logo Old Reviews - Aguas Azules (Formerly Club Amigo Varadero)
Club Amigo Varadero
Jem 
Winnipeg, Manitoba
June 2008
Google Map, link to satellite image of resort  http://tinyurl.com/3qm674

Nolitours in Canada (Transat) called this package Cameleon Club Amigo Varadero. We stayed in the second week of June, in the bungalows (Hacienda section). This is the off season, and the resort was largely empty. We had a fantastic time, the bungalow room was beautiful and large, the resort was clean, service was prompt and friendly. The beach is second to none, actually one of the better spots compared to other Varadero resorts --- having seen many beaches in my life (Caribbean and Mediterranean), I can honestly say this is one of the most impressive beaches I have ever experienced.

Nothing went wrong or bothered us at this resort, but I think we might have been lucky in some respects.

BEACH
The whole Varadero strip is one of the nicest beaches you will ever see, clear water, shallow, sandy, calm and no seaweed or garbage.
Others told us that the Santa Lucia beach has similar fine white sand, but Varadero is better for swimming as there are no rocks. Even domestic tourists from Cuba were here. But Club Amigo also has a particularly nice beach in front of it, as we discovered when walking along the beach. This is noteworthy, not all resorts have the same beach. Club Amigo's is one of the better beach fronts. It is spacious, not crowded, abundance of beds and shade, and an excellent beach bar (with hot snacks too). We never got bothered by vendors on the beach or other objectionable characters, like elsewhere in the Caribbean. The spectacularly beautiful beach gets a 100% grade. We spent hours on the beach, and hours swimming, both in the day and at night watching the stars (clear sky, you can see the Milky Way galaxy and shooting stars --- an amazing sight for us from big cities).

BUNGALOW ROOM
We booked a package in the bungalow (hacienda) section and went specifically because of that room type. The bungalows are spacious, with a living room and then a big bedroom. The bathroom is large, there is a shower and tub. The whole room was modern, clean, with a nice balcony. It was superior to what we expected, with one exception, not very much hot water available for bathing. There was a small fridge, which worked and was useful for storing water. I asked tourists who stayed in the main hotel about their room, and they had no complaints either. Our friends who stayed in another bungalow complained that their toilet had problems. We had no toilet trouble.

LOCATION
The bungalows are closer to the beach, about 200 m distance on average, as opposed to the main hotel rooms which are at least 400 m from the beach. The only accurate map of the resort we found was the satellite image from Google Maps at [ http://tinyurl.com/3qm674 ]. We got lucky and were very close to the beach, 150 m away. The buffet restaurant (for 3 daily meals) is back in the main hotel area, but it is an easy and pleasant walk day or night. Everywhere is quite close, you do not cross any streets. Yes you can safely walk around and drink all night. The scariest thing you may see is a lizard or cat, but they are in fact cute and harmless.

RESORT
The grounds are kept very clean, well maintained. The main building is clean and looks spectacular for a building of its age. We were impressed. We passed other resorts on the way which looked more run down. Yes, there are resorts that look better than Club Amigo but this is NOT one of the run down lower quality ones. The pool is in excellent shape, walk ways are clean, there is no garbage. There is a second pool at the main hotel, which was closed during our visit. The whole resort is attractive. Yes it is 24 hour service including drinks and even snacks (sandwiches), at the bar in the hotel all night. The level of service was fine. The staff was not rude to us. They were however often lazy and left early, which was annoying but expected in the Caribbean especially in the off season. They are NOT being rude. Relax and act nicely, and the staff will probably treat you well. I can not complain about service.

FOOD
We had no problems with the food, one of the nicest surprises for us after reading reviews here. We did not get sick, and ate plenty (we gained weight). The food was both interesting and there was a significant variety. The special restaurants (Italian, Cuban, and Outdoor Grill) were all excellent and definitely worth making a booking! Very nice classy, romantic atmosphere in the Italian and Cuban restaurants. Overall, for food, my guess is that if you are comfortable with non-American (and non-English) food then you will like what they have. The cheese tastes different, and the rice is Cuban-Caribbean. There was plenty of fish and vegetables. Meats in the buffet were somewhat less impressive, but still OK. The meats in the Italian and Cuba restaurant were actually very delicious and memorable. The fruit, seasonal, is nice though limited variety. If you eat a limited range of food (fast food or meats) then you may be disappointed. But if you are comfortable with a wide range of foods or have traveled to similar countries before, then you may, like myself, find yourself in a little bit of heaven. This is a personal taste issue, but there is nothing inherently wrong with their food -- it is prepared nicely and is tasty. We loved it, and I miss it, but other friends of ours complained.

ENTERTAINMENT
In the off season, you can not expect much entertainment as the resort was largely empty. There were nightly shows which were entertaining, but attendance was low (expected). It seemed more suitable for families than say young singles or heavy drinkers. I thought there would be dancing (disco/night club) but this had limited hours and was empty, again maybe due to off season. Fellow 20-somethings suggested we go to the Blau resort next door, or to the Mambo club nearby (down the street). I don't care too much about Club style entertainment so I can't say much on this topic. This resort definitely does not have a large disco, but it seems that you can go to places nearby if you want that sort of thing. The Mambo club is only a 10 minute walk away, and had a live band. It was impressive, but full of cigarette smoke and was quite expensive as it is not part of your all inclusive package.

OTHER TIPS
Water is available, bring your own bottle and staff at the bars will fill it with filtered water. Room housekeeping can be tipped maybe 1 CUC (approx $1.00) a day. At the bar or restaurant, tips are not expected but we gave 0.25 CUC on occasion. Bring an insulated drinking mug for your drinks. Bring a separate water bottle for water, to keep in your room. From May onwards bring insect repellent, there are mosquitos in June. Bring a flashlight to help you navigate paths at night (beach or road). We brought a couple beach towels from home to use so we wouldn't have to worry about deposits, they are cheap at $3 or $4 and almost disposable. We also brought tissue paper and paper towels, both were useful to have. Resealable (ziplock style) bags were also extremely useful for food and beach use. Just in case, bring a medicine like Immodium in case of stomach problems or illness. Have snack food from home like cookies etc.

SPECIAL DEALS
Often, staff approach you (particularly young men) to try and sell you extra things. They are not pushy or rude, and having traveled elsewhere I thought this really was OK. If you politely decline, they are respectful. I would NOT buy cigars from these small independent vendors. However, if you approach certain bartenders, they can sell you affordable bottles of rum. Also, a couple chefs tried to invite us to small houses or restaurants for private lobster/shrimp dinners.
These sound affordable and I wish we tried it, as we heard good things from others.

WEATHER
We went in the second week of June, which was the start of the off season. The flight and resort was largely empty. Weather forecasts suggested constant rain, but this was not accurate at all! The weather is similar to Miami, Florida. In fact, the days were almost entirely sunny. Forecasts show 'thundershowers' every day because there are storm clouds, but a shower is infrequent and usually brief. From early morning to mid afternoon, it was hot and very sunny. Sometimes the afternoons would have clouds and look threatening. But we never got rained on the whole time. We did see plenty of sun and heat. Others told us that until late June, the weather is very nice and sunny. Starting into July and through September, it is a rainy and stormy season. Through the winter and into May, there is hardly any rain (and no mosquitos). In June you are starting to push your luck, but we got lucky.

FLIGHT
Nolitours really treated us well. They took our request for a large bed and bungalow near the beach, and fulfilled both (no guarantees of course). The Skyservice flight staff was helpful and very friendly. I was very impressed. There was food on the flight. Because it was the off season, the flight was half empty and this may have helped us have a good experience.

