More about Gran Caribe Club Villa Cojimar
Villa Cojimar is Fab
Villa Cojimar 1st Feb to 21st Feb 2004 with Tips for UK visitors3 weeks of pure Rest and Recuperation. The accommodation is really cool especially if you get one of the ground floor rooms on the beach like we did a fantastic view welcomed us every morning.We went with Thomas Cook and we very happy with them, though on the plane you will probably get the same films both ways (so dont watch all the best ones on the way out).You get a fridge in your room (take some empty water bottles to fill up at the bar and buffet, you can also buy some mini bar deals at reception). Regular all-inclusive guests from Canada seem to take large insulated mugs for their drinks (as the beer is served in small plastic cups). I wish wed taken some.The food at the Villa Cojimar is OK (better than a similar hotel we stayed in last year in Varedero, there is not a massive choice but they are generous with the meat and once a week you get Lobster in the buffet. I didnt like the Cuban restaurant at all but the Italian was good for pasta and Pizza. To book one of the restaurants you need to be at the desk outside the buffet promptly at 12-30 and there did not seem a restriction on the number of times you could go. One point worth noting that whilst the Italian and Buffet restaurant are large, with high ceilings and air conditioning they surprisingly do not have a no smoking policy or designated no smoking/ smoking areas. The burgers and hot dogs are good at the pool bar.(say Hi to Josi)There are 2 nice pools and we used to do a swim each morning around 9am and often we were the only people in the pool.The staff are very friendly (most of them) particularly the animation guys who play sports like beach volleyball. The guys are Rudi, Yoan, Luis and Esteban (they love their job and will love you if you leave them a footy shirt, a pair of shorts or a pair of trainers, they earn 24 USD a month and a pair of trainers costs around 70-90 dollars, so you can see why they would love you)Villa Cojimar is quite remote but it was just what we wanted and its great to walk along the beach to the Melia hotel and use their hammocks and swinging chairs on their Jetty. It takes about 1 hour to walk to the headland.The sea is warm but shallow outside the hotel.Take a Catamaran ride out to the Coral Reef with Captain Osiri (you need to book at 10am for that day and it costs 10 USD per person with a maximum of 4 guests, you get given snorkels and you have about an hour (its only 10 minutes to the reef) and the fish are really spectacular.The sports are good, beach volleyball at 11am and 4pm, I had a go at Archery and was the Table Tennis Champion.The occupancy of the hotel was around 40 % Canadians (with a high number of French Canadian) and 40 % Italians (until a few years ago the hotel was only open to Italians) a few Brits, Germans, Americans etcThe only trip we did was the day trip to Jamaica (224 USD) you get picked up at 5-30 and are meant to get back at 9-30 at night but to a series of mistakes we got back at 1-45 the next morning (a long day). You land in Montego bay, spend 2 hours on a coach travelling to Dunns Falls, have a great lunch and have some time in Ocho Rios to shop. (Very different vibe to Cuba and you learn to speak Jamaican Irea Mon)The local Music Group at the hotel are really good (Sexteto Parsec) and you can buy the CD for 10 USD.Check your credit cards (ones issued by an American Bank will not be accepted and some well known English cards are American owned, so check before you go. I took currency only in a money belt and kept it in the safe, its best to take low domination bills and take loads of 1 USD bills for tipping throughout the holiday.When you arrive at the airport in Cuba you bags will be whisked away by a Cuban and your obliged to tipI thought overall there was too much tipping at the hotel and I tipped people who I liked who went the extra mile for you. We tipped the maids 1 USD every 2 days (leave the on the pillow otherwise they are not sure its for them) tipped the chefs we liked 1USD every 4 or 5 days, gave a couple of dollars to the animation guys I liked after about a week. Some people seemed to tip the bar staff 1USD every time they fetched a drink and often when the service was not even very good (The bar staff seemed to be doing very nicely compared to other people)You can get towels at the hotel, you get a slip from reception and if you lose a towel you will be charged 20 USD.Take a plug adaptor but also a powersurge extension lead (that way you can plug numerous English type plugs into the one socket and bulky plugs like battery chargers work OK, if you plug them directly into the adaptor in the wall they will not stay in)We had a great time, I played 4 hours sport every day and my wife slept in the sun (21 weeks pregnant) and it was a beautiful location, there were some really nice people like Sean (Canada), Kim (Canada and known as Little John), Shane (a Man Utd fan from Essex), some really great Italians, Joe (who could speak English, Italian and Spanish), Frank (French Canadian and my Table Tennis partner), Steve (the wind surfer) and the friendly Rachel.Before I went I ordered a neat waterproof pack for valuables (visit aqua pack website for more in)We did have some plumbing problems but eh youre in Cuba Viva CubaPlease fell free to contact me for further info and say hi to the animation guys from meWhat a great, Great, Great HolidayMike in England, the Ping Pong Champion
Villa Cojimar Resort was terrific!!!
