|Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos|
Kitchener. Ontario Canada
Greated by a welcome coctail
checkin was smooth.
Staff are friendly and effient.
Rooms are small but well kept.
Sat tv but only Cnn and Discovery are
Main restaurt is ok
Breakfast has a good omlette and
other choices fruits good coffee fried eggs
something I call iodine sausage.
Good Pizza at the pool bar.
Beach bar has a good fish fry and burgers and fries.
Bars 3 Lobby Pool and Beach
I found all 3 to have good service
nice cold Cristal beer the best beer in Cuba.
Mixed drinks are ok but not the best selection
Not much of a line up at any bar.
Beach and Pools -
Beach is rocky with gravel and weeds are in
the water. The Cuban public beach is nicer.
Just to you right hand side about a 10 min. walk
Ground are very dry no rain for a long time
I asume. Cats and dogs frequent the area for handouts
Otherwise no prolem.
Shows are ok it is your basic
They have alot to offer
swim with dolphins tours to Cienfuagos
Beautiful city and if there is a baseball game in town
GO TO IT. It is a lot of fun. Cubans love their baseball
For a cheap vacation as single I paid 635 Cad dollars
for the week.
Overall you get what you pay for and I think I got
my moneys worth.
|Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos|
| There were 4 of us traveling to Cuba for the first time Jan 11-26 2007. We are seniors and a bit nervous about new places to visit. I must say we were thrilled with our two week stay at Rancho Luna.
The welcome at 10:00 pm, our quick access to our rooms all made up for a full day of travel.
Rooms: ........The rooms were small but all that we needed or expected, our maid kept them clean with fresh towels and supplies every day. She left notes, flowers, and carefully made up our room each day.
Staff: ..........We found the staff a bit quiet, some tourists would say unfriendly,but when you reach out to them in conversation they are quick to talk to you. We saw a lot of people ( and I mean a lot ) who would go up to a bar with a demanding attitude ordering 4 drinks and expect staff to be all over them, I know it’s all-inclusive but it’s not a big deal to offer a small tip when you are being served, you don’t have to do it every time. The same people that complain drop big tips at home after PAYING for their drinks.
Meals:.......... We had no complaints about the food, the variety was there every day, excellent salad bar, fresh fruit at breakfast, good variety of breads with lot’s of real butter. Turkey..roast beef..roast pork..lamb..rabbit.. fish..chicken…calamari..and much more, served over the 2-weeks we were there, with at least 8 side dishes of veggies etc. every meal.. Hot soup, ice-cream every meal plus a large desert counter. A Pasta bar unequalled anywhere at supper. With a piano man at 6:00 playing every supper hour.
Entertainment: .......... It’s not the best but they work hard at what they do, doing something every night with one good show per week.
Pool ............ The pool is huge, salt water and very clean, there are 110 chaise lounges all around the pool plus numerous tables with sun shades all around the area. The excellent Pizza Bar is adjacent to the pool, open noon to 2:30 Beach bar & restaurant: ..............We were confused with the meal times, menu, etc. at the beach bar, we should have asked so it is our fault, but we ate there several times and loved the chicken and French fries, the bar area is open all day and it is a beautiful spot to just relax play table games and watch the people on the beach.
Beach............. We didn’t spend a lot of time on the beach but it was certainly very nice, yes, the sand was not the fine sand you find on some beaches, but it’s not a big deal, you can walk to Fara Luna hotel and have lunch/dinner/drinks using the same coloured wrist band at no cost to you. Or for $2.00 you can take a taxi, which we did.
Tours ........... We took the bus tour to Trinidad , leaving at 9am and back by 4pm. They made a couple of stops on the way for site seeing the mountains, the city tour was interesting with two stops for a drink and lunch. We didn’t take any other tours.
Price ........... We booked in October on-line and paid $2080.00 Canadian for two people / two weeks. You will not find a price like that anywhere in Cuba or anywhere else. There is nothing wrong with this resort that is worth complaining about, for the price we enjoyed it very very much and will be going back. I have lot’s of pictures and would be happy to forward any to you or answer any questions you
may have e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos|
|A Laval woman that got ripped off |
| Cienfuegos/Trinidad Roulette (February 22, 2007 - March 2, 2007)
Please do not be had by the Cienfuegos/Trinidad Roulette. Let me explain. There are two hotels in Cienfuegos; Rancho Luna and Faro Luna, that both belong to the same company, Club Amigo. Trinidad is situated 90 minutes away and they have two hotels; The Ancon and Brisas hotel. Everyone we met at Rancho Luna had
taken the Roulette like us.
Here are some facts and pictures can be provided upon request.
Beach - The Rancho Luna is located on a public beach. There are many locals that circulate this beach. Be very careful of your belongings. Never leave them out of sight. Prostitution can easily be found at this location and you see the old men leaving with the young ladies in the wooded areas behind the beach.Unfortunately, I happen to be dark haired and dark eyed and tan very easily, the end of my week was absolutely disgusting to say the least. Forget the white sand and clear watered beaches reputed for Cuba. (Cayo Coco, Varadero, Holguin) In Cienfuegos, the sand is dark brown and granular with a mix of crushed rocks and shells. There are lots of sea weeds and debris making the walk to the ocean a very unpleasant one. Be very careful of the small sand crabs barely visible to the eye till you step on them. As for the ocean, it is situated on a bay. The water is very warm but dark and murky due to the bottom being filled with leaves and algeas, making it absolutely disgusting to walk into without water shoes. Personally, I could not bathe there and preferred my spray water bottle to vaporize myself.
