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I put a lot of money into guided tours on this holiday as I didn't want to sit lazing around the pool all day, as the holiday rep put it so well, "If you want to sit by the pool all week then you might as well have gone to Spain, it's a shorter flight".I took myself on the following tours:Cuba Life - Tour of the local area of Guardalavaca, showing...more
For only $99.00, your hotel can book this incredible overnight tour for you, called "Villa Blanca". It starts with a bus ride to Puerto Vita (ten minutes west of Guardalavaca) to take you to the Catamaran that will sail you to the very special town of Gibara. (Seating for 80 people, with free drinks, lively crew and even snacks.)Upon arrival in...more
Guardalavaca souvenir market dominates the small town of Guardalavaca in eastern Cuba.It is here that the open top buses disgorge hundreds of hotel guests a couple of times a day and where lines of taxis and horse-drawn carriages queue up to transport visitors back to their hotels. It is the focal point of the town and, I suspect, is the only place...more
Playa Guardalavaca is the main public beach in the small town of Guardalavaca in eastern Cuba.It is a long stretch of soft white sand, with warm turquoise sea and even the occasional palm tree to give Playa Guardalavaca that quintessential Caribbean appearance. There are a few thatched parasols under which to seek shade from the strong sun.There...more
Playa Yuraguanal is a sandy beach located around 15km west of Guardalavaca in eastern Cuba.It is the beach upon which the hotel we stayed at, Sirenis Playa Turquesa, is located. Although the beach is not exclusively for hotel guests, its relative remoteness means that the vast majority of people on the beach are guests at the hotel. It is likely...more
Across the street from the lobby at the west end of the resort (the one closest to Brisas resort) there are a few shops. The cafe at La Flamboyan is a good place to get a cold Cristal or an ice cream or cigarettes. The shops next door to La Flamboyan are the place to find rum and other liquers, coffee, cigarettes, ice cream, clothing and beach...more
Right next to Club Amigo is the local Guardalavaca market where you can find souvenirs to take home with you. It is adjacent to the main lobby, where the swim-up bar is located. You will find a variety of items available for purchase - jewelery, paintings, wooden sculptures, clothing, post cards, hats and more. One tip about the markets in...more
To the west of Guardalavaca, is the small, but busy, town of Rafael Freyre, now known as Santa Lucia. Your hotel will offer a tour here on a steam engine into the countryside, followed by a trip to the Columbus monument, including a horse and buggy ride, a theatrical production and lunch. This is a nice relaxing tour and worth the $49.00 (2006).If...more
My girlfriend and I ate lunch at El Ancla seafood restaurant during a visit to Guardalavaca in November 2011.We walked along Playa Guardalavaca beach to reach this restaurant as it is located on a rocky headland at the far western end of the beach. It is quite remarkable that El Ancla remained intact after Hurricane Ike hit the town in 2008; even...more
All inclusive deal included food of course which was rather bland, tasteless, fat and uninteresting. Also - sinful if one remembers that most Cubans are not allowed entry to the resorts and that their daily meals consist of variations of rice with beans with rice with beans on top of rice with beans...more
This outdoor bar (a tent on the beach) hosts great night time parties most nights. You will find tourists and Cubans alike on the beach in the evenings. They have huge speakers set up, you will listen to traditional Cuban music and even be able to see someone traditional dances before they open up the dance area to everybody. Get ready to dance the night away. The party goes till 2:00 am most nights. You can get cheap drinks at the bar on the beach, or bring your own with you.
Dress Code: It's a beach party - anything goes!
Prior to our stay in Guardalavaca in November 2011, we had read that hiring a car with a driver for the day was a cost effective way of seeing the local region.We wanted to visit the local city of Holguin (65km away) and the seaside town of Gibara (30km+ away) and this was impossible by means of public transportation. Our Tour Operator...more
My girlfriend and I enjoyed a horse and carriage ride from the town of Guardalavaca to our hotel, the Sirenis Playa Turquesa, during our visit to Cuba in November 2011.We had arrived in Guardalavaca, some 15km from our hotel, on an open top double decker bus, but the last bus back to the hotel had left at 2pm, so we were left with two options:The...more
The Guardalavaca open top bus is a modern red double decker bus that connects the various all-inclusive resorts that are located along the coastline with the small town of Guardalavaca. It is for the sole purpose of delivering tourists from their hotels to the souvenir market and beach at Guardalavaca. 5 CUC (3 GBP) buys you an all day ticket...more
If you are staying at one of the hotels outside of Guaradalavaca i.e. Playa Pesquero, Playa Esmeralda or Playa Turquesa, make sure you take a taxi into town to see the Artists'market, where you will find local arts and crafts, T-shirts, jewellery and leathergoods. Be sure to take your bathing suit, as the market is in front of the public beach...more
Found an awesome little craft market just down the road from our hotel which appeared every day! Most of the crafts are very similar but you can find some really cool souveniour type stuff that helps to fund the locals. Craft markets are spotted around all over the place! Even came and set up in our hotel a few mornings a week. Wood or soap stone...more
2569 Reviews and Opinions
If you are considering buying an oil painting on canvas, YOU MUST OBTAIN an official receipt. When you leave, your baggage will be xrayed for rolled up canvasses. You will be asked to produce such a receipt, and if you do not have one, your painting will be confiscated. No amount of tears will impress the authorities, and they don't take money in lieu of the receipt.
This may have changed as of 2013. Ask your hotel rep. for clarification on this.
Ha! you may be scooped into paying a dollar or two to a local if they take a picture of you with your own camera or if you take a picture of them.
This happened to me in Santiago de Cuba - argh!
Unique Suggestions: A dollar isnt a lot to me or you, but can mean a lot to a local. However this is NOT compulsory!!!!!!!!!! Cute the first time, can get tedious quickly! Decide at your descression.
Photo Equipment: I was unfortunate enough to lose the use of my (brand new) camera on my first day!?!!! luckily i had a spare just in case, but the batteries ran out (OH MY GOD). Tried all over to get disposables and ended up paying an arm and a leg for a couple. Worth it for the pics but just keep in mind that such things are not so readily available. I purchased a couple of spare batteries but these seemed mnicro-millimeters smaller than our batteries. Argh! Be prepared! Gutted that i only came home with a few rolls of film as opposed to a bajillion! needless to say ive now upgraded to a digi cam :oP
To the west of Raphael Freyre, (now called Santa Lucia) which is west of Guaradalavaca, is a back road which will eventually lead to Gibara. Off this road you will find "Parque Monumento Nacional Bariay" which is a monument to Christopher Columbus, who made his first Cuban landing there on October 28, 1492. There, you will find, the explanation of...more
The road between Guardalavaca and Banes is one of the most picturesque in Cuba, and worth taking a taxi or renting a car for. (See my Banes pages for details of that area)Following the road, you will see wonderful groves of royal palms, beautiful private gardens along the way and various styles of homes in a number of villages. The road climbs over...more
Outside Guaradalavaca, on the road to the Hotels Rio Mares and Rio Lunes, is a little understated sites. Just beside the Hotel Rio Mares is an eco-walk with signage, Las Guanas, which takes you to the peak of the pennisula from where you can overlook the ocean, the bay and the hotel. Explanations of eco systems, flora and fauna are placed along the...more
The area of that monster tourist compound consisted of three huge hotel complexes. It was beautifully landscaped, clean, an eye pleaser. Every few meters a security guard was spending his 12 hour shift sweating his brains out in a soaring sun. Guarding tourists from what? Apparently their job was to prevent cubans who were not staff from entering...more