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Riu Turquesa

October 2008
We stayed at the Riu Turquesa in April for two weeks. My husband and I had been to Cuba four years previously at a different resort and were very excited to be returning. We travelled with our aunt and uncle as we have for many of our trips. We have stayed at many Riu resorts in previous years, but realizing this was Cuba we knew that it would not live up to the standards of other Riu hotels. We were prepared for this. The beaches in Cuba have been the most beautiful that we have seen. In my opinion even better than the Dominican and Cancun. The water is the bluest and clearest I have seen and the temperature of the water is fabulous.

Service: The staff at the Turquesa were very hard working and attentive. After a day or two of us being there, they knew what we liked to drink when we arrived at any of the outdoor tables near the bar area our drinks were there soon after we sat down. Staff very friendly and always smiling.

Rooms: Okay, the rooms we were in at first were not up to other Riu hotels. But really, how much time do you spend in your room? Did you not come here for the sunshine and beach? Our room did not have a hair dryer..so what! Hair dries very quickly in the type of weather they have in Cuba. The water ran, the toilet worked, we had a tv to watch, things to drink, air conditioning, towels and a bed to sleep in. They did upgrade our rooms to a junior suite for us and a suite for our aunt and uncle on the third day we were there. The bed was better and the rooms were larger.

Food: We have a couple of picky eaters in our group. They found enough variety at all meals to enjoy. Yes, they overcook the chicken and beef but I think that may be for your safety to make sure there are no raw pieces. So have some of the lamb or veal, which I tried for the first time and really enjoyed. The pasta bar was a hit. My favorite meal is breakfast. There was alot of variety for that meal so I was in heaven. For our last week the main restaurant was closed for lunch as the hotel was getting ready to close down while the new owners took over. The snack bar was the only place open for lunch. They still prepared large pots of rice, potato, chicken, fish, beef and always vegetables. They had burgers, fries, hotdogs and salad fixings and fruits and goodies. We don't get to chose from this many options for one meal at home, so we always found and enjoyed whatever we ate. We loved the cappucino. They knew we were there over our anniversary day and had a special dinner prepared for us and others that were celebrating. That was an added bonus we weren't expecting at all.

Entertainment: I have to admit, we didn't get to enjoy all of the shows they had to offer as we often went back to our room before they started. We get up early to enjoy the beach and sun so we were quite tired by that time of night. Did stay up for the magic show which was really good.

We had heard that there were never any beach towels to be had. We always managed to have them. We would keep our towels and then when we saw there was a delivery of clean towels, we would hand in our old towels for clean ones. Pretty much every day we had a new towel.

All in all it was a enjoyable vacation. Remember what you go away for..relaxation, the beach, the sunshine, the weather. Brush the little annoyances away. Relax and enjoy.
Riu Turquesa

February 2008
Six of us spent the week of January 12,2008 to January 19,2008 at the Riu Turquesa. We are aged 45 to 65 and all are seasoned travellers ( in fact one is a travel agent). So, here is a quick little review which may or may not help anyone considering this resort.

Service: With the exception of the bar staff, we found the resort to be a little under- staffed.

Rooms: The rooms are older and in need of some remodelling ( pillowtop mattresses would be nice) but overall quite satisfactory. We switched rooms on day two and found the rooms closer to the pool were nicer than the ones closer to reception.

Food: This resort is no different than any other in Cuba. The selection is very limited but generally good.

Entertainment: We found this resort to be on the quiet side, which suited us just fine. The median age of visitors to this resort would be in the 50 to 60 age bracket, so I think they do a great job of catering to this age bracket.

Beach: Well, I must say that the beach is what makes this resort a 4 Star. The beach is second to none!!!

In summary, if you are in that 50 plus age bracket, or younger but just need some R & R, this resort fits the bill. It is an older resort on the smaller side, with friendly staff, decent food, and a 5 star beach!
We paid $700.00 (including tax) pp, and feel we received full value for our money.
Riu Turquesa
January 2008
We just came back from Varadero Jan 18 2008 after a wonderful week in Cuba for the 6th time. We have stayed at RIU Turquesa the past 5 times since our first trip in 2002 except for this most recent trip. I just wanted to share a few changes with some folks.

RIU has relinquished its ties with the former RIU Las Morlas in the past few months....Las Morlas is now Gran Caribe Las Morlas.

I have it under very good authority that RIU will also be leaving Turquesa in the next few months as well. No word on what company will be taking it over.

We were at Turquesa for a visit on the Sunday of our trip....yes there is new management...not sure if that is good or bad, but the one thing that made our vacation at Turquesa in the past was the staff. We were able to visit with many of our "friends" at the resort and chat over a few cervesa's, which was nice.

Another important note is this....Rafael-the head bartender is no longer at RIU Turquesa. Rafael left Turquesa back in September 2007 I think, and is now working as the restaurant manager at Gran Caribe Club Barlovento.

Having just returned from Gran Caribe Club Barlovento, I would stay at RIU Turquesa first before returning to Barlovento. The staff at Turquesa make this resort a repeat for many. Change is constant in Cuba so you just never know what will happen when ownership changes. The beach at Turquesa will always be a great seller as well. Hopefully these few updates will help anyone looking for further information on RIU Turquesa.

