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Reviewed 24 April 2006

My Husband and I returned yesterday a.m. from a week long stay at Playa Pesquero. We along with 14 other people were there for a family wedding. From the first morning at the beach I was a little weary of what the trip would consist of. It was the first time I had ever encountered having to ask for beach chairs...after asking for chairs you are expected to provide a tip to have the chairs brought over to whatever hut you choose. Get there early in the morning (7am - 8am) or there will be no chairs left. My sister was to be married at 5:00 pm on Thursday but her wedding date and time was changed by Hotel once we were there. She ended up getting married at 3:00 on Friday...so that ate up most of the day and the wedding took place earlier in the day then she wanted. Dinner was not until 6:30 so we had to sit around for a few hours between the ceremony and dinner.

I did not find the service comparable to other resorts I've stayed at. Tables in the buffet were always dirty and you had to flag someone down to get coffee. Our rooms were lovely to look at but there were many many little ants and I'm covered in little bites that I'm not sure were a result of ants or sand fleas.

So, overall the resort was quite lovely to look at but I found the staff not so helpful and unless you had some $$$ in your hand they didn't go out of their way. I would not go back...nor would any of the people we travelled with so the general consensus was it was not worth the money we paid.

Date of stay: April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
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7  Thank Traveler7276
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 23 April 2006

We just returned from our week-long stay (April 14-21) at Playa Pesquero where we had a good time. Here are some reflections and tips for the future travelers:

Summary:
The resort is pretty good and provides a good value for the money (we paid CAD 897+ tax per person for a week). I would give the place a very solid 4 rating or a bit above that (not yet a five star resort as they advertise themselves). The buildings and facilities are well kept and taken care of. The beach is great. The water is wonderful -- very clean and pretty warm at this time of the year. The staff is friendly. The food is OK, but do not expect something really outstanding. There is a plenty of drinks for everyone. The pool is great for those weird people who prefer pools to the beach. The entertainment and tours are good.

Pros and the routine stuff:
As I said, the strongest feature of this resort is the beach and the ocean. The beach is very clean and sandy; the water is shallow and crystal clear. The sea life in the water is very entertaining -- make sure you do some snorkeling on the nearby little reef spots. Once you start distributing banana pieces to local inhabitants, a little bright crowd gathers around you and you can observe about 10-20 different species of fish at the same time. Make sure you bring your own snorkeling set (you can borrow one from the beach rental place, but you never know who was using this equipment before you).
The swimming pool looked great, but we never used it because the beach was great. It looks like the resort has two separate communities of visitors: pool and beach. The former drink alcohol from the swim-up wet bar, probably go pee-pee right there into the pool, and spend days in chairs burning under the sun. The latter enjoy the breeze, the water, the sand, and the sun.
The rooms are plain and simple, but clean. The room service is excellent. Make sure that every day you leave on a pillow 1-2 pesos of tips and probably some little gifts for a maid to get a good service and some towel-based compositions and sculptures.
The food was OK. You have a choice of going to several buffets and about eight other different places to eat. For dinners, you can make reservations at a la carte places (four during a week-long stay). Make sure you book them as early as possible, especially if you have a large group. Be prepared to wait 1-3 hours in line in order to make a booking. We went to the vegetarian (great service and nice food), Grill (slow service and nothing to eat for vegetarians), Romantico (great service and nice food), and seafood (slow service, nice food, and no options for strict vegetarians) a la carte restaurants. There are also la Gondola (people said the service was slow but the food was good) and Asiatico (for some reason, the least favored place) a la carte places. Bring a collared shirt and pants if you plan on visiting a la carte places. Since I am a vegetarian, I can probably say that the no-meat food could have been more varied and plentiful, but I did not starve anyway. Those who eat meat and seafood will find the food choices more than adequate. Those who drink alcohol will be pleased to find their favorite drinks at the resort bars or restaurants. I highly recommend the pulpy apple juice that you order through waiters.

