to Holguin was uneventful yet painful since I had too many cocktails the previous night and getting up at 3 am was tough to say the least (sorry Nat!). I don't want to repeat too much from others travelers posts, so here's the highlights:

First of all, the staff are amazing! It's hard to believe that they have such a pleasant disposition despite working 10-12 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week. I admit that I went overboard on tipping (sorry again Nat), but it was only because I was so taken with the Cuban people that I met and became friends with.

The food was very good and again, the wait staff were fantastic. The wedding meal was absolutely the best! We had some sort of shrimp appetizer made with pineapple that I loved... and I don't even like pineapple! It was excruciatingly hot for the meal with the sun shining directly into the restaurant, but the staff went out of their way to hang blankets to block the sun and make it more bearable for everybody. We didn't try any other a la cartes, mainly because I found it too hot to wear long pants for any length of time.

Our suite was very tidy with two balconies, two tv's, two washrooms and a bar fridge. The only complaint that I might have had if it weren't so hot was that we had no hot water (didn't need it). The girl that cleaned our room was very sweet and quite shy.

The beach was amazing, but the boardwalk down there was pretty disgusting. It wasn't anything that could be helped, it was just that it was in the middle of a drought and the wetlands had partially dried up which made what remained smell particularly bad. The snorkeling was great and if you brought some bananas, you could feed the fish only about 75 yards from shore.

The pool is first class. The swim up bar was also awesome.

I mentioned how hospitable the Cuban people were, but most of the guests that we met were also genuinely nice people. We met a group of Brits that we had a friendly athletic rivalry with.

Now, pay attention - THE SUN IS VERY STRONG AT THIS TIME OF YEAR! I was burnt to a crisp by our third day and had mild heat exhaustion for a couple days (I wasn't the only one). Don't be a hero! make sure you apply sunscreen regularly and better yet, got to a tanning booth for a few weeks before hand.

The entertainment was fabulous. Please don't expect all professional performances. What the performers lacked in polish, they made up for in enthusiasm.

We went on one side trip to tour the country side and then swim with the dolphins. It was awesome (sorry, I'm running out of adjectives). I'm not sure if it was the actual trip, the people we met, or a combination of the two, but we had a blast. You can pet the dolphins and the kids were pushed out of the water, shooting across the pool while riding on the dolphins snout.

I wouldn't hesitate going back and in fact we will be going back this year for another wedding! A couple that attended last years wedding are tying the knot in Cuba this year.

What else can I say - Even if our accommodations were terrible (which they weren't), if the food was lousy (which it wasn't), if the drinks were watered down (not - very strong), or if the weather didn't cooperate (sunny 7 days), I still would have enjoyed myself for the simple fact that almost every Cuban we met was friendly, helpful and warm.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Cathy and Ken 
January 2007
This was our first trip to Holguin, having been to Cayo Santa Maria and Varadaro on prior trips. While we enjoyed the other trips, this was by far the best. We are a retired couple and were looking for a very restful vacation. We were accompanied by another couple. Accommodation: We were in unit 2525 which was a second floor corner unit facing the walkway. The balcony was a wrap around and offered us a very nice place to sit and relax. The location was ideal. We were about a four minute walk from the buffet restaurant and main lobby and about eight to ten minutes from the beach. The walk to the pool was about four minutes. The room was large and very clean. The maid did an excellent job each day. My wife left her gifts such as cosmetics, barbie dolls, colouring books, crayons, pencils and erasers for her children. Each day she had our towels on the bed, folded into hearts and other shapes. On the last day she spelled the word “bye” with the towels. Food: We found the food very good. There were always so many options. The morning omelets were prepared by a lady who had a wonderful smile. Other than the bacon, which was very fatty and greasy, everything was fine. Lunches had plenty of options and while we only ate supper on the arrival night, Sunday and on lobster night, Thursday, the buffet was excellent. We sat in a non smoking section closest to the hotel lobby and Yillian pronounced Jillian and Yalet, pronounced Jalet looked for us each day. Tips are shared by the staff in each area and these ladies went out of their way to be helpful. My wife also had toys for their children. Ala Carte: Everyone raved about the Japanese Restaurant in the reviews and we have to agree that it is excellent. Leo our chef did an excellent presentation and had us in stitches laughing at his antics. We also got to participate in his act. I had the pleasure of flipping a piece of beef in the air and spearing it with a knife. The Italian was very good and the beef filet, bacon wrapped was good, not as tasty as we might get in Canada, but good. We enjoyed the Cuban restaurant the most. Edy, our waiter was very accommodating. We were able to go their a second night due to a cancellation and Edy invited us to lunch the next day and he had a special treat for us, a seafood cocktail. The lobster was delicious, served with a mixture of mussels, shrimp and calamari inserted into part of the cavity. We did find that something bit us as we are outdoors, so take along some insect repellent in the evening. Beach: The beach is great. There are lots of beach lounges and the fellows drag the chairs to whatever location you decide to set up. There are plenty of thatched umbrellas and trees for shade. There is coral in the water so avoid coral as you go out into the water. Once out past your knees there is no coral. The beach is shallow and clean. There is lots of activity with the non-motorized craft, kayaks, paddleboats, sailboats and hobie cats. If you go in the morning, you need pesos for tips, but in the afternoon there are lots of lounges left by morning sunbathers, so no need to have a lounge dragged out.