Beach chairs - You had to wake up very early to be able to reserve one, and when you did, you usually got a broken one. There is a hut with locked chairs, those are the good chairs that you must tip in order to get. In the morning, the chairs are all piled up on the beach, you must clean them on your own and then carry them to the location of your choice.
Food - The buffet, or shall I say the cafeteria, does not have many choices but I must admit that the food was very good. You will not starve, but do not expect too much. When this hotel says cafeteria, it means cafeteria. You will have to fend on your own for utensils, napkins as well as clean your own place mats as they are not changed often, unless you provide a tip of course! The fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning is one that I must rave about but there was no way to have this same juice for drinks or any other time during the day. There is a pizza bar that is located by the pool that is also very good and a beach restaurant that we could hardly get service for except for one day at lunch time. Please note that this is the same beach restaurant that also acts as your a la carte and for the first time in my life I was able to see an a la carte with a extra cost!
Drinks - At this hotel and note that I do not use the term "resort", do not ask too much from the bartenders. They serve beer without a smile if you do not buy rum or cigars from them. For the rest of the "drinks" there is always cola, but as for the rest they do not always have the necessary ingredients. Do not even try to order local drinks such as Cubanitos and Mojitos. If after reading my review, you still go to this hotel and realize I was honest, then head down to the Faro Luna which is a 20 minute walk. There they do take the time to make exceptional drinks with the correct balance of ingredients including the Cubanito, Mojito and many many more. Here too unfortunately, tip is required but well worth it.
Service - I think much of this was already explained in my food and drinks area but I may add that they are the most unfriendly staff that I have seen since going to the Dominican Republic. Be ware of the staff that is ultra friendly to you, there is a reason for it! As the saying goes, money talks, bullshit walks! Just keep many pesos at hands length.
Rooms - Rooms are very small but I am not an avid person of the room appearance. However, there was always a very fowl smell of sewage system but that can always be controlled with travel candles. Thank God for Party Lite. Bathrooms are newly renovated.This hotel does not have hairdryers, so if you are like me with long hair, you run the risk of getting sick on this trip as I did. The cleaning staff does make a fantastic effort to keep it as clean as possible and to not let you go without basic necessities such as clean towels and toilet paper. The cleaning personnel are a very big asset to this hotel.
The shows at this hotel were rather horrific expect for one night where we actually got a great dance and costume show. The rest were Karaoke and Bingo. Professionalism almost inexistent and once again, prostitution rather evident. I have to truly ask myself if this hotel is not controlled by the Cuban Mafia??? Furthermore, I question the naming of their hotels, (Club Amigo for all of Cuba) which they clearly display on their place mats. There must be a reason why the single supplement is offered at such a low cost; an invitation for men seeking sexual tourism?
Pool - The adult pool is a huge rectangle and is not very well maintained. Paint is lacking at several areas. The water is very cold and not always well balanced. The pool was closed for two days, as the water was green. Once again, you should go to the Faro which has a smaller pool but it is very well maintained and monitored on a daily basis. As for the children's pool, I will only say that I would not even put my dog in that pool!
Telephone/Internet - The staff at this hotel was not very amicable. You are much better off purchasing a calling card. As for internet service, it was broken while we were there...
Value - Personally, we paid $604.14 for this package. We usually travel in 4 star resorts at the cost of $700-$900. With all of the extras and tips that we had to pay out for this hotel, we ended up paying much more than what we would have paid out to go and get spoiled in a 4 star and possibly 4.5 star resort. (NH Krystal Cayo Coco January 2007 $871) We ate twice in town, which cost us a little fortune, ($20 taxis, $40 meal US) in order to make this week supportable in our 2 star hotel. This hotel is quoted as a 3 star but believe you me, it not worth more than a 2.
Departure Flight - Be careful of your departure time when returning home. It is pleasant having an entire day before leaving, but remember that Dorval has a curfew hour for arrivals. Therefore your 20:50 flight being on the limit, made us spend the night at the airport on their comfortable plastic chairs to finally leave at 3:30 in the morning for 7:00AM Montreal arrival. I realize this is a Dorval airport issue however, trust me, this is not a pleasant way of finding out. We were grateful for being forewarned by our friendly Cuban taxi driver. We had time to prepare sandwiches and water for this long wait. If you do not believe me, check your tour guide book. You will find no departure or arrival time indicated while all other flights indicate both.