Cons:
1. The informational support and services at the resort has some substantial room for improvement. The little things here and there can piss you off if you are got used to living by order and schedules. The phone support is not very good. Try dialing the * key to get some services. When you depart, do not call for the luggage pick-up, but instead stop a cart around the resort or at the hotel entrance across the luggage room door. I called for the pick-up service and ended up waiting for 30 minutes with no result. They did, however, managed to disable my room keys and the phone line during this time, I guess, by assuming for some reason that I was leaving for good at 11 am to check out.
2. When you check in, they do not provide you with enough information about the resort, facilities, and programs, so take the initiative and ask about available activities and places at the front desk.
3. The traveling agency representatives are available during very limited hours and are not very helpful in providing detailed and clear answers about locations, activities, and directions. The rep guy from our firm, Nolitours, was the example of such inadequate service.
4. If you are from Canada where the appointment time is the appointment time, be prepared to add extra 15-30 minutes if you have a time arrangement for a trip, event, or departure.
5. Our 4-yr-old daughter had a diarrhea problem during the last two days, but I suspect the reason was a drink served during the Swim-with-dolphins trip outside the resort.
6. Some people in their reviews complained about bed bugs. I think there are may be some in each room as we got a couple of bites during our stay. I personally had just one during the first night, probably because later I was using a hydrating cream before going to bed.

Tips:
• Be persistent and pro-active if you need something.
• Early in the morning (6:00 – 7:00 am), in order to have some shade later during the day, go to the beach and reserve a spot under a beach umbrella by leaving a towel on a beach chair (the resort guys will help you with moving the chairs to the exact spot you point at).
• Watch after you towels. One of ours was stolen from the beach. I suspect that somebody from the wave departing on that day solved his/her own problem of a missing towel by “borrowing” ours. It is sad, but such things happen. The beach guy said that 3-5 towels go missing on a day a large group of tourists depart. We paid CUC 15 for the missing towel, and, of course, we did not follow this ugly tradition of taking somebody else’s towel in order to avoid this expense (which in my opinion, should be cancelled by the resort).
• All equipment rentals are FREE. Sign up for a pedal boat before 10 am at the beach rental place. Tell them the approximate time you plan to get it, but do not bother about exact minutes. Usually, there are always some boats available, but you cannot get them unless you made a reservation first. Once you got the boat, you can use it as long as you want (return it by 5 pm – the official closure time is 5:30 pm, but they prefer if return the equipment earlier). Catamaran rides are with an instructor. You can also rent a surfing board and a snorkeling set.
• The best snorkeling places are in the eastern part of the beach (to your right), so it may be a wise idea to go there on a pedal boat. Make sure you take some bananas to feed the fish.
• Definitely visit a crafts market at Guardalavaca. The prices are unbelievably low and the crafts are very good. In particular, wooden compositions and sculptures are fantastic. You can always negotiate the price and get all things up to 40-60% cheaper than originally asked. Bring things for barter deals because Cubans appreciate them even more than convertible pesos. Clothes, medicine, and tools are the best items. To bring fragile souvenirs back home, pack some collapsible carton boxes with you and make sure you have enough luggage space.
• If you go to the Guardalavaca crafts market, take a cab. A ride for a group up to 8 people will cost you CUC 10 each way. Make sure you agree on a price with a driver before you get into a cab. If a driver insists on more (say, CUC 15), you can pick up another cab.
• Take the Swim-with-dolphins tour. Do not pay for the swim-included package (CUC 100), just pay for a show (CUC 40). Later on, when you are there, wait until all of those who pre-paid earlier get their swim routine done and talk to the employees. For a CUC 10-20 direct payment you will get the whole swimming package (a dolphin swim, pat, kiss, and extra rides) without having to join a group of other tourists. In comparison with CUC 60 that you pay just to swim with a dolphin along with 6-7 other tourists (the rides cost extra for those who pre-paid), it looks like a much better deal.
