logo Old Reviews - Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca
Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca
Cathy 

May 2008
My boyfriend and I were at Club Amigo from May 11-18, 2007. We booked a Villa Room through RedTag.ca ($715 ea, tx incl.) and flew Sunwing Airlines from Montreal. It was my boyfriend's first time in Cuba and at an all-inclusive. I've been to two other 3* resorts: Varadero (Sol Club Coral Resort) and Sosua, Dominican Republic (Casa Marina Reef Resort), just to put my review into perspective.

Let me start by saying that the resort was pretty empty the week we went. Spoke to another couple at the neighboring Brisas Guardalavaca and theirs was also 1/3 full. Not sure if it was the time of year or the resort or both but the fact that the resort was quiet was both good and bad. Only the Atlantico and Villa sections were open. The Guardalavaca and Bungalow sections were closed, including their bars, pools and restaurants. Just something to keep in mind when reading my review.

The resort was good, but not great. It deserves its 3* rating.

MONEY
You can only get Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) at the resort or at the airport in Cuba. The exchange desk at the Canadian airport doesn't do it. The exchange desk at the resort charges an additional 8% or so service charge. For Canadian travelers, the US-CUC rate is WAY better ($0.98 vs. $1.12 on one day) than the CAD-CUC rate. You might be better off exchanging US dollars than CAD dollars.

FLIGHTS
On-time departures and slightly early arrivals going and coming. Seats are more roomy than on Air Transat. They served a complimentary glass of champagne on the outbound flight and glass of wine on the inbound, which was a nice touch. Also served small snack and full meal. Only complaint is that a lot of people (yours truly included) were not seated together on the outbound flight, which was annoying.

BUS TO RESORT
1 hour ride in a large coach to the resort. VERY bumpy roads. Sit toward the front if you can. Not much to see on the ride to the resort.

CHECK IN-OUT
The people at reception are rather stony-faced and stern. Another reviewer said that your only contact with reception is upon check-in/out but we went to reception at least 5 times with various questions (directions to different places, etc.) and had slow and bad service every time.

Check-in/out itself was fine. If you aren't already familiar, they give you a slip of paper to exchange for beach towels (by the main pool). You have to return that paper at the end of your stay, whether you use the towels or not. They don't say anything about this at check-in so how would people know they need to keep/return the paper?

Another reviewer mentioned a good tip - they ask you at reception if its your first time there and if you say you've been there once before, they later (a few days) slip an invitation under your room door to attend a complimentary lobster lunch for return guests. (Unfortunately, we couldn't attend as we'd booked an excursion on that day.)

ROOM
From the other reviews, I knew to book a Villa room. I'd emailed the hotel before arriving and requested a Villa with ocean view and got it! We were in Villa 1102 on the ground floor, closest to the main hotel and beach, which was convenient and great. In retrospect I should've also asked for a second floor Villa, which would've had a more private balcony instead of open terrace but again the hotel was pretty quiet. The Villa room was nice and clean; a bit of peeling paint. Two 3/4 beds with mattresses and pillows that were actually comfortable. New wall mounted A/C unit with remote control. Tiled bathroom. There was a leak in the ceiling above our sink. I told reception and leak stopped a day or two later, although the hold in the ceiling looked the same so maybe the people above us simply checked out. Shower water pressure wasn't great and temperature would go from cool to scalding hot. TV had many English channels, including HBO. Never saw any bugs in the room EXCEPT on our last night when I opened the balcony door for a second and a HUGE cockroach scuttled in. I had the boyfriend deal with it.

The housekeeper kept the room spotless and left cute towel art on the bed every day. She even inserted some random card into the card slot to keep the A/C on even when we weren't in the room. I noticed she'd even changed the dying battery in the A/C remote without us having said anything. We left her $1 CUC or little gifts every day.

