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Hotel Maria La Gorda
Reviewed 30 March 2011

If you travel to Cuba, spend at least a few days at Maria la Gorda. It's located farthest to the west on Cuba and the trip (we rented a car) is an adventure as the roads aren't that great...

The place is beautifully set right on the beach and the rooms are nice, as far as Cuba standards go.

The wine is cheap and the food is ok, again,as far as Cuba standards go.

Take the opportunity to dive or snorkel, it's good, and cheap. It's pretty much the only activity you can do, besides sunbathing and reading.

The beach, the palm trees, the water, it's just paradise!

We really recommend it and would love to go back!

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Johan-Karin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 March 2011

A 5 hour trip from Havana during which you'll see every kind of transport from ox carts to new cars is well worth the journey to arrive at the secluded Maria La Gorda. I propose to break down the review into sections.
Accomodation; the wooden chalets are roomy, clean and comfortable but under no circumstances get a semi/adjoining hut. The walls are paper thin you can hear everything (and I mean everything) that goes on next door from conversation, snoring, to... well I'll leave that to your imagination. The detached ones would be fine.
Building work; there is some going on but the work is not noisy.
Food; A buffet that is okay, not exciting but adequate if you get in the early enough. If you are a late eater then you do get less of a choice as things are not topped up later on or the food that is there will have been there sometime.
Beach; very clean, only about 25 sun beds so they do go early.
Staff were friendly, helpful and appreciated any tips.
Diving; Excellent and Appalling. The dive centre is disorganised, the boat never leaves on time, the only role call is for accounting purposes and for the man from the ministry to check the numbers of passengers. There is no after dive role call. There are 4 boats but only 1 will go out irrespective of how many divers there are, we had up to 18 on these small boats which is overcrowded. The divers are divided into up to 3 groups based on ability but invariably at least 2 if not all 3 will merge ino 1 in the water at some point. Our dive guides all changed half way through the week during the first half there were no dive briefings whatsoever just follow me, the dive guides literally went along as a lead, no pointing anything out along the way, no checking air etc. Our second half dive leader was the excellent Martin who worked really hard while other staff watched, did his best at a briefing and was excellent in the water, one of the best dive leaders anywhere, he cared about the divers and the environment.
The rental dive gear is dangerous! The regulators were all washed after every dive by the hirers which meant they were nearly always washed with dust caps off after one dive not a single one that was hung up to dry had a dust cap on. This was not a one off but happened after nearly every dive, a dust cap on was the exception. Perhaps some of the under used staff should have washed the gear rather than the divers. The rental BC's were old but useable, the cylinders are steel dumpy's and very rusty.
Divers who had been out of thewater for at least two years had their skills checked, by which I mean they were asked could they remember how to equalise and clear their masks, if they answered yes then they could carry on and dive, no further queations or kill checks required!
The actual diving was in very clear water, the corals and sponges are in excellent condition and there are lots of swim throughs and canyons. Quite a few fish but no big stuff. All in all if you are a confident diver with your own gear you'll be fine other than that I would not use the hire gear in any circumstance. I speak as a dive instructor of 15 years standing who has dived all over the world.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank neptunesnemesis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2011

My wife and I stayed at Maria la Gorda for three days in January as part of a multi-centre tour in a hire car. The resort is quite a drive from other holiday destinations and is quite isolated - you don't just drop in. Unless you are getting there as part of a package / diving tour, a hire car is essential. Some people arrived by taxi, but I assume the fares were pretty steep. Most of the people there were taking advantage of the diving centre. We don't dive as such, though the snorkling was good over black coral reefs near to the shore. Speaking to experienced divers at the bar, they weren't impressed by the safety arrangements but, as they looked after themselves and had their own equipment, they were happy enough.

Our accommodation was on the beach front, so we had great views over the bay and pretty spectacular sunsets. There is construction work at the back of the hotel, but that didn't disturb us - we were there over a weekend, so they weren't working and even when they should have been, they weren't - maybe the project is on hold because of the recession?

There is a bar with snacks, a small shop selling water and postcars and things to do with the beach, and a small restaurant doing pizzas and sandwiches There is also a restaurant on the beach which offers the usual Cuban fare for breakfast and evening meals - it is OK, but nothing special.