Pool: The pool is large and very beautiful. In the afternoon the animation team has volleyball, water polo and bingo on the go and it is quite noisy.

Foggers: Each afternoon, just prior to supper, they come down the cart path and fog the area to kill mosquitoes. Make sure your patio door is closed, as the fog is quite smelly.

Excursion: We only did one outside excursion, a trip to the market in Guardalavaca. We took a cab, a French car, plenty of room for the four of us. The cost was 10 pesos each way. We asked for a ride back in about two hours and he arrived with passengers in about and hour and a half, which was just perfect. The market is worth a trip to purchase souvenirs.

Overall: We all enjoyed our time at Playa Costa Verde. The staff is very pleasant, the resort well maintained and overall, the value was excellent. We plan to return.

Airport: We encountered some interesting situations at the airport. While waiting to get our seat assignments, we had a number of Cubans approach us to exchange pesos for Canadian and American dollars. The men seem to have rolls of bills and wanted to exchange dollar for dollar. One peso got us either and American or Canadian dollar. We were not sure whether it was money laundering or not. A peso for US dollar was not a bad deal. The other incident involved seating on the return flight. We were near the end of the line for seating and my friend asked for two seats together and was told there were non available. However the clerk left his post, came back and smiled and said he was able to get two seats together. He then asked for a tip. I was next in line, heard the conversation and had a peso in my hand, told the same clerk that I needed a seat with wide aisles and he was able to get me two seats in the emergency door row. The fellow Canadian next to me, a very tall man had asked for a seat in the emergency row and offered a peso and was asked by the clerk if the tip could be more, he tipped 4 pesos all together for his seat. Meanwhile, after we boarded we discovered there were at least 3 empty rows of seats at the back of the plane.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Toronto, Canada
October 2006
We were a party of 2 female friends ages 29 and 30 traveling October 15-22.

What can we say? We had a fabulous time at Playa Costa Verde! The staff is really friendly and pleasant, right from the moment we got to the hotel to the moment we left. The hotel itself is very lovely. The rooms were very spacious and clean! We would leave some gifts (soap, make-up, gum, etc) every other day for the maid and she'd make an elephant or a swan with the bath towels along with a thank-you note.

The beach is amazing!! I have traveled a lot, and I have to say this is definitely one of the best beaches I have ever seen; clear water, white sand and lots of little fish. The water was also very warm! There is plenty of water sports equipment available so there's always lots to do.

The weather was terrific all week! It rained one afternoon for a couple of hours and that was it! The rest of the days were filled with lots of sunshine and 30 degree weather.

Nightlife - not much. There is a disco on the beach at the Blau next door that is usually okay, and there's the disco at the hotel which is also not bad....however, neither one of these get really busy. The place to go for nightlife is La Roca in Guardalavaca on Friday and Saturday nights. You can get a cab from the hotel for about 10 pesos and it takes about 20-25 minutes to get there...it's a good idea to ask the cab driver to come back for you at a specific time so you're not waiting around at the end of the night.

The food was very good. I wasn't crazy about the buffet, but the a la carte restaurants were surprising very good. The Cuban restaurant was very good, the lobster is excellent! The Italian restaurant is good, depending on what you order. The Japanese restaurant was the best!! It was like eating at an expensive Japanese restaurant at home, we were very impressed. Also the snack bar/restaurant had lots of good things to choose from...the pizza was especially good.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this resort to anyone and I plan on going back myself. After experiencing a week at Playa Costa Verde I can understand why there are so many repeat customers. The friendly atmosphere, beautiful beach, good food, and overall ambience - Playa Costa Verde is an excellent place to visit!
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
June 2006
We were a party of 13 family/friends traveling to Playa Costa Verde (April 14-April 28). I apologize about the delay in having this posted, but it took some time to get it together.

