We have just returned from 2 weeks at the Gran Ventana. It was our 4th time and we will be returning again in November for the 5th. As usual the food was good with lots of choice and I am a fussy eater. It seemed to be busier than when we were there last (November 2010) with a lot of Canadians from the east coast - very friendly people. We met some people from New York - Mish and his friends, Bernard and Ruth from Doncaster, Jason and Oola from Ireland and Jackie and Trevor from Stoke, U.K. They all were very happy with the resort, although the young guys from New York felt that the Gran Ventana was more of a family resort than a party place which is true. If you want to do any trips it is best to book with the guys on the beach in the white shirts as they are definitely cheapper than with the rep. Yes, I agree the beach vendors are rather persistent but a polite "no gracias" and they go away. If you want to buy anything then you can barter with them. I found that they were more persistent when we first arrived and after a few days they did not even bother.
Oh, and stay away from the guys that walk down the beach with the bright yellow shirts as they try to sell you the time shares at the Grand Paradise next door.
As far as the evening entertainment goes, you can't expect it to be like Las Vegas but we did enjoy the kareoke.
To sum it up, the Gran Ventana has a great beach (the best beach in the Playa Dorada) with a coral reef with good snorkelling, plenty of palapas, good food with a great buffet restaurant and three a la cartes. Everything is close, the rooms, the beach and the restaurants and very clean - they are always cleaning even the walk ways but most importantly, it is very affordable. Can't wait to go back in November.
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