• Take the horse-back riding tours. The guys are located outside the PP resort at the entrance of the Blau CostaVerde report, which is a 15-minute walk or a 4-min bike ride from the PP hotel. Follow the road to the left from the hotel entrance. For just CUC 8, you can enjoy a 2-3 hour tour to anywhere you want to go. Go there in the morning to make sure the guides and horses are still available (you can leave your bike there – they will lock it inside the barn while you are on a tour). My wife went there alone and said the guy who provided a tour for her said she can ride the horses every day any time for free, as long as he can just be her tour guide and can look at her (“you are so beautiful…is your husband jealous?...la la la…”).
• You can borrow bikes from the resort (free) and explore the surroundings on your own. The hills, forest, and seashore are pretty and interesting to explore. You can also rent a moped (I think it is CUC 15 for a couple of hours), but it is not recommended by travel agency reps, as every month a few tourists end up at the hospital with broken hands and legs.
• Bring some medications with you, just in case. (like some anti-diarrhea treatment and pain killers).
• On the departure day, if you leave in the evening, you should anyway check out from your room by noon. First bring your luggage to the luggage room located across the hall from the reception desk and leave your stuff there. Catch a cart around the resort or in front of the luggage room to transport your luggage. Do not phone them for a luggage pick-up. Take your valuables and documents with you in a backpack, just in case. Borrow beach towels at the luggage room if you want to. Second, return your “regular” beach towels and get your towel voucher back. If your towel is missing go directly to the front desk for a check out. Third, check out from your room and pays any extra charges that you may have (like the one for the lost towel). Fourth, enjoy your day around the resort. Fifth, come back, take a shower and change in one of change rooms across the reception desk. Six, get back your luggage and load the bus to the airport.
• At the airport everything should go smoothly, although there are lineups both during the arrivals and the departure. Make sure you have some drinking water and bathroom tissue (both when you arrive and depart), so that you do not have to pay for this at the airport.
• Bring an insulated mug for drinks at the resort. Do not forget about a sunscreen and a hat.
• Do not exchange your currency at the airport – it is a waste of time. The bank at the resort works smoothly and there are no waits or problems when changing your money. 1 peso coins work well for tipping. You can always split banknotes into coins and smaller denomination notes at the bank at no charge.
• Buy alcohol at the airport duty-free shop. It is more expensive at the report store. Buy sugars at the cigar shop in Guardalavaca next to the crafts market area. Buy crafts and souvenirs at the market in Guardalavaca.
• Use an electronic safe box in your room to lock up your valuables and documents. Make sure your balcony door is locked when you leave the room.
• Get a room key card for each member of your group and leave one card in the slot next to the entrance door during the day, so that the air conditioner can work all day and keep the room cool. Turn off the air conditioner at night, so that you do not catch a cold.
• Put a used towel beneath the entrance door to avoid some rare insect visitors during the night.
• Tipping: 1-2 pesos per day for a room maid. 1-2 pesos per table at buffet places. 1 peso per adult at restaurants. You can also leave 1 peso for a cart diver who helps you with the luggage. You can tip bartenders, but there is certainly no need to do it for every drink that you get (remember it is an all inclusive resort and you already have paid a hefty price for your vacation package). 1 peso for a tour guide if you want to. All resort employees appreciate little gifts “in kind,” in the form of things. Do not tip in foreign currency as Cubans are not allowed to possess and exchange it. The beer and soda from you fridge (replaced daily) make for nice little gifts to guards and gardeners. They appreciate it. Just make sure nobody sees you giving drinks to them because officially resort employees are not supposed to take such gifts from tourists.
• Make sure you still have a separate amount of CUC 25 for EACH person on your way back in order to pay the departure airport tax at the airport.

