> Destinations > Cuba > Trip Reports > Trip Report
Arrival: Four of us arrived in Cayo Coco at 9:30am; we were greeted by Air Transat and whisked away on the bus. We were given our keys and information on the bus, so no need to sign in at the desk. Other resorts should adopt this method, as it was a great process. Unfortunately, they were having problems with quantities of safety deposit box keys, but we did end up getting one later on in our stay. Apparently, they will be rectifying this issue shortly.
Room: We reserved a one bedroom villa on the lagoon which was absolutely beautiful. There was a mini fridge with water only that was replaced every day. The rooms were kept very clean. There were also great warm blankets that kept us cozy at night. We had no tap water the first day (broken pipe); however, it was quickly rectified by the friendly maintenance staff.
Resort: The resort was huge (two resorts in one). The walking was great. Every night we strolled around after supper. There was an impressive gym, as always, we had great intentions, but never made it. The landscaping/vegetation were nice on both sides of the resort. There seemed to be more vegetation on the Emperador side. The Laguana section had the beautiful lagoon and therefore less vegetation.
Staff: The staff works so hard, long hours, few days off; however, always smiling faces. We found the staff to be very friendly and provided great service. The bars were very busy, but trust me, we never had to wait long enough to complain (and we made many, many trips to the bar). Tipping was a bit out of control, but whether you tipped or not, you still received good service.
Food: The food was very good, a lot of Canadian (North American) influences, bagels, peanut butter, cream cheese, hamburgers, fries, pizzas, etc. We ate at both buffets, as well as, the Italian, Cuban and Seafood restaurants. We enjoyed all of our meals. The buffet had roast pork, chicken, beef, fish, all you can eat seafood, and yes, including lobster (every Thursday). On Thursdays, a line up started around 5:45pm, buffet opening at 6pm, for the all you can eat lobster. The lobster was delicious, well worth the short wait in the line up. They also had the best pizza we have ever had at the pool grill. We ate there everyday for lunch once we discovered this pizza.
Beach: Wow, the El Senador definitely has one of the nicest strips of beach in Cuba. The ocean view was breathtaking. The beach is perfect for talking long walks. This was our traveling companion's first trip south. The look on their faces when we approached the hill looking down on the beach was priceless. During our two weeks there were 2 red flag days and 12 green flags. There were lots of sun shelters on the beach. It is best to go early in the morning to save yourself a spot. The water was warm and the beach was wonderful. We spent all of our days lying on the beach enjoying every second of this tropical paradise.
Pools: There were pools everywhere, even an adult only pool. They also had two swim up bars. We never had the privilege of using the swim up bars as we spent most of our time at the beach. The pools were very clean and lots of action at the Laguana pool.
Excursions: We took the shuttle bus to Cayo Gullermo, the return price is $5 US. This shuttle bus is well organized, safe and clean. They picked us up on time at both locations. The scheduled pick up times are great. The resorts we visited let us walk around the facilities and use the beach. We met up with friends staying at the Melia Cayo Guillermo and Iberostar Daquiri, both resorts were very nice, however, we were a little partial to Cayo Coco's beach. The shuttle bus is a great service. I hope they keep it up; it is wonderful to do something off of the resort for such a small price. We also went on the Half Moon Island catamaran and snorkeling excursion which was very beautiful. We saw a sunken Spanish ship and lots of tropical fish, a must if you enjoy this kind of thing. Keep in mind, there are no bathrooms on Half Moon Island. There is a new hospital under construction on Cayo Coco. The old Cayo Coco Airport has been converted to a park. We were told that they will soon offer swimming with the dolphins at this park (June of 2004) in Cayo Coco.
Overall: We had an excellent vacation at the El Senador. We had read a few negative reviews lately which had us very concerned. We can't figure out what people were complaining about. Oh well, to each his own. Would we return to the El Senador again? - YES. If you are planning to go to the El Senador, don't hesitate for a second, as the resort and staff made our stay a memorable one.
Thanks to Linda for this trip report ...