Good Times, in Varadero
I went to Gran Caribe Club Puntarena. This is my second time in Varadero Cuba. The first time I went to Grand Hotel then now (Club Amigo) it was ok. But for the price we paid for Puntarena and what we got in return. It was great. I'm also not a picky person. But the food was good. They always had something different. Service was descent. I was not expecting hand and foot service. But the staff was good. They changed our room when we were suppose to get a room on the first floor, they gave us a room on the fifth. We had a Canal view which is as good as the Oceanview. It's right on the beach. If you like to rent scooters the place is a 5 min walk to scooter rental location then a 7 min ride. Or walk to Varadero in 30min wear a hat. It's right next to the Hotel Playa caleta, it's sister hotel so just as good.
I dont like going to the samespot twice but if I do go back to Varadero I would recommend this hotel. Even if you are on a budget. This place is good.
We stayed at the SuperClubs...
We stayed at the SuperClubs Puntarena in Varadero. It wasn't the greatest hotel but the service was great and the entertainment staff were so much fun. If you don't mind substandard rooms at a reasonable price then this is the place for you. It is all-inclusive and it offered everything that you would want for a sunny vacation.
It is an all-inclusive resort so the price for your flight and everything else can range from $800 to $1100 Cdn depending on the time of year. It had a great pool with two swim up pool bars. It is right on the beach and there is also a bar on the beach. It also offered many little bars, one with great Cuban music in the evenings.
During my Cuba trip, i stayed...
During my Cuba trip, i stayed at Superclub Puntarena
I stayed there one week for $1400,-(ncl. flight) The Hotel is an all inclusive Hotel, with a private beach (very beutifull).
The Resort swimming pool is the biggest in Varadero and allso looks very nice.
Because this is an all inclusive hotel, you don't need any money when you inside the resort.In the resort there are severall Restaurants (even á la carte) where the food is outstanding and service is good allso (food and drinks are free, but a tip would be very wellcome because the people urn very litlle money.You can allso choose out of severall bars where you' have to taste' Cuba's most famous cocktail'the Mojito.
Every day and evening there are several entertainement teams available, so if you feel borring (not very likely) you can join sport games, dancing lessons and lots of other activities.
Great Value Paradise!!
NOTE: This hotel is now called the Gran Caribe Club Puntarena.
For a 3.5 star place, it had very many 4 star qualities! Now as always, there are people who write these reviews and are used to 4 star hotels by Canadian or American standards. KEEP IN MIND this is a DEVELOPING COUNTRY, a 2nd world nation! But it does not mean it is dirty, totally unsafe, or a ripoff! This is the most honest review you will read on here!
BASICS: I went with 3 other friends (we are all 21) the week before Christmas. Best time because of the 100% sunny weather and the fact that the only other ppl in the hotel at that time were other students our own age. There was only one family with small kids and one large group of middle aged people. Because of this we got to eat at the a la carte dinners 5 times instead of just 2 and believe me you will love the Italian one. Get the surf and turf dinner!
STAFF: Upon arrival they were nothing but smiles. The front end staff spoke english very well and if you see a guy named Lucida Coca-Cola (i swear thats what he goes by) tell him the Toronto Blue Jays girl misses him!! He kept trying to make me deals for me jersey haha he was the best. He even gave me a little gift on my last day. If you want to keep a great room, bring little "gifts" for the maids. Things like toothbrushes, hair ties, candy, pens & paper, etc. These things are available over there but everyone's income is so low they do not always have enough money for these simple ammenities. I spent $10 at a dollar store before i went to Puntarena and every day I put out a little sumthin on my bed for the maid. believe me my room was kept absolutely spotless. They really appreciate generosity and it does not always come in the form of money!
HOTEL: Puntarena is the last (or first) hotel on the strip so you have lots of room to wander the long beach without any crowd at all. Everyone on here complains about there being broken seashells in the sand-- HELLO! You are in the Carribbean. If there weren't seashells i'd be a little worried. Bring you own beach towel, the ones they rent out to you aren't much of anything. The rooms are a good size with nice big beds but ask for an extra pillow if you like cushioning-- these are pretty thin. We had a bit of an ant problem on the first nite but the ants were smaller than the ones we have back here-- we just asked our maid to spray the room and we were fine. Again, you are in the Carribbean! There ARE bugs in warmer climates! The rest of the hotel is very clean tho, half the time I walked around barefoot. Dont be surprised if one or two of the three elevators are out of service-- they are always fixing them. There are stairs on either side of the hotel tho so get sum exercise! It's only 7 stories high anyway, not like you are stuck at the top of a penthouse.