We arrived at Lester B. Pearson Airport in Toronto at 1:45 p.m., check-in was fine and the flight left on time (4:30 p.m.) via Air Transat to take us to the beautiful Playa Costa Verde Resort. We have to state that we were not very pleased with the flight changes that we went through with Air Transat (seven days prior to our departure). The flight was originally leaving at 6:25 a.m. and a week prior to departure Air Transat changed it to 6:50 a.m., we thought at the time fine, it is only 25 minutes, but when we found out by going online that the flight changed from 6:50 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. we were very angry as we had specifically booked the Friday flight times because it was leaving very early in the morning, which is our preference. There was a Saturday flight that left at 4:30 p.m., but we didn’t want a late afternoon flight, hence booking the Friday flight. Needless to say, this particular customer service was horrible and we may as well have been talking to a wall and we, to this day, are still in negotiations with Air Transat with respect to this issue. Back to the report…uneventful flight, a little turbulence on the way down, but the pilot switched course and it was fine all the way to Holguin, we had booked and paid for bulkhead seats, which is great for hubby. Instead of the regular wrap type sandwich, they provided us with a Subway sandwich for dinner and a chocolate chip cookie for dessert. Let me tell you, it certainly beat those boxed lunches that they used to throw at you, that’s for sure. The flight attendants were amazing round trip, best crew we ever had on Air Transat. Next time we are definitely going to book Club Class seats though.

ARRIVAL IN HOLGUIN AND CHECK-IN AT RESORT: Arrival at Frank Pais Airport in Holguin was perfect, we were the only flight arriving at the time and immigration was quick and efficient. The luggage however, seemed to take forever as the employees at the airport kept removing baggage from the carrousel and you had to go from one area to another to try and locate your luggage, certainly not organized, that’s for sure. After finally retrieving all of our luggage (there were 7 of us the first week and then 6 more came down the second week) we were off to the buses to hurry up and wait while the rest of the tourons kept us waiting for about 45 minutes (o.k., give or take a few minutes) to find their way to the bus. Finally we were on our way to the Playa Costa Verde. It took one hour to get to the hotel. We arrived at the resort at approximately 10:45 p.m., check in was a breeze, but when we were taken to our rooms, we realized that there was a mix up. We did get the king size beds and upper floors that we had requested, but we had also requested an adjoining room and that did not happen. All was fine for the night and it was rectified the next day, although I certainly wouldn’t use the word “quickly rectified”, as it took most of the day to get it all arranged, but after everything was said and done, it all turned out to our liking.

ROOMS: The rooms were lovely, but were in need of perhaps a paint job, some new drapes and a new bedspread. I was under the impression that they had closed down the resort for renovations, but it appeared that they did not renovate the rooms themselves. They were very clean and spacious. We had a bit of a leak on the Friday night we arrived, but just chalked it up to the air conditioning system working overtime. The first three days we had problems with water from the air conditioning (in the dressing room area). Saturday we called and they sent a “technician” to fix it, he came in with two rolls of duct tape, I though o.k., clearly this has got to get better. On Sunday we had yet again to call someone and that another technician came as it was leaking even more and so an hour later he told us he would be right back to get some parts (don’t know what kind of parts he was referring to), and then he returned, made some more noise and announced it was fixed. We thought finally…(yes it does get worse) my sister-in-law and I went back to the room on Monday and lo and behold the water was right out the door and was running right into the room across the corridor. Needless to say, we had the third “technician” to come up to fixed it and he was the one that finally said “it can’t be fixed without the right parts” (considering it was fixed with duct tape the first time, I suppose duct tape is now considered not the “right parts” and some rattling done the second time). Off to the manager’s office we go to get us moved, but finally after a couple of hours we had our room changed from Villa 26 to Villa 14. I think we had our room in Villa 26 packed in about 15 minutes (well considering we had 6 people helping us…). Excellent location, right in front of the pool and a 2-minute walk to the pathway to the beach. Speaking of the manager, I must say we were pleasantly surprised…thank you Jose for all the time and effort you put into making our stay most enjoyable. The second week six more family members came and they were put on the bottom floor. We had originally requested upper floor, corner rooms. Needless to say, some bugs (some rather large and hairy ones) appeared, but after a few days, they did not really have a problem with them. If you are afraid of spiders and believe me, there are some rather large spiders, whatever you do, avoid the bottom floor rooms if you can closest to which they like to call the “protected area”. The manager did offer to move them, but they had already unpacked and decided to stay where they were.

CLEANING OF ROOMS The first week, the maid we had was o.k., she wasn’t as good as the maid we had the second week. We had different towel art every day and she was extremely efficient. As for our other family members, they reported that the maids were doing a very nice job. We did find out, however, that the money and gifts that are left for the maids are pooled at the end of the day and the managers get first pick and whatever is left over the staff have to share. Didn’t like that one bit considering the things we left for our maid thinking she was going to take it home to her family, probably went to the managers. Terrible thing that is happening in Cuba.