CONCLUSION
Overall, I can hardly think of any complaints. It would have been nice to have more hot water in the shower. And more drink variety would be nice. There was also the occasional objectionable odour, probably a smell from a nearby canal or the south side road. If you have a keen sense of smell, it is noticeable but not a major concern. I mention these things to balance out my otherwise extremely positive review. I would return in a heartbeat. In the off season, the prices are incredibly attractive and you would be insane to pass up the opportunity. The resort actually exceeded my expectations, and I think some reviews are biased to the negative side, or many people are much pickier than I am. Please note that I have never stayed in another Cuban resort. Even if Club Amigo is one of the "lesser" resorts, which I highly doubt anywayt, it still represents extremely good value and offers a very pleasant vacation.
Club Amigo Varadero
Val, Pat, Wayne and friends - BC - Posted by Marc 
Ottawa
April 2008
The hotel itself was very nice and well looked after. Everything was very clean and the rooms were just fine. We had an exceptionally long walk to the wing I was in and then climbed 60 stairs to get to my floor. (Good exercise though) Pat & Wayne and their friends had their rooms changed so they had an elevator but my wing didn't have one and the walk didn't bother me . There are two room styles at this hotel, either bungalows or the hotel style rooms. Everything in the hotel it seemed was on a different floor which was a little confusing at first. The lobby, which had the exit to the grounds and the beach, had a large staircase to the next level which was the piano bar with a few little tables/chairs and some couch/chair groups for sitting around having a drink or your morning coffee. Each night there would be someone playing piano through the dinner hours. From this floor you could get to the pool and my room. There was another staircase here that led to the top floor where the restaurant buffet and all night bar were. The all night bar only opened after all the other bars on the grounds were closed and it was like a high school cafeteria with wooden tables and chairs. In addition to the inside buffet restaurant, there is another located on the grounds beside the wading pool. We ate there only once unfortunately as it was open at the top so the birds also joined the buffet for meals and none of us liked the birds sitting at the buffet and flying around our table. We didn't try either the Italian or the Cuban a la carte restaurants but heard that the Cuban one was the best.

The grounds were beautiful! They were very well maintained with lots of walking paths throughout. It was quite a walk to the beach from the hotel but, the walk was through the courtyard, along a tiled walkway, over bridges, and past a couple of sidewalk vendors...it was fantastic.

There were two pools on different parts of the grounds, one was basically for children with wading and shallow pools and the other pool for everyone else to swim. Both pools had pool bars and you could get fries or sandwiches but no swim up bar. You could also get fries or sandwiches at the beach bar.

I really didn't have any dealings with the staff other than those at the bar and I found them to be friendly enough. The grounds keepers were all friendly too. So really, I have nothing bad to say about the staff.

One thing I found to be lacking was the food. If you weren't there when they first opened for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the food was gone and they didn't refill the trays and the food was never warm regardless of your arrival time. There was always plenty of fresh bread, buns and desserts but never enough fruit, juices, or vegetables. If there was pasta, it was always served cold as was the sauce. You could only get coffee from a machine and only at breakfast. The piano bar and pool bars served coffee in the morning and as it got busier they wouldn't make it either.

The only source of entertainment was the nightly piano player at the piano bar and the nightly show on the grounds. The shows were really hokey too, so you get tired of them. They don't have a disco and they don't play music at the beach or around any of the pools or in the lobby. I missed the Cuban music as part of this experience.

So.....because I don't eat that much, because I love the grounds and the beach, and because my room was cleaned daily, the pool was terrific and because there were miles and miles of beach to walk on.... I liked the hotel and I'm not disappointed (with the hotel that is).
Hola
Club Amigo Varadero
Karen 

April 2008
Like many reviews "Leave your Expectations at the Door" for what we paid it was tolerable. Of course Varedero's Beach is beautiful and that is what we went for - we kept telling ourselves that, throughout the week - if we had paid anymore I would have been really disappointed - as many people we met were.

Service - Except for the Activities staff and one bartender, the service was horrible!!! They were very unfriendly and down right rude - we are big on tipping, but after awhile we didn't even bother because it made no difference what so ever - Rude with a capital "R"

Food - Actually not bad - we really enjoyed the Italian - we always found something to eat.

Bar - They always ran out of stuff and wouldn't bother to replenish - they would say "tomorrow"

Warning - if in town do not go on the horse and buggy ride - they tell you a price then change it whenyour finished - the cab was far more economical.

For the price it was ok - would not recommend it to anyone…..
Club Amigo Varadero
Chris 
Nova Scotia
June 2007
Spent 2 weeks at this resort last week of April, 1st week of May 2004. Knowing it was a 3 star resort, we weren’t expecting much and we weren’t disappointed. This is the first time that I have ever run into staff that were unfriendly and unhelpful. There were 16 in our group and over half of us had to change our rooms for one reason or another: bugs in one room, mold and peeling paint in another, air conditioning not working and then the classic one – no power. Try packing up your room after you have been there for a week (not once but twice as the 2nd room had no air conditioning) and having no idea where your new room was. No one offered to help. You were on your own. Our Signature Tour rep was great – when we told her what had been going on she went to the Public Relations office and a couple of us got a bottle of rum for our inconvenience.

The hotel itself is very confusing but has a lot of potential. The walk to the beach is really quite nice and enjoyable. Beach was great and the ocean was wonderful. Pools were not bad although 1 day, the 2nd pool had so much algae in it, we couldn’t get in. There was only 1 bar open at night which was really too bad. Line ups sort of discouraged you from having a drink in the evening.

Food was alright – never went hungry but because we knew it was a 3 star, we weren’t expecting too much. However, the interesting thing was that during the 2nd week, conference delegates arrived and the presentation of food and the service in the buffet was astonishing. People who had been there the previous week were taking pictures because they couldn’t believe the difference. Once the delegates went home, so did the presentation and service.

Having been to Cuba before and various other locations, i.e. Mexico, DR, etc. and having spent time in a beautiful 3 star resort in the DR, this one was by the far the worst.

It was certainly an experience. Thank goodness the weather was beautiful and the company good. The maid service in all our rooms was excellent – always ready to provide you with whatever you wanted. Too bad the front desk staff couldn’t be the same.
Club Amigo Varadero
Allan 

April 2007
Photos
We booked a last minute 1 week trip to Varadero from April 9th to 16th. We were limited in when we could go so we were also limited in where we could go since there’s not a lot of choice out of Atlantic Canada. Varadero was offered right out of our home town airport so that’s where we looked at. After doing some research we choose Aquas Azules (Formerly known as Club Amigo Varadero), but shortly after booking this resort a couple of really bad reviews were posted and we were really wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. Well we had nothing to worry about. Although the place was not outstanding, for a 3 ½ star resort it was quite good. In fact there were some parts that were as good as or maybe even better than some 4-5 star resorts we have stayed at. We went there just for some rest and relaxation and that is what we got at a nice resort with nice grounds, good service and a great beach. Overall rating 7.5/10.

Beach
– This is where Club Amigo really stands out. It really is the best section of beach in this area. It is long and wide and loaded with lots of shade huts and beach chairs. No matter what time of day you went to the beach there were chairs and shade to be had. No need to get up early and rush down to save a chair at the beach here. We’ve been to 5 stars resorts where this was a problem. There were even staff there to get your chairs set up for you and they would even dust the sand off of them. This we’ve never had at any other 4 or 5 star resort. The chairs too were very comfortable and even had a built in shade flap. While we were there the deck of the beach bar/restaurant was being renovated so it was not in use but once it is open again it will only improve the beach area at Club Amigo. 9.5/10

Grounds – The resort is made up of a long hotel building set back from the beach with a park like area between the lobby and the beach. So although it is a walk to the beach it is through a nice well kept park area with lakes and bridges, straight down from the front lobby. The resort is older so this means the plants on the resort have had lots of time to develop and it shows beautifully. There are a lot of flowering shrubs all around the grounds. The lobby area itself is part of the grounds since the lobby was built around a rock wall and has lots of live plants growing through out. Right off the 24 hr bar there is a very nice shady patio area with plenty of chairs- even rockers for you to sit and relax with a drink under the shade of one giant tree. This is where I’d have my morning coffee and we’d have after lunch drinks and play cards quite often with no one else around. 8.5/10

Room – Since the resort is set back from the beach none of the rooms are close to the beach. At first we were not too sure of things when we headed to our room in building 1 which is the furthest from the lobby and walked in to find a puddle of water from the fridge on the floor. The Bellman said he’d send someone back to take care of it and when we returned from supper it was cleaned up. Other than that the only other problem with our room was the fact that there was no balcony. In fact most rooms do not have a balcony. The room and bathroom however were a nice size with new tile in the bathroom. And some of the best lighting we’ve had at any resort There was plenty of closet space but no drawer space. Our maid did a great job keeping the room clean which included clean sheets almost daily and it usually was done before noon. (We’ve had problems in some 4-5 star resorts with our room not being done until much later.) There was plenty of hot water and good pressure no matter what time of day we showered. Although there was a mini fridge in the room it was not stocked.8/10

Lobby – The lobby area was very impressive consisting of 3 open levels with lots of natural vegetation throughout. The lower level had the entrance, the front desk and access pathway to the beach. Any dealings we had with the front desk went very well. Check-in and check-out were a breeze and we even received our requested wake-up call our last morning even before time. The middle level had the access to the pool, shops and rooms as well as two bars, one of which Bar Cuba was 24hrs and the other a piano bar. This was the area to hang out in the evenings since most nights there was either a piano player and/or a live band playing. There were tables and chairs available as well as comfy sofa sets and bar stools at the Bar Penon. However the bars were never overly busy and in fact were rather dead when we would go for our pre-dinner drinks. Although not a great selection of international drinks and quite often different ones at different bars, bar service was quite good and some of the servers got very use to our orders and would have them started when they saw us coming. The third level had the buffet restaurant and the long passage way to the Italian Restaurant and the part of the resort that was closed for renovations. Lobby and bars- 8.5/10