Conclusion - This was my gift for my boyfriend's birthday. Although he did enjoy being in 30 degree weather as opposed to Montreal weather in February. There was no way for me to find a birthday cake, candles nor anyone to sing him a Happy Birthday even in Spanish (and Lord only knows how hard I tried) My advice to you is: if you enjoy a vacation where you must do everything on your own but for a very low cost, opt for a Florida vacation with car and kitchenette that you will find for $399, if you want a real all inclusive resort experience, spend the extra $100-$150 to be in a place where you will be spoiled like royalty. At this moment you can tip at your discretion. I send out a word of caution to any suppliers selling this tour out there.....there was a representative there the week we were there and she could not believe her eyes for this product. I am sure she will voice her opinion as well as the many other travellers that were there the same week.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. I will gladly provide you with answers to your questions or pictures to justify what I have explained.
|Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos|
|Kevin and Linda |
|My husband and I returned to this resort again this year. We were there last year and really enjoyed ourselves. There were so many excursions that we wanted to do that we didn't have enough time, so we went back this year. I might as well start off with the excursions. They are very inexpensive from this resort. I have done many of them and I would do them all again. The mountain tour - El Nicho was by far one of the most beautiful things I have every seen. The city tours are great to both Cienfuegos and Trinidad. The swim with the dolphins is just down the road and can be walked to from this resort. It is also the cheapest that I have seen anywhere in Cuba from this resort.
The rooms are very new. We have never had a problem with it not being clean. The rooms are not large but I didn't need them any bigger. The staff are fantastic. I can't say that enough.
Food: I find it very good. It is a small resort so they aren't feeding as many people. The choices will be smaller because of that. The buffet can get very busy. The buffet always has great spaghetti during lunch and supper. Lunches can always be mixed up by eating at the pool bar. They have great pizza. You can also eat at the newly rebuilt beach bar they usually always have fries at lunch with chicken and/or fish.
I have to agree you will always see the staff cleaning. They keep very busy with yard work as well as general cleaning. It always surprises me the mess that we tourists can make.
The recreation staff does it's best but remember they can't do anything if there isn't anyone to participate. There are always people who just like to sit and watch the entertainment. There were people playing volleyball. There was a pool table set up in the main building. There are pedal boats and a brand new catamaran. The catamaran guy is great!!
We did a lot of walking around the area and enjoyed the shore line on both sides of the resort. The beach is lovely at the resort as well but we like to walk around and see what there is to see. We took some beautiful pictures on the one beach that is less traveled than the others.
The worst part of our vacation was the other tourists. Some expected their type of music to be played - non stop every night. I went to Cuba to listen to Cuban Music not well ... other music. I don't take my music down and expect everyone to like what I listen to. Some people just don't respect other travellers. I can't believe how rude some people can be.
|Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos|
| My husband and I brought my Mother-in-law to this resort. We enjoyed it very much and found the staff extremely friendly and always willing to help in any way they could. I did find some of the tourists to be very ungreatful and demanding and treated the staff very unfair. We enjoyed the food and we were entertained at dinner hour and lunch. The pizza place was very handy if you did not want to go for a full lunch. Also the beach hut was nice down by the sea and very relaxing. You can also get grilled cheese and other stuff to eat at the other side of the bar located in the lobby. The staff was always cleaning and we have been there 5 times already. In fact we are planning on going again. We were intertained by the staff and during the day they had lots of stuff to do for the children that were there. They had them dancing and put on a show for us during the day. If people find the food repetitive, you will find that even in a 5 star hotel. I have been to Cuba many times in different areas of the island and I found the Rancho Luna to be very good, even better than some of the other hotels we have stayed at throughout the island. Thank you. This is one of my favorite hotels and I love the animals that come down from the mountain area to feed and then go back to their farm. Lots to do and you can take a cab also into the city.
|Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos|
|T & R |
| We were at Rancho Luna March 16-30 2006. This was our second visit to Rancho Luna. We were also there in Feb 2004. The only noticeable change was Hurricane Dennis took out the beach restaurant bar. They are rebuilding it however they have placed a temporary tent on the walkway to the beach for lunch and drinks. The resort is good value for the money. It is extremely well laid out. Very open and spacious. The food is very basic and repetitive, wine and beer drinkable. The main restaurant never had enough dishes glasses and cups. The tablecloths were always dirty. The pizza bar was great as usual.
There were a number of people sick this year, cause unknown. As a precaution be aware that the staff fills the water dispensers and used water bottles with tap water. Although the tap water is chlorinated we would recommend the bottled water available from your favourite bartender or the store for 1$. Always check that the seal has not been broken.
On the whole Rancho Luna is still a great place for sun and relaxation. Always bring a sweater or jacket, as the nights can be windy and cool.
We will be back.
|Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos|
| My wife and I just got back from two weeks at the Rancho Luna, from March 9-23. On the plus side, you can't go wrong by spending your holiday in Cuba. The island is simply beautiful, the people are very friendly and accommodating and a tourist can feel very safe under any reasonable conditions. Just use your common sense.
Our two weeks at the Rancho Luna were great, but I have several criticisms you should hear before you book.
First, several things they promise just are not there. There is no a la carte restaurant or Italian restaurant (a pizza bar at the pool does not qualify, in my opinion); the recreation staff seems to do little more during the day than talk among themselves (I certainly didn't see them doing anything with kids who were visiting); there is no cybercafe (the room is blocked off); there is no games room (the old pool table is used to block off the so-called cybercafe). Some new visitors were greeted by dancers and free drinks; some got one or the other, and some got nothing at all. There was no pattern, and I saw buses arrive every day.
Staff isn't unfriendly, but by and large they aren't all that friendly either. The standard reply to questions at the front desk seemed to be "not today, tomorrow."
