We just got back from Varadero on the 23rd and really enjoyed our stay at Bella Costa. When I planned our annual family vacation this year, I had a very tight budget in mind. After comparing different options, we decided to try the all inclusive vacation to Cuba and were very happy with the result. There are five of us including our 3 teenagers and we each paid around $700 only with tripcentral. In addition, Sunwing gave us a $50 refund, a $20 meal voucher and a $75 credit towards our next vacation because of the delay on departure.
Yes, the hotel is dated and a little rundown as I had expected from reading all the previous reviews, but I was well prepared and we went with an open mind and a happy vacation mood. I brought my own pillow case, wash cloth, insect repellent, after bite, a fly swatter and even febreeze in case I didn't like the smell of the room. The initial musty smell was gone after I set the airconditioning into the the coldest setting for a while. I am thankful that the beds were relatively clean even though my husband killed one cockroach on our floor and caught a small lizard in our children's room during our week long stay. It may sound disgusting to have found these insects, but we understand that it's all caused by the warm, humid weather, not so much the cleaniness of the rooms.
The food in the resort is surprisingly good compared to the other resorts with the same rating. The buffet has a lot of choices. They have 3 stations for hot food, a salad bar, a pasta station, a juice and fruit station and a dessert bar. The quality is similar to any family buffet restaurant in Toronto or Ottawa. For meat lovers, the roasted chicken and pork are the best. My teenage daughters loved their custom-made pasta at the buffet and the freshly baked pizza at the beach restaurant. They also enjoyed drinking non-alcoholic pina coladas. The fruits are mostly papayas, pineapples, white watermelons, guavas and bananas.Vegetables are limited. They don't seem to have lettuce but they serve cabbage, carrots, corn, peppers and tomatos instead. Dessert choices are good- fuit tarts, cheese cake, sponge cake and even cream brulee, but once again this is a family style buffet so presentation of the food is not very appealing sometimes. They had a "lobster night" every Thursday at Jimmy's, so for seafood lovers like me, it was a bonus. The cappucino at the lobby bar is excellent too.
They have 3 à-la-carte restaurants - Italian, Cuban and Japanese. They are not very authentic, however it's a good idea to dine at different restaurants during your stay. (If you don't like the food in these restaurants you can go back to the buffet afterwards.)
We took two excursions during our stay. The Jeep Safari which costs 73 pesos per person actually gave us a Jeep to drive on our own. There was a convoy of 12 jeeps on the day of our excursion and the guide took us on four different adventures. If you do not know how to drive a standard car you will have to pay a bit more to hire someone as your driver or carpool with other tourists there. First, we got to drive our own speed boat, then we went snorkeling. After that, we went to a local farm to have lunch and do horse back riding. Lastly, we went to a cave and swam in the nice cool pool in it. It was a fun day packed with different activities.
We took our second excusion to Havana. It costs 67 pesos per person and the time on the bus ride is a bit long - two hours each way. It was worth it, though, because we got to see the real cuban way of living and a lot of beautiful historical architecture. We also went to the rum museum and the hotel where Ernest Hemmingway used to stay. It was sad to see that all the gorgeous, old buildings were so lacking of restoration and maintenance, as well as witnessing the poor living conditions of some of the locals. A lot of their apartments were so beat up that they looked dangerous to live in. It reminded me of how lucky and blessed I am to live in Canada.
We also took small trips to the downtown flea market in Varadero, visited the mansion de Dupond (next to the golf cluband free) and did horse back riding around the resort area. We realized that it's actually cheaper to take the taxi to the flea market than to go by bus because of our large family. Travelling by taxi costs only 6 pesos from our hotel to the 15th st market (which is the biggest) whereas it costs 5 pesos each to receive a day pass for bussing. The horse back riding is 15 pesos per hour at the "castle", whereas at the resort it costs 20 pesos per hour.
Anyways, we were very happy with our stay at Bella Costa and would recommend it to friends and families if they were looking for an economical sunny vacation.
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- Also Known As:
- Breezes Bella Costa Varadero
- Breezes Bella Costa Hotel Varadero
- Breezes Bella Costa Cuba