I am going to add my evaluation of our trip to Cayo Largo from Feb 21 to Mar 7 2014 which is under Cuban control.
This year for the first time, we left Toronto at about 5:30 p.m. And arrived in Cayo Largo at about 9pm. In previous years we have always left at 6:30 a.m and were on the beach by about 11:30. We certainly prefer the morning departure. At the end of your stay, check out time is 12:00 noon. This means that with an evening departure (leave the hotel at about 7:30), you have all day to go to the beach or do whatever you want. Since there is no place to shower, we prefered to stay around the pool for the day. One has to make sure that you have your winter attire in your carry-on. We left our lounging clothing on right to the airport. There is plenty of time to change before you get on the plane to return home. This time we were transported in the biggest plane I had ever been on, an Airbus A320 with 227 people on board. There was lots of leg room. We ended up in the centre row of seats (3 rows, 2 aisles), but it didn't matter because this was a night flight and one couldn't see anything out of the windows anyway. Several times the captain asked us to strap in because we would be entering turbulance. All I felt were a few minor bumps. It was a beautiful flight and landing both on the island and at Toronto on the way home.
This was our 4th visit to the Sol Pelicano because it has everything we want or don't want. We wanted sunny days and got 14 out of 15. One day we had some rain and it was a little cool.
We like the variety of foods that are served . Over the years, the chefs have learned to cook Beef and Pork properly. They used to over-cook it to the point where you could not cut it, but no more. They now do a beautiful job. They always had great fish, and this year was no exception. We found this year that they were lacking vegetables in the menu, but we always found something to replace them. We always ate breakfast and dinner (7:00 p.m.) in the buffet restaurant and always had our same waiters. There was Victor and Jesus, who looked after us perfectly. If we were on time, we were usually seated at the same table. They would have our drinks ready. I am not fond of their wine, and so just had ice-water. In the morning, they always had our water, juice and coffee/tea for us within seconds of our sitting down. A word about the coffee. The coffee served in the restaurant comes from a vending machine and the taste leaves something to be desired. I discovered that a mix of coffee and hot chocolate mellowed it out, and Jesus (pronounced HEY ZOOSE) , knew that and always brought it to the table that way.
After dinner, my wife and I migrated to the pool area, where they played soft, relaxing music. I believe that one of the Cds that they played, was a new album by Neil Sedanka. Quite beautiful.
We usually ate lunch at the beach restaurant, where they had a chef cooking up fresh fish, and actually had a tray of vegetables. Of course you could also have a “Servesa” with your dinner to re-hydrate after being on the beach. There was a travelling band that would ususally end up at the restaurant for the dinner hour. Being an old sound guy from yesteryear, I though that they were fantastic. They were strictly acoustic.
I think their mandate was to travel from one restaurant to another. The only complaint I would have is that there seemed to be nobody co-ordinating the music. So they would arrive at the pool bar and even though there would be loud music playing from the speakers, they would burst into their own song and it sounded like listening to two radio stations at the same time.
Alex, you need to fix this. Turn off the recorded music when it is time for the band to play.
We usually did not go to the nightly entertainment. For one reason, we were usually too tired after a day at the beach. The second reason was that the music and MC were TOO LOUD.
Alex I am suggesting that LOUD does not translate to enjoyable. When the music is so loud that one must be outside the theatre to enjoy it, IT IS TOO LOUD.
Here again, co-ordination is needed. When one is sitting in the lobby bar, some nights there was loud music playing. Then the theatre right next door would begin their shows with their loud music, but the bar would not turn off their music. In my estimation, the lobby bar after 9:00 p.m. should be playing relaxing music.
Another activity that I find enjoyable is having a massage. First time visitors might be at a loss as to how to go about getting one. Well, you make your appointment through the towel exchange person, who gives you a ticket with your room number and time on it. When the time is right, you take this ticket to the massage area. This is where it gets a little strange. You stand outside the locked door until your masseuse comes out to greet you.
Alex I would suggest a small decorative bench , perhaps on the grass under a tree, just outside the door so that customers had a place to sit while waiting on their appointment. I know there is an outside table at the lobby bar, but it quite some distance, and if it happens to be busy, there is no place to sit.