BEACH
OK, so I wasn't that impressed with the beach(es) but I am admittedly a beach snob. There are 2 SMALL private beaches in front of the villas and the bigger public beach to the west of those in front of the Atlantico pool. Because Guardalavaca beach is near coral reefs, the sand is not that fine has tiny broken shells, rocks and twigs from the trees in it. It's definitely a natural setting, more so than Varadero, but I preferred the long stretches of white sand at Varadero. The sand bed in the water also has tiny rocks in it and seagrass - some days more than others depending on how wavy the water is. Some days were so weedy it was quite gross. The water is clear-ish but not as nice as Varadero. I think Guardalavaca beach is the worst one. Playa Esmeralda and Playa Pesquero, where the nicer hotels are, may be nicer.

Plenty of shade from the trees and lots of sun loungers. What I didn't like was that there were guys there to place and dust off your lounger. I guess they expect tips for this. It was hard to find empty loungers cause every time one was empty the guys would whisk it away. I would've preferred to self-serve.

Lots of locals on the public beach (and some wandering the grounds as well). We were approached a couple of times. There were some local singers on the beach, which was nice (except for when drunk locals decided to sing along, loudly and out of key).

POOL
Split most of our time between the beach and the Atlantico pool with the swimup bar. The resort was quiet so plenty of chairs and we were always served pretty quickly by Abel the pool barman. The pool was nice. Sometimes had little dead bugs floating in it (but don't all pools?) and empty plastic cups from the bar. We also sunned by the Villa pool, which was smaller and had more shade. (The pool loungers were hard white plastic and not very comfortable. I see from Brisas Guardalavaca resort pics that they have fabric loungers, which are way more comfy.)

Also plenty of beach towels (probably cause the resort was quiet).

FOOD AND DRINKS
Food was abysmal. The buffet was the worst of all the resorts I've been to. Buffet was TINY and INDOORS (albeit air conditioned). Even though it was indoors there were still flies buzzing about. The Atlantico buffet was the only one open the whole week. We ate there only three times and it was pretty gross every time. The only saving graces were the fresh omelettes and sweet fresh-squeezed orange juice at breakfast. We usually ate (hamburgers, hot dogs (on hamburger buns), cheese pizzas) at the Atlantico snack bar or (fries) at the Villa snack bar. Edible but artery-clogging.

Twice, we ventured off the property and ate at the pizza place (Pizza Nova) and seafood resto (El Ancla) at the end of the beach. Both were GREAT and a welcome change. The lobster at the seafood resto was huge and really delicious, although we were sweltering inside the restaurant. We got a $10 CUC voucher ($5 per person) for the seafood resto in the Internet Cafe where you book the a-la-cartes, and another $10 voucher for the pizza place from the Bungalows Reception.

Only 2 a-la-cartes open during our stay. We only tried El Benny's - twice, since the resort was so quiet. I had the Creole soup, beef dish and fish dish. All three were salty but otherwise OK. My boyfriend had the pork and chicken dishes, both of which weren't good so I was lucky.

Honestly, my and my boyfriend's stomachs weren't well all week. Just couldn't get used to the food, I guess. We were actually looking forward to the in-flight meal on the way home. It took us both a few days to get back to "normal" after we got back. I'd suggest you bring your own Pepto/Correctol/Immodium.

Drinks were strong! They seem to have blenders at every bar now. Even so, we never managed to get slushy drinks. Ice cubes melt almost instantly in the heat. We brought an insulated cup, which kept the drinks cool. Rum punch, Banana Mama, Mojitos were all good. They sometimes ran out of mint toward the end of the day. The local cuban wine (Soroa) was cheap and drinkable. Better than the cheap wines you get at the SAQ here. They cost under 3 pesos in the resort store.

SOUVENIRS
Rum is cheapest at the Cuban airport duty free shop (after security once you've checked in). $7.10 for a 700 ml bottle vs. $8 at the resort store. My boyfriend bought cigars at the cigar shop by the Bungalows reception. Not sure if prices were better or worse at the airport shop.

The little flea market just on the side of the resort has some local hand-crafted goods at really cheap prices. We didn't feel like haggling over a $2 or $5 item. I got a few cute things for $2 each. As others have said, buy something when you might not see the vendor again during your stay.