This a long indepth review. My wife and I just returned from Villa Cojimar on Saturday Feb. 14th. We (aged 40 & 45) had a terrific time there. I would say that this resort seemed to be better for an older (35 & over) crowd. Very low key and relaxing. There were many older italian couples, a few french couples, a few British and some Canadians. There were a few children around but not a lot and also not many of the younger (partying) crowd which was good. The resort has only 212 rooms that are well spread out. These units were two side by side hotel rooms in one house type building. There were also a couple of long rows of two storey units like long apartment buildings. Each hotel room - had a large bathroom with a toilet, large shower, sink and bidet. The sleeping area was quite large with two double beds, a TV, room safe, remote air conditioning, a table and chairs and a nice porch outside with two more chairs and a table. It was quite comfortable and clean. The grounds - of the resort are well kept and clean with lots of paths to walk around. There are palm trees, various flower plants and other shrubs and bushes to make everything seem jungle like. It was amazing to walk around at night, so quiet and peaceful. The resort pool - is quite a good size and is very clean. There's not a bar in the pool but it is quite close at about 10 yards away. Lots of deck chairs which you can usually get a couple at around 9 - 10:00 in the morning, no early morning dashes. There are not many game events in the pool so it is very relaxing hanging out there. There is a disco - at one end of the resort which opens at 11:00 pm until about 2:00 am. The music is mostly Cuban and salsa. A bit more of an outside musical influence would have been good but, Que sera sera. The beer was cold and the drinks were good, as well as it was air conditioned. It was never busy.
Each night there was a show - on the stage near the pool. The Animacion staff were quite good in their dance performances, they put in a lot of effort practising daily. There were a couple of sport and game activities each day but not alot really. That was nice. There is a grill area - attached to the bar near the pool. From 10am - 6pm each day you could get hamburgs (try them with vegetables), hot dogs, a complete grilled fish, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and fries.
Burgers were a favorite among many. There was a covered seating area - with about 10 tables and 4 chairs at each table beside the grill / pool area where you could get out of the sun. The Food buffet - serves from 7am - 10 am breakfast, 1pm - 4pm lunch, 7pm - 10 pm dinner. Lots of different things available. Potatos are few and far between and we only saw them once that week (not inc. fries). The food in the buffet is good overall. Lots of fish if you like that. You may need to be a bit choosy at times but you can find things that you'll like. Pasta's, rice, vegetables and various meat available. Their salads leave a lot to be desired, stringy, tart grassy tasting lettuce with watered down salad dressings were not so good. You can ask for cold milk for your tea and coffee. Lots of cold beer and red and white wine available.
Take a container with Peanut Butter or jam in it for toast or bread at breakfast, you'll be glad you did especially if you have kids. All they have for bed spread is a runny strawberry marmalde. The main lobby - has quite a few big soft wicker chairs with tables, a pool table, internet room with 2 computers at $5.00 per hour and overall it's a nice place to relax. There is a small 24 hour bar - attached to the lobby with 5 tables with 4 chairs at each and an area to dance if you should so choose. Take a CD or two with you and the bartender will play if for you. Leave it behind for them if you can. This bar is where we usually ended up late at night and is a good place to go. The resort staff - are all nice (one grumpy older lady bartender at the pool bar) and are very helpful. Take baseball hats for the gardeners if you can, they really appreciate them. Tipping - will get you a bit farther with everyone. We tipped fairly often and felt that we got extra attention and recognition from the wait staff in the bars and buffet. There is an Italian restaurant - (reservations needed) which we went to one night.
