More about Playa Caleta
The coral reef
This is what you can see underwater all around Cuba...
The best sites for scuba diving or just snorkelling that I've seen are "Maria la Gorda" at the extreme west of the island, Cayo Levisa and Guardalavaca on the noth coast, and Cayo Largo, Playa Girón and Caleta Buena to the south.
The picture is poor... but you will sure remain breatheless seeing it on site !! ;)
This place is great
Myself and my boyfriend went to Puntarena on the 5th September and returned on the 20th september. I had read the reviews beforehand and started to worry. I dont see why people dont like it the food is plentiful and ok, the rooms are good and clean, the staff are great tyhe hotel is right on the beach. Whats the problem. I would reccomend this hotel to people, and i would go back again. I would reccomed One day in Havana, do the cataram cruise and the jungle tour. This place is great for singles and couples. The holiday is what you make of it.
Myself and my boyfriend met a couple from Manchester who flew the same day as us and they had similar views to the hotel.
Don't be fooled!
Split my holiday between Havana and Varadero, and to be honest from reading the reviews here it seemed the Puntarena flip flopped between being excellent and very, very poor - I was apprehensive as to which I would encounter. The truth is, the place is easily a 4* complex with some shortcomings. The towers are massive, and quite old. A bit of modernisation on the canal side approach, a paint job on the foyer lattice structure and cleaning off the glass roof over the foyer would go a long, long way to making a more than positive first impression.
The rooms are clean, well equipped (hairdryer, safe, soaps, tv, toiletries galore etc.) and to be fair the view on the 'sea' side is vastly superior to the canal side it has to be said that the hotel has no control over the development of what u can see - do you expect them to knock the tower down and re-orientate it? Besides, the hotel is all inclusive and its not as if you go on holiday to spend time in your room. Maids are friendly and thorough and often go beyond the call of duty. We tipped a small amount everyday and had brought some (trinkets etc. at the advice of others) and as a result got flowers and new towel and blanket designs (in heart shapes and swans!) every day.
The food; Cuba is a 3rd world country, so unrealistic expectations will leave you disappointed. Comparitively speaking though (i've had other friends stay at other complexes along the peninsula), the food on offer is good and varied. The breakfast buffet is excellent; the lunch buffet is good; the grilled lunch is good; the snack bar is handy and convenient and after your first visit you'll know exactly what the set up is and what you should order to get what you want; the dinner buffet is good (there's always pasta if nothing suits you); the chinese a la carte is excellent (book well in advance!); the international a la carte is v. good, but stock up at lunch as helpings were small. Drinks - if they have it, you've got it. The problem is those taking advantage of the facilities - those who drink continually, kids who use the soft drink machines, take a drink and leave a half full cup wasted, then return 5mins later to fill a fresh cup. Anyhow, they only ran out off ice cream once on my visit, and the next day they recognised me and instantly offered me from a variety of flavours (hamburgers were at a premium in the snack bar; although not advertised they were available at the grill bar).
Staff were friendly and tried to get people involved in things; they were appreciative of tips - a single dollar was sufficient - to ensure excellent service. Some of the English (it has to be said - not all though, some of the brits were excellent and friendly) guests were quite demanding at the bar and snack bars without thanking or tipping the staff and were quite rude - i bet if they were having to part with cash every time they wanted something they wouldn't have been so brash, demanding or continually boozing. In short, from my viewpoint, anybody who was having a problem or an issue was a result of their own general attitude or level of rum consumed.
Pool & Gardens - Well maintained and lots of facilites. Pool volleyball, basketball, footy pitch, shooting gallery etc.) Pool was too shallow, but not a big deal. You were only 30 metres from the sea.
Free scuba lesson in the pool. Ask about going with the instructor on a proper diving trip.
Beach - lots of sun loungers, shaded areas, palm trees and a beach bar.