EXCURSIONS
Only did one as they are pricey. Booked a catamaran/snorkeling/dolphin swim through Carlos, the Sunwing rep. 120 pesos for the day. We used our credit card and were charged in US$ (US$133), which, I guess, included some kind of service charge. Rickety bus picks you up at 8:30am and drops you off around 4pm. Club Amigo is the first pickup location so you're on the bus for AN HOUR as it picks up guests at other hotels. (Drop-out at the end of the day was a bit quicker but we were still last.) Catamaran sail was very choppy and not great for motion-sickness sufferers. It helps to sit toward the back of the cat AND facing the other way. I can't really swim so I sat out the snorkeling as well. Tried it but the water was choppy and sent me scrambling back to the cat. Swimming with the dolphins was awesome. Mario, our guide, took some quality photos of us using our own camera. We also bought the professional $5 5x7 photo. The lobster (or chicken) for lunch was small and pretty dry. Definitely paled in comparison to the one we ate at El Ancla. NOTE: There was no "free time at the beach" as in the description in the Sunwing folder. On the cat ride back to shore the crew walked around with a big tip jar and I'd say everyone felt the need to tip. I found that annoying. Overall, I'd say the excursion was worth it, particularly the dolphin swim.

OTHER
There are a couple of stray dogs (and cats) that frequent the resort. They seem to appreciate water more than food and affection/attention more than water. Give them a bit of love and they'll lie under your table or follow you around. It broke my heart to see these dogs. They're not skinny or mangy-looking but they are probably flea-ridden and hot beneath all that fur. Made me miss my two spoiled doggies at home.

Mosquitoes love me (and my bf even more). We brought Deep Woods Off and still got bitten in places where we didn't spray. Nevertheless I'd bring some kind of mosquito repellent unless you yourself repel mosquitoes.

I brought new flip-flops on my trip and came to regret it. We had to buy band-aids from a small store off the resort for $0.50 a band-aid. Bring a couple of your own just in case. (I bought more comfy flip-flops from the resort store for $6.)

Some have waxed poetic about the great service at this resort. I can't say we got exceptional service. It was just average. I didn't see many smiles the week we were there.

OVERALL
Overall, it was a very relaxing trip given how quiet the resort was, which was the whole point of the vacation. Some British reviewers complained about loud, obnoxious French Canadians but ironically the only ones I saw who were drunk and disorderly were the Brits. My boyfriend is British and even he was annoyed by the behavior of his fellow country-men. Still, it made for some interesting drama by the pool.

There are security guards all around the resort. They're there more for a sense of well-being, I think, because they didn't do a thing when there was an altercation in the pool between the aforementioned Brits and another group.

We got quite a good deal having paid only $715 each for a Villa room. Weather was great the whole week. A couple of cloudy days, which were actually a welcome respite from the blazing hot sun. Aside from the food, we got our money's worth (but wouldn't have been happier paying more). I'd probably try another resort before returning to this one. Having tried a couple of 3-3.5* places I think we'll pay a little extra and go with 4 or 5* next time.
Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca
Tyler 
Ottawa, Canada
February 2008
I'll offer just tips and observations of Club Amigo in Guardalavaca, as most of the other reviews describe the details of the rooms, layout and beaches already. OVERALL I was very impressed and satisfied with the resort, the staff, the service, the food, and the cleanliness.
Although I did have a few problems, and will note them following. I have put the major subjects in CAPS.

-First off I may be pointing out the obvious but USE THE PROVIDED ROOM SAFE. I had $185 CAD + 70 CUC stolen from my wallet which was in a drawer, behind some clothes. (luckily they left me $100 and didn't touch my passport or camera).
I was of course disappointed, but what made it worse was not so much that the hotel did nothing about the THEFT (because really what can be done for stolen cash...) but more the fact that the SUNWING travel rep kept insisting there would be "an investigation" and the police would be contacted, and that we would HEAR BACK from him with updated information. None of this happened (maybe a naive expectation), and it wasn't until the last day when we spoke to a different travel rep, did anyone decisively say there was nothing to be done, and they stopped stringing us along - we were keeping a small hope of seeing some of the money returned.