Enjoy your vacation!
Riu Turquesa
January 2008
We just returned from 14 days at the Riu Turquesa in Cuba. If you are going to this resort because it's with the Riu chain, DON'T GO!. This is suppose to be a 4 star and it is more like a 2 or 3 star. The food is repetitive....same fish every single day. The resort ran out of vodka, red wine, tomatoe juice and brandy at different times during the 2 weeks. No support from the other Riu resort in Cuba and this is because of very poor management. The manager only showed up at the resort once and did a walk about the buffet and left. The assistant manager who is there most of the time was more interested in arranging the selling of Cuban cigars under the table than anything else. But if you're going for the beach, Varadero is the most beautiful beach we have every been to. The Cuban employees were terrific....always smiling and joking with you. They really try to make it good for the tourists but they can only work with what they have. If the Riu chain cannot keep up to their standards in Cuba, then they should get out. If you're there, tip the gardeners and the cooks.....they are the ones that really work hard and rarely see any gratitude.
Riu Turquesa

January 2007
Just got back from Riu Turquesa. My 5th time in Cuba, so I thought I knew exactly what to expect from a 4 star resort, but in terms of food and amenities, but resort was quite substandard. I wouldn't rate it more than 3 stars. One of the main problems is this resort doesn't have ANY a la carte restaurants, which I discovered after booking. That means that you have to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in a very unattractive, dated dining room for the whole week. The food was mostly substandard, breakfast being the best meal of the day because at least there was an egg station. Food at lunch and dinner was virtually the same all week - grilled veal or fish, french fries, rice and beans and a few tasteless vegetable dishes. Lunch at the poolside grill was even worse. This was by far the biggest disappointment. The resort itself has very basic amenities and is not particularly attractive. The evening entertainment was quite pathetic, geared mostly for kids, so most of the "action" happened around the bar, which itself was not particularly lively. By far the best part of this resort was layout (2 storey bungalos) and the service. ALL employees, from the waiters to the cleaning staff, were extremely efficient and friendly and made the stay a lot better than it would have been without such a great staff.

I couldn't recommend this resort to anyone, unless it was practically given away for free.
Riu Turquesa
September 2006
Went to rui turquesa from Toronto august 20 to sept 03 2006

This is not 4 star would not return

nice beach and grounds
Friendly staff
Nice pool – water clean –alot of shallow areas for small children
Good drinks-mohitos - pina coladas ok but from mix- pina colada and lime slushes for kids
Rooms ok and come with free safe
Breakfast ok since all Cuban hotels will give you plenty of fried eggs and fresh omelettes that you choose ingredients

Sunquest had us flying late- return to Toronto at 2 am- problem is if any delays you can’t land at pearson airport after 3:30 am so you wait till 6:30 am That’s what happened to us- over 4 hour delay-very tired up all night – hard if you have kids We were not notified till last minute of delay and were delayed 4.5 hours
If you buy illegal cigars don’t declare them in cuba you will loose them- serial numbers are checked- saw someone loose 60 pesos worthof cigars
Food- everyone one had the runs and painful stomach cramps
I drank a lot of water with whole squeezed limes to kill bacteria but runs lasted entire vacation
Saw a rat scurry from bottom of one hot table to another twice-I’m not kidding
beds and pillows uncomfortable- air conditioning very noisy
terrible food but the same at all Cuban hotels- I visited a few nearby hotels-the same
Pork and fish and meat always overcooked tough and dry
Food must have been cooked in advance and then reheated days later
Had paella twice but disgusting tasted like baby mush
Even roast chicken served only twice- dry and tough no flavor could not eat
Bread poor only 1 type of whole grain which I toasted every morning
Coffee lousy- some mornings one grade short of asphalt
Expresso and capucino from proper Italian express machines good but not available till 10 am- unbelievable
Coffee available from push button machines from 7 am
No lettuce or tomato I lived off cabbage and cucumber salads with dressing
Soups ok most days- I had a very good bean soup twice
Ice cream available during afternoon and at dinner very poor and artificial-most kids avoided it except for chocolate
No ala cart restaurants
One Snack bar- open 10am to 6 only-which rally meant 10:30 to 5 - usual grilled cheese and very bad French fries- deep fried oil seemed that it was never changed – also hamburger and hot dogs-hot dogs ok- hamburger is really weird meat-tastes like spam
The only food that was acceptable at dinner was steak which was thin beef strips that I buy at home and make steak sandwiches with but without fried onions tomato or lettuce can also be boring after a while- that’s all I ate
Lots of tilapia and fish which I like but always overcooked cooked dry and tasteless
Pasta was ok- tomato sauce gross- usually had my sauce prepared with oil, olives, onions hot pepper, white wine and a bit of cream but the tomato puree out of a box always spoiled it-looks like tomato juice
Saw garlic only twice- did see proscuto twice- was very good- had that for dinner with soup
Vegetables boring and always the same for 14 days
Dinner 7 to 10:30- 2 different sittings and then no food till breakfast
Bars open till 1am
Pool- saw volley ball net fist day only – was told net broken- never seen again-boring at pool-a lot of sleep-great if you like drinking and bathing-
At beach not enough shaded umbrellas had to get there very early
Had one beach bar with beer and slushes for kids and pina colida mix for rum
Entertainment was ok several nights but most nights depended on audience participation
for entertainment-that means couple were chosen to come on stage and see if they could make fools of themselves
no Cuban dancing –a lot of singing(feelings and beatle tunes)
as well as 3 piece band that sounded like they belonged at some small bar in Canada
do not arrange some excursions from the hotel – for example if you go deep sea fishing 290 pesos for 4 people-250 pesos if you go to the marina yourself-it is right in front of the hotel just cross the street- same with dolphins – in front of hotel
don’t take that stupid trip to Havana unless you go to the Tropicana
Tropicana was ok – is outdated but I’m still glad I went to see- trade that complimentary bottle of rum for sparkling wine or beer
God help you if you take pictures without paying the 5 pesos
They will treat you like a criminal and rudely demand you leave your table during the entertainment and come to the front to pay-no class – didn’t happen to me but to a lady next to us
The day in Havana is terrible- the tour guide takes you to a central square where you stand around listen to some communist propaganda and fight of beggars
Then you go to a store where you can buy rum, cigars and coffee-big deal
Then its off to the flea market-what a joke- 10 or 15 stalls –no bartering since they are strictly controlled-only the same old stupid cheap trinkets- nothing to buy all junk
You can find little wooden cars anywhere and don’t forget cars made out of pop cans-big deal don’t want those trinkets for free
Then you go out-more beggars-and believe me they are pros and do it for a living –they follow you around -don’t fall for the little old lady with the trained boy or the shoeless beggar sitting on the ground who occasionally takes out a pack of smokes and lights up-the little boys are all trained and beg for a living- they may be poor but so all are all Cubans – some just don’t want to work- we also have panhandlers at home
Then off to a 2 hour lunch with poor service and mediocre food.also more communist propaganda- they blame the cia and the mafia for everything including the bad weather
Ask them why some Cubans have cars and some do not
When the day is over at 6 you realize you saw nothing-very disappointing- no museum no fort no factories no entertainment ect.
Pay for the bus fare only to Havana and plan your own visits and wander around yourself -pack a lunch from the hotel
Only highlite of the trip is that I brought my own fishing rods and went fishing on the catamaran- bring large rappala lures for trolling caught barracuda everytime as well as yellow tail and red snapper
complaint was you could only get fishing after 10 am
Ask them to prepare bait fish-works better
Lost more fish than we caught – they try to grab and pull aboard those large dangerous biting barracuda by hand and remove hooks by hand
Next time I’ll bring large pliers and a net-
I Always filleted the fish myself and had them cooked by the kitchen-delicious
I always tipped and got treated very well
Staff will do anything for you if you are polite reasonable and tip-
treat the Cubans with respect- they work hard are nice people and depend on your tips
I brought gifts such as tennis balls and old summer kids clothes- they were extremely grateful and almost emotional
Varadero town boring nothing to do or see
Nothing to buy
Had lunch twice in town-big mistake
Went out late to see pirates cave as well as mediterrano and the compisita-boring no one there- starts too late for me-I was told better after midnight-baloney-
also expensive-cab- admission and drinks
Stay at hotel go to bed early and enjoy the ocean
Go on excursions such as cayo blanco ect and make friends
Riu Turquesa
May 2006
My husband and I, both retired, just returned from a week at this hotel. Overall we were very disappointed in this hotel which is more of a 2-3 star, but not a 4 star.