There are beach lounge chairs and nice white sand, palm trees and little else. The bungalow we had was perfectly adequate though in need of brightening up.

While staying there we went to the Guanahacabibes nature reserve in our hire car. You need to use your own transport, but you need to get a guide at the visitor cente (14 kilometres from Maria la Gorda). There are a variety of guided tour options - we had a naturalist guide for a five hour drive through the reserve with stops for walks. We were lucky in what we saw, including some very cooperative bee hummingbirds, the world's smallest bird. There are iguanas, a great variety of birds, crabs, insects, etc. It was a good day out..

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Tomotto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 January 2011

great location - secluded and away from everything. good diving spot, equipment isnt the best ive seen but then again this is cuba !

stayed in the log cabins which are set back from the beach but are a extremely roomy and comfortable.

watch out for the mosquitos near dusk and if you have a cat allergy stay away - they are everywhere !!

whilst they do change currency at the reception they often have limited supply - accordingly i wouldnt count on being able to exchange there - they will not exchange Canadian $.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank werdna00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 December 2010

THERE IS A CONSTRUCTION SITE behind and beside the hotel:

From 7am to 7pm you can hear some normal construction noise (not extremely loud) when you are at the bungalows at the beach or at the beach!

For us that was not a problem because we had a bungalow far from the construction site.NO IDEA how long the construction site will be there, please ask before booking.

PLUS:
The Quality of the water and beach was great, lots of fishes, you can snorkel directly at the beach or you can go with the diving boat to the coral reef...
Restaurant food was OK, we didn't take the buffet - seemed to be also good

MINUS:
Mosquitos at the beach (while sundown, sunset)
No other water sports (only diving) - second boat was broken down, so no fishing trips, etc.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank ardillita_30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2010

This is the perfect place to escape from everything. A calm, beautiful beach frecuented by divers. The hotel itself is nothing special, it is the only one in the area but we could care less. There are newer bungalows but I preferred the rooms by the sea. It was like living on the beach.

Breakfast is included, you have it right on the beach, a wonderful way to wake up. There is a restaurant with decent food and a small shop.

Maria la Gorda is a diver's paradise, people come from all over the world and there a many daily trips organized by te diving center. If you do not know how to dive, make sure you have 4 complete days to get the licence. They will not let you dive without it. Sometimes, if the boat is not full, the captain can let you join for a small fee. You can snorkle too but there is not much to see at that depth. Snorkling is best by the beach, there are so many fishes and corals to see, you can keep yourself enteritained for hours. I even got to swim by a baracuda. If you do not have your own equipment, you can rent.

The sunsets are spectacular! It is very important to bring a lot of repellent, there are many mosquitos.

A lot of cats live in the area.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank norajay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2010

This is the only place to stay if you want to dive at Maria Gorda, while we were there they were starting to clear land behind to build more bungalows

We stayed in a room in the hotel, which was clean, good sheets and had a working fridge. Apparently the bungalows are nicer but it doesn't make much difference! The hotel is state run (as are most in cuba) and therefore is never going to be amazing.

The beach is very nice with some plastice beach beds (in various states of repair) and there is a good dive school which goes 2/3 times per day and is reasonably priced.

Breakfast and dinner is included, and is ok. Beware of the 15 cats that will surround your table if you sit outside! You can have a cheap bar snack (cheese/ham toastie) for lunch and water is about 2CUC for 1.5 litres. they do take visa payments (but this can only be used if their card machine can make a connection to the system). There is a small shop that is expensive and like most cuban shops has little in it you would like to eat.

You can get the daily bus (transtur) from Vinales or Pinar del Rio for 20CUC each way. You don't have to stay overnight (arrives 10am - just in time for first dive) and departs 5pm (meaning generally you can't fit in second dive).

Watch out for the crabs there are literally thousands !! they get everywhere and have no fear - careful where you tread!

Would recommend as there is no where else to stay here and it wasn't an unpleasant stay - but unless you love your diving there is no real point in staying more than a night or so.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Beckie08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Maria La Gorda

Address: Peninsula de Guanahacabibes | Sandino, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Pinar del Rio Province
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 14 Hotels in Pinar del Rio Province
Price Range: £47 - £74 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 55
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Also Known As:
Maria La Gorda Hotel
Hotel Maria La Gorda Cuba/Pinar Del Rio Province

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