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Reports by:
Brenda Pownall
Heather and John

Playa Pesquero Resort - Holguin Coldgirl

I vacationed at the Playa Pesquero from Jan. 26- Feb. 2. I was part of a group of 70 people attending a wedding.

Check In:
This was a bit chaotic because there were so many people checking in at the same time, it took 3 buses to get everyone there from the airport and we were on the last bus. The staff came over with trays full of cold drinks and they tasted so good.

The Room:
Our room was very nice and clean when we arrived. We had coke, beer and water in our fridge and these were replaced daily. We always had hot water and air conditioning. The towels were there every day when we returned from the beach. On the day of the wedding we explained to the maid that we needed to get ready early and she gave us the towels we needed.

The Food:
The food at this resort was very good. We didn't get the chance to eat at all the restaurants because we really only had 6 nights and the wedding took up one. The grill was our least favourite of the 3 we dined in. The Romantico was the best and we also enjoyed the Gondola. One of the restaurants near the beach has the best chicken I have ever eaten so after discovering it we ate there for lunch the rest of the trip. The beer garden had good seafood snacks and the Trattoria had good pizza. The beach restaurant had a nice selection but the burgers were your typical frozen burger patties. Food in the buffet was pretty good. The made to order pasta stations were a nice option. I really liked being able to pick my meat or seafood and have it grilled while I waited. This was also available at the omelet station where they grilled your bacon or sausages, they even had Canadian bacon. The seafood at this resort was quite good, coming from the east coast I tend to be a bit snobby when it comes to seafood but it was good.

The Service:
The service at this resort was outstanding, they bent over backwards to help in any way they could. We had a couple of young children in our group and the staff was so good to them. Everywhere you went you were greeted with a smile and an offer of help. We tipped a lot because everyone was so good to us. The only real problem encountered was at the beach bar where the line up was so long there were times you waited about 20 minutes. There was a side bar on the beach itself but they didn't serve beer.

I didn't get to any of the shows except the one my niece and nephew were in. We took the kids to the karaoke each night before it got crowded and always had a blast. I apologize on behalf of my family to anyone whose hearing will never be the same after being in the disco while we were there.

There was no shortage of chairs either by the pool or on the beach. They had towel exchange places at both the pool and the beach. I have gone south every year for the past 8 years and this is the first resort I have been to where you could get clean towels at 5 in the afternoon.

The Wedding:
The wedding was out of this world. They set up a table and gazebo on the beach along with 70 chairs for the guests. A train picked us all up in the lobby and drove us to the beach for the ceremony. The groomsmen, bridesmaids and the bride all arrived in horse drawn carriages and it was so beautiful. There was a trio playing music and then after the ceremony they had champagne and trays of food served on the beach. The train arrived about 20 minutes later to take us back to the front lobby where they had a section reserved for us. They served champagne and we chatted until the train arrived to take us to the Gondola restaurant for the reception. The dinner was wonderful and the service great. They had the first dance here and then about 11:00 the train arrived to take everyone back to the front lobby. We then danced the night away in the disco. It was such a wonderful day and thank God the rain stopped just before the ceremony and held off all night.

Overall Impression:
This is a beautiful resort with so much to offer starting with an exceptional staff. They have a lovely little coffee bar where you can quietly start your day if you choose. I personally don't think I will return to this resort because it is way too big for my liking. I kept getting lost every time I tried to get to my room and it was always such a distance to get anywhere. I didn't mind the walking, it was the getting lost part I got tired of very quickly. The rest of my family were on the other side of the resort so it made visiting impossible unless you hopped on one of those carts. I would definitely recommend this resort as we enjoyed ourselves. I was really impressed with how good the staff treated the children whenever they were in the restaurants. They have a lot of cats on this resort which were a source of entertainment for the kids on a daily basis. My niece started naming them all but gave up because there were so many. All in all this was a good vacation experience.


Playa Pesquero Resort - Holguin Jules

Only back two days and it all seems like a dream already. That's got to be the worse thing about holidays.

