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“Worth The Money - Clean, Friendly Staff, Nice Beach”
Review of Bravo Caracol

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Bravo Caracol
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 23, 2009

I flew out of Toronto on Christmas day to Club Amigo Caracol with my girlfriend. We were excited for the trip and coming home, we were not disappointed at all. Although I cannot agree with all of the reviews that were written about Caracol, I can tell you that many were very informative and gave us a good idea of what to expect. Here is my account of our week at Caracol:

CHECK IN

The process was a bit slow. We flew with Nolitours and everything was smooth at the airport in Camaguey and during the bus ride. It was at the hotel front desk where things slowed down quite a bit. I had been to another resort (with Sunwing) and we got our room keys and bracelets on the bus ride there so check-in was a breeze. At Caracol, we had to line up and wait quite a while. But the staff were helpful, answered all questions, and our luggage was taken to our rooms for us.

ROOMS

The hotel consists of many two storey - four room units. Inside the front door is a sitting room with chairs, sofas, side tables and a bar fridge. The separate bedroom we had was plenty large enough, very clean with a working TV and working A/C. The bathroom had a bathtub, hair dryer and working toilets, showers, and hot water. No bugs, no weird stains on any of the sheets or blankets. All in all, it was very good - furniture was old and looked like it had seen better days, the pillows are kinda thin, but we managed to sleep comfortably.

FOOD

It seems like everyone complains about the food. I think that people should just accept Cuban food for what it is - if they want North American fare, they should stay in North America. There was a good variety of meats (chicken and pork at most meals), some coleslaw type salads, beans at every meal, and rice. There was an attempt at pizza at lunch and dinner and it wasn't that bad. The breakfasts weren't that great - cut up sausages, decent bacon and scrambled eggs and french fries, but you could get custom omlettes/fried eggs at the grill from the grill cook. The beach bar had fried/grilled fish, hotdogs, hamburgers (made from pork), ham sandwiches and french fries. Everything was edible, and no one I talked to got sick.

BARS

There are 4 bars - the beach bar, which was just off the beach, the lobby bar, which was open 24 hours, the swim-up bar and the main bar, which was actually one two-sided bar. The drinks were strong, the beer was cold, and they didn't run out of anything. The bartenders were great and the wait was never long. They had really good coffee drinks if you're into that. I wasn't. But I know other people enjoyed them. The wine isn't very good, but I think my standards are too high.

POOL

The pool was always clean and the water was a nice temp. I didn't spend too much time in the pool (partially because I was scared of the guys that sat at the pool bar all afternoon without going to the bathroom, if you get my drift), but they had pool volleyball and different activities for the kids running throughout the day. There were plenty of places to sit around the pool - it got nice and hot, and was a good place to get a nice tan.

BEACH

The beach was where I spent most of my time. The first couple of days we were there (Dec 27, 28) it was really, really windy - almost cold. But it was sunny pretty much every day and the water was nice and warm. The sand was soft and the water was blue. We brought water shoes and they were very helpful as the coral bottom in the water would have cut up our feet pretty bad.

STAFF/ACTIVITIES

The staff were awesome. Frankie, Ramon (muscles), Ramon (the well dressed black man), and the guy my girlfriend says looks like a young Michael Jackson (you know, before he got all weird) were all awesome. They ran beach volleyball daily, which I participated in, as well as daily shows/demonstrations, and games throughout the day and night. The watersports stuff was free and we took out the paddleboat a couple of times. The evening shows were kinda cheesy and boring, but they weren't awful. One night they did a bunch of musical theatre songs/dances and I thought it was pretty well done for people who probably have never seen a musical in a real theatre before.
The excursions to Coco Beach and Camaguey city were well organized and worth the money (especially the last day Camaguey tour).

Club Amigo Caracol was well worth the money I spent. I don't know if things change depending on the time of year you go, but during the Christmas break, everything seemed great. There are four other resorts on the same strip of beach and I didn't hear that any of the other 4 star resorts were any better. For a 3 star resort, Caracol was better than I expected and if you go with a positive attitude and don't find things to complain about (like some people that were there - sheesh), you'll have a great time!

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Rob_the_Teacher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 11, 2009

You get what you give people! If you have a nasty attitude you will get bad service....anywhere you go. This is not a luxury resort, it's basic with basic services!
We have stayed at this hotel for the last 4yrs, both one and two week stays, this year the management changed, but the stay was still enjoyable. The food was a little worse than the previous years but still we didn't go hungry. We have NEVER had anyone rip us off or hound us on the beach or off the resort....as for towels and such...bring your own! I have never seen a cockaroach in all the years I've been staying there, and the staff have become like second family to us, a warm cuban hug and kiss with a "good morning" each day on our way to breakfast.
The beach is stunning and the snokelling fantastic, the pool is clean as are the rooms. My daughter eats most of her meals at the snack bar, hot dogs, burgers/fries.
Treat the people as equals and you will be treated very well at this resort. I have already booked for two weeks from now. Jan.26 departure, can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank cubafunfarie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2009

We usually stay at the property (Club Amigo Mayanabo) next door but it was closed for 4 days so we had the pleasure of staying at Caracol for the first time. The entertainment staff were friendly and helpful. DJ Omar and both the Ramons were always smiling and happy as was David the massuese.

