> Destinations > Cuba > Trip Reports > Trip Report
Words and pictures cannot describe the beauty and elegance of the Iberostar Daquiri in Cayo Guillermo, Cuba
(Rated Four Star).
We arrived in Ciego de Avila after flying Air Cubana (we were delighted with the flight, plane,
staff, and meal. Enjoyed complimentary movie on the flight down (Miss Congeniality). They had
bar service as well.)
Long line up at immigration/customs as two planes arrived at the same time, but we chatted it up
with the people around us and in no time we collected our luggage and hopped aboard the air
conditioned motor coach bus. The guide sold water & pop and beer ($1 and $2)and gave a very
interesting tour as we drove the 90 minutes to the resort. It was relaxing and beautiful to see our
surroundings and get some facts before arriving to the destination. Made the journey go by
The trip across the causeway was interesting and and really a unique experience.
Once at the Iberostar Daquiri you are greeted with the colours of summer in the superb front yard
garden. All the grounds are covered with vibrant flowering plants and shrubs.
Upon arriving inside the porter and front desk staff were so friendly and helpful...they even
escorted us to our room personally. NOTE: The front desk reception is open 24 hours a day.
Can't believe how helpful and courteous they all were.
The room was large and very clean. Two 3/4 beds which we pushed together,
satellite tv, fridge, safety deposit box, hairdryer, four piece bath
(including the bidet). Our first floor room (3130) had a nice balcony and patio area which faced the swaying palm trees and ocean.
TIP: You use the magnetic key (card) entry to get into the room and from there you should
insert the key (card) into the slot on the wall to activate the lights and air conditioner. Luckily I
had read a previous post which told me that any magnetic card would work so we used a phone
card with a magnetic stripe on it and it kept the air conditioning on for us. Also, if ever your key
stops working, just go the front desk and they will reprogram it in a second flat. I think this is a
security measure they do once a week.
We packed our summer clothes in our carry on luggage so we didn't have to wait for
the bags to arrive before going out and exploring. So out the patio door to the ocean! Gorgeous turquoise green/blue tepid waters with white powdery sand beaches. Appeared to be enough beach umbrellas and lounges for everyone, but most days was a bit too windy for us. Great for walking and some shell collecting. Sand bars were awesome mid to late day. Water not too deep or wavy -- great for cooling off. The ocean floor was sandy not really any seaweed to fight with.
Didn't see any jellyfish but did spot a conch shell. There are two piers down either side of the beach to walk to.
The Pool Area
Pool area was very nice and not too loud despite acitivites being carried out. We
usually reserved our lounge chairs in the morning with our towel. Seemed to be plenty to go
around, although not enough set up with umbrellas for the shade seekers. Pool was always
perfectly clean and water kept cool so it was very refreshing. One side had aerobics, water polo,
volleyball, basketball and the animation team was instrumental in helping to organize games and
referring. The other side was more relaxed with the swim up pool bar under a waterfall.
The club house was the centre for the animation team. With a voucher received at check in we
were given fresh towels all week. At the end of the holiday we asked for the voucher back which
was required for check out. The entire staff spoke excellent English so communication was never
We never did end up using the archery, kayaks, paddle boats, tennis courts, bicycles. Not
enough time to do everything!
For kids it appeared they had a very structured "play time" with terrific staff and lots of activities
and a little playground, ping pong, as well as a pony ride through the complex.
Past the pool area was the other side of the pool bar (Havana Club) where one could get a drink
from the happy bartenders, eat lunch (different themes -- pig roast, burgers, etc.), play bingo or
enjoy dancing. Different afternoon activities were set up in this little hall.
Then there was the Beach Restaurant "La Marina". We chose it most times for
lunch as it had a nice cool breeze blowing through it and a great view. It was open for drinks
10-6, contintental breakfast 10-noon; lunch 12:30-4 and Snacks 4-5.
The main buffet restaurant was quite large and very nice. Quite a large selection to choose from
including fruits, pastries and cakes, breads and rolls at every meal. Breakfast served up cereals,
pancakes, toast, eggs, and really good bacon. Lunch time was typical salads, rice, chicken, pork,
fish, monte cristo sandwiches, pasta, fries, burgers. Dinners were a little more creative with
specialty dishes from BBQ shrimp, crab to steak tartar. The in between dishes included salads,
pasta, beef, chicken, pork, rice, vegetables. I was impressed that they even had real ketchup on
the tables! (At breakfast, we did however enjoy the little packages of peanut butter we brought
from home). Even the coffee was good was here! Made sure we tipped at least a $1 every single
meal. We also brought some little Avon perfume samples to give to the waitresses.
The specialty Mexican restaurant "Gregorio" was quite nice. We managed to arrange it so that we could go
there two times during the week (through the P.R. desk). They served us wine, sangrias, beer. Lovely atmosphere where
you can get out of the buffet line ups and relax. Air conditioned comfort while you are serenaded
by singers. Food choices were varied and ample. Appetizers included Mexican plate
(Quesadillas, Tacos mmmm mmmm mmmmmm!), Caesar salad (mmmmmm mmmmmm), salmon,
cheese, salads. Main course was a choice of shrimp (mmmmm mmmmm), Hake fish (mmmm
mmmmmmm), beef/pork/chicken kabobs, Salmon. Desserts included a lot of little cakes, flans
The Lobby Bar
We enjoyed quite a few games in the pool room (as in billiards)just outside the
Mojito Lobby Bar. This bar served drinks in bottles and glasses (not plastic) and they sure knew
how to make a mean Pina Colada, Daquiri, Amaretto Sour, Rum & Coke, Tequila Sunrise,
The lobby was absolutely huge and gorgeous. Big tropical plants and high cathedral ceilings. Cool
ocean breeze flowing as you lounge about in the lovely rattan furniture. Off the lobby are the tour
representatives' office, three stores, the Public Relations office (do make sure you visit.... Miladis is the most sweet and
gracious P.R. person!!).
