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Trip Report - Sol Club Cayo Largo, Cuba

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Hi, all information about this part of Cuba can be found at www.cayolargo.net, so I'll just concentrate mostly on this resort. We did week of Nov 20th to 27th, and had great weather...very very very windy at the beginning of our week, but sun everyday with rain during the night sometime towards the end of the week. When the wind dropped mid way, it was unbelieveably hot and humid (which unfortunately meant lots of mosquitos when we had an a la carte dinner in the beach restaurant -wasn't wearing any perfume, only Aloe Vera after sun moisterizer, and still my husband sat with nary a bite because he had me a.k.a. "the bug zapper" next to him!).

Resort - talking to others who have stayed at other places on the island, the Sol Club Cayo Largo was considered the nicest. It is nice, and though the Barcelo at the other end of the beach is newly built and just as nice I'm sure, the story was that they had no beach. Previously a very rocky beach, the winds from Hurricane Ivan had blown what beach was there completely away apparently. But, the folks were being shuttled to the beautiful Playa Sirena if they wanted a beach fix.

Sleeping - large, very clean and well appointed rooms (no dear, that's a bidet, it's not for washing your feet!). Some people may find the beds too soft. A/C, a ceiling fan with one excellent speed (helicopter), and a safe that is accessed with the room card so you only have to carry the one. Note - 'ocean view' rooms are extra and this gives you a second floor room but not necessarily 'viewing the ocean'. The buildings (2 rooms up and 2 rooms down) all sit behind a big dune that separates the beach from the resort (only about 100 metres), so even if you get ocean view you can only see the ocean over the dune..you will not have a view of the beach itself.

Eating - typical Cuban buffet, not extensive but filling and tasty none the less. Soups, stews, the roast pork and the like were excellent. Pasta bar every night with choice of sauces and a grill bar with variety of fish and meats grilled to your order. They have 3 specialty restaurants for a la carte dinners, but you have to book early in the week as they opened only on specific nights. We ate at the Caribbean (calamari for me, lamb for him) which was very good (except for aforementioned mosquitos in open air restaurant). Lobster dinners for $20 Cuban Pesos were available at the specialty restaurants and any time at the poolside restaurant which was open from noonish to 6pm - good thin crust pizzas and burgers here. Lunch at the beach restaurant was more the grilled to order fish/chicken/pork with plain rice, all Cuban style.

Beach - disappointed the first few days as not much there. Water was really high and very windy, but by mid-week it was more like the pictures in the brochures..long stretch of hard packed sand going into shallow beautiful blue Caribbean water. The nudists congregated on the west end of the beach..so if you don't like to see this, just don't go there.
As you come out to the beach, if you turn right to the west, it's a good 1 1/2 walk out to Playa Paraiso and another 20 minutes to Playa Sirena. To the left, you can walk east along the beach in front of Sol Pelicano, the Lindamar (which someone said was closed), etc out to the point and on. About 20 to 1 hour depending on how far you want to walk. Note you will hit the nudists in front of Pelicano who stick to the east end of their beach.

Scuba - for the divers out there, my husband says the diving is very good....once you're in the water. There is one dive shop at the marina in the village (10 min from Sol Club) - a van picks up the divers from each hotel. Because there is only the one shop and it's very disorganized, it would take a very long time to get forms filled out, equipment sorted (for those who don't have their own), etc. For a shallow afternoon dive, it took 5 hours from the time he left the resort until his return! And in the morning, for the more experienced divers they only do one tank dives - no two tank dives here - and it takes up the morning. But they were deep (95 to 105 feet) and pretty spectacular. Coral formations that reminded my husband of diving in Cozumel. $135 Cuban Pesos for 5 dives. Oh, and on the morning dives, for $10 you can have fresh caught lobster for a snack on the way back to shore.

Money Exchange - at the front desk - $1. Cdn = .804 Cuban thereabouts. For spending those cuban pesos there is a craft shop in the middle of the resort with very nice wood carvings. For the hard core coffee freaks, there is plenty of vacuum packed Cubita in the hotels' gift shop (I won't mention how many were stashed away in my husband's luggage!).

With a very smooth 3 1/2 hour flight from Toronto on Westjet (yahoo, leg room!) and 6 minute ride to the hotel, this was a great little getaway.

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