My husband and I spent a wonderful week here at the beginning of July! Many friends questioned why go to Cuba in the summer - it was our week at the beach - and what a beautiful beach it is! This was our third time to Hotel Playa Blanca and we absolutely will go back again!
Small island south of the mainland - the airport is located on the island and only a 10 min ride to the resorts! The resorts are all located on the south or Caribbean side!
BEACH & WATER:
Perfection! Beautiful cool white sand beaches - because of the wave action the beaches in front of the Playa Blanca can contract or expand, but that was not a problem when we were there. The beach to the east had shrunk quite a bit but there was tons of beach to the right! I particularly love the limestone rock that frames the beach - and it is always neat to see an iguana sunning itself on them! As for the sea - I honestly do not believe I have ever seen more beautiful turquoise water anywhere. The colours are truly spectacular! And this certainly applies to all of the beaches on the island - including Playa Paraiso and Playa Sirena! Water was also fantastic to play in. We had a few red flag days at the hotel but just took care - and the one day we went to Sirena - we took a taxi (for 2CUCs) but you can also take a free 'train' that runs from the hotel.
It is summer, it is the Caribbean - it was hot and humid as it should be!
Lovely resort - high ceiling, big open reception area with nice seating areas and a great breeze!
The resort has a hotel part and then the bungalows - each bungalow is two storeys with 4 rooms down and 4 rooms up. The bungalows are the best in my opinion. We have stayed twice in them and once in the hotel. The bungalow rooms are larger with a dressing area and wrap around balconies and if you get a room on the second floor you will always be able to see the ocean!!
There are two salt water pools - one for sports, one for swimming. They are not huge but big enough - and were very clean when we were there. Also, I must say, we only used the pool a few times - we love the ocean and beach!
We have always enjoyed the food at this resort - and we never lose weight! The buffet offers a very good variety of breakfast choices - omelets, fruit, yoghurt, cereals, breads, sweets, regular eggs and meats, pretty much anything you could want. And dinners are very good - the pasta is excellent - you choose the veggies, the cook sautes them and then adds them to the sauce you like (3 or 4 choices) with the pasta - very very good! And there are always many other choices! As repeat guests we also had a special dinner one night. It was very good! I recommend the a la carte restaurants!
The main reason we have returned to this resort 3 times is the people. They are wonderful, engaging, helpful, funny ... what can I say? They make our vacation so very special and we now count them as our friends!
Edduard - the front man, has a great smile, is always helpful, and seems to be everywhere!
At the Snack Bar: Rolando (the best!), Yanni, Maryana, Jose Luis, Aleksi - and the bar-be-que chef!
Buffet: Yonel, Jorge Luis, Aleksi, the breakfast omelet queen, and of course a wonderful chef - Radame!
24 Hr Bar: Esteban, Javier, Jose Luis and Duny - fabulous, fun and kind people!
Beach Bar: Daniel of course! Very sweet man!
and my man at the Beach was Samoro
and of course, Fanny - she kept our room in spotless condition
The entire Band - they were great!
and all of the dancers - especially Aymara and Fabien (we are so glad he is back!!)
And of course I know there are many many more great people there - these are just a few that we have really connected with! And I really want to THANK ALL OF THEM!!
TIPS ON WHAT TO BRING FOR YOU:
Insulated mugs - keep drinks cold, saves on plastic cups (much greener), and you can give them to staff as gifts when you leave. Bug spray with deet - especially for early morning and at dusk - even with the spray I got bites, but my husband was fine! Lots of sun screen and after sun lotion (aloe gel is great). And the regular first aid stuff including imodium, antiseptic cream, tylenol etc. just in case.
TIPS ON WHAT TO BRING (GIFTS) FOR STAFFf:
We asked what they can really use and here is the list - multi vitamins for children and adults, any over the counter drugs (aspirin, tylenol etc.), condoms, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, reading glasses. We also took very gently used running shoes which were greatly appreciated! The Cubans are truly crazy about their children so if you take anything for kids you cannot go wrong! When you are distributing your gifts, do not forget the gardeners and kitchen staff - they often get forgotten!
I tip at home, I tip when I travel.
BIGGEST TIP - Just go with an open mind - Cuba is a very beautiful country filled with very beautiful, well educated, and wonderful people. I think it is amazing what they are able to accomplish with what little have, in terms of commodities (the embargo has put a strangle hold on the country).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- For those who dream of days in intimacy, peace and full enjoyment in the Caribbean, they have Playa Blanca Hotel (ex-Barcelo Cayo Largo), the destination of all your desires. This property harmoniously combines nature and culture, offering all-inclusive services to all its guests. The hotel mixes beautiful architectonic designs with high comfort. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Gran Caribe Playa Blanca Hotel Cayo Largo