Pizza and short and long noodles with sauce are what's available for dinner there. I heard that you could pre-order a lobster there for $13.00 although we didn't do that. Bottled beer and wine available, everything except lobster at no cost other than a tip if you want. It is a nice atmosphere in there, candlelight and quiet. Take items such as pencils with you, hard candy, gum is a favorite, little note/post it pads to give away. If you do a trip into *** the school kids are great there and they will love the gifts. Toothbrushes, small tubes of toothpaste, small bottles of shampoo and soap are really appreciated by your maid/waitress etc. You can get so many items at the dollar stores here. Take zip lock baggies to put the stuff in and of course it's what you feel you want to take. We had no problem finding many things around the house to take to give away. They like lapel pins from where you live or Canadian pins to put on their uniforms. Cheap t-shirts with Canada on them or similar go over well also. It's endless the items that you could give away. However everything is appreciated by them and they are grateful for it. Calendars were another favorite because of the pictures attached. The zip lock bags are also good if you want to collect a few sand dollars from the beach when the tide goes out. Dry the sand dollars outside your room first (they can smell if kept inside) before packing them up to take home. Once home, put the sand dollars into a 50/50 bleach / water mix for 24 hours and they will go pure white. Dry them and make mobiles, ornaments whatever, a nice souvenir. The beach at Cojimar is good to walk and tan on. Beach swimming - is not really possible there as it is quite shallow water, plus the tide goes out daily and you can walk straight out 300+ yards with water only to your knees most times. You can find many ocean creatures. Sand dollars, old coral, crabs scooting through the water, sea slugs and more. Nothing dangerous though. MAKE SURE you take a trip to Playa Pilar beach at least once. It is 10 kiloms / 10 minutes away from Cojimar at the end of the island. Six of us went in a van taxi. We went at 12:00 noon and had the driver come back to get us at 3:00 pm.
We paid him $30.00 total cost upon our return at 3:00 to the resort.
Playa Pilar is a beautiful beach. White sand, blue, blue water and nothing but white sand as you walk out into the water 100 - 150 yards.
A great place to snorkel. We walked out 50 yards and had fish swimming around us in 3 feet of water. Long needlefish and a type of angel fish.
Take bread with you from the buffet to feed the fish, it's quite interesting and exciting to see. There is a small restaurant there with cold drinks and some food. You can Hobie cat out to an island for $5.00 and snorkel to a sunken ship. This trip to Playa Pilar is worth your time just for the view, beach and water. If you want to see real Cuba go to the city of ***. I suggest booking the half day trip at $30.00 per person. We went at 9:00 am and returned for 3:00 pm. It's a long day, but fun. ( the full day is $65.00 each and includes lunch, an alligator farm and a sugar mill trip, it's a long day ) You stop on both trips at Lake Rodondo for a boat trip through the Mangrove trees and then have a small bite to eat (Elapia fish) back at their restaurant before heading into the town of ***. There you take a ride on a train trolley which takes you to a museum in the town center and then you have about 45 minutes to an hour to yourself to wander around.
It is safe and interesting to see the people and their living conditions. There are three shops on the resort with various items in them from alcohol to clothing to food stuffs, post cards and gifts.
They don't have potato chips there if you need a fix. There is various cold pop and canned beer (Becks, Heineken) available in the fridge also. The prices are fairly reasonable in these shops. This about covers most things, if you have a specific question you can email me.
Finally - we really enjoyed ourselves there. It is not busy and the staff isn't bothering you to do things. Take bug spray as there are just a few mosquitos at night and some type of sand fly / flea that bite you on the lower legs / feet and those bites are itchy. It's very relaxing at Cojimar and we both recommend it as an enjoyable vacation destination that is very well priced. Cheers...