The food was pretty good generally; the chambermaids kept the rooms clean, but the place needs a good scrubbing of walls and laundering of lounge upholstery. Even by 2-star resort standards, this was not up to snuff.
For amusement, you'll pretty much have to amuse yourself - staff doesn't seem to take the initiative. Previous reviewers talked about staff taking good care of kids at the resort - I saw absolutely no evidence of that, and I don't know where they'd do it anyway. No beach volleyball was organized, and I've already mentioned the non-existent games room and outdoor activities.
All that said, i would still go back but there are so many little things that could be done to make it a better hotel. How about having a few bikes for visitors to borrow, since there is very little to see in the immediate vicinity? And if management would crack down a little on staff, they might actually get active with the tourists. As to nighttime entertainment on stage, the visitors are on stage entertaining through karaoke and games as often as the dancers. Tours to places like Havana, Santa Clara and the El Nicho jungle trip are quite cheap.
You can't go wrong with holidays in Cuba. This was our third time in the country. While this resort offers services that sound worthy of a 2-and-a-half star hotel, it really doesn't deliver and you should be aware of that before you book your trip.
|Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos|
|Larry, Martina and Jason |
| Just returned from a two week vacation at Rancho Luna in Cienfuegos where we were from March 2 to March 16, 2006. This was our second time at Rancho Luna, having spent two weeks there last March.
We have been to numerous resorts all over Cuba and usually we have stayed at 4 star resorts. This resort is rated a 2 1/2 and that is certainly accurate. The reason we went back to the resort this year was the cheap price and specifically the entertainment staff that was awesome with our 12 year old son. Basically my husband and I had a vacation without having to worry about entertaining our son all the time. He went swimming, fishing, snorkelling, played tennis, mini-putt and volleyball and was also involved with some of the evening entertainment. Duni and Roly were some of the best people around for activities. There is nightly entertainment, including dance shows, comedy, bingo, karioke, magic shows and talent shows. There is also a nightly disco.
The beach is not one of the nicer ones in Cuba. It's dark sand with a lot of coral and rocks, but with sandals or water shoes we were fine. Just down from the beach of the Rancho Luna is another public beach with awesome sand and better swimming. The beach has several paddle boats, kayaks and a hobie cat (which unfortunately broke it's mast one very windy day) and the resort is awaiting a new one. You can go snorkelling just off the beach, although there are not many fish, however losts of coral. They have snorkel equipment for rent there for free as well.
The food was okay, appeared to have gone downhill a little after last year however. The drawback is that they are no a la carte restaurant for the evening. The hotel has one buffet restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then there is a pizza bar that is open for lunch and dinner and the beach bar, which used to be a nice little hut, but was destroyed by one of the hurricanes last September. Meanwhile a small tent on the beach serves as an alternate, where they serve chicken, pork and fish and fries for lunch and dinner the same. The last dinner setting is however at 6:30 pm. They started working on rebuilding the original hut while we were there and this should be completed by the end of the month. You can also buy lobster at the beach hut for $10.
If you really want to experience a cuban meal, you must see Louis at the front reception. He arranged for us to be driven to a nearby family home located on the water, where we had the most delicious lobster dinner (two huge tails) with rice, banana chips and a drink for $10 including the car ride there and back.
My husband is an avid diver and enjoyed diving almost daily. The diving was fairly reasonable (10 dives for $290) (he was able to pay with his Visa at the tour desk for the diving). The dive centre is right on the Rancho Luna property. The boat broke down a couple of days but was quickly fixed again.
Awesome tours are also available through the tour desk. Last year we went to Trinidad and Havanna. This year we went on an all day catamaran tour and the mountain tour, which were both excellent.
Overall we had a great vacation. The rooms are very clean and the staff generally speaking is very friendly. We are not picky and fussy about little things and considering we only paid $3000 for a two week all inclusive vacation for 3 people, I'd say it was worse every penny. Word of caution is that if you are looking for a party place this isn't it. The resort seems to be catering to a lot of older people and people for long stays. There seem to be also a lot of tours going through the resort, tourists that are on Cuba tours and only stay for one night. The majority of tourists were from Toronto, Montreal, Germany, England and Holland.
|Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos|
|We have just come back from a great vacation at Rancho Luna! We booked a last minute sell off through Sun Holidays (Hola Sun was the tour operator) - we were pleased to get an eight night package. We are a family of four with two boys ages six and nine years. This was my third time to Cuba, my husband's fourth, and the boys second. We had previously travelled to Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, and Camaguey. This was our first time to Cienfuegos. It was appealing to book this trip for a few reasons including: the price was very good, the flight times were good, the date of the trip fit well into our schedule, and the hotel was only a 20minute bus ride from the airport. These are all important factors to consider, especially when travelling with young children.
We flew with Cubana Airlines. It was a very clean and spacious plane. The flight left Toronto on time at 10:00am. The children enjoyed watching the movie - Spider Man 2 - on the plane, had a small lunch - and arrived in Cienfuegos about 1:00pm. As we were leaving the airport, the Hola Sun representative greeted us, provided us with our wrist bands for our all inclusive stay at Rancho Luna, and showed us to the bus - there was beer and pop for sale on the bus for one peso. We had not exchanged our money yet for pesos - you would be wise to do this at the airport if you have time - and cash any traveler's cheques (we were sorry we didn't - I'll soon tell you why) - however a very nice couple on the bus graciously offered to lend us a few pesos until we got to our hotel.