BARS AND SERVICE: Well what can we say, the bars were great, but service was very slow at times. Not enough staff on hand for the amount of people staying at the resort. They had at least eight staff members off sick and didn’t bring anyone else in to help out. Eduardo at the beach bar was amazing, but he only had two hands and most times there was a very long line up to get drinks. Most times it was extremely hot waiting in line in the sun, and, of course, the people of certain countries, butting in and giving us dirty looks when we said excuse me there is a line-up. They just walk right up to the front of the line and stand at the side, well we certainly didn’t allow that after spending 10 minutes in the blazing sun. Very rude if you ask me. Eduardo did his best, but I think the resort should ensure that there are at least 2 bartenders at the beach bar. They are in desperate need of a beach bathroom as well. We were told that they are building one next year (we shall see).

WEATHER: The weather, well what can I say, it was perfect! Fourteen days of solid sunshine. A few days it was very windy though and the second week the tide was out quite a bit, so we just used the beach in the morning and in the afternoon, when we went back for lunch, we stayed at the pool. This worked for everyone in our travel party. One day during our second week it threatened to rain (just a few sprinkles) and that was it, but it sure looked like a huge storm coming in.

BEACH: The beach was absolutely lovely…the color of the water was amazing. Quite a bit longer than the beaches in Guardalavaca, which we love because is great for long walks on the beach. There is some coral at the shore so I would suggest bringing water shoes, unless you want to walk over to where they dock the boats, etc. as it is pretty much sandy there. The water was lovely, but a little chilly getting in, but once you were in it was very rejuvenating! Love those hot and cool currents. The fish, so the women in the traveling party were told, were awesome and the underwater camera pictures proved it. The men in our group snorkelled a few times and some of the fish were surprisingly large.

DAY TRIPS: We went into Guardalavaca three times for some shopping. The first and second time we went were just the woman and the men took the scooters into the mountains. It was extremely hot the three times we went. We took a cab going to and from town. It worked out to be 3 CUC each. There is not a lot of shopping, but they have some nice things if you are in the market to purchase souvenirs. Had a few drinks at this little restaurant and just wandered around. We actually walked along the boardwalk to the Las Brisas where we stayed 2 years ago. I am hoping the renovations that they are doing will improve the main hotel somewhat.

POOLS: The pool was wonderful and very well kept. No problems whatsoever. But beware…the towel game is in full swing and some people were down at the beach and the pool around 6:30 a.m. We are beach people, so there were an abundance of areas to choose from, but we too joined in as I always say “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. We actually had our towels removed one day (they actually took our towels and we know it certainly wasn’t the Cubans) at the beach and our chairs taken prior to 8:30 a.m. when we arrived at the beach after our breakfast. Breakfast opened at 7:30 and we were generally at the beach by 8:30ish. We thought it very rude that people would do this considering we were at the beach all day and we saw quite a few chairs and palapas (including theirs) empty for most of the day. We didn’t always get the same area each day, but as long as we had our palapas that was fine with us. We had 13 people with us and finally the man that brought out the beach chairs watched our area until we arrived at the beach. He actually asked my brother and sister-in-law if they were “family” when they sat down in the chairs he had been watching for us. They had to laugh that he was being very protective of the “family’s palapas and chairs”. Very sweet man, we tipped him daily and brought him clothes, water and pop.

RESERVATION SYSTEM FOR BOOKING ALA CARTES O.K., this is important and we all think perhaps this should be revamped, if you book for 13 and they can’t give you two tables, one for 7 and one for 6, make sure the particular restaurant knows ahead of time that you wish to sit together. They do it by room number and depending upon the number of people in your room, that is how many seats you get at a table. They had my mother-in-law at a table all by herself. This problem should be looked at and corrected. We were not the only one dealing with this type of problem as other guests were complaining as well. To be honest, the only time this happened was in the Japanese Restaurant (read below).


Kyoto (Japanese): The show table was very nice to have, after quite a hassle to get the table together. This is where the reservation system lacked. As I said, they were going to put my mother-in-law at a different table, which didn’t happen in the end, but the woman seating us was quite ruffled when we got there, then the hassle with us and some other guests, just turned her very unreasonable. Of course, words were spoken back and forth. There was another table available, but she said that was for “guests”…whatever that means, I thought we were the guests. Needless to say we all calmed down and had a lovely dinner. We were told and did order everything on the menu (there were 7 of us) and it was amazing. We had a lovely little array of sushi to begin with and then chicken, beef, fish, rice stir fried and then they offered dessert. Couldn’t eat another bite!

