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Home > Destinations > Cuba > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Cuba - Trip Reports

Breezes Jibacoa, Havana Province

We spent a week at Breezes Jibacoa at the beginning of April. It was excellent and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a quiet vacation in an Adults Only resort. A representative from Signature Tours met us at the airport, everything went smoothly and we headed off for the resort in a small bus.

The resort, the first Super Club in Havana Province, is mid-way between Havana and Varadero in a very attractive setting. It's well away from the highway so there is no traffic noise. And the tall hills behind the hotel are covered in trees with turkey vultures wheeling in the sky.

All rooms are in low two-storey buildings. They are large with plenty of cupboard space, good air conditioning and high ceilings which give a feeling of spaciousness. The bathrooms are also large and have lots of hot water and soft toilet paper. Each room has a small safe where you can keep your valuables. Extra blankets are provided. Bottled water is left on the counter daily, which is a particularly nice touch. Remember to keep your patio door closed or mosquitoes (which were comparatively few at the time we were there) will get in.

The only complaint I have is that we asked for a King-sized bed and finished up with two doubles. Not the end of the world though. I am sure we could have changed if we had asked. But I've heard of other couples having the same problem, so it might be something to check into as we booked it when we paid for the holiday.

The hotel foyer is magnificent. Rather like a Hawaiian chief's house, with enormous height and openness. Here you can sit and drink or just enjoy the view. The buffet restaurant is off the foyer and you can eat on the patio or inside.

Drinks are of course free. They were usually served in small plastic cups but you could have as many of them as you wanted. Except at the bar where drinks were served in glasses. There was a vast selection of cocktails, and even a course on how to make them.

We were most impressed with the food, though I heard some people complaining. I can't imagine why because here was so much variety and the quality was excellent. Plenty of fresh fruit, yogurt and salads. Custom-made omelettes were served for breakfast, also croissants, ham, bacon, fries etc. Usually boiled or fried eggs. Some people just ate a selection of cheeses. Plenty of cereals and you could make your own toast.

Lunch could be eaten either at the beach house bar or in the dining room again. The bar usually served hamburgers or fish and chips. But the dining room served another large buffet. No spicy food, but Cubans prefer their food bland. Plenty of pasta, salads, chicken, black beans and rice (a Cuban staple). Always fish and abundant desserts.

Dinner was excellent. Always a roast of some kind, pork or turkey, perhaps ham. We only had lobster one night, but it has been over fished so there is currently a ban on serving it too often. Squid salad, crawfish and shrimp were served on different nights. Usually a pasta dish. Potatoes and rice cooked in a variety of ways. Plenty of salads.

If you wanted a change you could eat any night in the Cuban restaurant. This basically served the same food but with less choice. You sat together at the tables and met other guests. Excellent service and a nice ambience.

Guests could eat at the Italian restaurant once a week. The food was marvellous and it could have been a 5-star restaurant. There's a six-course menu with lots of choice. Serving Cuban and Spanish wines. The waiters were superb.

Swimming is safe. There is a beautiful sandy beach and a reef a hundred feet out which is perfect for snorkeling. You'll see some nice fish and attractive corals. It's not the Red Sea, but it's just fine. Be aware that the hotel only has a few snorkels and some people keep them all week, even though you're only supposed to borrow them for an hour. We took our own. One afternoon we took out a kayak. You can also sail a catamaran with a qualified instructor.

The Cuban staff were wonderfully friendly and quite charming. So sincere and enthusiastic about their country. They are all from the surrounding villages and towns. The hotel treats its staff well. They eat in the dining room with the guests and many of them are provided with attractive uniforms. Manager Cleveland Hoo is justifiably proud of his hotel and is anxious that it should be a success.

The hotel runs plenty of activities and excursions, so there's no need to get bored. There's volleyball and tennis, aquafit and scuba diving lessons in the large pool, dancing and Spanish lessons among other things.

Amenities include a doctor and nurse on site - though take your own medications as few are available. People seemed to have few stomach problems. I had to make a phone call to the U.K. while I was there. This had to be made from the lobby but I was connected within a few minutes and the line was quite clear. However, the charge was US$8 per minute!

We took a day trip to Havana which was fascinating and well worthwhile. It cost US$45 each for the day and included lunch, a trip around the old and new cities and time to sightsee. For an extra charge you could also take the nightclub evening. Another day we were taken snorkeling, then to a local cave for a swim in clear water, followed by a cruise up a local river to a small ranch where we had lunch.

We particularly liked the mini tours organized in the afternoon by Roberto, one of the hotel guides, to nearby villages and towns. These seemed to surprise many of the hotel guests who I imagine were initially expecting something more upmarket. We went on a trip to the "El Vallee Hotel and Rose Garden": a Cuban hotel in a heritage house followed by a visit to a small farm run by an elderly man and his son. The guests were fascinated as Roberto explained Cuban modern day economics and introduced them to some of the villagers. On another occasion we visited a small town and met the local priest. Roberto also runs a morning hike to a scenic view above the hotel which is extremely popular.

Evening entertainment is mostly organized by the staff and is limited, except for one night when a group of professional dancers were bused in from Havana. There is no disco, so if you want clubs and dancing then Varadero may be a more appropriate choice. But for us it was a perfect vacation.

Thanks to Shelagh for this trip report ...
April 2000

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