We were greeted at the hotel with a Cuban band, Rum Punch, and pop for the kids! Check in went fairly quickly. Our boys had read previous reviews on this hotel, and soon found the pool side pizza restaurant/bar - and had sat down and ordered a pizza and pops! Prior to our departure I had faxed the hotel and requested a gound floor adjoining room. We were pleased to find that we got what we had requested! We were in rooms 217 and 218. The rooms had an ocean view, with sliding doors to a patio. The rooms were small but very nice and comfortable. There was a ceramic tile shower in each room - no bath tub, toilet, sink, closet, vanity, and tv with satelite and air conditioning. I was able to ask the lady who cleaned our room, for a power converter, which was useful to recharge batteries in my camera.
The hotel has one very large salt water pool with a volleyball net. The kids enjoyed playing in the pool. The entertainment staff always had acitivities organized in the pool or near the pool - such as volleyball, children's clown show (on stage near the pool), dancing lessons, etc. One of the entertainment staff - Roly - often just swam and played with the kids in the pool. Our boys thought he was wonderful! There are also lifeguards at the pool.
The hotel is on a large bay. The beach has several palm umbrellas for shade, and lots of lounge chairs available. The sand is gritty with lots of small crushed coral and shells. It is difficult to swim at this beach, as it gets weedy with sea urchins. However, there are several large paddle boats, which you can take out into the bay - and the snorkeling is quite nice for beginner snorkelors. The water is very clear, and the bay was calm, especially in the morning. At the end of the trip, we were informed to be aware of something in the water called The Caribe, a type of small creature that blows into the bay in the afternoon/washes out to sea at night - unfortunately one of the friends we met - found this out the hard way - she had gone snorkeling in the afternoon - she stated she had felt tiny tingles/stings - and later that day broke out in a red rash, had a headache, and felt itchy/unwell. There is a nurse at the hotel - and a Doctor can be called in if necessary.
If you do want to swim in the ocean, if you walk further down the beach, there is a public beach which has more of a sandy bottom and is better for swimming. If you walk just beyond the public beach you will reach the Dolphin Show. The show is in a netted in part of the bay. We walked there to watch the show near the end of our trip - we didn't pay however to swim with the dolphins - found it a little expensive. The boys did get picked during the show, to come down on the stage and pet the dolphin.
Also at the beach, is a beautiful beach restaurant. It serves hamburgers, french fries, fish, coleslaw - and lobster (if you pay $10) at lunch. You can also make reservations to eat there for dinner - same food. If you mention it is a special occasion - birthday, anniversay, they will make a beautiful cake for dessert. There is a cuban band there usually that plays at your table!
The boys enjoyed all the nature around the hotel - there were lots of goats from nearby farms who would walk through the hotel grounds. There were also some cats and dogs they enjoyed playing with. One day they woke to found a large land crab outside our door. Occasionally they'd chase a little geko. They found lots of hermit crabs at the beach.
The main place to eat dinner is the buffet restaurant. It is air conditioned, and there is a wonderful pianist who plays classical music. We were surprised with how good the buffet was. There was a good selection of food. There was usually a chef at the spaghetti bar in the restaurant, cooking your choice of pasta and sauce. My boys always opted for spaghetti when it was available. We were told that the water at the hotel was safe to drink - chemially treated - however bottled water was also available to purchase at the on site store - and then you could re-fill your bottles at the bars. We never were sick, nor did we hear of anyone becoming ill due to the food or water.
As I mentioned, you could book the Beach restaurant as an alternative to the buffet - must book before noon the day before. For lunch, we mostly ate pizza at the poolside bar. For drinks, there was a good selection of beverages for the kids - pop, slushies. Alcohlic drinks included beer, rum/coke, rum punch, etc. There was not the fancy drinks that I prefer on holidays, such as pina coladas. The cappachino at the lobby bar was awesome. Oh yes, and there are always grill cheese sandwhiches or ham and cheese sandwhiches available at the lobby bar.
Each night there was a show - usually didn't start until 9:30pm. Sometimes there was a bingo game prior to the show. The shows were put on by the staff who tried to vary the entertainment - one night was a cuban band, another was singing/dancing, another was a fashion show, magic show, games, and kareoke. We only stayed up to watch a couple of the shows.
There are lots of tours offered. The main tour we did was El Nicho - as reviewers have said before - it is very good. Wear running shoes, and even bring water shoes for swimming in the mountain river pools. There is not a lot of walking - but the walking you do, can be challenging for those with mobility issues - you walk up/down some staircases like ladders, and climb along rocks and go partway into a rocky cave, walk across some single log bridges, like a balance beam. The restaurant at El Nicho is very nice - we had chicken, and boiled potatos and fruit. A cuban band plays during lunch. As I mentioned we also went to the Dolphin show - note if you do swim with the dolphins, they make everyone shower in their showers prior to going into the water - so there was a long wait before going into swim. We did lots of walks near the hotel - very safe to walk around. If you go out of the hotel and turn right, you can follow the road to a desserted beach, which is great for collecting shells - the beach leads to a river - we saw a lot of local people fishing and swimming in the river. We also took a taxi into Cienfuegos - It was a short drive - 15 minutes. This is a very beautiful city. We looked around the main square in the city, went to the bank - as the hotel does not cash travellors cheques - and had a drink at a nice cafe. We didn't stay long, as the kids were very hot and wanted to go back to the hotel.