FOOD: Even by Cuban standards the food was very poor. Dinner consisted of fish (which we love but the same white fish every day gets a bit boring, and as well they always overcooked it so that it was very leathery.) Other than the fish, dinner would be chicken and either veal or pork, always done up in a sort of stew . The main vegetables were corn peas and rice, and one day carrots. Fries were always available, but boiled potatoes were left standing in warm water, presumably to keep them hot so were pretty awful. They had a lot of raw vegetables and sometimes lettuce, but be careful of the lettuce. Several people had stomach problems for a few days after eating it. Desserts were good. And there was always plenty of food, but almost everyone was complaining about it. The have pizza and also made pastas with ingredients of your choice

STAFF: Very friendly except for the front desk. They were quite unpleasant and many people have commented on this.We arrived at 11:00 p.m. and after check in were waved in the direction of our room but had no idea how to find it as the two storey villas are laid our very oddly. We might still be wandering around looking for it if we had not found a staff member on his way home who helped us. No bellboy to be found.

ROOMS: Small and quite dark,inclined to be musty and there were lots of problems . One couple had the air conditioner explode and put a hole in the ceiling...also ruined their clothes which the hotel of course cleaned for them. Two rooms had water leak from the upstairs bathroom into theirs underneath. There are double glazed one way windows and door which is a European touch and nice. Keeps it quiet and private. Our TV worked fine but others did not.We had some bugs and a few cockroaches which the maid gave us spray for, but no mosquitoes. There has been a draught there for several years so that may explain the absence of mosquitoes.

POOL Very nice.large and only about 5 feet deep at most.Kept very clean. Lots of deck chairs.

BEACH Lovely to look at but for older people not so great, as you have to walk about 40 yards or so through very deep soft sand to get to the water, and this can be a problem for older knees, or people like my husband who has a slight limp.It can lead to very painful knees and lots of lurching. Also you have to walk out a long way before it gets deep enough to swim and that can sort of knock you off balance as well, as the waves are fairly strong at times. However the water was warm and clear, and for younger people the things that bothered us older folks would not be a problem!! They can bound through the water and across the sand with great energy!!!Are there any beaches on Varadero that would be better for us from that point of view?????

HAVANA TOUR was very interesting. I would recommend it. Our SUNQUEST rep was great. Her name was Martica, and the tour guides were also wonderful..

We would definitely return to Cuba. My husband speaks Spanish and I can stumble along in it, so that is good practice. The country is fascinating and the people warm and friendly. But we would not ever return to this hotel nor would we recommend it. It needs a great deal of renovation. And a new chef!
Riu Turquesa
Jim & Shelly  
British Columbia
March 2006
We stayed at this resort in mid Feb./06. with another couple for two weeks, all of us are about fifty years old and we have traveled to several places in Mexico and once to the Dominican Republic.

Our check in was very smooth and any time we had to deal with the front desk whether it was for a money exchange or minor problems the staff were friendly and spoke English very well. Remember to use travelers cheques that are Canadian affiliated like Thomas Cook because anything American based will not be accepted or of course Canadian cash is fine.