Villa Cojimar, Cayo Guillermo Review March 2004
We just returned from Villa Cojimar, in Cayo Guillermo, Cuba (March 7th to March 14th). My overall impression of the resort was that the 3 and a half stars describe it quite accurately. The rooms in the hotel were average, ours was fairly large, bathroom was also large, all the villas at the resort have either a balcony or terrace, and unfortunately not all have chairs on the terrace, which would have been nice (it seems like they were randomly placed). The pool was great, lots of room, nice and clean, lots of lounge chairs around. The only annoying thing was that the towel room never seemed to be open, just for a few hours a day. There are three restaurants on the property, the main Buffet club restaurant where they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet style daily. (dresscode in the evening). The other two restaurants are the BODEGUITA a cuban restaurant, and PASTA PIZZA an italian restaurant, both require reservations, they suggest a few days ahead, but we had no problems making them the day of. These two restaurants are A la carte and are only open for dinner. I was fairly dissapointed in the food, I"ve been to a lot of resorts in the last few years and the food at Cojimar wasnt the best. I found there was no variety, breakfast was the same thing every single day, and lunch and dinner had slight variations daily but mainly the same thing. The ideas for the dishes for good, but it seemed to lack something, and therefore I would say its edible, but not very good at all. If you're hungry you'll eat it, but it didnt taste all that good. The set up of the buffet is also not organized very well resulting in a never ending line up for food. If you're looking for a great culinary experience this is definately NOT it, desserts were mostly all the same texture, and too much sugar, barely any seafood, a little fish, and a few shrimps here and there, nothing more. There is also a poolside Bar/Grill that serves food from 11am to 5 or 6 pm. (burgers, fries,etc). The beach is incredibly beautiful, if you want to swim its best done in the morning when the tide is in, and all the water is still there, but in the afternoon when the tide is out it is still a lot of fun to walk around and look at all the different things (starfish, sand dollars, jellyfish, etc). Great for snorkeling.
Villa Cojimar is also next door to a Scuba Diving Center and a Marina.
(close enough to use the marina, but not close enough to ruin the beach experience). In the evening there is a Mini Disco for children (if you have kids they will love it, the entertainment staff is great with them) followed by a Show (different theme every night, ex. AfroCuba, Ode D'Amor, etc, some interesting, others not, but generally ok). There is also a disco on the property. I was really dissapointed in the bars (pool bar, and lobby bar) as they didnt offer a variety of drinks, and the pina colada was made from a mix, rather than fresh which is what you will find at other resorts). The staff (except for the reception who never seem to have time to answer your question and are often making personal phone calls instead of serving customers) was excellent. The room maids, bartenders, waiters, entertainment staff, gardeners were all wonderful and were the single thing that made the resort pleasant. Make sure to bring lots of $1 bills, for tipping, as most of cuba lives in poverty and these tips are much appreciated. You can bring small dollar store type items to leave behind (makeup, childrens toys, school supplies) they will be greatly appreciated.
Also, the doctor on staff is wonderful. There are several excursions you can choose from in this part of Cayo Guillermo, (trip to El Baga national park to see flamingos, crocodiles, native indian village, you can rent scooters/cars and go for trips on your own, scuba diving, catamaran, snorkeling, Playa Pilar, as well as trips to Havana, and the closest city of ***). Playa Pilar is a virgin beach 10 minutes away from the hotel, and although there are organized trips there, its easier to ask the hotel to call a taxi for you, and for $5 US they will take you and pick you up when you like, the sand on this beach is incredible, there are also huge tidal waves, and sand dunes, very nice, worth seeing). Be sure to tip waiters/waitresses, bus drivers, taxi drivers, concierge, room maids, bartenders, hairdresser, etc. There is a hairdresser at the hotel who comes for a few hours a day to do braids, and manicures. There are also 5 gift shops on the propery, but they dont have much. Cuban crafts, Rum (better selection at the duty free at the cuban airport), cigars, some jewellry, clothing, sun tan lotion, etc. Its important to only buy cigars with an authentic seal from a government store and to retain your receipt for customs when you are leaving. Same with the rum. Note that Canadians are only permitted to take 1.14L of rum back home. Taking Conch Shells, and anything else endangered, like coral, is illegal. If you want to buy souvenirs I suggest the gift shops at Iberostar resort next door which has a much bigger selection, this is also where the nearest bank is located.