-I can only assume it was one or more of the housekeeping staff, because they are the only ones with a key, we had the two guest copies, and the room door locks behind you when you leave. (When questioned one denied even working that day, which was untrue, because she left a cute note with her name on it that morning, and the each of them said to talk to the other ones... so it's probably a regular racket they run on those who are too trusting)

This was the only major upset, as I said above everything else was pretty nice --

- We arrived around 5pm with no problems, the bus ride to the resort from Holguin airport is about an hour, and quite interesting to see the edge of the city and the landscape, as it was my first time in Cuba.

- I did not notice a currency exchange in the arrival half of Holguin airport, but we later found out there are two currency exchange booths in the departure half (one on each side of security check). The rates here seemed to be slightly better than at the resort, but not enough to make any difference.

-The Guardalavaca section of the resort (long buildings in southern east corner) seems to be the oldest and I describe the ROOMS as comparable to most North American motels. They are run down, but very clean.

-The ROOM we had in the Atlantico section (the hotel right next to the beach) was much bigger, brighter with an ocean view, and better fixtures and much better beds. This room was like a North American hotel. BUT it was here that we noticed the only cockroach we saw (near our bathroom door), and the TV here had a blue line running through it.

-The girl at the CURRENCY exchange desk (lobby of the Bunglaows section) unsuccessfully tried to shortchange me and my girlfriend of a single CUC each, may have been an honest mistake, but due to the poverty of the country, I am assuming it was intentional, and just her way of getting a little on the side. (The scam was to count the money out very quickly and just report the value on the receipt, so COUNT YOUR CHANGE)

-Take some kind of insulated MUG / thermos / container to have filled at the bar, they typically only provide very small plastic cups.
Everyone seemed to know this, and it was no problem to have large jugs partially or completely filled with beer. (though they usually won't make a mixed drink in the same ratios in large contains, adding more juice or pop, whereas in the small cups the alcohol is quite strong)

-You many consider taking your own TOWEL to use, instead of the hotel issued towel, (keeping the issued "towel card" safe to return at checkout). We ended up doing this, just because we could never be bothered to find out exactly where to get a hotel beach towel from.
(Lost towels cost $, and they are all obviously identical, so would be easily misplaced.)

-I planned to SCUBA DIVE every day, so I looked around the grounds immediately on arrival for the dive shop, walked to the west end of the beach and back, but did not find it (in the dark). Asked three people the following morning, the third one finally provided some accurate directions: the Eagle Ray dive shop is just a few buildings WEST of ATLANTICO hotel, located right on the beach, but back from the shore behind some trees. They don't have a boat docked there, instead it comes every morning around 9:30am. Their leaflets and signs say 9am and 11am dive departure - in apparent Cuban style this really means show up at 9am, and they will finally depart around 10am. They do take reservations, but this fact isn't advertised. So on my third day of simply showing up early before 9am I was told that the day was booked full (would have been nice if they could have mentioned this prior). So RESERVE at your first opportunity. The 9am dive returns around 11am usually, though sometimes later. The 11am dive returns around 1pm etc. If you are not with a friend, follow the divemaster underwater, because they are not strict about the buddy system. -The dive prices are 35CUC for one, 60 for 2, 90 and 120 for 3 and 4, then 135CUC for five dives, etc. This is according to the sign on their office window, but obviously may change. They will charge / discount your payments at each dive. (so first I paid 35, then paid 25 for the second etc)

-All equipment is included, but I brought own fins, mask.

