We stayed in jungle Aqua for one week 22-29 March 2013 with Thomsons. We are a family of four with children aged 5 & 9.
This was our first go with an all-inclusive resort and the helpful reports/reviews of trip advisor largely shaped our views of where to stay/go for this trip so I thought I would return the favour.
The flights were painless, at 6ft 1inch the seats were very cramped, as in Ryan air legroom but that means more seats per flight and lower prices. We paid for the pre booked seats but with the benefit of hindsight we should have booked seats in row 32 as on the 757-200 these are the emergency exit seats and you have unlimited leg room.
On arrival in Hurghada it is organised chaos with teams of people herding you like cattle to pay for your visa, there was no point in heading to the bank on the left to save a couple £ for the cheaper visa as it was closed anyway. After a 5 hr flight with two children I didn’t much care if I was overcharged a few £.
The drive to the resort on the bus was uneventful but the amount of half-finished abandoned building sites was shocking.
Upon arrival at Jungle it seemed again to be organised chaos full of Egyptians jabbering in broken English to just leave our bags on the pavement directly outside the entrance, essentially abandon them, and go to the check-in counter. At the check-in counter they took our passports which at first seemed unnerving, but in hindsight its only to photocopy them.
Then another bloke points in broken English telling us “Go there Go there” hands waving in all directions. A bit jet lagged and confused we wandered around the entrance area for a good 20-30 mins not really having a clue where to go. I grabbed a “cocacola lite” for me, code for “diet coke” and got some fluids down the kids necks. Eventually, a friendly Egyptian popped by, gave us our room card, then told us to go back to the kerb and point out to the porter which were our bags. Like an over weighted Sherpa he hauled them to our room in one go in the 1000 block which if you have young kids is the prime location as its right near the water parks, close to the food but no noise at night.
A well-travelled friend and Egypt regular suggested to take lots of US 1$ bills and tip small and often, I tipped $1 and he seemed happy enough.
The room was large, spacious and spotless with decent aircon and a small fridge stocked with bottled water and coke. Not 5 star but they more than do the job. TV is mostly German and Russian but it had a couple English move channels, I think it was channels 26 & 27. The room boy/cleaner worked his tail off and kept it spotless daily. We tipped him $2 a day and left it on the bed when we went out for the day. We would come back to all sorts of towel art which was a great delight for the children and well worth the couple dollars for the entertainment.
Walking around the complex, it’s essentially Europe dropped into Egypt but a very well thought out layout. We spent spent most of our time at the small kids waterpark but did venture up to the bigger one from time to time.We also made a lot of use of the main pool that’s heated in front of the food areas. I am glad my wife brought a life jacket for our 5yr old as they otherwise would not have let him down some of the big water slides with me on the double rings.
I feel the cold quite easily so I packed my kitesurfing rashvest and did the same for the kids as when the wind gets up I got quite cold in the water, even with a heated pool and 28-30 deg air temp. Many of the pools are unheated so I packed shorty wetsuits for all of us which came in handy as I took the kids for a few 730am swims as the unheated pools are very cold. The Germans are out early with their towels and all the best spots for the daily lay up point are gone by 730-8am. Although the sign say no reserving beds it is not enforced, so when in Rome…
We were very nervous about the food with our first trip to Egypt with no shortage of horror stories but there was no need, again a really well thought out complex. They cater for even the fussiest of eaters and you will not go hungry with a decent selection of food. The hot food was hot and cold food was cold.
We never had any sore tummies and everywhere you look there always seems to be someone scrubbing/cleaning. They cater to primarily German/Russians and we saw the gluttony that was described in other reports. If they come out with a pan of freshly grilled fish with 20-30 pieces and there are 3 fat Russians in the queue in front, don’t expect to get a look in. That said, they didn’t seem to waste it either, those people can seriously eat. However, the amount of gluttony wasn’t really that bad considering the amount of people there.
For us the coffee shops we a big hit, especially “Jazz”, my little guy was averaging 6 “ice sugar chocolates” a day, again code for a cross between nestle chocolate quick and a milkshake. My daughter was a big fan of all the different fruity drinks they would whip up and me being boring was happy with English tea, my wife the white coffee.
We planned on going to the beach but as we were having enough fun we never got around to it. Apart from the mall we never left the complex.
We aren’t boozers so in the evenings we spent in our room area watching movies on the tele or Ipads, playing games, coffee shop, hanging out etc so can’t comment on the nightlife. We never used the kids clubs as I would rather play with them than dump them off.
Essentially it is a big complex generally full of people playing happy family.
If you are sad like me and need to have internet access to check on work. A walk to Senzo mall is 15 minutes door to door to the Vodafone shop there. I gave the lady my mobile, she popped in an Egyptian data only SIM card and for 70 Egyptian, £7UK (get the lady at the Vodafone shop to set it all up on your phone for you), we had 3 gig of data. I then set up an encrypted mobile wireless signal broadcasting from my android phone which is really the first time I have used this and it worked a treat. I had a portable wireless system to both the ipads and the laptop. The downside of course is we somehow burned through 3 gig of data in four days with my kids downloading stuff. Another trip back to vodaphone and now that we had the SIM it was £5 to top up another 3 gig of data and this is valid for 3 months but can be topped up when we come back.
The onsite pharmacy is seriously expensive, I paid £12 for some local sunscreen when we ran low and had an allergic reaction and was Mr Blotchy bright red skin with contact dermatitis. Once bitten twice shy I went to the pharmacy at the Senzo mall, big tube of cortisone cream, <£2UK, never saw the doc, just went to the chemist and showed him my skin.
The Egyptian workers work tirelessly and as I run my own business this place has excellent management that is clearly actively engaged with their staff. The staff and genuinely friendly and like a good bit of banter. I didn’t find the sales people for trips overly pushy, as soon as we told them we weren’t interested they moved on.
The resort is under the flight path for the airport but it’s not really that noticeable. The airport is a joint military airport and on three of the days there were Egyptian Migs screaming around which was quite entertaining and my son was convinced they were the red arrows.
The only real disappointment was the spa, my wife used it not me, she reported that it wasn’t very clean and felt it was very expensive with the quality of the work just average. I suspect that this is a separate business trading on the complex.
Do not change up UK£ to Egypt£ in the UK. At the post office I got £1UK = £9 Egyptian. At the Forex machine in the complex, £20UK = £205 Egypt. It seemed a bit odd at first but follow the idiot proof directions, pop in the £UK notes and out comes £ Egyptian at a decent rate, brilliant.
All in, I am a serious convert to all inclusive, this complex very much exceeded my expectations, my son wants to move here. We are overdue to visit family overseas but I would rather put that off and come back here in October.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.