Briary Buffet: Food at the buffet was extremely good, far surpassing any food we have had in Cuba previously. For those that said the food is horrible and tasteless, then you are probably one of those people that eat at 6 star restaurants every day or are extremely fussy and, quite frankly, you are the ones that will never be pleased. There were absolutely no complaints whatsoever about the food from anyone in our travel party. Everything was excellent. The seafood night was incredible (Thursday). Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. The lobster was terrific! My brother and nephew had 6 small lobsters each. Their soups were amazing and fresh. Breakfast was wonderful, the eggs are always so fresh and the orange juice, oh my gosh, it was the best. We certainly can’t get that here in Canada, that’s for sure! Tuesday night is beef tenderloin night and it was extremely good. The food overall was a 10 in our opinion.

Caribbean: The food here was very good. It is the snack bar by the pool for lunch (do try the pizza, awesome), turned dinner restaurant at night. Service was fantastic as was the food. The lobster salad was to die for, couldn’t believe the chunks of lobster. The steak was very good as well. A little undercooked for me, but my own fault, should have had it cooked a bit more.

Italian: We ate at the Italian twice and enjoyed it thoroughly. Too many courses though, but service and food, awesome. Everyone in our traveling party were extremely full after all those courses. Of course, Italian food is one of my favourites.

Cuban: We were told to have the lobster here and we did. It was o.k., probably wasn’t cooked as well as we would like or something, but none of us cared for it too much. The Cuban Soup was awesome! I would love to get the recipe for that. Service was wonderful. My mother-in-law had the salmon and it had some bones, so if you are having salmon, just be care with the bones.

DEPARTURE Again because of the flight changes, our flight was not leaving until 9:40 p.m. arriving in Toronto at 1:50 a.m. Left the resort around 6:00 p.m. and after check-in at Frank Pais Airport, had time to sit for about 1 hour and then time to head home. Flight was extremely turbulent, but made it home in one piece.

The problem with the air conditioning was terrible considering it was inches from our clothes hanging in the closet. I still can’t believe that it took three different technicians to figure out what the problem was (yes I know, I am in Cuba).

Also with respect to the bottom floor rooms, considering that the upper floors were specifically requested six months in advance (I know, no guarantees) you would think they could try and accommodate us as the rest of the traveling party was on the other side of the resort from us, but all together.

The service at the main, pool and beach bars was extremely slow. It wasn’t the staff as there were numerous people out sick and they didn’t replace them, but we felt that they should have acted upon this and hired more staff to work the bars. This is actually amusing. Whatever you do, do not lose the blue towel!!! Actually we think it was probably another tourist that took it because clearly, they were missing their towel. This is the first time that we have had a towel “stolen” by another tourist. The staff at the front desk actually had the nerve to say if the towel or towel card was not returned, the couple in question cannot leave the country. Absolutely ludicrous if you ask me. For goodness sake, it was a 16 peso towel. So another friend of ours said to them to call the Canadian Embassy to have them settled the issue and then, of course, after a bit more arguing, it was pretty much finished. How ridiculous is that? We travel every year and we do know they take their towels very serious (they do take inventory you know)…be that as it may, I believe the tourists should not take each others towels, as was the case. If they can actually physically move your belongings and take your chairs and not sit in them all day, they are not above taking a towel that clearly they thought they were entitled to. It appears that quite the game is going on.

All in all, it was a fabulous holiday. I would highly recommend this resort for young and old alike. We had 13 of the nearest and dearest with us and we couldn’t have asked for more. Cuba will always remain in our hearts and you can bet we will be back very soon.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Paris, Ontario
May 2006
We have just returned from Playa Costa Verde Holguin and had a fabulous time. We were on your website reading all the reviews of the resorts we were thinking of staying at and decided on Costa Verde because so many people had such great things to say about it. We went from April 28-May 7 in a group of 6 adults and 2 children (5 & 7). We were really happy with our choice and would like to add a review of our own to encourage people to choose this resort:

