I always want to visit Cuba but sometimes a cheap hotel is the only way I can swing it. So, I decided to stay here a second time and this time, I brought my 7-year-old son, my boyfriend, and his little brother along for the fun!
We booked two rooms. The first room we got was okay but the toilet would not flush. That would be a problem for anyone. The second room didn't have any sheets on the bed! My boyfriend speaks Spanish so he rectified the situation right away. If I didn't have someone in my party who speaks Spanish then I'm afraid the language barrier would be too much. My boyfriend also knows how to use CHOCOLATE to his advantage in doing business transactions with the Cuban front desk ladies.
The next day we were moved to the nicer block with better rooms and what seemed to be our own private patio. I am not sure what the block is called but it's actually separate from the main hotel complex, across the street, and there is a bar/restaurant beneath it. The only bad thing about our room what that the patio doors didn't lock, but thieves would have to climb over some pretty high walls if they wanted to break in!
The food was fine! The boys love the pasta and red sauce every day and I love the omelettes made for me every morning. I brought some hot sauce and also extra cash so we could eat out.
Since my second trip to this little resort was in March, it was a higher tourist season and I got more services than the first time around. The disco was open and earlier in the evening, there was family-friendly entertainment that my son enjoyed. There were lovely "entertainment" staff working by the pool who would offer to take care of my son/play ball with him if my boyfriend and I wanted a little alone time. I really love how the Cubans love children and seem to treasure them! There were a few other families staying there, a couple of older ratchet guys from Winnipeg, and a lot of fun young women in their 20s/30s who came from Ontario. Having all of these people around made the trip a blast. There were also a lot of Russians there and I didn't really get to know any of them, maybe because of my lack of Russian-language skills.
My son and I took a nice trip to swim with the dolphins, the tour bus picked us up at our hotel lobby early one morning. It was actually a whole-day trip, I think it's called a catamaran trip and we booked it through Sunwing. We first went to some little island called Cayo Largo where they fed us an insane amount of delicious (but salty) chicken and then let us play around in the water. We got some kayaks and enjoyed the beautiful water before we headed off to swim with Pancho. The whole trip cost us $100CUC for the day and then a photographer brought us nice 8x10" glossy photos of ourselves with Pancho the Dolphin. This photographer somehow knew our hotel and he waited in the lobby for us, I was happy to spend the $10CUC for such a great souvenir!
The one downside to the trip to this resort is the smell of oil that sometimes comes through the AC in the night. I only had that bother me about 2 times out of 7 nights/days.
The best part of this hotel is that it is cheap and easy walking distance to go mostly any place in Varadero. A taxi across town to further locations is only going to be about $5CUC or maybe even $3 CUC depending on how much you want to haggle.
I would stay here again especially since most of the travellers I met there are open-minded and just want to enjoy their vacation instead of sitting around and complaining about how tough they have it in their 2-star resort!!
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- Also Known As:
- Islazul Villa La Mar Hotel Varadero
- Islazul Hotel La Mar
- Islazul Hotel Varadero