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Home > Destinations > Cuba > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Cuba - Trip Reports

Villa Covarrubias

Villa Covarrubias - Cuba - All-inclusive
March 3-10/00
Regent Holidays - Air Transat from Toronto, Canada
2 adults + 2 teenage boys 15 & 17


120kms NE of Holguin airport. 2 hour bus ride via modern bus with AC. Thru parts of Holguin & rurally thru cane fields & small towns. Both of our trips were in the dark, so we did not see much. Several seemingly random police checkpoints - the driver stopped, turned on the inner lights & we were waved thru. After bypassing Puerto Padre (the closest town), the road flattens & the last 45 minutes is monotonous flat cane fields. The road is bad - maximum 60km/hr. Discourages auto rentals and/or taxis. The resort is in a gov't protected mangrove swamp, fronted by beach. A tidal river runs under the disco into the mangroves - you can kayak up this in the morning but beware the jellyfish hatchery in the first 'pond' - no one we talked to was stung.


Only 14 months old everything is in very good shape. Main lobby with bar, dining room, pool with bar & entertainment area, 5 - 8 room villas, beach disco at one end of the beach. 122 rooms in a deserted part of Cuba. You cannot drink the water but bottled water is supplied.


The beach is a 4-5km white sand beach with the amazing blue/green multi-hued sea that is the Caribbean. The hotel has groomed a 1/2km stretch and they keep it immaculate. Approx 15m - 100m wide. Shade is provided by the traditional palm thatched islands - but beware - they disappear by 6:30 AM - reclining beach chairs by 7:30 AM. You have to get up early and reserve with your beach towels. The water is very shallow, you can walk out 1/2km at low tide - 1:00 PM approx. Some rock & coral in the water. The water is cool to cold, not very comfortable for long swims. Topless was OK but very few partook.

This beach is certainly one of the best that we have seen (numerous people said the same) & it was never crowded. Due to the remote location there were no beach hawkers. At the end of the hotel beach, a few Cubans camped daily in the underbrush selling cigars & girls (or so we heard but did not experience) but they were quite unobtrusive.


Hot, 30 - 35 C dropping to mid 20s at night. Very windy (crosswind from the east) for 4 days. This was a pain but did not stop any activity. We heard that the week before was very calm.


At dawn & dusk mosquitoes can attack hungrily. Especially when there is no wind. The resort fogs for bugs at 7:00 PM & solves the problem. This could be much worse in the rainy season May - Oct but unconfirmed.


Large rooms with overgrown twin beds large enough for two medium people. Sink area with no door but out of view around the corner & a shower, toilet, bidet area with door. No Kleenex, but toilet paper, soap, shampoo supplied. Phone $ TV with satellite CNN, movie channel, TV1 rock channel & some Spanish programs - the Smurfs in Spanish! Beach view on many but not all. The locks don't work on many units but we never felt threatened. The hotel attitude was - This is Cuba, you are very safe. They were right.


Typical fair to bad all-inclusive buffet - fish, calamari, pork, turkey, beef, cannelloni were revolved for dinner with pasta (they add sauce & heat to order - this was a staple for many) - 2 rice's (also a staple) & little eaten veggies - cold salad stuff (no lettuce) - omnipresent fruit table with limited selection. We had French Fries twice & pizza twice & the people mobbed the trays. Cakes & ice creams for dessert. Wine & Tropicola, orange drink.

Lunch was similar (often disguised leftovers). Breakfast was bacon, scrambled eggs, strange pancakes, French toast (no syrup), Fruit Loops, buns, bread and/or toast. Coffee, fruit juices (not necessarily real).

The pool bar had burgers, hotdogs and ham & cheese cooked & flattened on a sandwich grill from 10:30 AM- 10 PM approx. Pretty boring stuff after a couple of days, but as I said above, pretty typical.


Rum drinks, local crème de menthe & beer only. One cash bar had vodkas etc. 3 bars including disco which was open during the day.


An entertainment staff of young Cubans lived on site (they get free room & board with 1 day off per week). They were excellent. They were genuinely friendly & around all day and night (even in the disco til 2 AM etc). Most speak multiple languages & supervised volleyball, dancing, aerobics & provided most of the well-staged shows at night. A salsa band played randomly at lunch, dinner & at night. The disco kicks in at 11:00 PM til 2:00.


45% from Quebec, 35% from Ontario 20% from Italy. Some 20s-30s but mostly 40 thru 60. Not many singles, some families with kids (maybe 10%).


Trip to Puerto Padre $ 35, Holguin $ 45, dolphin swim (all day) $ 89. No one we talked to did any of these. A dive boat is available for scuba diving. We did not do but an enthusiastic couple did rave about the divemaster & his dives - lots of fish and coral & the proximity to the Bahamas channel.

Jet Skis

Available for rent or $ 45 - 3 hour excursion. We did the excursion (as did others we talked to & it was a highlight) Ralph (the German operator) takes you to a fishing village Playa La Jibara (a sobering experience) for & thru the shallow Bahia de Malogueta. He stops for snorkeling on the reef on the way back. High winds & military maneuvers cancelled this excursion for two days.

The People

Albeit our exposure to the Cuban people was limited to resort staff, airport & the fishing village, they are the friendliest people we have met in the Caribbean. Everyone we talked to (including some 4 time Cuban visitors) echoed the same sentiment.

A Heath Note

Our son developed an invisible itch on his legs, torso that prompted a visit to the on-site doctor. Over 48 hours, the doctor gave him 2 allergy shots & (when that didn't work) 5 allergy tablets. As far as we could understand it is an affliction from the sea that affects some people - they called it Caribe (pronounced Careebay). It eased on the third day of treatment. Total medical costs - $ 5.95.


Limited to on-site gift shop with very limited selection (but, they have cigars at good prices). Duty free at airport has very sparse selection of souvenirs (better cigars though - Trinidads at $ 336 for 24 - a steal but I had to resist).

Air Transat

An hour delay at Toronto (Co-pilot was a no-show & we had to wait for a replacement). Our departure from the resort was delayed from 4:00 PM until 9:30 PM which meant a 3:30 AM Holguin departure with 6:30 AM Toronto arrival (Plane was a no-show & they needed a replacement). At least we got to wait at the resort & not the airport.

Regent Holidays

Our Regent rep Celine lived on-site & was excellent with all info & communications.


I would highly recommend Covarrubias for a quiet peaceful vacation for couples looking to escape the crowds. The resort is very friendly & is aiming for repeat business with people that appreciate what it has to offer. Certainly not for the party crowd or those that want intensive kids programs etc.


Beach, People, Rooms


Wind, Food, Getting There

Thanks to Ian for this trip report ...
March 2000

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