My husband and I just returned on Saturday from this beautiful island. We are so glad that we chose the Sol Cayo Guillermo as the resort to spend our week at. We have been to Cuba before, but not to this area.
First of all I would like to say that prior to our vacation I contacted the manager, Manuel, with a couple questions, and received an email back from him within hours, which was very impressive to us. We also had the opportunity while there to meet with him again, as he requested a meeting to see how our week was going on our third day. We have already heard from him again by email since we arrived home as followup. He certainly is a manager who is seen....making sure that all are having the best vacation experience as possible. If you have any concerns, they are looked into promptly. All staff that we encountered were ready to help at anytime
The resort is clean, compact and friendly. We had the opportunity to eat at both a la cartes and enjoyed them very much. The buffet had lots of variety and we never had any issues finding something to eat. Lots of food, and always a place to sit. Only once did we arrive at the Ranchon restaurant by the beach (where we enjoyed the pizza) and there were no tables available...but due to the closeness of everything, the buffet is only a very short walk away, and also a hamburger stand right outside of the Ranchon. We didn't sample the donuts by the pool, but the children seemed to be enjoying them!
Our room was the furthest room from the lobby, in the last building on the resort, 1217. It was an upstairs room with a king bed. This was not a renovated room, but it suited our needs just fine. The bed was comfortable, loads of hot water, and always kept clean. We had a view of both the mangroves and a little view of the ocean. Could see the kites from our balcony, and the beach was just a short walk away through the field behind. This room is extremely quiet and private and we never heard another person until the last day. To indicate the closeness of everything, our room was about a 3-4 minute walk to the main lobby. Yes there were a few cracked steps and broken lights on the walks, etc., but this did not take away from the enjoyment of our vacation...I think some people get preoccupied with minor details.
Some people wonder about hiking to Pilar Beach. We did this on our third day, mostly along the shore. It is about a 1.5-2 hour hike on terrain that is mostly coral reef and beach. There is a sand path that you can walk on for quite a distance, but eventually you will have to walk on very rough ground. We ended up heading down to the main road for the last 2 kms as there was a driveway by security post leading down to that road. Don't head out to do this in flip-flops...good foot wear and a lot of water is a must.
Pilar beach is beautiful, but the beach at the SCG is certainly equally as nice. We realized when we arrived at the Pilar beach that everyone seemed to crowed around the main area. We walked 2 minutes up the beach (to the right) and it was like having your own little paradise. If you require a beach chair then you would have to stay in that area, but being from Nova Scotia we are used to throwing our towels on the beach. Later on in the day we headed to the opposite end and went exploring a little. There was a road that lead to another isolated area...something "point" on a little sign and we saw giant starfish, hermit crabs and loads of live large conch shells.
There is another beach about a 30 minute walk up from the resort beach that has loads of shells, sand dollars of various sizes and colors, and other neat things. There is garbage on this beach as it isn't part of the resort area, and not really a place to swim, just to explore.
I know some are wondering about bugs, bites etc. Neither of us had any bites. We did take B complex for 10 days prior to departure, and maybe that helped. We did see some people that had bites on them. We didn't see a mosquito the whole time we were there. We had one bug in our room and that was one that I let in by accident when I opened the balcony door. We saw lizards most days by our step, but they never ventured into our second floor room.
Now on to the fishing. My husband fished in the lagoons near the tennis courts everyday. He caught several tarpon. A couple of them over 2 feet. The BIG one got away, of course. One word of caution, there is a 5 foot or so crocodile that attempts to get the weakened fish. My husband thought it was great and returned every morning as that seemed to be the best fishing time. If you are a fisherman, a tarpon toad fly worked best for him. It was very windy while we were there, but this area is very sheltered...great for fly fishing (as long as you can keep your line from getting caught in the palms!)
Snorkeling was really neat under the pier at the Melia resort. We saw barracuda, lion fish, and several other species. There was one school of fish that numbered in the hundreds, not sure what they were, would have made a great picture, but our underwater camera stopped working the day before. There are also fish if you snorkel along the grass. To enjoy the coral you would have to take a boat out to the reef (same at Pilar).
If you are looking for a resort to sit and relax, this is a great choice....if you are looking for nature, exploring, hiking, this is an excellent choice. We are not into the "night life"...we headed to bed most nights before the entertainment, but heard good reports.
While we were there, we always saw lounge chairs available after breakfast, and never saw a day where pool or beach chairs weren't available. People do "claim" chairs, however on the couple days we didn't bother doing this we were able to find two anyway.
We wandered all the way up to the end of the beach where the other 3 resorts are located. BY FAR this resort has the best beach area. In some pictures the beach area appears very narrow, however that is for a short time, when the tide is high.
My husband and I love to roam and explore new places. Unlike the last time we were in Cuba, we hiked for hours this time. It was great to know that you felt safe in doing this. We would head out early after breakfast and then arrive back for lunch time and then hit the beach chairs! We now understand why this resort has so many return visitors. Without a doubt we will return there again, and probably sooner than later! Thank you to all the staff for making our visit so wonderful!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Four Stars All Inclusive Resort with 268 rooms. Located in Cayo Guillermo,Cuba, in one of the most beautiful beaches, in the archipelago Jardines del Rey, near Playa Pilar and near one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. Known for its romantic and lush tropical vegetation. Recommended for families, couples, weddings and honeymoons.268 rooms: 135 standard, 96 Standard Ocean View, 37 Superior Standard 3 Dining Restaurants (Buffet),4 bars.An incredible natural paradise. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sol Cayo Guillermo Hotel Cayo Guillermo
- Sol Hotel Cayo Guillermo
- Cayo Guillermo Sol Hotel
- Sol Cayo Guillermo Cuba