Let's get one thing straight. You are what you eat, and the same goes with vacations. You have the chance to either make the most of what you're given or chose to be a prude and hate on every little detail. I have been on plenty of vacations to Cuba and other sunny destinations and have always vowed to stay at a 4 star + resort for my own personal peace of mind. I was definitely scared to be booking at a 3 star resort and feared the absolute worst, but the price was great and it's what my girlfriends and I could afford for such a last minute vacation. Well, I was completely blown away by the 2nd day and realized I had just stepped upon a hidden gem in Santa Lucia.
HOTEL: It's a small resort with 150 rooms but it's layed out quite nicely with 2 floor units. They're painted bright in Cuban fashion and the landscaping, although dry, is nicely done. There are always workers cleaning and gardening and generally taking care of the grounds. We arrived at 3am so of course it seemed like a long time to check in. However they offered us drinks and sandwiches to tie us over until the morning, and when you're hungry it doesn't matter what it is. The rooms were cleaned everyday and the maids always did their bedspead art. We had an oceanview junior suite. It was small, but we had no issues. The AC was cold and the bathroom was big and there was a colour TV and spent many mornings getting ready to Saved by the Bell. lol
BEACH: The sand is that typical white sand you see in all the photos of Cuba. There is seaweed yes, but there are also patches of normal sea water that you could be in with no issues. It's just seaweed, it won't kill you or completely ruin your vacation. It's a bit rocky so water shoes would be a good idea if you have sensitive feet. Again, you make the most with what you have, you can't expect the beach to be the best everywhere in the world. I personally don't like the feeling of the saltwater on my skin after it dries so I had no hardcore desires to spend hours in the beach water. Only to wash off sand, or get a cool break from the hot sun.
POOL: The pool is small, but it does the job. The swim up bar is wonderful and definitely spent many hours sipping cerveza from my travel mug in the pool. It was clean, and there are plenty of deck chairs and cabana's to lay on or get away from the sun. Around 3pm is when the games start with the entertainment staff. They encourage everyone young and old to particpate and eventually with enough coaxing you're playing water polo or water volleyball.
FOOD: I feared this the most initally being it a 3 star resort. I can say that I never went hunrgy and always found something to eat. Breakfast, you can't go wrong with omlettes/eggs and toast. Really, what else do you eat for breakfast back home? Dinner - I recommend the pasta. Incredible! fresh chopped garlic, onions, ham and hot spices with 2 kinds of noodles to choose from. The chefs do an excellent job of cooking and it seems like they take pride in their meals, so thank them if you really enjoyed it - they'll definitely appreciate the gratitude. I'll say it again, I was never hungry at the resort and actually miss the Krokets I'd eat every morning. Mmm. They usually do a pig roast for the guests and staff once a week so take part in that too if you don't mind seeing where your porkchops or bacon actually come from... You can also get a lobster/sea food dinner for about 7-10 pesos, depending on how much the locals want to sell if for. Do a little bargaining. WHERE would you ever get a full dinner for 10 pesos with that much seafood back in Canada?!
ENTERTAINMENT STAFF: Where do I begin. I have been to plenty resorts and have never been treated the way I was treated by the resort staff as I was here. They took the initiative to learn your name and say hello to you every day. Sit with you, ask you to dance, TEACH you to dance even. They make sure that you get invovled with the activities (if you want) and are always working and trying to make your stay that much more memorable. The shows are great that they put on and they really try hard to impress the audience, even though some of them may not have a dance background they put their heart and soul into every show they do.
If you're going there: Please say hello to Jorge (MC) Frank (the Magician) and Elicer (Spanish band member) They made our week incredible!!!
OTHER GUESTS: We had a great group of other hotel guests staying with us the week we were there. It was relatively quiet but we all bonded and became a little Cuban family by the end of the trip, even waving and saying goodbye again for the 100th time once we landed back in Canada. We all hung out and talked by the pool or at breakfast. It was great, and made the trip wonderful. It's great to get to know new people and if you're shy, it's a great chance to break out of your shell.
OVERALL: I would 100% go back to this resort and have already started looking at dates to go back. It really does suck to read such harsh reviews about this resort and it makes me wonder was it really THAT bad for you and seriously wish that you got to experience what I did. I had a great vacation, but I chose to have a great vacation. I wasn't going to let material or miniscule things bother me to the point of being unhappy. So what if you have to get your own water at dinner. So what if you are eating with the staff. So what if you have to wait a little bit longer to get a beer at the bar. Do you have maids at home getting all of these items for you too, or get crazy fast service at bars in Toronto? If you are you should have spent the money to go to a 5 star resort or taken a step back and realize the world does not revolve around you and there are other people in it.
With that, I leave you all with this: A bad day at the beach is better than a good day in the office. Live by that motto and you should be just fine, enjoy your travels and enjoy life!
HOTEL CARACOL, TE ECHO DE MENOS!! (hotel caracol, I miss you!)
- Also Known As:
- Club Amigo Caracol Hotel Playa Santa Lucia
- Hotel Amigo Caracol
- Country Inn Camaguey
- Club Amigo Caracol Playa Santa Lucia, Cuba - Camaguey Province