My boyfriend and I traveled to Brisas Santa Lucia From Thursday December 29, 2011 to Thursday January 5, 2012
Having never been to Cuba (or south of Florida) before, I didn't have much of an expectation for this vacation. This trip was THE trip of a lifetime! From the time we took off in Toronto in -10 degree weather to when we landed in Camaguey 4 hours later in +25 weather I was excited to experience it all. When we arrived at the resort an hour and a half after getting on the bus (the only minor downfall was the bumpy bus ride to the resort) I was in awe by the look of the resort. The front desk staff were great. Helpful with helping us check in and answering any questions. The bell boy was right on loading up our luggage and showing us to our room with explanation of things as we went by (for example where the buffet restaurant was, or where the bars etc were). Great staff right from the beginning.
We got in our room, dropped our luggage and headed straight for the buffet. Having never been to Cuba before, and being a bit of a picky eater myself, I didn't expect it to be great food. I had heard mixed reviews of the food in Cuba, but really, you don't know till you experience it. And let me tell you this, DO NOT listen to anyone who says the food is S**T it ISN'T!!! I have never had such a great burger in my life!!!!!!!! And it continued that way all week, at both the buffet (with the amazing Spaghetti they have) and the awesome burgers and hotdogs at the Snack Bar over by the beach.
After lunch we headed for the beach to go see just how beautiful it was. And boy was it beautiful! My boyfriend headed straight for the water to see how warm it was and the report was that it was warm! I stayed back and took some pictures as the sun started to set (We didn't arrive at the resort till 130 and went exploring before actually going to the beach after our lunch).
The second day we went to book our excursions - Monday a trolley tour of the town of Santa Lucia (accent over the I in the name) which included a drive by the local school, fire station and police station as well as a shopping trip at one of the other resorts for souvenirs. And on Tuesday we booked the Catamaran tour which included snorkeling at the second largest coral reef in the world!!!
My boyfriend also booked a SCUBA diving trip on Saturday (which was New Years Eve) and had a fantastic time! He went to the Coral Reef and saw a reef shark while down there along with other things. He said it was $30 for the trip and that included equipment rental (good equipment at that). If you aren't internationally certified we did learn that you can do a "Cuba course" at the resort that allows you to dive in Cuba ONLY! I believe this was around $80. You can also do your international open water (for $315) which includes 4 dives and pool instruction, which takes the full week! However, he was internationally certified so he just did the $30 dive. If you wanted to dive more than once it got cheaper as you did more dives. (2 dives for $47 etc). They also have a special that allows you to do 10 dives for $210. He says the next time we visit this resort (because we will be back) he plans to do this. He tried to do a second dive the day before we left but it was cancelled due to weather.
New Years Eve included a gala dinner at the restaurant that was used for the buffet. It was divided at two different times - 6:30 and 8:30 to accommodate families because this is a family friendly resort (something I enjoyed about the resort and kept it exciting). The dinner included: roasted pig, medallion steaks, shrimp stir fry, as well as the pasta bar and some of the other regular buffet foods.
After dinner each night, they had entertainment. This was one of the things we didn't like so much. It was exciting the first couple of nights as something to do when you were just getting use to the resort etc, but by the end of the week we had both agreed, along with others we met, that the entertainment SUCKED! The one good show they did put on however, on December 30th, was Chicago! I thought this was pretty awesome considering they don't have much of an American influence. It was done very well and the costumes (which would have been homemade along with the set) were beautiful! The children's show was great as well, for the first couple nights, but got repetitive after a while and by the end of the week was just pure annoying (guess this is part of a family friendly resort).
When it comes to the weather, it was FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!! The first 5 days were BEAUTIFUL! +25-30 daily (sometimes even hotter). Tuesday and Wednesday however were a bit cooler because a cold front had come from up north (Remember when it was -25 in Toronto and the GTA... well that caused a bit cooler weather in Cuba as well, just not quite that cold).