Overall, my experience at Villa Cojimar was worth its 3 stars but not any more than that. I would not return a second time. Its an ok resort, especially if you're looking for something quiet and private (definately not a party place, more of a family resort). The overall quality of the hotel was from ok to below average. The staff made it a nice trip. I wouldnt personally return. The beach in the area is beautiful, and Cayo Guillermo is home to the 2nd biggest reef in the world (After the Australian barrier reef). If you would like photos of the resort, I have some available, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
best bet Villa Estrella !...
best bet Villa Estrella ! LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION! in Cojimar the fishing village Ernest Hemingway made famous! 15 minutes to Habana Vieja! 20 minutes to beaches! best of both worlds... Great Casa..with Pool... 3 bed house or 1 bed cliffside cabana! pool , a/c , phone, tv, hot water... friendly!
we were amazed WOW!!!!!
WOW what a great holiday!!! We just returned from Villa Cojimar Today (Feb21) Stayed there 1 week One of the best resorts we've stayed at, this hotal is definately NOT a 3 star they're must be some mistake as to who rated this to be a 3 star resort??? ,Villa Cojimar should be rated a 4 1/2 star resort, excellant food (different variety every night), the entertainment was fantastic, the room was exceptionally clean,great service also what a beautiful beach!!!!. the other two resorts we visited along the beach, the poeple who stayed there said the food was horriable! they were 4 star resorts go figure!! We will definately be back for sure! Hey try to ask for room 94 the best bungalow very close to the beach, pool, buffet, bar and entertainment.
Please if you go check out the "Jungle Tour" excursion, it's the BEST by far! hope the review helps other people have a GREAT time at Villa Cojimar!
Villa Cojimar is a wonderful place. Very well kept, the grounds were immaculate, the ocean beach clean. Lots of room in the pools. The cleaning staff, bartenders were always there to answer any questions.
We too paid approx. $858, and it was well worth the money. The jungle tour is a must. $40.00 per person US, you take a speed boat for a two hour ride and do some snorkeling. We too will return there for a trip in the future. Please give this resort a try.
Just got back from Villa Cojimar (March 6-13) The resort is rated as 3 stars which I agree with. The food was excellent for Cuban standards, except for the beef, but don't forget that beef is "rationed" in Cuba and obviously they don't have much of it. Fish was always good, lots of vegetables and variety. Rooms were simple but quite large. Bathrooms also very large and never did we have any problems with hot water or electricity. The beach is stunning, it changes constantly. Mornings are best for swimming before tide in afternoon. When the tide is low it makes for wonderful walking and lots of exploring. This is the perfect beach for young children. There is an absolutely stunning beach called PILAR which you can get to by taxi from Hotel for only $5.00 roundtrip.
I highly recommend it. It is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen, especially on a calm day. I also recommend take the ultralight sea plane (10 minutes), it is a thrill and well worth it. I loved Cuba and would certainly go back to that part of the country, but for variety would try a different resort.
Beautiful and Peaceful
Just returned from a very enjoyable week long vacation at the Villa Cojimar (Mar6-13).
Hotel and grounds - One of the older hotels in the area but it was well maintained. Consisted of small chalet-style accomodations. Bedroom and bathroom were both fairly large and equipped with satellite TV, unstocked refrigerator, remote controlled air conditioning and a very large shower. We requested a room on the beach and that was exactly what we got - the beach was about 20 yards away. No problems with hot water, there always seemed to be plenty. The maid service was good with the rooms were kept spotless every day. The grounds were well maintained and had an orchard-like feel to them.
Food - Lots of choice but not a great deal of variety from day to day.
I am a vegetarian and had no problems. The food was of the highest quality with wonderful fresh fish every day. If you like toast at breakfast, it might be worth taking some spreads with you as they only provide butter. One word of warning, we did attempt to eat at the 'traditional' Cuban restuarant on the site one evening. Don't bother, there was very little choice and what did turn up was poor quality and not particularly traditional - fries as a starter??!!
Drinks - Plenty of alcohol and not watered down at all. There is no table service so you have to go to the bar to order but the service is prompt and the bar staff friendly
Beach - Beautiful, white sand, crystal clear waters and nothing more than palm trees as far as the eye can see. There are only 3 other hotels on the island and you could not see them from the beach.