Flew with First Choice so the journey was quite comfortable because of the extra leg room. I had my hand luggage carefully checked at Manchester and hubby had to complete a huge questionaire at Holguin which took about 1/2 an hour but there was alot of chatting going on. How dodgy do we both look???

Transfer was fine sat back and admired the scenery and it took about 1 hr. I was impressed with the roads I was expecting them to be in far worse condition than they actually were.

Check in was quick and smooth (although this may have had alot to do with my 100 metre sprint from the coach to be at the front of the line). Our rooms weren't ready 4.30 pm which was a little unusual but we only had to wait till 5.30 pm. Just tested the lobby bar out and chatted with our fellow travellers.

We were very fortunate and got Block 10 which was an ideal spot for us. Unfortunately we were facing inland which was a bit of a shame but we weren't too worried as we don't spend alot of time in our room. It would have been nice to be the other side just for the sunset photos though. Room was clean, spacious and the only problem we had was the toilet flush kept braking. Hubby fixed it several times throughout the course of the holiday. Not too sure why he didn't call maintenance but thats men for you!!

Loved the pool area. The first week the resort was very quiet so there was no problem getting shade, the second week the towel game was played. One day the palapa next to us laid empty, apart from the two towels of course, until 4 pm, now thats a bit much. We had shade but if not those towels would have "blown" into the pool by around lunchtime. Loved the pool area and couldn't stop taking photos of it. Probably one of the nicest pools we have ever had.

We are not great beach lovers for lying on the beach. Like to go down have a swim and back to the pool. The sea here is amazing that was one of the highlights of the hotel. The water is crystal clear and so blue on a sunny day. Really enjoyed my swims here as the sea was very calm. Even took a pedalo out I was that enamoured with the sea.

Thought the food was very good at this hotel. Went with low expectations and was suitably impressed. Tried the Asian, La Gondala, Romantico and Seafood all twice and enjoyed all our meals. Only had poor service one night in the Asian when it was an hour before any food headed in our direction. I can only think the chef was behind with his orders because it was a full half hour before we were even offered a drink which was very unusual and then another 20 mins before our order was taken. Once this process was over the food came fairly quickly. If this was the case they would have been better off to have explained the situation, not to have just left us fidgeting. If you view my photos you may be able to guess which two photos wer taken on this particular night.

Really liked the idea that when you ordered wine you got a bottle brought to the table and I must say all the wines we had were very nice. Far superior to wine we have drunk at any other resort. Top marks to the Playa Pesquero for that.

We weren't took keen on the actual buffet restaurant on an evening. Although the meat was good and you could get it cooked to order we found the vegetables were always cold. The buffet restaurant was fine for breakfast. I think we have been a little spoilt in some of the other hotels we have stayed in so to compare Cuba to these is probably unfair.

La Trattoria, was good and we particularly liked the pizzas and the Playa Pesquero Burger from there. Thought this was a lovely little restaurant and much better than your average 24hr snack bar.

Spent many a happy hour there. Staff were very friendly and the snacks there are excellent. Again top marks to the Playa Pesquero for this idea. We often had lunch here with just a selection of the different snacks to share between us. Loved the shrimps wrapped in bacon and the cromossiers and although not on the menu they do fries. There is certainly no shortgage of fries in Cuba!

For someone who doesn't really like ice cream I had more than my fair share. Orange and Pineapple was my favourite - its gorgeous. Highly recommended.

Its your usual A/I hotel caribbean show. Only they have lots of costume changes. Much more costumes than the Dominican Republic which I thought was strange considering Cuba is such a poor country. Obviously funding is given for the costumes, tourism being so important. Enjoyed the fact that you could sit in the Lobby Bar area and still see the shows.

Spent a couple of nights in the disco and it was hit and miss. Some nights were a blast and others were very quiet but again it was close to everything a decent size and the DJ played a good mix of music.