Sand was grand, the shells weren't a huge problem but bother some people (especially older people). Canoes, Pedalos, Toppers, Catamerrans (experience needed!), snorkelling equipment all readily available. See - beautiful, but as the waves gety up stay away from the canal entrance.
Varadero - single street that stretches for a few kilometres. Lots of markets, you can haggle and have a bit of banter. As most hotels are all inclusive the restaurants weren't packed, though the few days we ate out, we had fantastic and plentiful food. Well rocommended.
Trips - the best trips (in my opinion) are the 'Jungle Tour', swimming with Dolphins, and visiting & swimming in the caves.
Any queries or if you want to know anything let me know - - i took advantage of some of the reviewers offers on this site and it really was very helpful, especially if travelling from Britain as alot of the reviews are from North Americans and they have different tastes and expectations!
Don't believe what you read!
My wife and I have just returned from a twin centre holiday in Cuba, staying for the second week at the Puntarena, Varadero. The first week we spent on a tour travelling around Cuba, we visited a lot of the places that are orhanised excursions from a lot of the hotels at less than half the price and less rushed and we saw a lot more than if we had just visited places on the excursions. I believe that people who stayed in Varadero missed a lot of the REAL Cuba.The hotel in Varadero was lovely, after reading the reviews I was apprehensive. We had read up on Cuba and were aware of the limitations to food and the range of food, but we were very suprised when we arrived at the hotel to find that although the range of food was less than other holidays we had been on, it was cooked very very well and presented very well. We spent most of the time in the hotel as Varedero, although very nice did just appear to be a beach resort full of hotels (after spending time in Havana, this was a diffrence) However we everything that we needed at the hotel, and a lot of facilities that we did not need but they were available if we needed them.The pool was used once, it was too very shallow but perfect for small children as the beach and the sea were quite steep inclined and you got out of your depth quite quickly. The sea however was warm and the beach was very clean with a lot of shady areas and places to lie.We heard a lot of people around the hotel commenting upon how good the hotel was, and people frorm other hotels of higher ratings that were unhappy with their accommodation.I would happily recommed people to go to Cuba and recommend this hotel.
fantastic holiday 2 weeks not enough.
me and 3 other friends have just come bak from spanding 2 weeks in cuba varadero hotel puntarena and what can i say the holiday was fantastic and we loved every minute of it and could ave done with an extra week.
FOOD! the food was very good lots of different things each night. casa blanca is a good resturant really nice food we had 2nds lol. the chinese is not what u get at home its cuban chinese. ROOMS! the room we stayed in was great airconditioning worked really well was like the north pole when we came in at night but its better than bein hot and carnt sleep good channels on the tv too even got the english football scores which was good for my friends. beds very comfy and clean. nice view whatever side ur one. safe very safe to keep money in. the maids did a fantastic job cleanin our room loved the swans they made for us if u tip a maid she will make ur room spotless very good. POOL! the pool is huge and nice not too cold or not too hot lots or sun loungers for everyone so there is no need to fight over any plenty to go round.
pool bar is great our bar man (rydel) was fab loved him thought out the holiday even if we hadnt finished our drinks he would ave more ready for us strawberry dacaries r the drinks to order from him as they r good. BEACH! very nice lots of shells around u stand on em but what would u rather have the shells or rubbish i know what i would want.water is georgeous if u take a pedlo out take a snorkle kit out and swim in the sea as its nice out there. TRIPS! when we arrived we wanted to do trips we did scuba diving and all i can say is wow it was a great experience we went down about 10 to 15 feet and say all kinds the trainers wiv u r brill make u feel safe and they take photos for u to buy which r good photos too u do about 2 40 mins dive. dolphin swim we swam wiv them and its one of the best things iv ever done u have about 30 mins in the water wiv them and they do tricks wiv u and then u watch a show u also get a photo u can buy too which is a good size and picture. havana day trip again a really good trip u see a whole lot in a day and its worht goin and havin a look round u do get hassle from people but only to buy things and if u say no they go away the rum shop we went too yummy. jungle tour this is a must absolutly brill u go out on jet skis and follow the trainers and go to this jungle u see a lot of animals they kep there bit like a zoo! really good. rambo tour this is a great night and day to do u spend the night in a hotel in trinidad u go to a rain forest and walk throught it and then climb up waterfalls and swim in them this was a great day we had and would do it again then after that u get transport by russian trucks bumpy ride to the hotel spend the night there and then the nextday go to look around trinidad and watch them make cigars. brill time wiv this trip. jolly rodger this is u go and watch a dolphin show and then after that u go out on a boat spend the day out at sea catchin the sun u stop in the middle of the sea and u can go in and have a swim and snorkle then u go to a nice beach wiv loads of hermit crabs walkin around i had to put my flipflops on as i didnt like them. then u go and watch the sunset lovely day.free bar too nice! horse bak riding again great a horse and cart comes and picks u up and u go on a tour then do some riding on the beach and along the front of the hotel.there is loads more to do and we enjoyed all what we did want wanted to do all again. well worth they money.
