|Club Amigo Caracol, Santa Lucia||TO_GAL25||Toronto, Canada|
Club Amigo Caracol, Santa Lucia
This was my second trip to the Club Amigo Caracol in Santa Lucia. My last trip was in April and I had so much fun I knew I needed to go back. I love the feel of a smaller hotel and with only 150 rooms, the Caracol is perfect for me. I usually travel solo and I have found it a lot easier to meet people at the smaller hotels. The Caracol has undergone some renovations (cabaret area, lobby, painting) and added a new a la carte restaurant this year. The most exciting thing for me was the addition of a 24hr bar, prior to this, you couldn't get a drink after 11. So with all that being said, I will start my review.
Tour Company and Flight
I booked with Sunquest and flew into Camaguey with Skyservice. Our flight down there was delayed becausea passenger's passport expired, and she didn't realize this until just before getting on the plane. Soooo...it took about an hour for Skyservice to pull her bags and get everything situated before we could leave. Oh well, what can you do? The pilot made up some time in the air so we arrived just a few minutes late :) I found an excellent deal on the trip (even with the single supplement) so it would take more than that to annoy me :)
There were only 3 of us going to Caracol and 6 people going to Mayanabo (off the flight), so we had a small van bus. This was great because it was able to go much faster than the big coach that was going to the Brisas Santa Lucia. But, it turned out that the lady that forgot her passport was part of the Mayanabo group...and the Cuban Customs were giving their party (her husband...yep he left her behind) a hard time because the number of bags he was supposed to have didn't add up. This meaning we sat on the bus for an hour before we could leave.....nothing a few cold Cristal couldn't cure :) lol An hour and a half later we arrived at the beach!!
Caracol has two types of buildings. One building has 4 rooms in each and the other bungalow buildings have two rooms each. The rooms are mini suites. There is a sitting area with couch and chairs and a mini fridge. This year they provided a bottle of water, bottle of cola and a bottle of rum. Off the sitting area you have either a balcony or patio. The sitting room leads into the bedroom. My room had two twin beds but am told there are some rooms with king or double beds. Satellite TV is also in the rooms. The bathrooms are quite large and have a full tub and have hairdryers. The furnishings are a bit dated but really how much time do I spend in my room?
Caracol has a buffet restaurant which is pretty good. There is a carving station, pasta station...and in the morning an omelette station. Usually a choice of chicken, pork, beef and fish. The ice cream is sooooo good :) This restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They just finished building the new a la carte/beach grille. During the day you will find hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries. Ask for a Sanchez (one of the chefs) burger...you'll feel like you are at Harvey's :) lol Burger with cheese, fried onions, tomato.....yum!! At night this turned into the a la carte restaurant. When I was there it wasn't open every night because there weren't enough guests to warrant that. But when it was open it was very good....and the view of the ocean was lovely!
Caracol has a swim up (or walk up on the other side) pool bar, a bar near the lobby, and two beach bars. The drinks are great and they have some fabulous bartenders that make great drinks! In fact a lot of people wandered down from the Brisas (the 4 star down the road) because they heard our bar had mojitos and apparently they didn't there.
The entertainment staff at this resort really make your trip. They are sweet and genuine people and they organize great activities. I have read several reviews on a number of websites and the common denominator of most of the reviews are the positive feedback of the entertainment staff. They work hard all day and somehow have the energy to take you out every night to the local bars. Sometimes I wondered if they ever slept :) DJ Omar is fantastic! He has any song you could think of to request, I love that he mixes it up and plays a bit of everything!
This trip I did not go on any excursions but my previous trip I did the tour of Camaguey City. It was a great trip, our guide was very good, but I enjoyed it more when we hired a taxi driver to take us around. We saw more of the real Camaguey City. During this trip I stayed in a casa over night, a totally different experience than the all inclusive. I have the name of a great casa if anyone ever needs it :) Friends of mine went on the Flamingo Tour and loved it. They take you to a wildlife area (lizards, flamingos), then on a boat for snorkeling...and sometimes you see a family of dolphins that follow the boat!! Same friends also did the deep sea fishing. Apparently it was a lot of fun but bring gravol as the water can get quite rough! They caught a 4.5 foot mackerel!! There were a few other tours offered but I can't remember where they went.
You MUST go and visit David the masseuse! He is usually there everyday and has an area set up by the pool/towel service. I paid $10 for a 1/2hr massage and it was heavenly! He also does face treatments ladies!! I had never been for a massage before...what was I thinking?? It will be a regular activity on my future trips!!
Santa Lucia Area
Santa Lucia is a small beach town. If you are looking to do a lot of shopping and activities, its probably not the place for you. There are a few shops but you can visit all of them in an hour or so :) Santa Lucia is quiet but if you want to go out every night and party....that is an option! The hotel next door (The Gran Club) has a disco called The Jungle that is usually busy until two am....then everyone heads out to Mar Verde or The Rumbo...two local clubs that are fun. Yes, there are working girls that will approach the men now and then, but a simple No, sends them on their way. The beach is a beautiful white sand one. There is some seagrass and coral so watershoes are a good idea. Santa Lucia is also home to the world's second largest coral reef. The snorkeling is awesome!! You can have someone bring you out on a hobie cat boat or take one of the organized tours.
The staff at the Caracol worked very hard to get the hotel ready for its grand re-opening (it had been closed for almost 2 months for renos). I arrived 4 days after it opened and even though there were only about 30 of us there, everyone was working hard to ensure we were kept happy. I kind of felt like Oprah! lol Some days I had the entire pool to myself and everyone knew my name (waitress, maid, bartenders, front desk). I highly recommend this hotel to anyone wanting to visit the area. Although it is a 3 star in the travel books it rates higher with me :) If anyone has any questions feel free to send me a PM.