FOOD: Okay, lets be real, u dont go to Cuba for the food. My advice is just stick to the grilled meats (pork, beef, fish, they were all awesome). Also, the pastas are made right in front of you and you have a variety of sauces to choose from. Go to the beachside grill, it has an amazing lunch menu and the BEST pina coladas (and i hate coconuts!). Be wary of foods that have been sitting in oil all day, or fruits that have been out since breakfast. The warm weather does tend to spoil the foods quicker than back home, but for sumone who has a sensitive stomach, I didn't get sick ones. Just be SMART. The tap water in the hotel is okay but I say drink it in moderation to be safe. Have bottled water when you can. OH OH the little snack bar outside towards the beach makes the BEST ham and cheese sandwiches. And i hate ham. Oh the fries and ice cream are amazing too Seriously you will become addicted.
TOWN: Varadero is an awesome little city. Down the street before the entrance gates to the hotels there is a guy who rents out bikes and mopeds (tho he is a little, umm, rough around the edges lol). Definitely rent a moped and ride all day thru town, we rode them every single day. I forget the price, it was sumthin like 25-30 pesos for 24 hours; i just split the cost with one of my friends and off we went. If you want to walk about 20 minutes along the road you will find another guy that rents mopeds for a bit cheaper, you can bargain him down to about 18-20 pesos. Speaking Spanish is a bonus, luckily I had a friend who's native tongue is Spanish, so he helped us get a lot of good deals and find a lot of cool clubs and shops in town where no other tourists could be seen in. If you're like me and like to venture away from touristy areas, definitely ask some locals. 44th Street is where all the markets are and you just have to check it out. Great handmade items and you can always try to bargain!
ENTERTAINMENT: Puntarena has its own disco and after about 2 days we had made friends with the other students in our hotel. By the 4th day we had about 20 new best friends. We pretty much owned that disco lol and it's nothing snazzy, just a great place to hang out with friends. The bartender there is so cool, he will let u come behind the bar and make drinks with him (if he likes u lol). Your guide will offer to take u to downtown Varadero to go clubbing, just do this on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nites. Not all the locals are on vacation like we are so you wont find a Tuesday nite to be very hopping :) There was this one place we went to called the Cave which was an actual cave with a club inside. GO THERE!
All in all, you will see why this place is just a half star shy of being a 4 star. But again there are many qualities about it that deserve a 4th star. Okay me being a journalist I find it hard to cut myself off from writing lol I could say sooooo much more but if you want ANYTHING AT ALL just email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Uno cervasas por favor!! :P
My husband, son, and I stayed at the Puntarena for two weeks during the March break in 2004. We stayed in Varadero in 2003 at a 4.5 star(LTI Varadero Beach now Playa Alameda),Cayo Coco(Sol Club Cayo Coco) in 2002 at a 4 star and we were unsure of what to expect with a 3.5 star. The Puntarena was a great resort with better food than our previous visits to Cuba, and lots of activities and fun for our 9 year old son. They had all you could eat lobster at the buffet on Cuban night!! What more could you ask for?
We had a great vacation and would go there again.The resort was lively, the beach was great, the pool was great, and the staff were wonderful.
After reading some of the reviews, I was quite optimistic about the Puntarena. Unfortunately it was misplaced! The 3 1/2 star rating should be downgraded to about a 2 in my opinion. While the property itself was ok - it is definitely tired and needs to be updated. Of the 3 available elevators - only 2 at a time ever worked and most times it was just the one! Even by Cuban standards the food was sub-par and if you're looking for any type of dessert except dry cake - forget it! Your best bet is the ice cream cone at the snack bar but its only open from 1 - 4 p.m. The staff put on amazing shows at night - truly some of the best I've seen, however they are virtually non-existent during the day. No pool activities and the only organized activity was beach volleyball each afternoon and dance lessons at 4:30 on the outside terrace. The rooms have VERY thin walls and you can hear conversations in the room next door even if they are talking in normal tones. Now for some positives - the best pina coladas are found at the beach bar - he uses a blender instead of the "slush" machine that they use at the other bars. The "coffee bar" upstairs is very good and he has a good variety of scotch, dubonnet and coffee liqueurs - definitely a plus! If you want a mohito - get to the lobby bar early because the mint leaves show up around 5:00 p.m. and are gone by 7:30ish! For what we paid (last minute deal), it was ok but definitely not worth returning to.