I had seen a few complaints about the food at Caracol so I was surprised to see a good assortment of food and well presented and tasty. A good variety and something for everyone. I didn't see anything to complain about with regards to this at all. It was clean, staff were pleasant.

The rooms are adequate. The tubs have seen better days but we shower anyway so it wasn't a big deal. The resort was quiet but there were things to do if you wanted to participate. The rooms towards the back of the property have a great view of the beach and ocean, very picturesque.

The snack bar at the beach is in a beautiful location with great views.

I wouldn't hesitate to stay there again.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled with family
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6  Thank caribbean_breezes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2008

I am totally amazed at how much this hotel has improved since the first time I was there in April 2008, and then again in Oct 2008, and 2 month later it's even better. These guys went through 2 hurricanes and the threat of a third, and had that hotel up and running without hardly a stop. The Hurricane Ike damaged a few things, but I hate to say it, it was a good thing for Caracol as now they got to make the improvements they wanted to better things.

Rooms
The rooms here are great. You have a sitting area, with a deck or a balcony. Most rooms have a little bar fridge, but not all. Then you have a big bedroom, and a big bathroom. Can party in these rooms with lots of people. The furniture and the courtains could use some TLC, but they are usable. And for as much time as you spend in the rooms, that doesn't matter.
Food
Wow, I can't believe the change in the food since April. There is now lettuce to salads, and great tomatoes, cucumbers, and so on. The other dishes are good as we, but can be plan and a lot the same everyday. But I find them good. There is usually always a beef and chicken dish of some kind. As well some kind of fish. On the hot grill you will get pasta, lunch and supper, usually pork and fish, and at times chicken.
Breakfast they have the grill you can get fried eggs or omelettes, and pancakes some morning. Ceral isn't much and no peanut butter, and jams are more like a sauce, but good.
Entertainment
The entertainment staff are the best. They are always trying to get you involved in something. And you couldn't ask for friendlier people. They have beach volleyball, water volleyball, dart competitions, spanish lessons, dance lessons and so on throughout the day. Sorry, can't tell you all that much about the kids activities as I never paid attention as my kids are grown ups. I do know they are great with kids, because I watched them get the kids involved in lots of stuff.
Night time entertainment may vary, from dancing to singing to bingo and singing. They really try to get everyone going.
Beach
Beach is great. I have to say Caracol has the best spot on the beach. Although they are a little short on shade, as the hurricane took most the shade things away and that doesn't seem to be their hi priority to fixing. I'm sure they are coming as there used to be lots.
Snorkeling right off the beach is great, if you go directly out past the red balls where you see the clear patch, this is an area of coral and you can see lots of different sea life. You will probably want to wear water shoes in the water as you must remember there is a coral reef that piece break off of and lots of little piece was up. As well there is some sea grass. They seem to be trying to keep this cleaned up better now, even the grass in the water close to shore. The water is so clear and blue and warm. The tides at time are so shallow that it's like swimming in a bath tub on a hot day.
This resort has the best magic ever. I met a couple her this time that were amazed at how much they like this little resort. The people are so friendly, it's like a home away from home. They told me they have traveled to many different resort in the country and this is the first time they cried when they were leaving.
Santa Lucia is a special place. I've heard this same thing from many other people that have gone to the different resorts in the area. But Caracol is small and quant, and you meet everyone because there isn't to many. No lineups here (or if there are you don't wait long)

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled solo
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9  Thank ljlewis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2008

The price was right but old men with young prostitutes are not what we wanted to see in large numbers-around the pool, at the bars, in the restaurant etc. It was quite disgusting/pathetic and an affront to decency and morals. Management did nothing to correct the situation. You couldn't walk off the resort without being pur-sued; both on the beach side and the road side--in broad daylight no less! What a shame that young girls are so desperate and old men are so shameless.

If this wasn't bad enough,on our last day,about 2 hours before
checking out to go home,our maid(who we treated very well all week) accused us of losing/stealing a bath towel. Front desk wanted us to pay 10 pesos($14). We refused because we didn't lose or steal the towel. The hotel rep. even followed us onto the bus. I again refused to pay. Another fellow we met paid because he believed they wouldn't let him leave on the bus and a third acquaintance who was also told he took a towel wasn't leaving til the next week. We won't be returning; scams are in vogue here!