Things to Note:
Don't take traveler's cheques - The hotel would not cash them. I guess it is best to bring Candian money and exchange it for pesos at the hotel or bank. Cuba does not take Visa Cards or bank cards. The people in the area do seem to appreciate any clothing/toiletry items you can spare. For tipping, we would leave a few toiletry items or school type supplies for our maid, with occasionally a peso. At the end of the week we left a few pesos with the bartenders. We also tipped the fellow who took us out on the catarmanran - so tipping is at your discretion. The kids found out there was ice cream for sale in the disco beside the lobby - for a peso -the ice cream is very good!
We had a wonderful vacation. We were pleased with the hotel and the staff! We met some great people - cubans and fellow travelers. I would recommend this hotel if you are looking for a basic hotel located near lots of interesting things to see and do!
|Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos|
|Dave and Gerry |
| We went to Rancho Luna Dec 23 to 31 2004 and had a great time ,
We left the day of the bad snow and freezing rain storm,it took 4 1/2 hours to get to Toronto Airport ,traffic at a standstill in a lot of places and lots of cars in ditches,we got there safe by airbus ,nice driving Bill,,,,the flight was delayed 3 hours ,2 hours we spent on the runway waiting in line to be deiced,better safe then sorry. We flew Air Cubana ,it was not a bad flight and the food was ok (what can you say about airplane food). Arived in Cuba at 4 50pm and through customs and immigration and on the bus by 5 30,got to hotel at 6 00 (add 1 hour for time change)its now 7 00pm , there was only 12 people on our bus so checkin was fast when we got to the hotel ,
In the main building is the reception and to the right and down the steps is the disco,to the left is the lobby bar and lots of seating areas,at the end is the dinning room,at the other side of the bar is the coffee bar(great ham and cheese
sandwiches) and entertainment area,down the steps to the pool and pool and pizza bar(best pizza),,the rooms are in 3
two storey buildings,everything is within easy reach,not much walking to do except to the beach and even thats not too far,i think its a well planned hotel,,a store by the main building,,,I have to say that the bublic washrooms in the lobby were spotless,not like other hotels where you have to go back to your room to use the washroom,
the rooms are a nice size ,ours had two twin beds ,the rooms were cleaned and the sheets changed each day also the bathroom with fresh towels,(no tub ,just shower)(no hair dryer if you use one),we had a room on the second floor (no
balcony) the first night and the next day we asked for a ground floor room and got one no problem(all ground floor rooms have a patio),the house maids are so nice,
There was a nice variety of foods ,a good choice of meats,i always found something to eat that i liked,there was always empty clean tables when we went to eat at each meal,when someone finished their meal and left, the table was cleaned and reset right away,,at supper time there was a man playing the piano,and on Christmas night a choir came to the dinning room and sang ,such great voices ,all tipping (if you wanted)was put in a bowl on the way out,
I found it to be a lot better then the holiday in Varadero,the shows were good the singing great and the karaoke fun ,the entertainment staff took time to try to get to know the people, they rehearse on and off all day and then put on a show at night,they work long hours,
We took the El Nicho tour ,,its a must,,a tour up the mountains to the water falls ,a stop at a village on the way up (bring baloons for the children in the hospital),wear good walking shoes,bring water,,there are other tours also,,,each day there is a walking tour from the hotel and they take you to a village or down the beach ,if you come out of the hotel and go right ,down a dirt road it will take you to a beach that is great for collecting shells (walk to where the trees are in the water)
That is a disappointment to beach lovers,its fine crushed shells with some sand,"but"if you follow the beach to the right it will take you to the public beach,nice beach and a nice walk, The beach bar was nice ,we ate there one night ,not bad,lots and lots of empty loungers,
It was a great holiday and a Great Christmas,",I WILL BE BACK",,,,tipping is up to you ,,,,great people and service ,,,, we went last minute and were verry skeptical when we saw it was rated 2 1/2 "BUT"we had a pleasant surprise to find it soo nice, i think it would be rated higher but for the beach, any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. for photos.. http://community.webshots.com/user/ilovethesun100
|Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos|
| We just returned from a week’s stay at Rancho Luna (Jan. 30 – Feb. 6). We thoroughly enjoyed our week’s stay, but possibly the perfect weather that we experienced had a lot to do with our enjoyment. If you are looking for a resort with beautiful gardens and lush surroundings, don’t go to Rancho Luna. The condition of the surrounding grounds was our biggest disappointment. New plants and flowers were being planted, but this resort has a long way to go to being beautiful. However, if you are going for sun, sand and swimming, then this resort is for you. We were most pleased with our stay. Our room, tho’ small, met our needs as we only used the room for sleeping…….we were away from the room all day taking part in resort activities or enjoying the pool and beach walks. Our room was thoroughly cleaned each day with a change in bedding mid-week. The entertainment staff was SUPER. They were always trying to get people interested in beach volleyball, pool volleyball, dance lessons, water aerobics. The shows at night were often very professionally done………the costumes were extensive and tho’ mainly Cuban in nature, they were very entertaining. The food was fine, but we are not picky eaters. Each night, at the buffet restaurant, there was a choice of 3 different “meats”…….roast turkey, chicken, shrimp, roast