-Be sure to thoroughly check the GEAR before leaving for the dive (I found one very leaky backup reg, and there were a few leaky valves on the tanks) -WETSUIT - Wear at least a shorty, because it gets cold at depth and after ~40 mins diving body heat is gone -the SNORKELING right off the beach(es) in front of the resort is nearly as good as diving, in terms of quantity of life, of course you get some different creatures at depth, but most of the fish are similar (the farther out the better) -Didn't try far east of the resort near the point, but it looked promising for snorkeling, a few of their dive sites are over here, the majority are just around the western point (in relation to the resort)

-Last thing to note is about the "excursions" -- the same day trips seem to be offered by whichever travel company you booked with, and all the buses leave the lobby around 8am (some minutes earlier, some later). The EXCURSION BUSES seem to be hit and miss for timing so ARRIVE 15 MINS early for them, more to be even safer, and inquire to each bus where it is going. Same with the "HOP ON AND OFF" bus that goes in a circuit to resorts along the coast, with a final stop at some nature park (wanted to take this one morning, but it DID NOT show up at its scheduled time, disappointing. Saw it the next day ON TIME... so it's a crap shoot)

-The excursion to HOLGUIN (44CUC) is on the edge of being worth it. I really found the inside of the CIGAR FACTORY to be interesting, so it was worth it for that, but the rest of it is not that exciting, and it's just a pleasant ride around to see something other than the resort for a day

-our DEPARTURE plane was over an hour late (just for the record), and you may be interested to note THERE ARE LIQUOR / CIGAR stores on both sides of AIRPORT SECURITY, as well as CURRENCY exchanges. The best prices for liquor we saw the whole time seemed to be at the DUTY FREE after security, it also had much more selection than anywhere else.

So in conclusion, I would recommend this place, but careful with your belongings !
Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca
Janet  
Clinton, Ontario
February 2008
Arrival - Everything went smoothly. We arrived at night and the airport was quiet. Busses were there to take us to our hotels. No problems at all. Trip to resort was about 45 minutes. Road is in bad shape but the driver did his best to get us there quickly.

Rooms - The rooms are nothing like the pictures on the internet or the brochures. Our room was small. Had two single beds(that we pushed together to make a bigger bed). No vanity in bathroom so if you have a hanging travel bag take it. There was always plenty of hot water all day long. We had a terrace that led out to the garden. It was nice to sit out there. During our stay we didn't see any bugs in the room. No spiders eithers. We did have a couple of flies and a few mosquitos but all in all the room was okay. We didn't spend much time in it anyway. If you are a light sleeper unplug the phone, it rings occasionally at night, not sure why.

Restaurants - We waited too long to get a reservation at the a la carte restaurants. We had breakfast and dinner at the buffet restaurants and lunch at the snack bar. Breakfast was really good. Fresh fruit every morning, and omelets made fresh to order. Also all the bacon, sausage and french toast you could ever want. Go early to get the good stuff. Bread for toast and fresh OJ ran out by 9am. Dinner was okay. Meat or fish on the grill each night. Assorted veggie dishes and an array of other stuff. Ice cream for dessert every night was nice too. Snack bar offers regular food like pizza, fish and burgers and the best fries. One snack bar is open 24hrs. Our snack bar was run by Roger, he is the best. Tip occasionally, for good service and they will continue to treat you right.

Bars - We mostly hung out at the snack bar and got good drinks. The forzen drinks are not that good but the rum punch is great. You can control the amount of rum added so if you like the not as strong tell them. Some of our drinks were way to potent and made for an early nap. They also like the tips but pace yourself. Tipping is optional but you get better service. I think all the tips are pooled and split so watching whom you tip doesn't matter.

Beach and Pools - The pools are great. There are 4 pools, one in each area. Cold but refreshing. Each one is beside a bar and a snack bar so you can relax by the pool and drink and eat all day. The beaches are beautiful. There is a long beach with public access and this is where you get the paddle boats etc. There are also 3 small private beaches. One with a bar and two without. Snorkelling was a little disappointing because of the distance you needed to go out to see anything. Be careful, it is a long swim. Get a life jacket and just float around or as many people did, take a paddle boat out and snorkel. The sand is white powder. There are plenty of loungers and on the public beach you will find bars for the public. Beer there is like a buck a can.