Food – This is where the Club Amigo is a 3 ½ star resort.
Buffet -Although we always found stuff to eat and never left a meal hungry there was nothing that was outstanding. They do seem to have a problem with keeping food hot which made some dishes not as good as they could have been. Breakfast at the buffet was the usual stuff including a made to order egg station which was surprisingly not that busy. The best part was the fresh squeezed OJ every morning. Lunch and supper were OK – not bad, not great – just OK! There was not the selection we’ve had at other resorts but the house wines were as good as or even better than some 4-5 star resorts we’ve been to. The best parts were the Fresh Fruit station with the fruit being sliced right on the spot for lunch and supper, the bread station and the desserts which although limited were some of the tastiest we’ve had at a resort. There also was not the usual made to order pasta station. There was a good selection of salad items and there always was a choice of beef, pork, chicken or fish for lunch and supper.The layout of the buffet had been well planned and the flow around the food stations was very easy. Tables were nicely set for dinner although not always with matching glassware and service for us was very good. We usually sat in the same section and the servers got quite used to us. One would see us coming down the hall and would have a table ready for us and would be right off for our drinks. Dirty dishes were cleared right away and she was always checking if we wanted drink refills. There was a snack grill just up from the beach for lunch but it only offered hamburgers and fries, which were not that great. 6.5/10

A L Cartes – There are only two a la carte restaurants at the Club Amigo; a Cuban and an Italian. Both are very nicely decorated with nice furniture including some antiques. Both were very easy to book. Bookings can be made for the same or next night at the Public Relations desk after 10am and there never was the wait I’ve had at other resorts. It might have just been the time of year we were there but we were not limited in the number of times you could book and I always got the restaurant I wanted at the time I wanted. The Italian is located on the third level with huge window walls on both sides offering lovely ocean views. The Cuban is located off the pathway from the lobby to the beach. Both are enclosed and air-conditioned. Service at both was for the majority very good with our water and wine glasses never being empty. We ate at each one once. We had booked the Cuban for another night but it was pouring rain that evening so we didn’t make our reservation. Food at both was again OK but the menu was quite limited especially at the Italian. For Transat vacationers the lunch time grill snack bar just up from the beach also does special dinners; one Paella dinner and one BBQ. However if the weather is bad these meals are cancelled with no notice. It took us 3 tries before we actually made it to one, the Paella night. You sit at a long table and they serve small plates of 7 different appetizers to be shared in groups of 4 followed by a main Paella course and a desert. The apps were very good but the paella was not. Although none of the a la cartes offered food that was that much better than the buffet it was nice to be able to sit in a nice atmosphere with nice table settings and be served a nice relaxing meal with some good attentive service. I would suggest you do the a la cartes just for this experience. 7/10

Staff – Overall the staff were just OK. They did not seem to be as friendly as some of the other resorts and there were none that really stood out. They gave good service on the most part and by the end of the week there were some that did warm up and got to know us. Overall they didn’t seem to serve you differently whether you tipped or not. One thing that was missing was name tags for the bar and restaurant staff. A lot of the staff were quite friendly however when they were trying to sell you stuff. 7/10

Few things of note-
• Some of the pathways back to the rooms were not well lit.
• The lobby was the centre of everything and it was on 3 levels. So no matter where you were headed you had to climb stairs or take the elevator.
• Most of the resort did seem to be wheelchair assessable.
• Bottled water is only available to be purchased (1.50 CUP) in the lobby shop. You can get it refilled at the bar or buffet however as often as required.
• The whole resort was very clean including the bathrooms.
• At times there was a shortage of glassware in the bars and buffet.
• Bar glasses are small so bring your own travel mug.
• There is a bank on site that has the same rate as at the airport and in town.
• On the path to the beach there are a couple of vendor huts

Overall we enjoyed our stay at this resort and for the same price would consider returning except for the fact that there are so many others to try plus we do prefer ones with more dining options.
Club Amigo Varadero
Gigi 
Canada
February 2007
We spent a week at Club Amigo in Varadero from Feb 11-19 2007.

This was our 4th trip as a family of 4 going to Cuba. This was our second time at this resort. First time there we had a blast and no complaints what so ever besides our air conditioner that was not working and that was fixed right away. Staff were wonderful.

It was so good we tried to book there last year and found it was booked for the week we wanted.

So this year we booked a little earlier as we really wanted to go back.

My how things had changed in a couple of years. A lot of changes in the staff. Maybe one or two we recognized from the year we were there. I found the staff a lot slower and less enthused to please the clients.

I had never encountered them running out of things like pineapple juice or hambergers or whatever. So when this was happening everyday it was frustrating.

We had never had a problem at the buffet until this year. It did not matter what time of day you got to the buffet it was always cool to COLD. What a dissappointment as I could taste the food would have been so much better had it been hot. We all came home with some sort of food poisoning. Hopefully soon it will have cleared our systems.

I did not go with high expectations but sure was expecting more or less what I had received on our previous trips to Cuba. The resort is beautiful and we did notice some good changes as well like the fact that the grounds were much cleaner and had recently been painted. They had done some needed improvements. The front desk was good to get us joined rooms or when we asked for towels. We had no problem with our rooms that we could not live with.

All in all I would recommend this resort because we all cannot afford to pay the BIGGER bucks especially when going as a family. Good for families and older people. There are a few younger people but not too many. More for families and the older generation. Maybe it was just the week we went. We had a wonderful time doing the tours. We rented scooters a few times and one day we rented a car and drove to Havana. And we also did a Jeep Nature tour which was fun. Only downfall was that the ocean was too rough so they did not take us out snorkling. But they let us snorkle in the cave where we were swimming. NO FISH . But still had fun.

I also find over the years that we have been going tipping is becoming more and more expected.

First time we went in 2001 we were told NO TIPPING and then we went back in 2004 and tips were welcome and you noticed a few tip cups. Now in 2007 they are actually telling you how much you should tip as they are taking you to the resort. 5 peso's we were told is good. LOL Well I do not mind tipping for good service but this was ridiculous in my opinion. Sure changes every year.

As much as we love Cuba we are considering finding another country to visit or maybe just another area other than Varadero. I am sure if you go with an open mind and with out the high expectations you will have a great time.
Club Amigo Varadero
Karen 
Manitoba
February 2007
Just got back from Club Amigo - Feb 5-19th/07. The hotel was fine. The Beach was beautiful. The workers were very nice, although the front desk can try your patience. The food in the buffet was good, the Ala Cartes were okay. We found the Cuban to be better than the Italian ( unless you like raw meat). If you have any trouble with stairs this is not the hotel for you as there are lots of them. Main floor to beach, second floor to room and pool and third floor for buffet. The magic show and aquatic show were great, but the rest are audience participations which we are not into. Take some spices with your and if you need ketchup take it also as it was sometimes in short supply. The Bread is awesome. You should take a converter with you for your camera, hair dryer etc, as the ones the hotel have could give you quite a jolt if you are not careful. Also take a facecloth, soap and kleenex as they are in short supply or non existent.

We tried to call home once, and had a lot of trouble. We dialed the number and got disconnected, tried again and the other end couldn't hear us for static so hung up and went to complain, nothing they could do about it and $ 7.90 please for the call. The Blau next door has internet, just go to the front desk and ask for a card $ 8.00 for 60 minutes and very modern machines and in english not spanish like in the DR. It is a short walk past the pool area and follow the path and through the fence. George 1 and Joaxis at the beach bar are excellent and a lot of fun, we closed down the bar with them everynight before supper ( say hi to them from the canadians with the music, they will know what you mean) Also Marta the girl who does the stretches by the pool and the exercise in the water is hillarious and speaks good english also say hi to her from Karen. We would stay there again if we go back to Cuba, but there are so many other places to see. We found Cuba expensive with the exchange rate on the money and also hard to get information and answers from the front desk. Tip - take your pesos back to the airport with you and go through security, once you are through security the duty free shops are very modern and the food is cheap, and also you can exchange your money back there you don;t have to do it before you pass security. Take a sweater and long sleeve shirt as it can be cool at night if the wind gets up. Also if you go to varadero with gift for the kids be careful as the mothers with almost swarm you and take your stuff right out of your bag and can get kinda scary. All in all we had a great time and would go again.
Club Amigo Varadero
Brandi 
Vancouver, BC
January 2007
July 2006

We got a cheap deal and flew from Vancouver to Varadero.