We spent 9 days at Playa Costa Verde in Holguin. There was a group of us, 6 adults and 2 children (5 and 7). The weather was excellent the entire time, sometimes a little cloudy in the early morning but always sunny and hot by around 10am. The food at the buffet was very good, lots of choices. The create your own omlette at breakfast and pasta at lunch and supper were the best. We signed up early for the A La Carte’s and found the Japanese to be the best. We also really enjoyed the ‘snack bar’ for lunches where we could get foods the kids liked such as hot dogs, french fries, pizza, fish and chips, sandwiches etc. We did hear some people complaining about the food but we think they were being too picky. The food in Cuba is ‘different’ so if you go there expecting the types of food we get here, you will be disappointed. We all took insulated travel mugs that the bartenders gladly filled for us with any drink we wanted. This was nice because we didn’t have to make as many trips to the bar, which usually had a line-up, and it also kept our drinks really cold. Our children went to the kids club a few times and really loved it, especially Cheeky one of the ladies working there, she was excellent with the kids. If you have any extra clothing, give it to her, she donates it to her church for the poor. The only thing not offered was babysitting services in the evening. We spent most mornings at the beach and afternoons at the pool. There were always lots of loungers available, although more difficult to find a shady spot by the pool if you didn’t get your chairs early. They could use more umbrella’s around the pool. The rooms were amazing, very large and clean and comfortable. We only saw a few little bugs, spiders mostly. We did notice some of us were being bitten by what we think were mosquito’s in the evenings in the lobby, so we made sure we wore lots of bug spray at night. We did the catamaran and dolphin swim day trip which was the highlight of our trip. It includes snorkeling which was amazing also, but the dolphin swim is something everyone should do. It cost 120 peso’s adults and 72 peso’s kids. Well worth the money. We also took the trolley into Guardalavaca to the market. The trolley picked us up at the front of our resort around 9:30am. The trolley ride was great for seeing the countryside and people’s homes. The market was very small and was mostly the same things for sale that the vendors were selling at the resort, and for about the same price. Make sure you get down to the beach to see the sunset, which was around 7:30pm. If anyone wants to get their hair braided, it is only done through the salon behind the gift shop, you won’t find any locals on the beach doing this. We would definitely return to this resort, everything about it was great!
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
Michael & Chris 
May 2006
This was our third time to PCV; first time was with our kids when it was opened and called Superclub Breezes; second time was 2005 for a wedding and, of course, this year.

We also had friends with us that have never been to Holguin and their comment was “if no one was happy or content with the resort – it is their own fault”.

Considering there was a full busload all at once check-in went quite smoothly. Our group was all in the same unit/same floor/same side which was great!

Of course, the Japanese Restaurant was everyone’s favorite.

Edy, in the Cuban Restaurant, made our evening especially enjoyable. If you go there, I hope you have him as your waiter.

Don’t forget to book these al la cartes as soon as you can as they do fill up fast and are limited times/seating. Dress code is also in effect for these.

Yohannas in the Buffet will always ensure that your meals are never boring – he has twin girls and a 7 year old son. He is lots of fun – try and sit in his area if you can.

Also, ensure you visit the “Beer Corner” – a small quaint area with Angelo providing some entertainment. (although the bar-tender is also very entertaining). It is a MUST to go there for a leisurely after dinner beer (besides water, that’s all you’ll get there, I guess that’s why it’s called the “Beer Corner”).

One of the things we like about this resort is the number of chairs at the beach & the pool. Never need to worry about not having a lounge chair. Lots of sun & shady spots, although you need to be an early bird for the shady spots – they seem to be “reserved” very early.

Our habit is to use the beach in the a.m.’s and the pool after lunch as it seems to be more active in the afternoons – games / dance lessons/ generally more people seem to retreat to that area especially near the pool bar – Jesus does a marvelous job of keeping your glasses full.

Food – everyone seemed to enjoy the selection. Something for everyone, even kids/teenagers shouldn’t complain. (I know mine didn’t 5 years ago and, by the way, my son is now looking forward to going back with some friends as well).

Drinks – you can order almost anything you want – they have a very good variety to choose from and don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t see it. Wilson at the main lobby bar is great!

Water sports – we had great weather for the week we were there and fully used all that was available to us. There is also great snorkeling just past the Blau next door (a 5-min walk on the beach). Take a banana with you – the fish love it.

I have recommended this resort to many people and as of yet, I have had no complaints – it’s a great place for family & friends.

All in all, we had a great vacation and are looking forward to our next vacation. CUBA is the place to go for a relaxing or a very fun vacation.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
April 2006
We flew from Gatwick(UK) with First Choice in their standard Star class. Paid extra for extra leg room seats which was well worth the money as although I am nearly 6' 4" I couldn't reach the seat in front!!Flight was only slightly behind schedule, we arrived in a tropical downpour but we were the only flight in Holguin at that time so queues were effectively non-existent for immigration etc. Transfer to PCV was quick (as it was the only stop) although we had to wait a while in the coach whilst some missing luggage was located.

Check in was quick at PCV, although we had to wait for an hour as our room was not yet ready.This wasn't a hardship as we sat in the large airy reception area and downed a couple of glasses of very welcome beer and champagne!

When we finally were taken to our room we were delighted to see that we had been allocated a second floor corner room with a large wrap around balcony (I had emailed the resort in advance with a request in Spanish - I don't know whether this was the reason). The room was large,comfortable and was kept very clean during our two weeks.There was nearly always hot water altho it was only warm at 7:00pm after everyone had showered.We tipped our maid every other day and asked her to supply us with bottled water as the fridge is only stocked on day one with water and two small cans of pop.The air con was very effective and we had no problems with insects at all.