The food at the restaurant was generally very good. In the first week we had lobster one night and prawns another but in the second week the variety waned somewhat and we tired of fish and pork near the end. There was always something for everyone though. The pizza and pasta were always good and the breakfasts were excellent especially the omelets. They always had a feature dish such as turkey or roast of pork. We were lucky enough to have good waitresses, in particular Beatrice and Betsy who would always greet us with hugs. Overall we would rate the food a 7 out of 10 and the service a 9 out of 10.

The rooms were clean and the maid service was okay. We did have trouble getting our rum replenished in the room. The room had a safe which is always nice. We would suggest bringing your own soaps along. We did get bitten in the night by some kind of bed bugs. Overall the room was a 5 out of 10.

The beach was awesome and we spent most of our time there swimming, tanning and playing volleyball. The beach guys were great, always setting up our loungers and the beach bar although limited was handy. We thought it would of been nice to have someone ordering and bringing you drinks on the beach like some other resorts do but not a big deal. It was one of the nicest if not the nicest beach on the strip and never overly crowded. Overall we would rate the beach a 9.5 out of 10.

The swimming pool we used only once. It was missing several tiles on the bottom but generally kept nice and clean.

The lobby bar was probably the best stocked of any but we spent most of our time at the poolside bar. We quite enjoyed the antics and friendly service from David, Raphael and Mario. We had nightly cappuccinos with Sambuca which were always good. We found that the cola they used was a bit sweet after awhile, it wasn't Coke. Overall the drinks and service we rated a 8 out of 10.

We went to Havana which is a must for anyone. We went on the catamaran trip to Cayo Blanco which was an enjoyable day with a nice lobster lunch. The trip on the double Decker bus is a good idea for the 5 pesos as it will give you an idea of your surroundings. The Varadero markets were much like Mexico but the vendors were not near as pushy.

At the airport they do charge you for over weight luggage so be sure to watch the scales as they weigh them because they quickly whisk them away and then say your over. Don't forget to save 25 Convertible pesos per person to exit the country.
Riu Turquesa
Helena and Robert 
Nova Scotia
March 2006
We were at this resort from Feb 26 to March 5,2006. Check in was fast and organized, The rooms were large and clean. the mini bar was stocked every other day.

We found the food at this resort to be excellent as well as the service. The staff was very friendly and went out of their way to please. One waitress in particular was very nice. Her name was Arlen.

The evening shows were excellent with a little bit for everyone, Games, dance lessons, singing and the evening show which had very talented performers.

The grounds were well kept, the pool very clean and the beach also. there were lots of loungers for everyone.

We had a very nice vacation at this resort and would recommend it to anyone.
Riu Turquesa
Mark and Jaime 
Toronto, Canada
March 2006
The hotel is a bungelo style resort. At first it is a little difficult to understand where all the different rooms are as their numbering system is a little stange. Check in was a breezy no problems there. The rooms were nice, clean and we had no complaints about them. The maids are very nice and friendly. The never changed the sheets while we were there, which was for a week. and sometimes the top sheet was just made on top of a messy unmade undersheet. I recommend bring bug spray, at night in bed i got bite a lot.

Some of the staff their are very very nice. We had a gardner on the first day get us a coconut from a tree and open it so we could drink from it. The dinning room staff are really nice, from the waitresses to the cooks.

We found the food really good. I have been to several other all inclusives and this food was really good. there is a good variety and althought some of the food tends to be bland it was enjoyable. It did get repetative by the end of our stay though.

The beach was amazing. Just breathtaking. We walked up and down the beach and i believe we had one of the nicest beaches. There are the hotels waterstaff, which are responsible for activities on the beach. The got volleyball games going and were very nice and friendly. Just be aware that some activites are free, like going in the catamaran, and taking out the paddle boats, they will charge people who arent sure.

The nightly entertainment staff is good, nothing special. This hotel is quiet by 11pm every night. There are no clubs in this hotel and the bars close at 1am. They do provide a bottle of rum for your room and restock your bar every two days, so they say. But we found we had to ask and be presistent before we got restalked.

I do not recommend this hotel for younger couples, unless you are looking for a quiet relaxing environment. There was a loarge amount of seniors at this hotel i found.

From my personal experience i found the front desk staff to be the worst staff in the hotel. WE had a problem with a security guard that walks the beach of the resort at night. This security guard hides in bushes to spy on people. We caught him, and were really upset so we went to front desk to complain and they started talking in spanish, of which i can understand a little, about how i was columbian and that i spoke english and that i didnt understand spanish. it was really upsetting to me that i came to complain about a problem i had, and instead the front desk staff were trying to figure out if they could talk about things they didnt want us to understand. Upon check out, we learned that the hotel had charged us when they made local calls to book a dinner reservation for us. No one informed us of this at the time, and we had never heard of a hotel doing such a thing. on a positive note though, it was my boyfriends birthday when we were away and the hotel provided a bottle of champagne and a dinner band to sing to him. i personally would not go back to this resort, just because of the front desk staff, who we found to be not accomidating at all. the beach and the food were great, and most of the staff, friendly and accomidating.

I recommend this resort for older couples and families with small children.

The bartenders at the lobby bar, are amazing as well as the beach bar.
Riu Turquesa
Emma & Duncan 
Northamptonshire, England
May 2005
Me and my partner both 25 have just returned from a great stay at the Riu Turquesa!

The rooms were pretty basic but they had everything you needed safe, fridge, air con, TV (which had quite a few English channels), hot shower and the beds where comfortable. We stayed in Room 453 on the ground floor which was a bit dark as it didn't face the sun but this meant that it stayed nice and cool!