Date of stay: April 2006
    • Value
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26  Thank AndyT2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 20 April 2006

Went to this hotel with my fella and two kids aged 6 and 9 had a wonderful time food five star rooms five star, weather a little windy but no rain it seems to miss this end of cuba. entertainment team excellent kids fully entertained the best hotel in the area for other childrens company. recommened to all and worth the money!!!!!!!!!

Date of stay: August 2005
    • Value
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8  Thank Pa-ula22222
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 20 April 2006

Have just returned from a 2 week holiday at Playa Pesquero (literally...., flight landed this morning at 7am and its now lunchtime at home !). Travelled with my mother (74) daughter (11) and sister (37) myself (43). It was the most fantastic holiday we have ever been on and we have gone on quite few over the years. Here's a breakdown:

Hotel: Stunning setting, fabulous grounds and expansive open air lobby area. In the lobby you have reception, large bar with plenty of comforable seating, disco and cabaret, hairdressers, bank, coffee bar, rep area and a la carte booking room. All rooms are situated outside in the grounds.

Room: Large rooms with huge beds, seating area, hallway, bathroom and dressing area. Very well appointed, beautifully decorated and maintained. All rooms also have a veranda. Maids come in daily to change towels, clean rooms and change bedding.

Staff: Excellent service and always cheerfull and eager to please - regardless whether you tip or not. You get the odd grumpy waitress or barman but it's far and few between.

Pool: Expansive pool set in stunning surroundings. There's a large swim-up pool bar at the far end, jacuzzi, and at the other end, a bar with shaded seating - great stop off on the way back to your room for a quick tipple before retiring from a long hot day. Plenty of sunbeds with shades and gazabos. grab a gazebo if you can as it's completely shaded during the day - you can always pull your bed out into the sun but it's a must to get under during the heat of the day especially if you have children or elderly companions. A nice touch is the mobile pool bar which circles the pools area during the day to save you from walking down to the bar - bed side service !

Beach: About a 5 min walk from the pool. Lovely white sanded beach with the most stunning sea colours - only second to Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia. ice clear waters with fantastis shades of green, turquiose blue. There are 2 man catarmarans, pedaloes, canoes, windsurfers and snorkel equipment - all included in you AI package - pre-bookable on the day only from 8am at the beach hut. Advise you to getdown there for 8am as the queue can be lengthy but work it. It's mainly for the catamarans which get booked up early. You can even choose the time you want to participate in your chosen activity - just collect your ticket and go back later. There are even plenty of buckets and spades for children to borrow so no need to bring them with you !

Beach Towels: Leave them at home - you are issued with blue towels from day one which you can change daily. We still took ours from home though as you can easily reserve and spot your sunbed through the array of blue towels from everyone. Look after them though because they can go missing - if you lose one or it gets stolen you have to pay 15 pesos - it happened to a few people over there.

Buffet: Open for breakfast at 7.30 to 10:00, lunch at 12:30 to 3:30 (i think, we never lunched there) and dinner which I think was from 7pm. Never got to dinner until 8pm so it's a guess. Huge Buffet with two seating areas - plenty of choice - freshly cooked pasta, omlettes and meat and fish all cooked to order. Something for everyone. Children love it as there is so much choice from cuban to international dishes. Fresh fruit platters, freshly baked pastries and breads and the most amazing freshly squeezed OJ on tap ! It's not the most fanastic quality buffet but for cuban AI, it's very good indeed. No need to book any tables - walk in and choose your table.

A La Cartes: Pre-bookable from 9-5 in the lobby area. You are allowed 4 A La Cartes per week. There is a dress code - collared shirts for the men folk. Some people did not tke any notice and just wore their casual clothes with trainers which I though was extremely inconsiderate. They really do try and make the a la cartes something special and far-removed from the buffet - which they all all. Please adopt the dress-code. It's a lovely chance to get dresed up and go out for a nice meal. A small minority ignore it which is unfair and ignorant to the staff and other guests. Here are the ones we went to - in order of our personal preference:

La Gondola: Italian style, lovely outside setting with rooftop - easily our favourtie. Excellent service and wonderfull food. Highly recommend the tomato soup to start (i know - how boring is that I can hear you say but it really is lovely - has an added ingredient of a touch of cheese and rice - yummy. Then for main dish we had sole which was the best I have ever tasted - even in top restaurants in London ! Truly mouth-watering and succulent - just fell apart as soon as you put your fork in it. Exactly the same on both occasions we visited so it was not a one off ! Chocolate cake for dessert which was just ok though. On another occasion we had seseme ic-crem served in a caramel basket which was good - definately better then the choc cake !

Seafood Restaurant: Situated on the bech - again, lovely setting with magnificant view of the ocean - again, open air with rooftop. To start we had prawn cocktail which was small but tasty, lobster as main meal which was very good indeed - can choose to have with or without sauce. it comes with a marie sauce automatically so if you want it plain you must ask. Very tasty and succulent. For dessert we had fruit platter which again was nice.

Asian: Chinese restaurant - again, open aired with rooftop. Spring rolls and sushi to start - both devine. Mushroom stew (a little on the salty side), chow main were also very good. For desert baked banana which was very good too.

Romantico: Not very good (for us anyway). Food was luke warm which everyone experienced that evening. Very nice starter though of salmon parcels which was luke warm but palatable. Lobster for main meal which was tough and almost cold. Mango pancakes which was not even big enough to fit on a teaspoon ! Quite doughy pancake mixture with a dollop of mango sauce. Very dark inside - the only restaurant which was inside that we visited. Could not read the menu - had to get my lighter out ! Can get chilly due to air-con so ladies, take a wrap ! Beautifull setting though inside.