The grounds are beautifully landscaped - the grass was somewhat brown when we arrived but a deluge one evening soon greened everything up.There are a large variety of shrubs and trees, many in flower whilst we were there.Its not a huge site so its possible to walk everywhere on the clearly signposted paths.

The beach is very pleasant with easy access to the sea - there are a few rocky bits but its perfectly possible to get in and out without any problems; the water is refreshing, without being cold and was never too rough even when the wind got up after a few days.The snorkelling is very good particularly to the right of the PCV in front of the Blau. The only downside of the beach is that it is relatively small.As our second week coincided with Easter it got pretty crowded by 11:00am. The weekend was even more crowded due to the presence of several busloads of locals who used the beach between Pesquero and PCV. In the second week we had the usual European problem with sunshades being "reserved" before breakfast, altho there was no shortage of sunbeds.

The walk from the hotel to the beach is via a causeway over the "eco areas" - was a bit dried out when we arrived but the sharp rain showers we had late afternoon and overnight soon freshened the area up. A large variety of wading birds to be seen.

The swimming pool was quite large - always room to have a brief swim to cool down altho I found it to be a bit too warm!! Plenty of sun beds around the pool altho in our second week parasols were hard to find by late morning. There are two separate sections of the pool for the younger kids plus a totally separate babies pool by the kids club.

*Buffet*- always plenty of choice; Tuesdays(fillet of Beef) and Thursdays(Lobster and assorted seafood) are outstanding nights - also some good stir fries and pasta dishes - Only downside was occasional shortage of choice of vegetables (other than salads).Very good selection of fruits,cheeses and sweets for afters.
Service was always very good at all three meals.
*Italian* - the nearest to what I would accept as a la carte- good choice on the menu with excellent service in quiet, airconditioned surroundings. We had two good meals altho the fillet of beef was not so good on the second occasion.
*Japanese* - we were a bit disappointed on our visit to the Japanese restaurant - altho the food was perfectly OK everything seemed a bit mechanical as they seem to go thru the same routine day in day out which made us feel a bit like we were on a conveyor belt - there is a standard menu, all you can do is leave things out.Our waitress took our "order" then we were all served everything anyway.We also didnt get offered extra drinks or coffee at the end of the meal. To be fair tho' a lot of people we talked to during our two weeks, raved about the Japanese; so you pays your money and takes your choice!!!!!
*Caribbean - *our lowest rated; It doubles as an a la carte snack bar during the day which was perfectly fine - comfortable to sit in out of the midday heat and have a beer and a pizza (which were excellent) - in the evening it serves up a very limited menu with little or no atmosphere due partly to the large empty spaces between tables. The night we went the food was mediocre, with an overcooked piece of fish and a very tough piece of fillet(???) of beef; also the service very poor, we had to go to get another glass of wine ourselves.
*Creole - *We liked the Creole(Cuban) restaurant a lot; the nights we went there was plenty of atmosphere, the food was good and our waitress(es) very attentive; The Cuban peasant soup was a meal in itself, and the pork steak in rum/ fruit sauce very tasty. Again however there was some negative feedback from other groups who weren't very impressed and preferred the Caribbean!!

*Main bar - *generally good service all day - somewhat slower in the evenings especially the second week; Waiter service to the lobby area and the tables broke down a bit later in the evening altho very good earlier on.Lots of kids running around in the evening which made it a bit too noisy for us!! Great choice of drinks altho very frustrating if you were just waiting for a cold beer whilst the person in front had ordered 3 or 4 cocktails!!
*Cigar(Piano) bar* - always quiet(empty) in the evenings - perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle-chill out with a coffee and a (very large) Scotch or Brandy whilst listening to some undemanding music. Pedro the barman always seemed to have the glass topped up b4 you realised it was anywhere near empty!Also air conditioned which made a pleasant change from the main lobby.
*Beach Bar* - Eduardo did a sterling job all week, keeping everyone on the beach supplied with beers, soft drinks and rum punches; the insulated mugs we took were worth their weight in gold as it meant only a couple of trips to the bar per session. Those without had to make do with very small plastic cups - one mouthful of beer and they were gone.
*Pool (swim up) bar - *only used it once or twice; seemed to have a fine selection of drinks - our second week a group of Canadians had taken up residence on the stools in the pool and seemed determined to drink the bar dry!!
*Beer corner* - very pleasant outdoor area to sit, drink beer(assorted Cuban and imported beers available) and watch the world walk by. Entertainment supplied by a folk singing guitarist who plays the fig leaf like a kazoo!!