Stayed: December 2008, traveled with family
5  Thank geomanSarnia_ontario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2008

my partner and i shared a joy=filled, wonderful 14 days and nights in beautiful playa santa lucia in province camaguey, cuba. the hotel welcoming musicians and dancers and management made us immediately welcome
1. with an abundance of cocktails
2. warm handshakes and greetings
3. lots of snack foods (we arrived long after dinner time
4. breezing us through the registration
5. scooting us off to our rooms to deposit luggage
6. give us the layout of the property
7. lots of reminders of hot cappuccino and 24 hour bar drinks

thge next day we were oriented to our surroundings and activities. including reminders that hurricane(or is it a cyclone: i dont know the difference) PALOMA is on the way. the eye of the storm over camaguey within 48 hours

the following day we were hustled, bag and baggage, to a neighbourhood 4 star hotel for security reasons. we were our ground for the following 5 days, slept in the hotel disco and greeted the storm with blown away umbrellas or piling mattresses against the windows and crawling to sleep under the king ssized bed. does not get better than that.

we were moved back 4 days after so the first hotel could be spruced up for us. and lo and behold every room had a complementary bottle of matazalan rum (dark and smooth)

food was varied and abundant (and God knows so many tourists are still working off the pundage. bar drinks are mixed, imported, lots o f mixes, cocktails.

hotel service is fast and furiously attended when water runs out or other problems show up.

the cleaning staff are washing constantly public spaces; the entertainment staff never stop pleasing us with their shows.
management is always present walking around looking to resolve problems.

hope this thumbnail sketch is enough to whet your appetite for more info.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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7  Thank ALFIN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2008

I just got back this afternoon from my stay at Caracol. If you are expecting luxury...do not go here! I have to say that it is exactly what it claims to be, a laid back easy-going resort.

The food in the buffet was pretty bad, they literally served french fries, hot dogs and leftover vegetables from the night before for breakfast. They had eggs, but they didn't taste right, someone said it was the oil that is used to cook with. I enjoyed the fresh pasta and the hamburgers/grilled fish from the snack bar. The a la carte restaurant is average, my meat was way over-cooked but the rest of the meal was fine. The only thing I really couldn't stand was the cats that roamed around your feet during the a la carte meal, trying to get some food. I thought it was extremely unsanitary.

The drinks are pretty good, the pina coladas are delicious! Make sure you bring your own cups as they only give out tiny plastic ones. I found that a couple of bartenders often ignored my boyfriend and I even after we had tipped them...there were a couple of really friendly ones though. The 24 hr bar is great, they have everything coffee related and more!

I had an issue with the crowd at Caracol. I was prepared to see prostitution, but not to that extent. I would say that 75% of the old men there had a cuban escort with them, which was really horrible to see. I was even approached a couple of times by >65 yr olds who mistaked me for a cuban lady, and the women were trying to get 'hired' by my boyfriend, it was disgusting. I would never bring a family there. Most of the guests were over 40 so don't expect to see a lot of young people either.

The rooms were absolutely spotless, I was extremely impressed with the cleanliness! They were also well equipped with a new air conditioner and hair dryer. We had a great view of the beach and I really enjoyed the layout of the rooms.

The pool is clean and big although it didn't seem to get used very much. The beach is quite beautiful but a lot of seaweed. I'm not sure if it's just because of the recent bad weather but the sand had a lot of junk in it from the ocean. About 8 km down the road is Coco beach which was beautiful-- white sand and turquoise water.

They have plenty of excursions available and something to do for everyone. The entertainers put on really good shows, especially the house band and the dancers. Non-motorized water sports are offered as well as massage. The massage was great but would have been better if it was private. The table is just out in the open for everyone to see.

All in all, the resort was decent. I only paid 500$ so I can't really complain that much, I got what I paid for. I don't think I would return but that's only because I like to experience new places.

  • Stayed: November 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
4  Thank travel_bug2188
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bravo Caracol

Address: Ave. Turistica Santa Lucia | Camagüey, Cuba, Playa Santa Lucia 74250, Cuba (Formerly Club Amigo Caracol)
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Camaguey Province > Playa Santa Lucia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Playa Santa Lucia
Price Range: $83 - $168 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 150
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Caracol Hotel, with 150 mini suites is right in front of a of white sand beach and Cuba's largest Coral reef located in Santa Lucía. This all inclusive hotel is unique because of its Caribbean environment provided by a varied entertainment program for adults and children, personalised attentions from an experienced and friendly staff that will make you feel like home. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Club Amigo Caracol Hotel Playa Santa Lucia
Hotel Amigo Caracol
Country Inn Camaguey
Bravo Caracol Playa Santa Lucia, Cuba - Camaguey Province

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