STAFF! very friendly and helpful the reps r up for a laugh and get involved wiv everyone. so all who go to this hotel u will not b dissapointed u have to realise its a 3rd world country and wiv the impression we got u wouldnt ave thought that is was. fantastis holiday deffo go bak and thank u superclubs puntarena for making our holiday the best. if u have any questions just email me i would like to help anyone who is thinkin of goin.
I've been to The Dominican, and I have been to Cuba. Puntareana was the best hotel. I loved it to much. For myself, I don't like the vila thing like Iberostar Costa Dorado in The Dominican. Puntarena is simple but yet it's not. 2 hotels, with the pool in the middle, and the beach to 100 feet away. If you want real advice, email me. I had an amazing time. The hotel was clean and the food was excellent. I didn't realize how good it was until I left. I have been to Play Naco, Fun Royale, Costa Dorado, Puntarena, and another I can can't remember. But Puntarena was the best.
Relaxing break but as for the food
I totally agree the the below review, we recently stayed there and to be honest couldnt wait to come home. The hotel does not seem to come to grips with HOT food, and yes plates are hot but food cold. As for entertainment staff - yes plenty of them but mostly talking to each other and not bothering with hotel guests, thats OK if want to relax but if you had children could prove a problem. I cant really think of anything else to say except if I won a prize to Cuba I would swap for the second, it feels like i never had a hoilday.
I know all there is to know about Puntarena! Trust me!
Now why do I think I know everything there is to know about this resort?? Well because I have been there 6 times in 12 months, that's why! I wrote a couple of reviews about the Monkey Boyz, which I have since retired, and those reviews will also tell you a lot about this resort.The people at SuperClubs Puntarena have become my second family. I have learned a lot about the way Cubans are and about the way they live. I give all of them so much respect and admiration for everything they do and how hard they really work. On top of that within the past year I fell in love with someone that works there and we are now making plans for our future.Although Puntarena may not be a 5 star hotel to everyone, but to me there is nothing quite like it. The food in the buffet is good depending on the time you go. They usually serve salads, a variety of vegetables, rice, fruits, meats and fish. This is open for Breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. Wednesday night at the buffet is Cuban night; this is when they serve a true Cuban meal (chicken/pork/beef/fish (on the grill) with rice, black beans, pumpkin, potatoes and finally papaya for desert. Mmmmmm! If it is something you rather not try then I would suggest that you try the Casablanca restaurant that night. I love real Cuban food personally! The Casablanca restaurant is good, but if you decide to go then make sure you dress a little dressy (no jeans) and make reservations. This restaurant is open for dinner and it caters to you as well. It has a more romantic atmosphere (a red one. You will see what I mean when you get there.) There is also a restaurant located near the pool and the beach that usually serves chicken, pork, or hamburgers with rice or fries. They are open for lunch and dinner. There's a 24-hour snack bar and a 24-hour bar inside the hotel. There are a total of 5 bars on this resort that will serve you mixed drinks and beer all day and night. So what more could you ask for?!?! As for the activities; there are 2 pool tables, shuffleboard soccer/football (depending on where you come from), pool and beach volleyball, rifle shooting, mini golf, aqua aerobics, Spanish lessons, basketball, a Cuban dance party (on Wednesday's), nightly entertainment (every night), and a dance/disco open from 11pm-3am and sometimes Karaoke when it rains. The entertainment staff will also take the guests out to a