First impression of the hotel was it wasn't nearly as nice as the other ones we passed on the way to our hotel. Our room was not very nice at all. We had two small beds that we pushed together to form one decent sized bed. The linen, pillows and blankets all smelled like vomit (no, I'm not kidding!) it was awful.

The staff were incredibly rude and completely unhelpful. We were tipping at the bars and restaurants and still received the worst service we've ever experienced.

The food was terrible and I survived on rice, pasta and mango for most of the vacation. I got a little sick while I was there (food? water?) and when I asked the maid for another roll of toilet paper, I was told "No" and that she "would bring some later". She did come back about 3 or 4 hours later with one roll for us.

The only things that saved this vacation were the excursions that we booked, the awesome beach and the fact that we had our travel agent switch us to a better hotel after 3 nights at this dump.

I would never recommend the Club Amigo to anyone.
Club Amigo Varadero
Pam & Adrian 
Canada
January 2007
This was our first time to Cuba, we stayed from Dec. 18-25. We traveled with our daughters aged 12 and 18 from Edmonton. We got a last minute deal for under $1000 CDN each. Customs in Cuba was a long, hot wait but once that was done with we quickly got some money exchanged. When we stepped out of the airport we were greeted by our Noltitours tour operator representative who directed us to our bus and advised when our orientation at the hotel was. I really appreciated how organized they were. For us, the orientation was important to attend to ask questions about activities / tours that might normally take a few days to figure out on your own. Once we arrived at the hotel our bellboy took us to our room. I recommend getting or waiting for a bellboy as the layout of the hotel is a little complicated until you get used to it.

Rooms - 5 out of 10
The rooms were ok, our kids were down the hall. The rooms were a little worse than what we expected, not as clean or updated as what I would have liked but liveable. There was a fridge hidden away behind a crate but we never used it, not sure if it worked, it leaked once. When we checked in, we asked for the safe for the week , which we highly recommend ($1 CUC/day). In addition, we rented beach towels and were given deposit slips for same ($15 CUC/person). You take the towel deposit slip to the beach staff to get your towels. Remember you can trade your dirty beach towels for fresh ones whenever you want. You need $25 CUC/person for your departure tax so you can use your towel deposit as part of this when you leave.

Food - 8 out of 10
The buffet was on the third level. From reading past reviews we didn't expect a lot when it came to food but we found it very tasty. I packed some spices which was suggested on one of the reviews but didn't need to use them. We did use our little packets of ketchup for the fries but only because I packed them (as again it was suggested) but wouldn't do so next time. They have a good assortment of fish, chicken and sometimes beef. We didn't find the food bland at all, it was really very tasty. The fruity ice creams, fresh mango, fresh bread and endless assortment of food was beyond our expectations. The bars were good, the staff was great, very good service. We are not big drinkers so my comments are limited for drinks, excellent cappuccino's, delicious light beer and the red wine was drinkable. If you take water bottles with you, you can then refill them at the buffet drink station otherwise you need to purchase bottled water in the snack shop. Another good tip is to take cheap plastic cups with you for beach use as they use the small clear plastic ones which don't hold much..

We had two a la carte dinners prearranged for us by Noltitours. The dinners were held for the Canadian Noltitour guests in the dining room by the beach. Food was good both nights but on the second night everyone got sick on the shrimp exept me as I don't eat shrimp. This was the only time any of us got sick on the food. If your a la cartes are not prearranged then you need to book them with the "public affairs" representative who normally sits at a desk on the second floor of the hotel in the sitting area.

There is also an outside Grill close to the beach which was not in service when we were there.

Staff - 9 out 10
The staff work very hard, they are really great and accommodating, even the front desk staff which I've read many complaints about. We actually felt sorry for the front desk staff as some of the guests we witnessed were very pushy and rude. We tipped and felt it was appreciated. We normally tipped $1 CUC (sometimes more) for meals and bar drinks which is considered a good tip. We also left gifts on the bed for the cleaning staff. Things they appreciate are clothes, hats, (anything you don't wear anymore), shavers, creams, sunglasses, shoes, shampoo, wrapped candy and so on. We did feel like we were taken advantage on two separate occasions, one time at the buffet when one of the workers who didn't appear to be regular staff started to harass us to trade a loonie for a peso. Although the peso is worth more than the loonie we would have done it had it been someone that was not waiting on us or if we had not felt the person was hustling us. Then this fellow went on to try to sell us cigars under the table, we were not impressed. The second occasion was when a worker asked for my sunglasses which made me feel like the lady was taking advantage of me. I didn't give her my sunglasses as I'm sure I'm not the first person she's asked and she probably has a side business selling them to other workers. The workers at the hotels, especially the waiters, bar and entertainment staff are the richest people in Cuba so we didn't feel like we had to give them the shirt off our back but we did tip for good service.

Beach - 9 out 10
The beach has fine, tan sand and there were lot's of chairs and umbrellas any time of the day when we were there. The peddlers really don't bother you but we did get approached a few times by the tour guide and a guy selling massages. We later witnessed the guy selling massages being taken away by security. My understanding is that they get a hefty fine for unlicensed peddling.

Tours - on our first day on the beach we were approached by a guy for a private tour for snorkeling and the cave swim. It cost $30 CUC/person for 1/2 a day. It was illegal for him to approach us but we were glad he did as a private tour was much nicer than going with a bus load of people to these sites. The tours organized by the hotel or partners are around $75 CUC for a whole day and there are a few different activities you can do (snorkeling - cave - swim with dolphins, Havana, Jeep Safari and Catamaran Tour are the ones I remember).

Gifts - they have basically the same stuff everywhere (hotel, downtown Varadero and Las Americas Shopping Center) and priced the same. On your way home you can purchase rum or other alcohol at the airport after you pass customs. You won't spend much money shopping unless you buy a box of cigars which runs between $60 and $110 CUC. Las Americas Shopping Center was the only place we could find whole coffee beans to buy, everywhere else it's ground for you. The coffee is good and makes a great gift for coffee drinkers.

Travel - the double deckers with open tops stop at each hotel every 30 minutes and costs $5 CUC/person, you can ride it all day and it's a nice way to see the town. We traveled via the double decker the first day to downtown Valardero and after that took a taxi to Las Americas Shopping Center. You can also take another bus which is $2 CUC/person one way.

Other - if you are mobility challenged this isn't the hotel for you, we did a lot of walking. If you like to party, this probably isn't the hotel for you, it's very quiet.

Overall - 8 out 10

Overall we had a great time. We had a quiet, relaxing time which is what we wanted. We knew it was a three star and didn't expect five star accommodations. We wouldn't stay at Club Amigo again as we would like to stay somewhere a little nicer or visit another country. We would recommend it to others as a three star hotel.
Club Amigo Varadero
GJBZ 
Canada
January 2007
First visit to Veradero

Our Digital camera was stolen from our luggage at the Cuban airport

Club Amigo- dont stay here! They reception is rude

The food is redundant- the "bonus" restaruants are misleading

the games "room" is a joke they have like 2 games and they barley work.

The rooms and beds are so old and showers toilets dont work

The staff is unaccomodating

The beach was beautiful and snorkelling was great

The mexicans are WAYYYYYYYYY firendlier!

If you go to Cuba please spend the extra $ and stay at a nicer hotel!
Club Amigo Varadero
Simon and Kate 
Manchester, England
July 2006
My boyfriend and I just got back from a 10 day stay there and can honestly say we enjoyed every minute of it.

As everyone says the beach is completely beautiful. The water is clear of any seaweed, rocks, fish, jellyfish etc and is so hot it is like taking a bath! For 25 pesos they will take you out on a catamaran to go fishing for about an hour and my boyfriend actually caught something! (He put it straight back!) Much better than paying around £200 elsewhere. The other water activities were free and available most of the day.

Like people are generally saying the drinks on the beach were kind of small, probably to avoid waste, so we followed advice and took those cooler cup things which were a godsend and I definitely suggest you take them. they also stop you from drinking sand! They definitely were not snidey with the alcohol like some reviews have sugested. the pina coladas at the bar inside were made with 3 types of rum!

The grounds are gorgeous - really green and lush. We visited someone we met at the airport at their 5 star which couldn't compete with our hotel. I'm useless with directions so it took me a little longer than my boyfriend to get my head around the shortcuts but it's pretty much straightforward to get around.

