Our family of 4 travelled from Toronto and stayed for a week. My parents stayed for 2 weeks. This was our first trip here and my parents 7th. They enjoy the tranquillity of the resort and are already planning next year’s trip.
A comfortable connecting bus takes travellers to other hotels first since Sol Cayo Guillermo is the last hotel on the route, travel time about 1 hour total. There is a “tour guide” to welcome you that travels with the bus driver. Tips were suggested but this is the only time we were asked for tips. (Which was nice!)
On arrival we checked in easily. Note that there is a $2 charge per day for safes. It is a really safe area though so you don’t really need to bother. The staff will change money for you any time of day which was convenient.
We were a little bit unlucky with the wind on the first days. Temperature was reasonable; above 20 and 25oC for most days.
Room- was nice and clean. It has a very high ceiling. We had an oceanview room that was on the end of a row of 4 rooms. Staff was very accommodating in arranging our room. The room was near the watersports. No problems with water pressure or temperature. The room was a little stuffy but keeping the doors open aired it out (I’m sure if we had left the a/c on all the time that would have helped but we don’t like to waste power). The air conditioning worked fine although it wasn’t strong. We couldn’t get the TV to work at first but it was promptly fixed/adjusted when we reported it (we spent very little time watching it!).
Watersports – Kayaks and pedal boats are included. Snorkelling is not included, nor is sailing (2 person hobie cats). There are extra costs for these activities although this was not clear to us from any of the information provided beforehand. If you wish to go out to the reefs, a catamaran will take you for $15/hour for 4 people. We opted for the tour on a bigger boat for $25/person. That was a great trip; the reefs are in pretty good condition. Lots of fish!
Beach – lovely! Clear, shallow water out for quite a ways. My sons (10 & 7) enjoyed playing with a hermit crab they found one day. We went for walks in both directions. To the west there is a lovely area that the boys called the ‘desert’ because of the cacti growing in it. The shoreline changes to a rocky one which is interesting to explore. If you decide to go up that way, bring shoes and expect to take at least a couple of hours there and back and for wandering. My husband saw a hutia which scampered off quickly. It is a native rodent to the island and not dangerous.
Other trip- We went to see the mangrove swamps. The trip that will take you there requires that you drive a 2 person motorboat (with guide in a motorboat leading). You dock at the mouth of a channel between the islands and snorkel down it. A hutia came onto the dock looking for food; it was used to being fed. We also fed the fish some bananas and bread. My son loved it as did we! The little channel in the mangrove swamps was very calm (even on a windy day) and there was a rope to assist you if you needed it. A really wonderful experience! I highly recommend it. (46 pesos for adults, 23 for children)
Food – The main dining hall is a buffet. There is a large central buffet that is plentiful with 3 smaller stations for bread, salad, desserts. Plus, there are 3 stations that will cook for you as well- at breakfast it is pancakes & French toast at one, and eggs at another, toast at the third; at lunch and dinner there is a cook making pasta, one doing meats (beef, chicken, pork) and a third cooking fish. Since they are cooking it right in front of you, be prepared to wait a few minutes especially during busy times. I thoroughly enjoyed the seafood that was cooked fresh for you (squid, shrimp, fish). One son loved the chicken and had no trouble with the food. My other son is a very picky eater and it was difficult to find foods he would eat. He had pasta at one meal and meat at another. There was a lot of variety so it is not the resort’s fault! One of my favourite desserts was the cooked bananas with pancakes; I will have to try and make those at home.
About the milk. We are used to cold milk. The milk there is a bit sweeter and usually served warm. My kids wouldn’t drink it or have it in cereal. (I don’t know if this is possible but it might help to keep it on ice to make it more appealing to some of us!)
We ate at one of the a la carte restaurants once. Food was very good there as well!
Donuts (churros) – there are a couple of huts that will cook these up. We couldn’t figure out when they were open but managed to get them a few days. They were very, very good. (note to staff, it might be nice to post the hours for these!)
My son took advantage of the grill that is open from 11- 6:30 for some grilled cheese which he enjoyed. Burgers and some other foods were available at the grill as well. (It would be nice to have a snack bar with ice cream or snacks available during the day when the restaurants are not open.)
Activities- I’m afraid we did not participate in the organized activities since we were busy swimming, walking, using the gym or doing other things. It took us a while to figure out that the nighttime shows started at 9. They sounded lovely but my kids were exhausted by that point anyway. My husband and older son tried to go a couple of times but the smokers in the audience made it uncomfortable and they did not stay long.
Bugs – there were some biting bugs which others have determined were sandflies or biting midges (family Ceraptogonidae). I received a few bites which were itchy. Since I did not see any bed bugs (I checked), mosquitoes or black flies, I think they must have been midges. They are itchy; bring calamine or whatever anti-itch you have. It didn’t impact our trip. I certainly didn’t feel the need for repellent.
Hotel Staff – left the best for last! They were very helpful to us and really went out of their way to make sure that we were well cared for and enjoying our stay. Thanks to everyone!
- 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