pork, lamb, steak in a sauce, fish, liver, ox tails, as an example. Rounding out the meal would be a variety of salads, potatoes, a vegetable, fresh fruit and a dessert table. Wine was available for dinner. We reserved and had dinner at the beach bar twice and both times lamb was served. The cappuccino that was served in the coffee bar was FABULOUS. The Cuban pizza that was prepared fresh in traditional pizza ovens at the pool bar was very yummy. Our biggest complaint was the fact that often, there were never enough chairs for everyone to use…..either on the beach or at the pool. You had to be at the beach at 6:30 a.m. to get a beach chair. People went to the beach at 6:30 a.m. and “reserved” their chairs by placing towels on the chairs to save them. Then these same people disappeared until much later when they wanted to come to the beach. I think the resort should discourage and not allow people to save chairs this way. Often chairs were vacant for hours on end and some people just came and removed the towels that were saving the chairs, thus causing arguments. The policy should be NO SAVING of chairs to avoid all of this. There was a variety of off-resort excursions and they were reasonably priced. A short walk down the beach was a Dolphin Show and as well for $30.00 you could swim with the dolphins. We enjoyed walking off the resort to explore the area and we felt totally safe in doing so. We chose Rancho Luna for the price…..it was a very reasonably price holiday, but we were a bit apprehensive that something so inexpensive could be good. Imagine our surprise, when we discovered that we could have a wonderful holiday without paying expensive prices and that staying at a 2 ½* rated resort could be as enjoyable as it was.
|Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos|
| Before starting this review, I must stress that it isn’t my intention to whine or complain, but the give the most honest review from all my viewpoints. Before heading down to this resort, I did a tremendous amount of research on Cuba (which I’d been to 4 times previously about 15 years ago though), research on Cienfuegos, and “tried” to do research on this specific resort, Rancho Luna, but failed to find many details, so I took it upon myself to try to write this review to hopefully provide information to others who have booked or are looking to book what is rated a “low budget” hotel. Indeed, we had a wonderful vacation, we absolutely made the most of the week that we spent at Rancho Luna in Cienfuegos, Cuba. I tried to capture as much as possible during my week, but I’m sure that I missed some things.
Here is the link to our photos as well:
Travel Agency: We booked through Flight Centre and our rep was Jason Edgar in Cabbagetown, he was wonderful, very pleasant and helpful. The tour agent was Hola Sun, although in my experience, I have to note that they don’t provide much information and are hard to get in touch with. It was fairly easy to find the Hola Sun counter at Pearson Airport (thanks to Jason), which is where we needed to get our Visa/Travel cards on the day of our flight. Although, we did notice that the rep came aboard our plane and handed them out shortly before takeoff.
Flight: We flew with Air Transat. The flight down was very early in the morning and we got a “boxed” continental breakfast, consisting of bagel, cream cheese, juice and coffee. The seating was very minimal in space (my husband is 6’2”) and we felt slightly claustrophobic. On the flight home, we asked for the emergency exit seats and we were thrilled to have so much leg room. Lunch was also boxed, consisting of bbq beef sandwich, potato salad, cheese and crackers and a real yummy brownie.
Check In: Once we got to the resort (about a 15-20 minute drive from the airport through the countryside), I was impressed with my first sight of it, the front lobby was very open and airy and the animation team was there to greet us with rum punches. Check in was fairly swift considering the amount of new guests arriving, although most of the front counter staff didn’t speak hardly any English. We were shown where the “tour rep” counter was (Havanatur) and I didn’t see a Hola Sun rep or counter there at all, although after the week I realized that Havanatur and Hola Sun were connected.
Rooms: Our first room was on the second floor and was a standard twin with no balcony and no screens. I asked if we could be switched to a first floor room and they accommodated my request no problem. The second room was large in comparison as it would normally have been slated as a room for handicapped/wheelchair bound persons. It had a connecting door to the next room, and we noticed how well sound carried from room to room. It sounded like our neighbours were in the same room with us (which I don’t think they appreciated by the end of the week). A card must be inserted to run ALL electricity in the rooms and because it had a notch out of it, you couldn’t just replace it with your own plastic card, although this wasn’t a big deal for us as I think we only ran the A/C twice the whole time we were there. There was a double bed, two end tables (with small drawers), a closet which housed the safe (locked by another card that you request free of charge from the front desk) and another small dresser with two drawers. Unfortunately, there was no fridge, which would have been a nice touch and no ice bucket, but a thermos with two glasses. The TV was mounted up high to the ceiling and received 6 stations, 3 English (CNN, Teletoon and a movie channel). Don’t forget to bring your own radio or alarm clock as there is none, but you can get a wake up call IF you need to get up early. Electricity was 220V and we needed a CONVERTER (not adaptor), although our battery charger WOULD NOT charge from this. We were told later in the week that the front desk had ONE 110V plug to recharge batteries, etc. Maid service was great, but to note that our particular maid did not knock before she entered and we never knew what time she would show up. If we took the towels to the pool BEFORE she was there, we would not get fresh (or additional) towels that day.