Didn't have any problems with bugs until the last night when we soaked ourselves in bug spray. We obviously tempted fate and got covered in bites! No spiders/insects etc but we did see a couple of really cute lizards and frogs wandering around. We took one of those plug in things but only remembered to use it once and never had any bugs in the room.

The food is buffet and we both really enjoyed it and certainly didn't go hungry. We heard a couple of petty complaints that it was repetitive but remember they have to cater for loads of different tastes with limited food. I am a pretty fussy eater and I certainly didn't have any problems. The bars at the beach and pool do ham and cheese toasties and burgers and fries and the 24 hour bar does cold sandwiches. There is also a restaurant you can book into but we didn't feel the need.

The room was cleaned every day and the maid folded the towels into these amazing shapes. She must have started quite tame because at first we just had swans which were pretty impressive but by the end of our stay she had moved onto elephants and people! we always felt really guilty about having a shower!

The bar staff at the 24 hour bar inside were so lovely and kept coming over with refills without us even asking. There is a little garden with rocking chairs right next to it or tables inside.

We found reception to be really friendly and helpful so no idea what past reviews are about. In fact after reading some reviews we were a little worried about the hotel as a whole and very nearly upgraded but the hotel completely exceeded our expectations in every way and we are so glad we stayed there.

Varadero doesn't really have that much to do but the market was great for picking up gifts and you can hire mopeds from the hotel for around 8 quid a day. We spent our first 3 days in Cuba at Havana so were happy to spend our time in Varadero just relaxing. But no doubt with a bit of exploring you will find loads to do. We didn't even feel the need to bother with any excursions but there are loads on offer and there is someone on the desk near the bar to book with or obviously you will have a rep.

We went to club mambo which is next door and found it to be aimed at people a little older than us (we're 24 and 29). It is definitely for you if you like latin dancing and abba! La Rumba was more our thing and played RnB and loads of up to date stuff so just like a club back home.

I would definitely go back in a second and was really gutted to come home :(

Have a great holiday!!!!
Club Amigo Varadero
Cheryl 
Canada
May 2006
This was my third visit to Varadero, and my first time to Club Amigo, As always , the weather was amazing, the beach on this resort was also amazing, visually I have been on nicer resorts, but something like that doesnt make for a bad vacation, it was clean , well kept, and the staff were amazing, actually the nicest staff I have come across in Cuba, I would consider staying at Club Amigo again, and would recommend it to anyone, Thanks for the great web site,
Club Amigo Varadero
Raeanne and Mark 
PEI, Canada
April 2006
Our experience and trip to Cuba was an amazing one! We were on our honeymoon after getting married in October 2005. We are a couple in our mid-late 20s and early 30s and we were very excited about going somewhere different as we had been to Dominican the last 2 years in a row in different places of the country. We booked our trip fairly last minute through Sell Off Vacations and a local travel agent where we're from. I would highly reccommend this agency if you have one where you're from since they can always get you a great deal on any holiday as I have been using them for almost 10 years. Our tour operator was Air Transat Holidays and our flight there and back was a breeze. Great staff and the meals were good and on-board satellite tv didn't hurt either! We opted for the later flight out of Halifax then the early morning one which put is into Varadero and on the resort by about 12:30 am their time (their time is a one hour time change with them being an hour behind eastern time). Check in was pretty good considering the time of day and that there was a whole bus load full of us coming in at the same time. We had requested the honeymoon upgrade as well as an ocean view, but found out after spending some time searching the place for our room that we didn't get what we booked. I went to the front desk immediately and told them we would need to switch rooms since that room wasn't what we had wanted. She told me there were no other rooms available and we would have to come back in the morning and see then. As we would find out, the hotel was overbooked the entire time we were there and they were even taking volunteers to stay 2-3 nights in Havana to free up some rooms at the resort at no extra charge to the guest. The rooms were just mediocre but clean and the beds were comfortable. The rooms were quite spacious and lots of storage space and closet space with actual hangers!!! We rate the accomidations as 6.5/10.

The resort itself was HUGE!!! If you are not someone who likes to walk or who may have trouble getting around this resort wouldn't be for you. By the end of the day we walked a mile or two just around the resort since our room ended up being near the back of the resort. Our room was # 2405 and we had a view overlooking the pool. It was a nice view but it would get very noisy in the afternoons and into the early evening. If you're someone who likes a little R&R in the afternoon it was hard to have a nap or get any quiet time. There was a very nice walkway to the beach with a few vendors along the way. The people in Cuba are not aggressive whatesoever compared to those in Dominican who try to sell you one of everything. We were pleasantly surprised by this. The resort was beautiful with lots and lots of vegetation and gorgeous trees and bushes with fragrant flowers everywhere. The buildings themselves were older but there were always workers fixing up things and putting on fresh paint and tending to whatever needed to be refreshed. The pools were very nice and well maintained and clean. There were also a couple of jacuzzi tubs that were nice as well. We've stayed on a 4 1/2 - 5 star resort before and this one was rated a 3 1/2 star. We would rate it about a 3 star.

The BEACH!!! Wow!!! This was the most amazing beach we have ever seen! We read many reviews before coming to this resort and to Cuba and we were so amazed at how beautiful the beach really was. You can always see pictures or have people tell you how it was but until you see it with your own eyes...it's undescribable in some ways. The beach was as far as you could see in both directions with approximately 60 resorts on the strip of Varadero. We went for a long walk on our first days there and were pleasantly surprised to see that our resort and the one on either side of us had the best beach area in all of Varadero! We had read that but weren't sure if it would really be as amazing as people say. IT REALLY IS!!!! The sand was soft white powder and the ocean was clear turquoise. There were no jellyfish and the beach was very clean. There were never a shortage of beach chairs or shade huts even if you went later in the day. There were always workers around to help you with your chairs who greatly appreciate any kind of tip. We would rate the beach 11/10!

The restaurants were very nice. The food was a bit better than what we experienced in Dominican so that was a good thing. The buffet does get a bit redundant after a few days although they do try their best to make it as appealing and different as possible. A lot of the time the food was a bit cold but after a few people made a few complaints it seemed to be better. We thought the breakfast buffet was the best with a chef there to make whatever kind of eggs or omellets you wanted and freshly squeezed orange juice every morning. The fruit as well was amazing!! So fresh and delicious! There are 3 a la carte restaurants that you could choose 2 of within the week. We went to the Loma de Italian and the Athens de Cuba restaurants and decided against the Grille. The Italian was very good. You had a 4 course meal that was well prepared. There was nice music and ambiance in both restaurants as well as some nights at the buffet they would bring in Cuban bands to play at your table for you. They were very talented and fun to watch!! The Athens de Cuba restaurant was authentic Cuban food which we actually enjoyed even more than the Italian. We had a 4 course meal as well which we enjoyed and the atmosphere was a little more intimate. We rate the restaurants as a 7.5/10.

The bars in this resort were always busy. It seemed that compared with everything else, this is where there were the fewest staff but the ones that were working their butts off to serve everyone! The drinks are made VERY strong so unless you like a stiff drink you would have to let them know only a little bit of rum/vodka and then that would be a "normal" drink. This resort didn't make slushie drinks like Pina Coladas and Banana Mamas. You could get a Pina Colada but minus the slushie. They had lots of other specialty liquors as well. The bars also made the best coffee in the whole resort so if you're a coffee drinker it's best to get it there then at the buffet. The a la carte restaurants don't offer tea or coffee for desert. We rate the bars 8.5/10.

The entertainment was unreal! These people who put on the shows every night on this resort are some of the most talented people I have ever seen preform. They also had specialty nights where groups would come in from off the island. One night they had circus night with a circus group from Puerto Rico. They were AMAZING!!!! There was also an Aquatic night with syncronized swimmers who did a show in one of the pools! The entertainment was never boring or corney and unlike the Dominicans, they don't just try to make fun of the "drunk" tourists. They always made time to dance with the guests and invite everyone on stage afterwards for some fun. There was a disco on the other side of the resort that you could go and dance at after the nightly shows. There was also a club called Mambo Club which we went to one night that's off the resort but only a few minutes walk from the front door. You had to pay 10 convertible pesos to get in but that included all you could drink for the night. It was a really cool club and had a "big band" set up with a cuban band and some professional dancers to show you the moves. It was a lot of fun! The daily entertainment staff were a little more slack then the night ones and didn't really do a whole lot with the guests. There were some games here and there but not as much as we had seen on other resorts. Overall we would rate the entertainment 10/10.