The beach was the highlight the sea was crystal clear, the beach was spotless with white fine sand and there was always plenty of room. The water sports were good we went out the boats whenever we could, however some days you couldn't use them as the sea was a little rough. The hotel grounds are right on the beach and it was about a two minute walk from our room. There was a bar just off the beach in the trees which was really nice, you could get drinks in plastic cups to take back to your lounger on the beach. I think like others said the hotels beach is best stretch in the area we walked along the beach in both directions. There is also a security guard on the beach so you know you stuff is safe when you are out in the sea.

Both me and my partner thought the food was good there was a fair bit of choice, there is only one buffet restaurant and a snack bar for lunch. For breakfast you could have an omelette of your choice cooked while you wait as well as fried eggs, cheese, sausages, lots of bread, cakes, pancakes, fruit, etc. Lunch in the snack bar you could have hot dogs, burgers, rice, chips, meat, salad, bread, fruit and ice cream, we never when into the main dinning room for lunch so not sure what the had in there. Dinner there was salad, rice, cheese, meet and fish being freshly cooked at the cooking stations as well as pasta and pizza, chips, potatoes, vegetables, large choice of bread, lots of different fruit and desserts. There was also a large choice of drinks at the bar, but be careful as they do large shots, a vodka and orange was half vodka and half orange! Some people had complained about the birds in the restaurant and snack bar, however I didn't see any birds on the counters or food they were mainly on the floor and they didn't bother us at all, I think they gave the place a nice atmosphere with their chirping and singing.

The pool was also great, however the beach was better so we spent most days there. There were always plenty of sun loungers and the pool was very clean the most people I ever saw in the pool was about six.

Hotel Facilities
The hotel grounds were very well kept with lots of nice tropical plants. The hotels reception, lobby bar, snack bar and restaurant were very clean and well staffed. However there wasn't much to do and I think if we had stayed for two weeks we would have got board. There is a tennis courts but they don't have any tennis rackets! Also we didn't see much in the way of day time entertainment however this didn't bother us as we just wanted to relax. There was evening entertainment but it didn't start till after nine. The hotel provided beach towels which you can exchange for clean ones every day if you wanted to.

We booked the package though Thomson and I was a little disappointed with their service the rep meet us at the airport however, we missed the welcome meeting as it was in the morning and we over slept, we thought there would be information in reception on a notice board or something with details of excursions but there was nothing and we didn't see the rep again!

Overall I think that the Riu Turquesa is a great hotel on a lovely stretch of beach and the hotel staff really helpful and go out of there way to make sure you have a great stay even without tipping! I would recommend this hotel to anyone who wants to relax we had a great time!
Riu Turquesa
Kay & Ian and Chris & Keith 
Lincolnshire, England
May 2005
We have just returned from our first visit to Cuba & the Riu Turquesa. On reading the reviews on this site, I was a bit apprehensive before we went, as there seemed to be a lot of negative comments. 4 of us went, 2 x mid-40's British couples & I can say without a shadow of a doubt we had a wonderful time & found nothing to complain about at the hotel. The service was 1st class; the rooms adequate, comfortable & extremely clean; the food was fantastic- fresh, tasty and what a choice!!!; the entertainment team worked hard to ensure something was going on & maximum participation was coerced out of the guests, but nicely!; the location & beach were incredible and this was EXCELLENT value for money.

I cannot understand the person who said he had to take his own salad dressings - there was a choice of Mayo, Thousand Island, Ketchup, Flavoured oils & at least 2 freshly made dressings available at every meal! For those who were yearning for something a bit more spicy, there was plenty of Tabasco & Worcester sauce there. Please remember this country is under a trade embargo & I take my hat off to them for the range and variety of food items on offer.

There was one thing that nobody seems to have mentioned & that's the mosquitoes!!! I wrongly assumed there was no real problem with them, as I'd read nothing on any web site about them. BIG MISTAKE!!!!! On the first night I omitted to spray myself with insect repellent & was majorly eaten! But once I started using the spray I had no further problems.

The main recommendation I would make is that if you are young singles or couples looking for a lively night-life with lots of music & nightclubs DON'T choose this hotel. Its charm is that it is quiet, peaceful & relaxing, with most people happy to enjoy a relaxing drink in the bar, then early-ish (about 11.30pm was the latest we managed) to bed so that you can get up at a reasonably early hour to make the most of the cooler morning & all that sunshine. Also if you want to eat Big Macs, Curries, Baked Beans, Taco Bell or Dunkin' Doughnuts - don't come to Cuba - it will not be to your liking.

However if you want to experience a different pace of life with lovely people, fantastic beaches and beautiful weather, pack your cases & head for Cuba.
Riu Turquesa
Ed & Terry 
New Brunswick, Canada
April 2005
We came back from two wonderful weeks at Riu Turquesa, April 10th. The rooms were very clean. We like the idea of the bungalows. It was quiet even though there seemed a lot of children on the resort. I really enjoyed the pool and found it clean. The staff was very friendly and very entertaining. We found after a few days ath the resort, they recognized us and would joke around and call us by name. Activities were not posted but we participated in stretching exercises and aquacize on the beach. There were other activities but we chose not to take part. Chine and Jim who organized these were really great guys. The nightly shows were better than in other resorts that we have stayed at in Veradero. Food was excellent. Lots of variety - salad bar, pasta bar, soup, different breads (delicious), excellent meat , fresh fish, plus lots of other dishes. We thought we mught get tired of the food because there was no a la carte restaurants but we didn't. Overall an excellent resort that we would highly recommend. A couple of times we had to ask for things and they were prompt to bring us what we wanted. We had a great trip with lots of good memories of Riu Turuesa. My only complaint was that we could not access Canadian news. Two weeks is a long time to be out of touch with waht is going on in your country. But, if that is the only thing we can complain about it certainly is very minor.
Riu Turquesa
Ray & Deb 
Calgary, Alta
April 2005
My wife and I are from Calgary, Alta and we just returned from 2 glorious weeks(Mar.21 to Apr.4) at the Riu Turquesa resort in Varadero. We had a wonderful time. This is our second trip to this quiet all inclusive resort. Here are some of our observations from our stay:

SKYSERVICE: This airline was great to us. We pre-booked our seats through Sunquest at a cost of$10/person/way. This asured us of getting our seats together. Food was OK for airline. Good movies both inbound and outbound. Not bad leg room. Downside was we had to be at the airport 3 hrs ahead, security opens 1 hr ahead. So 2 hrs waiting.