The Grill: Not much to say here. Our visit here was extremely dissappointing. We had beef/steak which was cold, tough and absolutely full of fat in insinu -in a word, disgusting to the point I had to take it out my mouth as it made me gag. sorry to be graphic but that's just how it was ! All four of us left our meal and went over to the buffet ! dont know whether we were just very unfortunate that night because everyone else we spoke to said it was lovely. So maybe an off night when we went. You need to check it out for yourself.

Other Eateries:

24 Hour Tratorria: Italian restaurant serving salads, pizzas, burgers, etc. Great for kids and if you have the munchies at mid-night or you are up at 3am because of jet-lag !

24 Beer Garden: Great place for beers and wine and bar snacks. This is where we went to almost every day for snacks during the day. The shrimps wrapped in bacon were literlly to die for !!!!!!! You only get two on a plate which is not enough at all so all you need to do is ask for 6 on a plate which they are more than happy to do. Also great were the chicken stuffed peppers and the russian salad. We used to have about 3 dishes each which was enough for a midday day or afternoon snack. You must go here - it's absolutely fab !

Ice-Cream Parlour. Adjacent to the beer garden on the path leading down to the beach. Choice of about 10 different flavours in cups or cones for children and adults. Absolutely must as stop off point during the day - many times !! Also available are about 8 sauces which are self-service - the caramel is addictive !!

General Points: The resort is huge but dont let this put you off - there are buggy's which circle the resort day and night - you just flag one down. There are like the number 9 bus - always one within 5 mins ! They take you anywhere you want - from restuarants, your rooms, beach and lobby. The bugg's holdd about ten people and there is also a lovely train that goes around too - kids love it as it toot's it's horn and rings the bell as it goes around !!

Tipping: Not essential to get good service. My 'tip' would be to tip the people who normally do not get any - they are the unseen workers. Please remember the gardeners, poolside cleaner, poolside and lobby toilet cleaners and the 24 hour guards who have to stand and work all day long in the blistering heat. They are soooooo knocked back and extremely gratfull when you tip them as they are almost the "forgotten workers" who also work extremely hard to make our holiday perfect. Tipping the waiter, waitress and chambermaids is normal and the expected service but remember they are geting tipped every day by sooooo many holiday makers. Just a peso or two every now and again - it makes a huge difference to them as they average pay check is just 10 pesos a month - yes, that's all. About £7.00 per hour which we would'nt even work an hour for let alone a month.

Jet lag is finaly setting in now so must go - apologies for spellings mistakes and grammar but my head is scrambled at the moment !! i hope this helps a little for everyone who is due to stay in PP. All I will say in sign-off is that WE HAD A SUPERB HOLIDAY AND PP IS DEFINATELY CUBAN 5* I defy you not to have a truly memorable holiday - enjoy !!!

Date of stay: April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
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26  Thank Tiggy-UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 20 April 2006

Stayed at Playa Pesquero for two weeks. Had booked trips to Santiago de Cuba and Island Paradise but had to cancel as I fell in the bathroom and injured myself badly. I don't remember slipping. Hotel staff and First Choice rep were excellent; very attentive - Doctor visited room twice & medical care was very good. Although we were forced to spend the whole two weeks at the hotel, it couldn't have been more enjoyable despite the injury. Food great, bar service excellent; all inclusive really means all inclusive which we have not always found to be the case. We did get a taxi to Guardalavaca, for the market, but this was not really worth it; the market is all we found, plus a hotel and a beach. The staff at the hotel are mostly extremely friendly and very appreciative of frequent small tips; also the room maids very grateful for any small gifts/unwanted clothes. Evening entertainment was not up to much but we didn't go there for that. Our room was spacious and very quiet at night, apart from one incident when a drunk Englishman kept banging on our door, insisting we were in his room. Security came immediately we called.
I would go there again without hesitation. The First Choice flights were the best long-haul we have done - plenty of leg room, seat back films, games etc. All in all one of our best holidays.

Date of stay: March 2006
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11  Thank Rach0352
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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