The front desk staff tried to be as helpful as possible and were sometimes a little short with the guests. As you can imagine they deal with hundreds of people every day probably complaining about something. You make your trip what you want it to be and even though for us we didn't get the accomidations we had hoped for we made the best of it. They did try to put off a lot of things and would tell you to come back in a few hours, the next day etc. which we learned to be "cuban time" since it would still never be ready. Most of the staff were pretty fluent in english and most tried very hard to please you. We would rate the front desk 7/10.

Overall this resort was very nice and we really enjoyed it. The people and the workers in Cuba are very sweet people and really appreciate any kind of tips you could possibly spare. We brought a whole small suitcase of items from the dollar store to give as gifts to all the workers on the resort. (also just a tip about your luggage...if you tell the agent at the airport when you're checking in that your suitcase filled with gifts is for Humanitairian reasons and gifts for the people in that country you won't have to pay for that weight) We tried to give tips to all the kinds of workers on the resort and not just the maids and bartenders. We tried to find the "behind the scenes" workers who probably don't get as much from the tourists as they should since they work just as hard as any of the others do. We gave tips of gifts and money and left as much as we could with the people. The people in this country are even less fortunate than those in Dominican or other Caribbean countries and basic supplies such as soap, shampoo and things like that are very much appreciated and welcomed since their supplies are rationed by the government and they only get a certain amount every month. An average worker makes about 30 convertible pesos ($40 CDN) a month so if you even tip someone 1 convertible peso that's a days worth of work for that person...and not much out of your pocket! Overall we would rate this resort 8/10.

We also did take a day trip off the resort which we would highly reccommend. It was called Rio Canimar with Cubanscan tours. It cost us 51 convertible pesos each, about $75 CDN each. We left the resort about 8:30 am and returned at 5pm. It first took us to an underground natural cave with crystal clear water that we got to snorkel in that also had 3 natural springs underneath. It was amazing! After you got out your skin was totally refreshed and you felt so nice. Then we went for a tour of Varadero city and got to see how the people live and the places that they go. We walked a few city blocks and ended up at a local fresh fruit market where we could purchase fruit and see how the locals interacted. We got some fresh oranges and they were delicious! Then we rode the bus to the marina where we boarded a double decker speed boat and cruised up the Rio Canimar for about 45 minutes until we arrived at a Ranch in the middle of nowhere. It was beautiful! We had lunch ranch style which was delicious and then had the chance to ride a bull, hold baby crocodiles and snakes and ride horses through the trees. It was probably the highlight of our trip and the guide that took us the whole day was fabulous and very good at his job! We would rate this tour 10/10.

If anyone has any additional questions you can e-mail us at raebae23@hotmail.com and until then...enjoy your holidays!
Club Amigo Varadero
Terry 
Canada
March 2006
We stayed at the club Amigo in March/06. We got an excellent sell off price to this resort as did many of the other passengers on the plane. When we arrived at the airport a group of us were told that the Amigo was overbooked so we were put up at the Brisas Del Mar for the first night.
When we arrived at the Club Amigo the next day (around 2PM) we checked in but were told the room was not ready. We left our luggage in the lobby and dediced to explore the place and find out where our room was. It was a good thing we found our room before dragging our suit cases all over the place. There were about 30 of us checking in and there were certainly not enough bell boys to handle taking us all to our rooms.
Our room was clean, although we noticed that the air conditioning was not working as well as it should. We complained a few times over the next few days but nothing was ever done about this.
We were in room 3312, the 3rd floor of the 3rd section. The frieght elevator was working for the first few days we were there but made disturbing noises. The nearby passenger elevator was not working. Midway through our stay the elevators were being worked on, howerver later that day both elevators stopped working altogether and were not repaired while we were there.
The food at the buffet was generally good and with a reasonable selecton. Based on other resorts we've stayed at I would say a 7 out of 10.
We went to two of the specialty restarants - the Grille - the food was not hot although the serving portions were large - a 6 out of 10.
The Italian was much better, the food was hot and tastey. At least an 8 out of 10.
We did not get a chance to go to the Cuban Restarant and heard mixed reviews from others, some saying it was very good other that it was teriible.
The specialty restarants need to be booked on the second floor lobby starting at 10 in the morning. You can only book for that night or the next night.
The bars were OK - they were very busy at certain periods in the evening. The restarants do not offer coffee. There is coffee available only at the buffet in the morning. This meant that a lot of people ended up going to the bars for coffee after their meal which made them very busy. Bars 6 out of 10.
The beach at this resort is one of the best I've seen. On most days getting a beach chair was not a problem. One day however, we went a little later (around 11) and there were none left even though there we still shade huts available. Beach 10 out of 10.
We went to the evening entertainment most evenings and found it to be very good in comparison to most of the other resorts we have stayed at. 8 out of 10 on this.

Other items
Bring travel mugs - At the beach you won't be running back and forth to the bar as often. In the morning you can take coffee out of the buffet and drink it elsewhere.
Activity Staff - Very few staff to get activities started. This could definitley be improved.
Re the bus to Veradaro - We went to the road and a smaller bus stopped and asked if we wanted a ride to town - for 2 pesos. On the way back the same thing happened with no waiting. The Tourist bus is 5 pesos for the whole day but you my end up waiting at bus stops for a while. Anther reveiwer mentioned not to bring DVD players etc - saw a few people with MP3's - we didn't bring ours and were sorry we hadn't. Don't know if there is an official poliy on this.
We did have a great time. We met a lot of people and had some great conversations.
Club Amigo Varadero
Brett and Helena 
Canada
February 2006
This was our 1st time to Cuba, we were not sure what to expect. We were traveling with our daughters aged 16 and 17, we had been to Puerto Plata last year and had a top notch time. We arrived to Cuba and made it through customs easy, or I guess most of the 10 of us did. Remember this, DO NOT BRING DVD PORTABLE PLAYERS, or WALKIE TALKIES, if they are in your carry on they won't get through. After that half hour was over it was onto the bus for the 40 min trip. We were served 2 peso beer and fancy drinks; get your pesos before you leave the airport. Upon arriving we were taken to our room, WOW, this place is big; I'm posting a map on web shots to help you out before you go.

Rooms,
The rooms were ok, our kids just down the hall. They were clean and what we expected. And yes there's a safe so use it, its 7 pesos for the week.

Food,
The buffet was in an area not fully used which made it small, usually crowded, hard to discern what you were eating and the food does have taste. All the reviews I read said bland bland bland, it was ok. The bars were fun, the staff great at each. You won't find a mojito here, it takes too long to make. They make rum punch, rum coke, and rum ginger, and a few other drinks, cappuccino is a big thing here and very good, but you can always fall back on Beer.

Staff here tries hard, they are great, there's a cook around who sang to my wife with such a beautiful opera voice, he could be heard all around.

There’s a short walk to the beach but it's worth it, you will go past 2 bridges and through the area where the shows are, a little further are shops that sell cards, then there's 2 outside little stands that sell wood gifts, they are great. Then it’s past the dolphin display that was being built, what a great group of guys, we left them hats. the beach is just ahead with the bar and snack stand, awesome fries here. On the deck here are chairs and tables, it overlooks the beach, and this is where you come to get beach towels, ALSO KEEP THIS IN MIND, you pay 15 pesos, that’s 15 dollars per towel for deposit, this works out to be half your departure tax at the end of the week, remember 25 pesos to get out of the country.

The beach here is the best, we walked all along and found none any better, and it’s large with lots of covered umbrellas for sun block.

The nightly entertainment and during the day were good, if it was too cold which it was, the entertainment came inside.

If you’re going to take in the excursions then do the Catamaran, it was toooooooo awesome, and the jeep safari and the day trip to Havana were great. Hop a bus, take a cab, rent a car, however, go to Veradero and go for a meal, we went to this restaurant 2 times for BIG lobster, it's called "MI CASITA" CALLE 12 Y 11. It's ocean front, tell the beautiful girl there that BIG LOBSTER SENT YOU, its open 11-11 You can go to the Mambo club which is out the front doors of the Club Amigo and down the path from the Amigo, its 10 pesos and all you can drink, opens at 11pm

Go to Veradero, site see, take in the markets, I went down side streets and took photos, I was invited into houses and took pictures leaving behind pesos, this is the safest place i've been to. Go to the central park, go and eat, its awesome.

Overall I enjoyed it, we 10 of us made new friends, a big hi to Roger and Suzanne, Martha, Lona and Mike.

Things to take, and just so you know, at the Saskatoon Airport, tell the check in that the extra suit case full of hand outs is Humanitarian and its not charged as weight. Take, nylons, baby stuff, books, hats, crayons, toys, what ever, make sure you leave a gift for the hotel people they appreciate this.