It was so windy on both Tuesday and Wednesday that several excursions were cancelled (including our Catamaran and my boyfriend's diving trip on Wednesday). This didn't damper our trip though.
Out front of the resort was a area that you could rent scooters.($25 for 24 hours or $100 for the week). We had met several people staying at the resort (a lot from Toronto) who had rented these scooters. So my boyfriend decided to rent one on the Wednesday since the diving trip had been cancelled. I had never been on one before so we went together and I am so happy he did it! We went and drove all over the place including this little village about 10kms from the resort (about 45 mins to an hour travel time) with a BEAUTIFUL beach! It's called Coco Beach. Now if you decide to do this be prepared to know that the "path" (I wouldn't call it a road as its dirt) was VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY bumpy!!!!! HUGE potholes and a lot of soft sand that made driving on the scooter interesting but do-able as long as you are sober and smart/paying attention. It is well worth all the bumpiness and potholes the beach is one of the nicest I have ever seen!
The resort did offer internet access (it was slow - like dial up slow) but it worked and allowed us to let family and friends know we arrived safe and to check our flight returning etc. It was $6 for an hour which could be used the whole time you were there.
Overall, neither of us wanted to leave the resort or Cuba. My boyfriend has been to Cayo Coco, Cuba in August of 2010 (Tryp) and says both of the resorts were great - Tryp was better staffed (more staff) but this resort still met all the expectations he had experienced before.
I would HIGHLY recommend this resort to anyone who wants to vacation at a cheap price, take some time to relax, wants to meet some great people, be served by some FANTASTIC staff and have a great time.
Hopefully by reading this review you will not pay so close attention to the others that are negative and realize that a lot of effort was put into writing this so that you would see the positives of the resorts and not just the negatives.
-Great food (some may argue but I loved it and well like I said I'm a very picky eater so that has to say something!)
-AWESOME Scuba Diving (for cheap)
-Clean washrooms (even the public ones on the resort weren't bad despite a couple not having seats)
-Do their best to meet any needs you require (the resort is wheelchair/stroller friendly)
-Internet access (It only went down once the whole time we were there. It was handy because we were a young couple with parents who I am sure were happy to hear we arrived safe) it was $6 for an hour of internet to be used over the week. This was enough to check our e-mail/facebook a few times and that was it. We were on vacation it was just an added bonus not a requirement .
-Cheap scooter rentals! ($25 for 24 hours or $100 for the week).
Negatives - (Yes I have a few).
-Repetitive entertainment including the kids show
-Mosquitoes (There were a few, just bring bug spray and be smart about it!)
-Sand Fleas (I didn't spend much time on the beach because of this - Just make sure to have a shower AS SOON as you get off the beach and you shouldn't have much a problem!)
-Lines - this couldn't be helped - we went to the resort at one of the busiest times of the year (Christmas Break) so lines are to be expected - I was OK with this but some I know were complaining about it, sometimes waiting for pasta or for breakfast first thing in the more got a bit annoying but that's part of the buffet which from what I hear you will find at any resort!
If you decide to book a trip to Brisas Santa Lucia make sure to book a dinner in the Sea Food Restaurant and let Number 7 know we say Hi!
Don't listen to everyone on here who is negative, THIS RESORT IS WELL WORTH YOUR MONEY AND TIME!!!!!!!
Review written by Brian and Sarah from Mississauga Ontario.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Brisas Santa Lucia is an all inclusive hotel, located on Santa Lucia Beach, approximately 110 km from the Camaguey airport, and includes unlimited daily activites, water sports and entertainment. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Brisas Santa Lucia Hotel Playa Santa Lucia
- Staybridge Suites Camaguey
- Brisa Santa Lucia
- Camaguey Staybridge Suites
- Santa Lucia Cuba
- Brisas Santa Lucia Playa Santa Lucia, Cuba - Camaguey Province