Although long, the beach is fairly narrow, however, the sea is very shallow and you have to walk out for about 10 minutes before you reach anything deep enough to swim in (at low tide)
Pool - clean and very pleasant. We didn't spend much time at the pool as we preferred the privacy of the beach. There was music playing and activities at the pool most days but you were not persuaded to get involved if you didn't want to.
Entertainment - We didn't go to any of the entertainment but many other people seemed to. The actors put a lot of effort into the shows and practised every day. There was also a children's show earlier on in the evening which seemed to go down well
Activities - there are about 8 different tours offered. We went on the 'Colourful Cuba' and 'Jungle Tour', both of which were fun and worth the money. Note that nobody lives on Cayo Guillermo so there is not really any exploring to do on the island itself.
There are a couple of reasons Villa Cojimar gets four stars as opposed to five. The table cloths at the restuarant were not washed after every meal so appeared a little grubby at times. There was no guide/directory in your room, so you had to go to the main lobby if you wanted a phone number. So no major issues, just a few little touches which would have been appreciated.
Summary - if you want a peaceful, relaxing holiday away from the crowds, this resort is ideal. If you like to be very active on your vacation, there are opportunities to venture further afield but all at an extra cost.
Spent 7 days at this hotel. Was a lovely place. Nice and relaxing, food was good and beach was out of this world, white sand and sea isn't deep, about 2 ft for about 1/4 mile. ideaql if you just want to relax
The kids had a ball
We travelled this time with our 3 children (ages 10, 11 & 15) and I must say that this was a great resort. The staff were all very friendly and took great care of all of us. The sun was hot, the food was fine, the drinks were cold & mama was happy, and we all know when mama is happy everybody is happy.
Sunrise at the Cojimar
Cayo Coco, Cuba
Im planning a one week all-inclusive to Cayo Coco on October 2006. Has anyone stayed at Villa Cojimar in Cayo Coco? What's it like? I hear the beaches are amazing and beautiful, the main reason Ive choosen Cayo Coco. Suggestions on things to do while in Cayo Coco? Thanks in advance.
RE: Cayo Coco, Cuba
Well I'm sorry but I've never been to cayo coco myself either and was actually coming on to see about suggestions for things to do myself. Myself and my husband are going in October/06 also, however we are staying at Playa Cayo Coco. If by chance you hear of anything interesting to do out there please pass it on, as will I.
Anyone know of a good Casa in Cojimar where we can kick on a terrace with our rum and cigars?
You can start here
Thanks, very informative site!
Hi, Hope someone can help. I am visiting Cuba in May, and would like to know:
1 What is the weather usually like in beginning of May
2 I noticed on previous forum answers US dollars not recommended - but what about tipping the hotel staff? would they prefer US dollars or the cuban convertable currency?
3 where would you get the CUC from? would you take GBP and change at the airport before transferring to hotel?
4 My husband is Polish, would he get through customs the same as UK travellers?5 Last but not least, Cuba looks beautiful, but has anyone been to the Club Cojimar resort in cayo Guillermo?
Thanks very much for any replies.
RE: Cayo Guillermo
1- In may all that U can get is some small showers in the afternoon, between 3pm and 5pm. Is not hurrican season yet so don't worry about them.
2- Don't take USD, better euro, canadian dollar or any other currency U culd get. Tipping on CUC.
3- There are special places to change the money called "CADECAS". U will find them everywhere in the city and in the airport. Alwasy remember to keep 25CUC to pay the airport tax at your departure.
4- Your husband will have the same treatment as any other tourist. Only USA citizens will have a different treatment as they will not have their passport stamped at the customs to avoid any problems when returning to the usa.
RE: RE: Cayo Guillermo
Thank you russian yaz - your reply was really helpful. Much appreciated. Hope I could help you with information if you ever travel to rainy Wales!! Good luck with your post in Mallorca.
RE: Cayo Guillermo
1.Hurricane season get underway from July to October. In May it is tame - with a few warm showers that disappear quickly. 2. Cuban currency is the best way of tipping staff. 3. You can change it at the bureau in the Cayo Coco airport.
4. You will have to check with Cuban Embassy in your country. 5. I have only seen the outside of Club cojimar - It looks fine but not as good as the Cayo Guillermo.
RE: RE: Cayo Guillermo
thanks for your reply, crysta. - much appreciated