Grounds - Grounds were beautiful. A lot of security around and because there is a lot of people at this resort it is needed. There are a few cats and dogs around, don't feed them unless you really like them. They are strays that get food from leftovers at the snackbars. There is a boardwalk that links this resort to Las Brisas and beyond. All in all I felt safe during my stay.

Activities - Be sure to book your a la carte dinners as soon as possible. As well as booking paddle boats, catamarans, and such. There is entertainment every night but it is not that good. We did see the ballet aquatics and it was nice. Other than that we did our own thing.

Tours - We went on the tour of Holguin. Saw cigars being made and went to the Hill of the Cross. It was full day and lunch was included. it was nice to see the countryside. Shopping in Holguin was not good.

We also went for a long walk down to a fishing village down the road from our resort. It is a village built primarily on coral. The people there are friendly. They are very poor. They sell you necklaces and stuff. One lady even invited us in for a lobster lunch, we declined it but probably should have gone in. Beside the resort there is a flea market. Cuban vendors selling t-shirts, jewelry, cigars, and hats etc. There are also some shops there selling stuff. Bottled water sells for one peso for 1.5 litre bottle. Buy some it is cold and safe. Rum is cheap there as well but as we found out cheaper at the airport.

Conclusion - This was our first trip to Cuba and we may or may not go back. We did not enjoy it as much as the Dominican. Nothing really wrong with it. We got a great deal and for the money well worth it. We paid $359.00 plus $209.00 for the week. We flew last minute with Skyservice. The people here are much different from other poor countries. Some were nice but others begged and begged and begged. We gave money to some, not all. Just a totally different experience from our others holidays.
Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca
Lorraine  
Canada
December 2004
Je viens juste de revenir d’un séjour d’une semaine au Club Amigo Atlantico en octobre 2004. Il s’agit pour mon conjoint et moi du troisième séjour à cet hôtel cette année. Nous y sommes allés une semaine en janvier et deux semaines en avril. Nul besoin d’ajouter que nous aimons beaucoup l’endroit et que cet hôtel représente, ou plutôt représentait, un excellent rapport qualité-prix. Nous réservons toujours à la dernière minute pour profiter de très bons prix et pouvons ainsi voyager plus souvent. Cette fois-ci, il a fait extrêmement beau et la plage était magnifique. On ne sait jamais à Cuba...

Comme nous sommes allés trois fois à cet hôtel, nous avons remarqué une certaine détérioration. Cet hôtel d’une chaîne cubaine semble avoir des problèmes financiers, comme bien d’autres hôtels de chaînes cubaines d’ailleurs. Voici donc certains problèmes que nous avons vécus cette fois-ci :

Piscines
Il y a 4 piscines sur le site, soit une dans chaque section. La section «standard» (la section et la piscine sont fermées en basse saison (ouverte de janvier à mars seulement), la section Tropical (ils ont vidé la piscine à notre arrivée parce que l’eau était verte et ils ne l’ont pas remplie pendant notre séjour), la section Bungalow ou Cameleon (la piscine est belle, mais loin de la plage) et la section Villa (belle piscine tranquille, mais là encore loin de la plage). C’était bien frustrant de ne pas pouvoir profiter de la piscine près de la plage, car c’est là qu’il y a le seul bar dans l’eau et où on pouvait jouer au volleyball.

Nourriture
Cette fois-ci, la nourriture n’était pas très bonne aux deux buffets, et il manquait franchement de variété. On a eu droit à la même soupe aux tomates avec des nouilles de spaguetti toute la semaine. Les seuls légumes chauds étaient des carottes, des choux de Bruxelles et des choux-fleurs. Il n’y avait souvent même pas de saucisses fumées pour les hot-dog le midi. On a mangé bien du poisson, du porc et du poulet. Il y avait rarement des pâtes au buffet. Mon conjoint a eu la turista et a été malade plusieurs jours. Ce n’est pas l’eau car il a toujours bu de l’eau embouteillée. Un soir on a mangé au Benny (le resto à la carte cubain) et c’était délicieux. Un autre soir, on a mangé à l’hôtel à côté (Le Brisas) et son buffet était pas mal mieux que le nôtre. Il s’agit aussi d’un hôtel cubain, mais 4 étoiles.