club in downtown Varadero. It will cost you roughly $15 US, which includes your bus ride to and from the club, your entrance fee into the club and all of your drinks and entertainment. Pirates Cave is one club that is very unique. This club is literally inside a cave. It's all rock inside and a little damp depending on where you stand at the bar, but it is definitely worth the experience. A must see! Then there is Club International. This club has live Cuban entertainment at the beginning of the night and then a dance club a little later on. The music is a mixture of dance, hip-hop, R&B and Latin music. It's great fun.What else can I tell you about PuntarenaThe rooms all come with air-conditioning and out of the six rooms I have stayed in every single one was excellent. I have only ever stayed in the second tower once, but they keep closing it for renovations and problems. Out of the entire year it was only ever open once for a period of about one month. It was ok, but I prefer the Puntarena Tower to the Paradiso Tower any day. The maids always do a wonderful job with cleaning the rooms, but one thing you should always remember is; if you leave that extra dollar then you will notice a difference on the cleanliness of your room along with a few extras that you would never expect. That's not to say that they won't do a good job if you don't tip, but if you do you will probably get extra towels, flowers and neat towel designs. Whenever I go I always bring a few extra things and leave them behind. Remember this is a communist country and they really don't have a lot of money or freedom to do and get the things we can. So leave your shampoo and conditioner behind, leave that extra t-shirt that you never wear. Leave your toothpaste and your aspirin. All that stuff you can get again when you get back home and it is a lot cheaper for you to buy it then it is for them. Help them out a little they really do appreciate it. The majority of the staff there only makes $15 - $30 a month (not an hour like us) and they don't all work for tips. So that extra dollar you give them always helps.The Entertainment staff there is a lot of fun. They put on a great show every night and they are a lot of fun during the day. They always want to be sure that you have a good time during your stay. Great fun! Great laughs! Just a note to all you gals: You are more than welcome to look at him (and how can't you), but never even think about touching my Dano: HE'S TAKEN! HE'S MINE! So there!Enjoy your trip and enjoy your stay. Don't forget your souvenirs! They sell them throughout the day in the hotel lobby.
Shades of blue
"More Cayo Levisa"
A lovely little bay 6 km from Playa Giron, on the southern coast.
"Varadero from the sky"
Good Hotel for good price $$$
Can anyone tell me where i can stay for the first two weeks in March 08? In Varadero. Good hotel , but not to expensive.
Re: Good Hotel for good price $$$
depending on if you want a quieter place or a more party place...i'd say
either Barcelo Solymar- Gran Caribe Puntarena -Caleta- Arenas Blancas....i've stayed at Puntarena twice..it's quiet and quite affordable. It's a 3 1/2 stars. Caleta is right beside it. Some of my friends choose either Barcelo Solymar or Arenas Blancas as they are central and closer to clubs.
Re: Good Hotel for good price $$$
The melia Varadero isnt bad...
Re: Good Hotel for good price $$$
Here is a website that has a very long list of resorts/hotels in Cuba with reviews and pictures for each review from people that have actually stayed there. Scroll down to the middle to the section of Varadero. I was in Cuba durring the same time last year and the weather is great, warm but not insanely hot. If you enjoy snorkeling, don't miss snorkeling in Jibacoa just west of Varadero.
Here are some pics of my trip
Re: Good Hotel for good price $$$
I would recommend that you go to the bus station in Varadero and ask around for a casa! You can get a nice one for 25 CUC ($25USD)! firstname.lastname@example.org if you have more questions...