SECURITY CUBA: No problems here as long as all your travel documents are in order. Took us less that 5 minutes to clear security. Just a note if you have the chance while your waiting for luggage get your money exchanged at the airport. You'll get a better rate here than at your hotel.


No problems here. They had our reservation and our room was ready when we arrived. They will keep your passport for a few hours, but this is common.

ROOMS: Yes they are small and the beds are only 3/4, but its comfortable. We had no problem with them as we spent very little time in the room anyway. When its busy the maids tend to get a little sloppy with sweeping floors so you may find grit or sand on the floors. We as well as other guests had some problems with sand fleas. We got bit quite a few times. The bits a quite itchy. Bring bug spray and antihistamines, as well as itching cream.

BEACH: Far and away the best beach on the Varadero strip. Its sand is so fine, not coarse like other spots. There are plenty of huts for everyone to sit under, but if you want the ones in the front row you need to get there early. The guys that run the water sports(pedal boats, katamarans, sailboats, kayaks, etc) are great guys. If you get the chance say Hi to Dreg. It does get busy so you may have to reserve times for the above items.

POOL: We found it to be quite nice. It is not a heated pool but when the temps. soar to 35+c it gets warm real fast. Lots of chairs for everyone. Its a nice way to end a day at the beach.

RESTURANT: There is only 1 buffet style place to eat here. There are 2 sittings for dinner. at 6:30pm and another at 8:30pm. Men are required to wear pants for dinner. There is also a snack bar for burgers and fries.

FOOD: We have read so many reviews complaining about the food as well as praising it. Well let me tell you after 2 weeks the food gets really boring. Having said that you can always spice up the main fare by having pasta at the pasta station. How about trying pizza for a change. That's what we did. We did have Ham 1 night and Turkey another but most the main entrees are Fish, Chicken and either Beef or Veal. There was Lobster 1 night but we missed it as we were out on tour. Remember you are in Cuba. Its hard for them to get what you're used to in Canada.

TRIPS: If you get the opportunity take the trips offered by your tour company. Try Trinadad de Cuba for a different adventure. Its a long bus ride but well worth it when you arrive. If this is your 1st time in Cuba you must see Tropicana. Its great. How about the Katamaran tour along with the sunset tour. You will find this tour so much fun. The tour guides are wonderful.

ENTERTAINMENT: No bad most nights. If you find them amateurish give them at least an "A" for effort. They try real hard and you might just find yourself enjoying them. We sure did. The Variety show was the BEST. We did notice this time that there was almost always something going on at the pool area, not so much down at the beach.

STAFF: What can I say about these guys and gals. They are just super friendly. When you need something they are there quickly. Your drinks rarely stay empty. I can't say enough about Raphael, Reynar, David, Oscar, Yorgeny, Sonja. Mayelin, Alfredo, Mario, Jorge, Michael, Gregorio, Gustov(the rest of the entertainment staff) and all those I have forgot.

TIPPING: Please do if you feel you were taken care of,if not don't. Money is nice, products are more useful.

OVERALL: The staff at the Riu Turquesa make this resort what it is. If you're are looking for the party crowd the Turquesa is not for you. If you want a quiet relaxing vacation with little distraction the Turquesa is one you should look into. I hope this helps you decide where you should vacation in Cuba.
Riu Turquesa
March 2005
We have just returned from a 7 day vacation at the Riu Turquesa, our first time in Varadero, Cuba. The weather was great, the food was also very good and the entertainment was not bad. The rooms were modest, large and kept clean. The staff are very friendly and grateful. I would recommend this hotel to anyone and will definitely return. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable resort!!!
Riu Turquesa
J. & G. 
March 2005
We just came back from the RIU Turquesa in Varadero, Cuba. We had a fantastic time and got an excellent deal ($997 incl. taxes). The flight down and back was fine -- they feed you both ways (not bad for airline food). The resort is smaller than some of the other resorts but a very attractive resort. The grounds are beautiful and the buildings are kept up very well. The pool looked clean and I saw lots of people swimming in it though we just kept to the beach. The beach itself was beautiful. It was clean and had beautiful sand. The water was perfect and was turquoise in colour. It was so clear that you could see all the way to the bottem. There was lots of shade huts on the beach and finding one wasn't a problem. The food was comparable to what you would eat in Canada -- burgers, fries, pasta, pizza, veal cutlets, tenderloin, lobster, -- you could always find something to eat. We ate tons! There was always room in the Buffet or the snack bar. The rooms were very simple but always clean. The staff was friendly and hardworking. They always provided great service regardless of tipping. We did tip a lot and so did most of the Canadians. The staff works really hard and appreciates anything you give them. I took down gently used clothes, gum, school supplies, cosmetics, pantyhose and gave them away to the staff. The weather was awesome the entire time we were there, it was hot and we loved it! Great for sitting on the beach and playing in the ocean. There were always activities going on whether it was beach vollyball or bocci or an exercising/stretch class (right on the beach!) Everyone that we met agreed that it was a great resort. We heard some scary stories about other resorts like you absolutely had to tip to get service, bad food, long line ups etc. but we did not encounter any such problems at the RIU. I have read some bad reviews of the RIU but we did not have any problems. We had a wonderfully relaxing vacation and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. I never really watched any of the entertainment -- we are early to bed types -- so I do not have any comments re: entertainment. We met some great friends from Wpg. Hi! I said I was going to post a review and here it is! If you would enjoy a simple, relaxing vacation this is the resort for you. Some notes: People get dressed up for dinner so no shorts for the gentlemen, they have to wear pants. Bring your own toiletries -- they are not provided such as: soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, kleenex. Bring a lot of sunscreen -- we had to buy sunscreen in the gift shop ($20 US) and it was useless -- we burnt the day we used it. I would definitely return to this resort.
Riu Turquesa