Remember this; a holiday is what you make it, have fun
Club Amigo Varadero
Ed  
Canada
February 2006
The Amigo Club was very large and we totally got lost on our first night there, roaming around looking for our room. Thank goodness, they gave us a map. I think that if we’d been more patient, the bellboy would have taken us to the room directly. In the light of day, however, it was very easy to find your way. Most was very clean (back stairways were not), could have used more bars in the main hotel.

The resort is HUGE and if you are mobility-challenged, you had better find a different resort. We love to walk and going the 5 minutes through the lovely grounds to the beach was a pleasure, not a chore for us.

The entertainment squad was so friendly and we enjoyed participating or watching the games and shows. Rating 8/10.

*Rooms :*
Once we found our room, we were very impressed by how clean it was and how nicely made up. We had a balcony looking towards the ocean, just as we had requested. The room 3202 was quite large, with 2 twin beds, fridge and TV. Our rating 8/10

*Food :*
We’ve been to the Dominican and been queasy but were 100% fine at the Amigo Club. That must speak to the cleanliness in the kitchen and the water quality. The food choices were fairly basic but we are not picky eaters like so many whiners that write reviews. I loved the salads and the bread was so yummy. We really loved all the fish and chose that whenever possible. Downside: coffee machine lineups and no coffee cups. Solution: take your travel mug.

There were 4 bars, one of which was at the beach. They did a fairly good job, but were constrained by the selection of liquors in stock. If you liked beer or rum (no problem for us), you would be quite satisfied. If you were looking for pina coladas or other fancy cocktails, you would be grumpy. My rating: 8/10

*Service:*
Everyone was so friendly! We did tip most of the time, but wow the maids, servers and bartenders really went all out for us. Our maid was spectacular, with innovative towel sculptures every day and even nice notes. My rating: 8/10

*Beach :*
ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. The sand is pale and soft, the water fairly calm. The depth of the beach at the Amigo Club is generous and there are plenty of umbrellas. We watched them build another dozen the week we were there. Plenty of loungers, you could still score one if you got there before noon. No racing down to the beach at 6:00 a.m.. You can walk for a couple of miles in either direction. The vendors do stroll the beach but they absolutely do NOT bother you. What a treat! My rating: 10/10

*Things to do:*
We love to relax on the beach, so we don’t go looking for many other activities. We did, however, rent scooters on a windy day and also go into Varadero to shop. The travel rep strongly advised against renting scooters, as you are liable for everything, but as long as you are attentive and watch for vehicles and road hazards, all is okay. It is interesting that you have to sign a long waiver, all in Spanish, God and Fidel only know what you are signing. We had a GAS riding around and would do it again in a heartbeat.

There is a huge market in town where you can buy local trinkets at very reasonable prices. You can catch a bus to Varadero (5 convertible pesos round trip), but the bus always seemed full. We shared a cab (10 pesos per couple) one way and took the “coconut” taxi back (15 pesos). That was kind of an adventure, as it broke down on the way back but we finally got back to the hotel, albeit much later.

*Entertainment:*
The shows were first rate and very professional. Our favorites: the Irish Dancing show and the synchronized swimming. We missed the magic show but heard that it was incredible. Compared to the hokey “let’s embarrass the drunk tourists” style of show in the Dominican, the Cubans really shine. My rating: 9/10

*Overall:*
We caught an excellent deal on this vacation through Itravel2000, spending less than $1000 each from Regina. We knew going in that it was only a 3.5* and were expecting a very basic resort. We were very impressed, particularly comparing to the 3.5* Azzurro Club in Puerto Plata (Caberete) that we spent over $1800 each on last year (it was dirty and the food was gross). Overall, we had a fabulous time, thoroughly enjoyed the beach, people and resort. My overall rating: 8/10

Any question contact us @ hoot1man@yahoo.com
Club Amigo Varadero
Danny and Sandra 
Canada
March 2005
Stayed at Club Amigo for two weeks Feb20 to Mar. 6th had read all the reveiws about the resort and was not expecting much.The front desk people were allways friendly and there to help you at any time, never found an unfriendly person there,but it's like they say they treat you like you treat them!

The maid were the cleanest and most helpfull we have found anywhere,the room was allways clean and everything folded and lots of towels and tolit paper.Allways an animal made of our towels or blankets.

The food was not the best but we knew it would be different,nobody lost any weight! It could have been hotter we found if only we had a microwave to heat it up.

These people who complain all the time forget it was only a 3.5 star not a 5. Everywhere in the hotel was allways very clean and the beach was to die for ,the water was warmer than the pool.

Very clean pool also.The shows were quite good,some better than others but all and all better than the ones in the D.R.. Would reccomend this resort to anyone looking for a good clean resort at a very good price, have talked to people who stayed in a 4.5 and had some of the same complaints.

We did get the travellers flu for a day but thats to be expected.

Bring lots of amoddem and a gas curling iron or adapter,also facecloths,and any snacks you may want they are very expensive there$ 4.95 us for pringles!

Met lots of very friendly people and all and all had a very good two weeks.Got lots of tan and miss the hot weather all ready.
Club Amigo Varadero
Gigi 
Canada
March 2005
We just came back on the 24th of February from a one week stay at Club amigo and had a great time. Wish we could have taken an extra week.

After reading some of the reviews I had some doubts about our choice but found quite the opposite to some of the opinions. Front desk was curtious and as helpful as they could be. We ended up having to change rooms because the air conditioner broke after one night, so they got us a new room the following evening when they were not able to fix it and this was at 11:30 pm that they sent someone up to look at it.

As for changing money Only once did they say they had no Peso's and we would have to come back a little later. Not too bad. Rooms were made up nicely not as clean as at home but passed and was acceptable. Loved the swans they made up from the towels and blankets.

The staff were not as friendly as the last place we stayed at 4 years ago at Tryp Cayo CoCo But they always said Hola if you spoke to them first. We met our maid and she was very friendly and thanked us for the gifts we left for her and even left us a good bye note on our last day wishing us a safe journey home.

The friendliest staff members were the Annimation Crew. It was amazing how they would remember your name with all the people they see in a day. They took the time to call your name when they saw you and were quite encouraging to get you to participate in the activities. The food was pretty much like everyone is saying. NOt great but always found something to eat so by no means did any of us go hungry. Fresh bread a lot of the time. We did not go for the food but still ended up eating more than we normally would.

Beach was fantastic and the water crystal clear. Pool was actually a little chilly and the spa was by no means the 38c it claimed it was till the last day when it must have been way over 38c because when we tried to go in it was so hot it burned our feet. Someone must have complained about the temperature and they turned it up way too much. Oh well next person will write a review saying it was toooo hot. LOL

Scooters were great to go to town with but just watch where you park because when you come back you may find a ticket to pay a peso or two. Looks like they are trying to make a buck if you park near the main road and all of a sudden a parking attendant comes out for parking fees. That was actually annoying. Markets were a lot of fun . And if you need to use a restroom off the resort bring Toilet paper as there is none and no toilet seats We had stopped at a gas station to fill up the scooters and needed to use restroom and after we got out I was sure one of the guys yelled out One dollar. That was not impressive. I do not mind paying a tip but not to use the rest room when I was already a paying customer. Also at the airport I was not impressed that they had an attendant standing in front of the bathroom with a table for tips and some toilet paper. As you walked in they handed you a little toilet paper. Also as we were going into the airport where they check your passports the attendant did ask my DH if he had a gift for him. Took DH by surprize and we had no peso's left so I gave him a tooney.

I feel that this trip around was not as good as the last time only because now they are expecting tips whereas before it was actually recommended that you do not tip. This was 4 years ago. Times they are a changing. I enjoy giving a tip to those that I feel deserve it but it has come to the point where they expect it and then you don’t feel as good giving the tips.

I would go back to this resort again mainly for the animation group but enjoyed Club Tryp 4 years ago much better for the bar tenders that were quite entertaining. Not sure if it is still like that today though. But all in all we had a great time and would recommend this hotel for the money. Very nice grounds and mostly friendly. Weather was terrific and coming home to white snow and -15 was not fun. I miss it already and can't wait till we are able to return again.
Club Amigo Varadero
Nancy & Trevor 
Canada
February 2005
My husband and I stayed at the Club Amigo Feb. 3rd - 10th 2005. Weather during this month was 27-30C every day with a beautiful breeze. Only one elevator was working during this time, which was really inconvenient for us. The resort is very large and if your not use to using stairs or walking a lot this is not the resort for you. The rooms are very clean and so is the rest of the resort. Voltage / frequency is different so make sure you bring an adaptor with you. The reception is on the level –1 and entrance to a 3 min. walk to the beach. Level 1 is the piano bar with 2 bars also access to the pool. Level 2 is the buffet & restaurants with an outdoor patio. The food anywhere in Cuba is pretty bland but there's always something to eat. We were there when this resort was overbooked so the service was very slow and they ran out of food & dishes from time to time, but we waiting till they replenished these items. The beach is the most gorgeous beach I have every seen but lots of jellyfish. The beach also has a beach bar. The animation staff is very friendly but not enough staff to cover this resort. The resort was so overbooked they were giving away free trips to Havana. All in all I would recommend this hotel if you want a good 3 star resort. And make sure you book through Escapes; Shelia knew what she was talking about. Have fun we did.