Grounds: Not as lush or tropical as I expected. What grass there was, was dry. Not very many mature plants, as it looked like most of them had just been recently planted. There were pathways and walkways everywhere, some were even covered. It was about a 2-3 minute walk down winding paths to the beach from the resort, which was quite nice. On one side of the path, was where the horses grazed and the water sports equipment were stored and the other side was a small gift shop (not sure when it was open though) and a miniature golf course (made up of concrete), as well as the tennis court.
Beach: The beach was light brown, coarse sand, some of it made up of teeny, crushed shells. Wasn’t a problem on the feet, although sandals or water shoes would be helpful. And unless you’re one of those early risers, most of the chairs are gone by 9:30am. When we visited the beach, we either sat on our towels or on a blanket from the room.
Water Sports: There were 4 peddle boats, which each seated 4 people, had a small swim platform and a ladder. A lot of folks would take these out and snorkel off the back of it. There was also one windsurfer and one Catamaran (which you couldn’t take out alone and had to “reserve” your time). There was a wave-runner (SeaDoo) which NO ONE used as it cost $1/minute. As well there were a few small paddle boats. I only saw one game of beach volleyball the whole time I was there.
Pool: Loved the pool. It was very large and never very busy, and always refreshing. We never had a problem with finding chairs here either.
Restaurants: There is a main restaurant that serves buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are a lot of tables and we never had a problem finding a free one, although we sometimes had to clear it ourselves and find our own cutlery/napkins, etc. There is a gentleman playing the piano most evenings in the restaurant, he is amazing, although quite loud (we realized after the first night of sitting beside him and not hearing ourselves talk). We always had breakfast at the buffet, as I loved the made-to-order omelettes and French toast. Always lots of food, although for the most part breakfast was the same selection every day. And, we never ate lunch at the main buffet, as the other two restaurants were more appealing to us. The Beach Bar served lunch and dinner (a la carte). It was a large, beautiful open air restaurant/bar with a billiard table, ping pong table and a stand up bar with stools as well as tables for a sit down meal. Service was always fast. You could order from the grill: chicken legs, fish, pork, hamburger or hotdog, which most times came with yummy French fries. The Pool Bar served lunch only and it was only Italian fare, but it was the best darn pizza we had ever tasted, amazing! We ordered the pasta one day, but preferred the pizza. At any of the restaurants, there was ALWAYS lots of condiments available, such as salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, Heinz Chili Sauce, Tabasco sauce, vinegar, etc. Besides the above mentioned Restaurants/Bars, there is also a Lobby Bar, which serves expresso and capacinno after 10am every day, all day … as well you could always get a sandwich or grilled cheese there.
Tours: We only took 2 tours, but found most of them to be very inexpensive for what you got. We did the “El Nicho” tour, which was an adventure up into the mountains, hiking through and seeing some amazing waterfalls, and included lunch for $18US/each. We left at 9am and returned at 4:00pm. If you go, bring a jacket as the “limousine” ride can get chilly. The other tour that we did was to the closest town of Cienfuegos, we toured the main city as well as some of the main buildings, including a hotel and an old castle. It was $9US/each, we left at 8:30am and returned at 1:30pm. There were other tours to different cities (e.g. Trinidad, Varaderos and the most expensive being $33US/each for a 14 hour trip to Havana). We must note at this time, it is thanks to the Havanatur guide, HECTOR, that made both of our tours AMAZING! He has being doing these tours for 11 years and is very knowledgeable about everything including plants, politics, economy, history, etc. Much to my dismay though, there was no horseback riding tours to be had L
Entertainment: We found the Animation team to be very talented, but limited. All their shows, all week were 95% Cuban content and when they DID do an American song, the crowd went wild. They were entertaining, but the content got to be monotonous after a few nights.
New Years Eve: All week there was promise of a Gala night, with a phenomenal show to be put on. Tables were brought out to surround the pool, the Catamaran was brought up from the beach and dinner was to be served at the Pool Bar. After standing in line for over 20 minutes to get to the buffet, we noticed that the food was the same selection as most dinners in the restaurant, with a few added selections (baked banana chips and yam French fries, which were bueno!). Entertainment was supposed to start at 10:00 pm, but didn’t until 10:40pm, up until which time they played Cuban videos and interviews. After realizing that 50% of the guests there that evening were new, we were told that the staff and animation team’s family and friends were invited to celebrate, which was fine but it was noticed by others besides ourselves, that the whole evening was being catered to these new guests (music, entertainment, they even got preferential treatment at the long lines at the bars). As the evening show progressed, we realized that it was only a slight variation of all the other previous night shows. We left around 11:30pm to return to our room and rang in the New Year, watching CNN at Times Square.
General Disappointments: We were VERY disappointed that the Cyber Café WAS NOT open as was listed, there was a room with NOTHING in it. We were hoping to stay in touch with our children and family via email (we told them this). There was NO music playing, anywhere. The only time we heard music was when the Animation team were practising for their evening show (and then at the show). And, finally, we were also disappointed that there was NO dancing for the guests, no dance floors, etc.