Chambre
Nous avions réservé un chambre dans la section Tropical, mais nous avons demandé un upgrade pour une chambre dans la section Villa (la plus luxueuse) en arrivant là-bas ($ supplément). Dans la chambre Villa, le support à pommeau de douche était brisé, 2 des 4 tiroirs de la commode étaient brisés, il y avait plein plein de petites fournis partout dans la chambre sur les murs et le plancher (même si c’était extrêmement propre), une des lampes de chevet était inutilisable, une des table de chevet était brûlée la grosseur d’un ballon de soccer, la porte patio ne glissait tout simplement pas et on l’a gardé fermée, mon conjoint a tué deux coquerelles qui se baladaient dans la chambre, etc., etc. Que se passe-t-il à cet hôtel? Pas d’argent pour acheter ce qu’il faut pour réparer? Enfin, la femme de chambre n’y est pour rien : la chambre était tout d’une propreté exemplaire. On aurait pu changer, mais comme les lits étaient confortables et la chambre bien située, on est resté là quand même. Ce n’était pas la fin du monde.

En passant, il y a des chats de gouttière partout sur le complexe, et on peut souvent voir des portées de chatons avec leur maman. Ils sont tolérés car ils mangent les bestioles et rongeurs indésirables, en plus de nettoyer les aires publiques en mangeant la nourriture qui tombe parterre et attire les coquerelles.

Conditions de vie à Cuba
Les prix ont augmenté de 20 % à Cuba depuis avril dernier. C’est encore très raisonnable pour nous les touristes pour acheter de l’eau embouteillée (0,70$US le 1,5 L), des cigarettes (un paquet d’Hollywood coûte 1,20$US) et du rhum, mais pour les hôtels cubains et la population, c’est catastrophique. Ils avaient déjà de la difficulté à s’approvisionner, mais là ils en arrachent.

Guardalavaca est une plage publique. Alors n’hésitez pas à apporter des vêtements, des savons, du shampoing, des cosmétiques, etc. pour donner aux Cubains. Ils seront bien contents. Il y en a qui ont l’air plus en moyens que d’autres. Moi j’évite de donner à ceux qui mendient. Il y a quelques Cubains malhonnêtes et c’est préférable que vous, et seulement vous, choisissiez qui profitera de votre générosité. Il y a des mendiants qui font pas mal d’argent car ils revendent souvent ce que vous leur donnez). Vous pouvez aussi louer gratuitement un vélo (ou un scooter ou une auto - $) et aller dans les villages sur le bord de l’autoroute pour aller donner vos choses.

Au sujet des femmes de chambre : Laissez-lui un pourboire (un dollar sur l’oreiller tous les matins), mais gardez vos gâteries pour les pauvres. Les femmes de ménage font beaucoup d’argent avec les pourboires, enfin, beaucoup plus que la moyenne des Cubains et j’ai entendu de bonne source qu’elles revendent souvent aux pauvres ce que vous leur laissez.

Si vous voyez Rolando et son ami, les deux guitaristes aveugles qui jouent de la musique à la plage, n’hésitez pas à les aider (ils sont alcooliques, mais ils ne quêtent jamais). Il y a aussi un autre guitariste, Lazaro, qui chante la pomme aux touristes, mais qui est un menteur invétéré et un arnaqueur (lui aussi alcoolique!). Il gagne votre confiance, puis vous escroque. Soyez prudents.

Conclusion
En conclusion, je ne recommande pas cet hôtel pour l’instant (à moins que la situation économique à Cuba ne s’améliore). Il serait peut-être plus mieux de choisir un hôtel d’une chaîne étrangère (espagnole, italienne, etc.) ou un 4 étoiles et plus si la nourriture est importante pour vous.