Varadaro is great with the BEST BEACH crystal clear with white sand. The town is safe too walk in day or night. The markets are full of local merchandise to purchase. You can take a double decker bus all day for 5 pesos (recommend). Horse and buggy's everywhere to ride at reasonable price. Remember not to take American Dollars as you will be penalized 10%, try to exchange at the bank its a better rate, and you must bring your passport with you. Ask your tour operator about devices (walky talkies, cell phone etc. some are not allowed in Cuba)
Club Amigo Varadero
Cathy 
Canada
February 2005
Stayed at CAV for 2 week AI mid January-Feb1 2005. Room was OK. 2 double beds-we pushed them together. Room was kept clean. No major problems. We did not spend a lot of time in there anyway. Lots of hot water the 1st night-we bathed quite late though. Rest of the time water temp was OK-not overly hot. No problems with power. Once had a problem with not enough towels-maid thought maybe we had taken them to the beach and actually took a good look around our room(discreetly looking at our suitcases etc.). Told her we had brought our own beach towels. Anyway, no problem in the end.

Food at this hotel was terrible. Met several people who have been to Cuba many times and they thought this was the worst hotel they had stayed in. Mashed potatoes looked like soup. Soup was fairly good -except the fish soup, even then they were all quite salty. Meat was always overdone and I thought on the tough side. Shrimp and rice one night was basically shrimp heads. Best meal of the day was breakfast 2 eggs over easy and maybe a slice of French toast, mango juice. Breakfast was served until 10:00 AM, after that you would have to wait until the pool/beach bar opened for a grill cheese or hamburger/fries. These were pretty good. Tabasco sauce on everything helped. Hamburgers were OK, but not much in the way of condiments.

Service was really, really slow. There was ususally only one bartender working and several times one bar would run out of something so you would have to walk back to the hotel or vice-versa.

Staff were fairly friendly once you got to know them, but by that time you were pretty much getting ready to go home. They all were on the job at least 9-12 hours per shift with 1 day off. Some of them had other jobs at other hotels.

Went to the Mambo Club one night-that was totally fun. Music was awesome-everywhere in Cuba. People would just break out into song etc.

Flea market in Varadero was quite good as far as trinkets to take back home. One thing I liked was that they were not aggressive so I felt at ease just looking around and contemplating my purchases before I made any final decisions. Some lovely stores on the main strip. Several restaurants on the strip served awesome food and reasonably priced. Calle 62 area had some great little bars for meeting up with friends.

Taking the bus to Varadero and back for $5.00 was an excellent deal. You could get on and off any number of times. Always someone to chat with.

Did the Catamaran tour-fabulous. What a great day! On the return trip our catamaran was singing/dancing upon arrival at the dock. Out of the 3 that left ours was the only one doing this, and no one was sea-sick. Had to wait 2 hours just to get into the bank 1 day to change some money. That was an adventure in itself-chatted with people from all over the world. After the bank walked all the way to Calle 62 and had a Buckanerro. Boy was that good! It is definitely better than the Crystal!

All in all, we had a good time but do not think I would hurry back to Cuba-definitely will go back to the DR.
Club Amigo Varadero
M & W 
Ontario Canada
February 2005
We just returned from a gerat vacation in Varadero . We stayed at the Club Amigo 3plus star. We booked it 1 week prior to our departure, we were hoping to get a 4* , but the only hotels available were 3 and 3 plus so we chose Club Amigo. We read all the reviews , then wondered what we had got ourselves into, as most of the reviews were negative. We thought ok , we are going to a 3plus star hotel, not a 4-5 star,can't expect to much. The hotel was huge and yes it was confusing going from one end to another, and the elevator -1 floor and 1, 2,3,PB floors were not that confusing , (there was an english sign in the elevator telling you what was on each floor).People just have to READ!

The lobby we thought was just as nice as the lobbies of other hotels in Varadero. The pool area was great although the "hot tub" was a cold tub.The activities at the pool were fun. The buffet was ok I would rate it 8 /10 , the breakfast was always good , great omletes, the freshly squezed orange juice was good, but if you came in close to 9:30am it would be out of juice. They had roast beef, Pork and turkey with gravy , besides all the other stuff at the buffet. The Cuban restaurant was great, there desserts are yummy, just watch for the cajun spice that they sprinkle around your plate, way to hot, service was great !The Italian Restaurant was so-so, the pizza was good , the margurita pizza is cheese and tomato , not limes , like many people thought and then did not order it.We did not eat lunch there , because we were always on a tour. The staff was not very attentive, even though there was only 3-4 tables full.

The staff at the hotel is fantastic!! Jose at the front desk was wonderful and speaks very good english. The activity girl also spoke good english , she was very helpful. The entertainment was good , but seemed to be the same everynight ...dancing , there was one night of a great magic show and another show at the condo pool with dancers in the pool it was awesome. . In varadero we did eat at Al Capone's House -Restaurant , it was good, presented nice, but very expensive,$16 peso . We rented the scooter's and went to Varadero, rent them for the whole day , it's cheaper. We rented for the 3 hour time slot, and we were 2 hours late.$5 peso for each hour late. By the time you drive to Varadero and gas up and check out the markets etc, your way over the 3 hours. The beach for the hotel is one of the best !!The staff at the beach bar are so nice. The hamburger and fries there are good, not like home, but still good.

We did drink the water there, although we also brought our own. We never got sick , although one of our friends did get really sick , she thought it was from a boiled egg with some kind of sauce on it, from the supper buffet. The walk to the beach is very nice,lots of hens roosters and gecko's . Also when going to the market in Havanna, wait and buy at the market in Varadero , much cheaper!!

Bring toilet paper or Kleenex when on the road, and peso's , you will find it hard to get peso's , even the hotel does not want to give you $1` peso's they give you 5's and 3's so you have no choice to tip with those. All in all, the Hotel , the staff were fantastic,food ok , but I am a picky eater. Although, next year when we go back if we can't get a 4star, we will go back to Club Amigo!
Club Amigo Varadero
Carolyn 
Ottawa, Canada
April 2004
This was my first time visiting Cuba and many people had told me that the beaches and the sun were fabulous. Well they were very correct because this is exactly what I paid for .. the beaches and the sun.

My experience with Club Amigo is one I wish to forget and will not return to this location, unless they offered me this resort at $499.00 or less than I would consider. The accurate rating of this hotel should be a 2.5 - 3. It is overated at a 3.5 for my following reasons:

* Reception was very very rude and not accommodating at any given point during our stay there
* The hotel room was not ready upon our arrival.
* We could not access our safe, after we checked in because the previous occupant did not close out the account and the front desk did not offer us a temporary safe elsewhere or alternate solution to put away our valuables and passports.
* The room was dirty and the garbage pail not emptied from the previous occupant.
* We requested a non-smoking room, kingsize bed, we did not receive this.
* One of the mattresses had a dip in the centre and I awoke every morning with a sore back.
* The air conditioning barely worked.
* The food was awful, repetitious and very disorganized. Sometimes it seemed like the only time you got service was if you tipped.
* The 24 hour bar ran out of beer and vodka (imagine that!!)
* They ran out of beach towels and the ones that they gave us, well my worst towels at home were better than what we received
* When we complained of noise about 75 teenagers staying up until 430 in the morning. our requests were ignored.
* When we requested another room we were told there were none, yet when we called to speak to security, they suddenly had a room for us.
* The other room that we received had ants throughout the room
* The food selection was very limited and tasteless
* They were not very accomodating in the way that if you did not know or ask about the courtesy room when you checked out at 1200 and your bus left at 745pm, you would not know what to do with your luggage; they did not volunteer up to help the tourist
* The courtesy room did not have any cleans towels in it, only wet ones from the previous people.
* When you checked out, your baggage was secured in a room which half the time the room was unlocked so anyone could go in.
* Fridges were provided in the room but they did not work.
* I would return to this return if they offered it to me for $399.00
* My rating 2.5, maybe a 3
* MY RECOMMENDATION - pay the extra money if you can to get a hotel at