February 2005
We have just returned from a week holiday at the RIU Turquesa in Cuba. The RIU Turquesa is NOT a 4* resort. I would rate it as a 3*. We both could not believe the condition of the room. The colors, the decor, the setup, the lack of dressers, the condition of the beds, and the size of the bath tub. The service is below average, you have to tip in order to be served. At an all-inclusive resort, I will tip at the end of my vacation, If I feel the need. The animation team is non-existant. One day I heard that there was going to be spanish lessons, but that was it. One day we thought we would play ping pong, the clubhouse was not open, therfore we could not get paddles. The pool is freezing cold and there is bird droppings all over the pool chairs. The buildings - hotel complexes are in some definate need of repairs. We have visited a RIU resort before, and could not believe the differences in maintenanc! e. The entertainment was nothing to get excited about either. One night they spit water in each other's face, another night one was dressed as a baby walking around the stage crying and then through a pie in anothers face? There were three nights when the entertainment was average. The resort had very few advantages. The food was good, compared to other people that we had talked to on our excursions. The grounds were very well kept, as well as the beach The biggest benefit of this trip was the water and the beaches, the color was amazing. This can be found anywhere in Varadero. I'm sorry if you have booked this resort already but honestly, I would change. Trust me you will thank me in the end. You should enjoy your vacation not be unhappy with it. This resort DID NOT provide RIU type service.
Riu Turquesa
Ontario, Canada
February 2005
We chose this resort based on the reviews and price (we took our two teenage boys with us as well). I would have to agree with most readers that this is not a 4* category resort. The resort is nice, but, if you are well-travelled and you expect 4*, you will be disappointed. We liked the idea of staying in villas. The rooms were spacious and clean. Our toilet and washroom area did bear strong odors (urine) which was unbearable at times. Here are some "tips" that we noted during our stay there:

  • there are two dinner seatings. (6:30 pm & 8:30 pm) Make reservations for a time upon your arrival. If you just show up at the time you would like, guaranteed there will not be a table available and you will be sent away. This happened to us as we were told to just show up at 6:30 pm (obviously a very popular time).

  • bring an alarm clock - there are none in the room

  • the dining area is enclosed. Half the area is designated as smoking and half is not. If you don't like cigarette smoke while you are eating, do not come here.

  • 1 PESO = 1US currency

  • staff is accommodating

  • yes, the pillows are FLAT, FLAT, FLAT. If you request another one, they will provide.

  • yes, the food tends to be bland - not alot of variety throughout the week, and this for some is not good, especially because that is the only restaurant on the property

  • the beach IS the highlight - unfortunately, if the red flag is waving, NO ONE can enter the waters. Undertow and man o wars prevalent.

  • your passport is left with them upon arrival. You can pick it up 3 hours later. If you forget and it stays overnight (like ours did), they are kept in a drawer at the front reception (not secured in a safe). Also, they did not ask for ID when picking up the passports, to ensure that it was going back into the right hands

  • snack bar - we would rate this a 5 out of 10

  • mostly Europeans at the resort, retirement age - very low key crowd. You do not see daily activities being held by the pool, or, lessons of any kind. Activities like Bingo occur in the evening before the entertainment would start. It's mostly a place to "hang out" and relax.

  • there was no Cuban music playing by the pool or anywhere

  • there are lots of palapas (shade huts) on the beach

  • you can exchange your money at the front desk of the resort (if USA currency, there is a 10% additional charge) otherwise, it is only 4%. They will not exchange $20's, $50's or $100's due to counterfeit problems. There is no charge at the banks.

  • the pool is not heated. We never saw anyone swim all week, except two little brave children

  • persons DO RESERVE lounge chairs by the pool quite early in the morning, even though this is heavily frowned upon. We never got a chair by the pool all week. (we like to sleep in...)

  • $25 departure tax - this is paid in convertible Pesos. Exchange your money ahead of time, not at the airport, the day of departure. Long line-ups.

  • when using you credit card in town, you need your passport for ID

  • be aware of bank "siesta" hours. They typically close around 11:30 am - 3:00 pm. Our taxi driver dropped us off just as they locked the doors and we paid our driver 10 Pesos for the ride.

  • lots of market shopping downtown - much better prices than at the airport!!! It is hassle-free shopping. Vendors do not bother shoppers

  • if you purchase 23 or more cuban cigars, you need a receipt for customs. One passenger can bring back 50 cigars and 40 oz. of liqour. If you purchase a painting, there must be a stamp placed on the back of it, accompanied with a certificate

  • the more "professional" drinks are made at the front bar/reception area

  • you cannot use your debit card in the ATM machines. You can withdraw cash with your credit card and PIN#

  • be careful when you sit on the outdoor chairs by the snack area and entertainment area - these are famous for fresh bird droppings

  • bring small water containers, as you are only provided with 1500 ml size water bottles (these are hard to carry around all day)

  • bring kleenex - they do not provide boxes of it

  • Cubans will approach you at the airport to exchange their CDN. currency with your last few Cuban convertible PESOS. Before exchanging, know what the rate is.