A nice touch was added to the check in this time. If you are a returning vacationer, you are processed through a special line that only takes a couple of minutes to get you your room key, towel card etc and your bags are delivered to your room immediately.
The staff delivering your bags also seem to have other duties. Ours put our bags right in our room, plugged in the fridge, checked our porch light (it was out, but fixed shortly). Also the next day, our maid noticed that our shower would not stay in position, and had it repaired the same day.
I noticed that when we entered our room that the A/C was set to the very bottom. We turned it off, but found that later that evening we had to use it again. I think we finally ended up with it set at about 28c which felt plenty cool compared to the outside air.
Alex You can probably save some electricity by having staff set thermostats to 25c instead of “cold as possible” We come to your island for the heat.
Don't expect much in the way of TV on your visit, althought this year the tv was much better than last.
There is CNN and the American weather channel (Canada does not exist). Most other channels were English advertising for some good movies, but when the movie came on it was over-dubbed in spanish, so not too enjoyable for english speaking folks.
Things to take:
When you are packing your bags, besides the bathing suit and clothes you should pack the following:
A hat or cap.
The sun is brutal on fresh skin. I burned my forehead and I was aware of what might happen. I did not have a hat with me and finally purchased one. You can get a hand-made hat (out of vegetation and quite nice) for 5 pesos. Ask the person cleaning the pool, and he will know somebody who makes hats.
Toilet paper or Kleenex:
This is for the airport which has the worst bathrooms on the Island. There are no toilet seats, and you are expected to tip the lady who will had you a couple of pieces of paper. Take your own.
Once you get to the resort, you will be fine. Not a very impressive way to greet tourists who are supplying Cuba with their livelihood.
Warning: Some laws have changed
You can no longer take more than 25 pesos out of the country. I like to bring 10 pesos home for a returning visit so that I have some to tip the bus drivers and baggage handlers. Also, you cannot have any cuban money in your pockets. So , put it in your carry-one until you clear customs.
Also, if you are bringing back liquor, it must be in your checked baggage, not in your carry-on. Although, if you buy at the duty free once through customs , it must go in your carry-on. Go figure.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the front desk and staff. This is where you must change your Canadian Dollars into Pesos. At some times in the past, I would go to front desk, only to be told that they were out of Pesos, and that I would have to return. When I did get change, it seemed like they were smothered in Paperwork, writing down numbers etc before they could give me change. This has all changed. This year, the whole operation is much more relaxed. In fact they keep coin in what looks like a cut-off Soda Bottle and when you go for change, they throw your bill on the desk, dump out some coin, count it out and pass it to you. Thank-you for this. Be generous with tipping. My pesos for the staff included daily 2 for the maid, 1 for breakfast, 1 for lunch, 2 for dinner, and 1 for each time I went to the bar for my drinks.
Oh, almost forgot because I don't have kids, but there is a wonderful play area for little ones and being upgraded as I write this. Also a beautiful big wading pool for them. You can borrow games and books from their “library” which is also handled by the most pleasant person at the towel dispensary.
My vacation this year was not quite as enjoyable as other years, simply because I contracted some kind of bug ( I think on the plane on the way down) that hung on to the point that when we got home, made a trip to emerg, and the doctor put us on puffers and antibiotics. Its been a week since we landed and I am starting to feel better now, but I'm told that this thing lasts for 100 days. I will be much more diligent at disinfecting my tray, arm rest etc on the plane.
Sooooo looking forward to my next vacation at Sol Pelicano when I am not taken down with a cold.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Cayo Largo del Sur, in the Caribbean Sea. All Inclusive Four-Star Resort with 307 rooms. Its comfortable accommodations offer guests the chance to enjoy a peaceful and calm vacation. The property faces 600 meters of beach, famous for its perennially cool white-sand. Fun-packed recreation programs for both children and adults. Recommended for families.Guest Rooms307 rooms: 259 Standard, 36 Standard Ocean View, 12 Junior SuiteDining3 Restaurants (A la Carta, Buffet, A la carte and mini-buffet), 2 Cafeterias, 2 Bars ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with TripOnline SA, HotelsClick, Evoline ltd, Despegar.com and Hotels.com so you can book your Hotel Pelicano reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Sol Pelicano Cayo Largo