Lots of good shopping for cigars, t-shirts, cuban cookies, magnets, crafts, postcards,
shot glasses, shoes, umbrellas, shorts,etc. Local crafters set up shop near the pool almost
everyday too. Some very unique and wonderful gift items from handcrafted wood carvings, toys,
leather purses, crocheted clothing, keychains, etc.
The hotel also houses a modern workout room, bicycle and scooter rentals, massage parlour
(highly reccomend the hour long for $20!!!, Oh, and the flamingo pond...be sure to check out
your surroundings and find the Flamingo pond. Absolutely gorgeous and stunning!
We rented a scooter from our hotel for three hours for $15 - $20. Toured
down to the marina (very small, not what I envisioned for a marina); checked out the other hotels'
properties, and travelled to Play Pilar (about 20 minutes away). This beach was spectacular.
Greenish cool waters for swimming, black lava rock at the end of the beach. Spacious and
uncrowded. Bought a beer for $1 and drank it in the shade of the restaurant/hut.
Coming back we took all the little side roads which offered terrific views and secluded beaches.
Had a great time. Playa Pillar reminded me more of Cayo Largo beaches....larger and secluded.
TIP:Another friend told us they exited Playa Pillar and instead of turning around to go home
again, they followed the other road which led past Pillar which took them to the tip of the island.
There they spotted dolphin and lots of birds.
Two City Tour
Took a full day to travel into Ciego de Avila and into Moron. What an
experience. Took an air conditioned mini van and ventured into Cayo Coco where we picked up
some other vacationers at the El Senador. Our guide was bilingual offering English/French
Saw a real Cuban market, butcher shop (WOW! Culture shock!!), department store, Cuban run
store, cigar factory, museum, parks. Stopped for a delicious lunch. Toured the local train station,
took a horse and buggy ride.
TIP: We brought candy, birthday candles, pens, pencils, pads of paper, soaps, perfume, and
toys to hand out to the locals ..but we gave them out quietly and slowly. Kids greeted us as soon
as we took the horse ride but we knew we would be pestered but a large group if we handed out
much all at once. We gave them things upon our return and also handed out gifts discreetly to
moms walking down the street with their children.We didn't bring anything into the cigar factory,
but they would have accepted things at the end. We ended up just tipping a few dollars
instead.($45 each includes lunch and a drink)
Drove in an air conditioned van through Moron as a mini tour and then to a
lovely sight at Laguna de la Leche (Milky Lagoon). This area is where Cubans go to the disco,
park area, beach and celebrate a spring carnival/ flotilla on the canal. Really pretty.
Then we travelled up to the summit of Loma de Cunaugua. We hiked with a local guide along an
ecological path for about 1/2 hour (there were a few steep spots)and spotted Cuba's national
bird. (Apparently the bird is rather elusive so we counted ourselves lucky).
Afterward we got on horseback and treked a bit more through the paths. After about 20 minutes
we dismounted and drove the rest of the way up the mountain where we were greeted by a table
full of delicious papaya, mango, pineapple, plantain, coconut and watermelon. This small
mountain top area doubles as a sort of Forest Ranger site / three room guest house. There was a
pet monkey and domesticated endangered species which was like a muskrat/beaver. It ate fruit
from our hands and drank beer too!! Some of us did more horseback riding while others stayed
behind and enjoyed the huge wooden rocking chair, scenic view, and open bar.
Had the most delicious home cooked meal I have ever eaten in my life (consisted of a breaded
pork cutlet (and i'm not a huge pork lover), vegetables, rice, black beans, mashed potatoes,
bread, and sweetened coconut and tea for dessert. MMM MMM GOOD!
Afterward we travelled to the Alligator Farm where we learned some facts about this species and
were able to handle a one year alligator. Great photo opportunity! This tour cost $55 each and
was well worth it! Had a great time.
This was highly recommended not to be missed by friends who did this tour. Not
wanting to miss anything we signed up for it too. $35.00 each bought us two hours of piloting our
own "Jungle Boat" -- two person speed boat, exploring the intricate network or channels cutting
across virgin mangroves.
You follow the leader with about 6-8 boats going out together at a time. About halfway through
we stop for a snorkel and this was awesome. Saw a huge starfish, parrot fish, and lots of other
assorted fishies. This was very different from any other snorkelling we've done before. Really
enjoyed it. Had a refreshing drink then travelled by boat back to shore! Excellent adventure!
NOTE: Life jackets are provided. You also get to keep the snorkel.
We had a totally excellent time at the Iberostar Daquiri and would not hesitate to
return or recommend it to anyone! The staff were wonderful and we did leave them gifts of
baseball hats, tshirts, shoes, medicines, which were very appreciated. The weather (other than the first day when they had a
torential downpour) was around 28C each day but windy. According to most, it was windier than usual. It still didn't deter us
from our fun in the sun.
Pictures of our adventures can be found by linking to: http://community.webshots.com/album/35895567MtJjFf
Thanks to Karen for this trip report ...