  • bring batteries (camera, etc.) they do not always have them available in their stores, nor alot of variety

  • at Varadero airport and upon paying departure tax, we were ready to go through customs, when we were approached and told that once we pass through the gates that there is no food available on the other side and that we should eat at the cafeteria upstairs (he pointed to it). We naively obeyed, ate at his cafeteria (the food was fine), but found alot more selection on "the other side".

  • Jetskiing was an excellent tour and would also recommend the one day tour to Havana.

  • there is a double-decker bus that runs the Varadero strip - 5 Pesos for an all-day pass.

  • my husband and I took a taxi and purchased items for an area school - they were EXTREMELY APPRECIATIVE. Gave us a tour of the school and met the children. If you can spare some change, send it in the direction of the children. It is unbelievable in what they don't have. Just an idea: we purchased 4 soccer balls, pencil crayons, writing boards, number blocks, etc.
Riu Turquesa

January 2005
We have just returned from a two week vacation at the Riu Turquesa having stayed at other Rui hotels we were surprised that this is listed as a four star, this is no way a four star hotel, the food, rooms and entertainment were poor. Most of the people we spoke to were not satisfied,people from europe said it was listed there as a three star. On the upside the beach was great also the staff, we recomend that Sunquest stop selling this as a four star and downgrade it
Riu Turquesa
Bryan and Beverly from Wasaga Beach 
ON Canada
November 2004
Hi Debbie,
We went Oct 17 -24, 2004

Flight: Sunquest tours uses Skyservice, good service but cramped seating for me and I am only 5'- 11". Resort: Very well laid out, clean, friendly staff everywhere. Pool is great. Lush plants and trees, almost no bugs, the odd mosquito at night and geckos running around but harmless. The daily staff were good at teaching salsa dancing and they had daily aqua gym at the pool or beach. They also had beach volleyball every day and you could go out in a paddleboat or book the small sail boats.

Beach: Amazing, we live near Wasaga Beach which is nice but the water is so clear and clean. The sand was raked daily and the only debris I saw was the odd plastic drink cup that blew onto the beach. In the week there I only saw one jellyfish and various small fish. Sandy bottom in the water with the odd reed but our beach was the nicest. We walked along the beach in each direction and preferred ours to the others we saw. Beach bar is close at hand. Bring tips for him as well. Not a lot of variety at this bar. I also tipped the guy who lays out your beach chair for you at whichever hut you selected. Catch the daily sunsets for amazing photos.

Food: Lots of variety, one main course special each night. Ham, Roast Turkey, Roast Pork, Chicken, and Veal which they use in place of beef even in the hamburgers. The omelets were our favourite and the fresh fruit. Even the ice cream and home made jams were very good. They also would custom make pasta dishes nightly.

Staff: Amazing, I have never seen staff that are all polite friendly. My favourite two bartenders were Mario and Raphael who went out of their way to keep bringing me drinks by the pool later in the day. My wife and I of 22 years spent every morning at the beach but after lunch we spent the afternoons by the pool as the salt water was burning my lips badly. I needed the fresh water pool and chlorine to help my sunburns and lip. I spent $6-7 dollars a day tipping and it was well worth it. I would tip the maid, breakfast waitress, beach bartender, lunch waitress, snack bar bartender, dinner waitress and evening bartender.

Trips: We only did one trip by open top double decker bus. You had to walk 10 minutes from Turquesa to the main road where there was a marked Varadero Beach Bus Tour sign across from the small marina. Look for the tall masts of two sailboats across the road. You will have many cabs, small buses try and stop you and ask where you are going. They will take you into town one way for $2US each one way. Take the double decker and pay $5US each for all day use. It stops by each stop every hour. Stay on it for the complete loop then get off at 45th street where there is a large outdoor market tucked in the trees for shade. The best deals there are the weaved handbags for $5 and the crocheted tops for $10- $20. The T -shirts are cheaper from the beach vendors for $8-$9.

Duty Free: Wait until you are at the airport to buy liquor and cigars, very cheap by gate 4. You must by both with a government sticker silver says Republic of Cuba. You will see this everywhere but prices fluctuate. The hotel gift shops are most expensive. The prices were good at various stores.

Varadero: The town is very safe as we walked up and down and were never harassed, bothered at all. The vendors are easy to barter with and love Canadians.
Riu Turquesa
October 2004
We went to Riu Turquesa end of sept into october an amazing holiday.

Hotel; perfect location a few mins walk from beach,

Rooms; basic ,2 double beds ,air con ,lovely bathroom & fridge stocked every 2 days with beer soft drinks & water.

Beach ;out of this world ,white sand tuquoise sea,you dont get pestered by vendors, life guards & security ,we even left our bags on the beach when we went for lunch,you can walk for miles.

Staff ,so friendly will do anything for you ,as soon as your glass is empty they are there with a refill.

Food ;plenty of it the same every night but a wide choice you dont really duplicate a meal,if you alternate each night.,again the staff brilliant.

Trips; we went on 3 ,Havana for the day quite an eye opener , makes you thankful for what youve got ,the arcitecture is amazing.
Catamaran trip was great afrte about 40 mins it stops for you to get off & snorkle ,then back on to an island called Cayo Blanco its like heaven on earth ,on the way back its sails up a lovely smooth trip back ,with a few games added. The dolphin trip was the last it was a dream swimming with them i will never forget it , we visited a few places on the way back but it was a 6 hour round trip ,if the reps would have told us this we wouldnt have gone its really tiring. All in all we had the most wonderful time ,had rain only twice in the 2 weeks ,only for about an hour each time, we met some lovely people ,so thankyou all at riu turquesa