Entertainment - generally low key - supplied in part by the Italian resident staff who tried very hard in the day to get people round the pool and on the beach involved in team games like volleyball or water polo, as well as "silly" games and bingo. The best part of the evenings was the resident band who were very professional but not on for very long most evenings. There appeared to be "participation" most evenings on the stage - a lot of the younger kids/parents got involved. The shows were mostly amateurish - not to our tastes.

The journey home via Holguin airport was again painless as we were the first flight due out in the afternoon. The flight was almost on time so we were boarding before the majority of passengers for the next flight had cleared security. We would would definitely go back to the PCV - possibly next Spring but we will aviod Easter or the Spring Break periods.
Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
April 2006
I wanted to share my views on the resort “Playa Costa Verde”, Holguin, Cuba. March 21-28th, 2006 incl. We booked with Sunwing Vacations. The flights were good and on time.We were actually home on the 28th 1 hour early. The Sunwing rep. was waiting at the Holguin airport and our transportation to the resort was in a clean, modern coach with a washroom. We had the same coach on departure. The resort is approx. 1 hr. from the airport. We booked the VIP holiday which included the cost of the in-room safe, a bottle of Rum and a plate of fruit on arrival. All was in order!

Arriving in Holguin, Cuba, our luggage was the last to come off and the clip I had on my suitcase for identification was missing, but all arrived safely.

We were a group of 8 (4 couples) who researched several holiday destinations and decided on Playa Costa Verde in Holguin, Cuba. We were not disappointed! From the time we arrived we found the resort itself to be clean and well maintained and the resort staff were pleasant. Check in was quick and we were on the beach within the hour of our arrival.

The resort did its best to accommodate our 4 couples. Two couples were in one unit and two couples not far in another unit. We got a room on the second floor on a corner. We had a very large wrap-around balcony. Our rooms were very clean, well stocked and maintained and we found the housekeeping staff wonderful to deal with. The bedding was a little “tired” looking, but clean. We had a clean towel and bedding sculpture each day ! You need to use your room card for hydro and it also acts as the key to your in-room safe. We found any card with a magnet strip could be used to run the hydro. Using a different card ensures you won’t leave your room key in the room ! The air conditioning was good, and even too cold at times. In each room there were 2 beach towels. You could exchange these everyday down at the pool for clean ones. Don’t forget them anywhere as they would cost 15 Pesos each !

The gardens are beautiful and lush with many varieties of flowers. There are lots of palm trees and shade trees even at the poolside and the natural walkway to the beach were very nice and litter free.

The pool was very nice and included a swim-up bar. The Lobby bar was good, but we found the service slow. However we were on holidays! Tips are appreciated. There is an excellent Coffee Bar too. They make a great Spanish Coffee! The regular coffee in Cuba is strong J

Food and A la cartes
The food at this resort was very very good. I have a very tempermental stomach, but had no trouble all week ! We had our choice of Beef, Lobster (2 nights!), Lamb, Pasta and everything else you can imagine at the Buffet restaurant. Our choices for the 3 a la carte restaurants during our stay were, Japanese, Cuban and Caribbean. We were told when booking that they would not be able to accommodate 8 people at a table, however, each restaurant we arrived at went out of their way to create a table for 8!! We even had the ladies in the Buffet restaurant reserving a large table for 8 for breakfast and alternate dinner times. I highly recommend the Japanese restaurant and ask for Leo to cook for you. He is wonderful! We also spent time at the “Beer Corner” where Angelo will entertain you with his guitar and Fig leaf music and Junior will talk and joke with everyone. We drank the house wine all week and it was an excellent choice.

Cuban was OK. A couple of us had stomach problems the next morning.

Caribbean was good, but the servings were smaller.

Ice Cream bar was great.

The Animation team are great. They offer exercise programs, officiate games on the beach and at the pool . Lots of fun.

The natural area and walkway to the beach was very nice and at the beach there are plenty of lounge chairs for everyone. The only suggestion we would make is to put a washroom closer to the beach.

Currency exchange
Be very careful when dealing with the bank teller located in the lobby of the resort. There were many stories about being taken during the exchange of money, including us! Do not take American money. Take Canadian and they convert it into Cuban Convertible Pesos. Tipping staff is important and they really appreciate it. Their way of life in Cuba is poor at best and those that work at the resorts work hard.

Side trips
A couple of us took the Catamaran / Dolphin Swimming day trip. It cost 120.00 pesos but well worth it. This included a full chicken lunch and a complimentary drink. It was great! Several of us rented Scooters and went to Guardalavaca to the market (which wasn’t much to see). We took a couple of side trips down country roads on the way back to the resort where we found the locals friendly and appreciative of the gifts of clothes and toys which we had taken. The dollar stores at home are the best way to stock up on gifts.

I would highly recommend this resort for a relaxing, pleasant holiday.