I best come to a close before I bore everyone. Overall had a great holiday. Playa Pesquero is not a fancy hotel, not all marble and glitz and if I'm honest I wasn't so impressed the first few days and I was noticing all the rough edges. Just little things like the upholstery could really do with replacing so it made the seating in the Lobby Bar and Beer Garden look shabby. My main pet hate was the way they destressed all the toilet cubicles. I don't know where they got that idea from. If you've been you'll know exactly what I mean. Nice fully tiled toilets and then two cubicles given the distressed look! But these grumbles aside we had a lovely time. The food far exceeded our expectations, the sea was amazing (I'd go back for this alone), the choice of wine and drinks was excellant, pool area excellant. The idea of the Ice Cream parlour and Beer Garden and having the Trattoria as a 24hr snack bar (it was much more than a snack bar) all made for an excellent holiday.

It was my first time in Cuba and I would like to give somewhere else a try but I would also have no second thoughts about returning to Playa Pesquero.


Playa Pesquero Resort - Holguin Brenda Pownall Quebec, Canada

This is my second time to Playa Pesquero. The first year a group of 18 went and we had a fabulous time, we just got back from a week's vacation on November 12 and it proved to be as beautiful as the first time.

Lots of things to do on the resort and when you wanted something different, you hired a cab and off to town to do some shopping. We rented a horse and buggy and went to Cepsa (Sepsa) to buy souvenirs and then on to a couple of homes to visit the local people. They received us with open arms and were very proud to show us their homes that they worked so hard for.

The food, I found, was excellent, many choices to choose from. Lovely room, I was in 1616, a stones throw from the beach and pool. I recommend Playa Pesquero to anyone travelling to Cuba. People were warm and friendly.


Playa Pesquero Resort - Holguin Newfiegal Oshawa, Canada

PLAYA PESQUERO NOV 5 – 12, 2005 Kathy & Dana Oshawa, Ontario

My husband and I (we are both 32) traveled to Cuba for the first time on Nov. 5th for 1 week at Playa Pesquero. We travelled from Toronto, Ontario with Air Transat club service. This was a belated honeymoon for us so I opted to upgrade to Club class. On arrival at Holguin at approx. 11:00 p.m. we moved quickly through immigration without a problem. We found our rep, bought a couple of beer for the road, and boarded the air conditioned bus for the approx. 45 – 1 hour ride to PP. Upon arrival at the hotel (hint- sit at the front of the bus if you can as you will be first off and therefore checked in faster.) My husband got the luggage while I went to the lobby desk. Check in took less than 15 minutes and then a buggy took us to our room. First impression of staff is that they were very friendly and welcoming.

I had sent an email request to the resort advising them that we were on our Honeymoon and they paid attention to this note. Upon arrival I received flowers, there was champagne and pastries in our room. Also, our request for a king bed and a room on the 2nd floor was granted. The rooms are quite large and always kept clean by a daily visit from the maid. TV, cd player, mini fridge and coffee maker are all nice touches. We left a tip for the maid at the beginning of our visit and again at the end with little treats left almost daily (school supplies, soaps, make up, perfume, etc).

Beautiful beach! White sands and lots of shade to be found. For the first few days we would go to the beach in the morning and spend the afternoon at the swim up bar and we never had a problem finding shade. There are small huts as well as alot of natural shade. You never have to worry about finding a lounger, when the staff see you arrive at the beach they will wait for you to find your spot and bring loungers to you. We brought water shoes but only wore them when snorkelling, there were some crushed shells but nothing even close to posing a problem for walking barefoot...even to the beach. The beach hut to book the sports opens at 8:30 a.m. (or sometime 9!) and if you would like to book something for the day do it early.

The pool at PP is a sight to behold...very large and it curves naturally with an island in the middle near the swim up bar. There are areas for everyone, whether you want to relax or be a party of the party. One thing I wish I had been able to find before leaving was a water lounger saw a few people with them and they are great for spending a lazy afternoon floating around. There is also an outdoor whirpool, which was relaxing at the end of the day.

Breakfast – the breakfast buffet is very large with many items to choose from, our daily favorite were omelets made fresh to order or eggs any way you wanted them. Large fruit and cheese bar along with many types of breads, yogurts and cereals you really could not go hungry! The Trattoria (pizza restaurant) also served breakfast until 11:30 a.m., we heard it was good but opted for the buffet.

Lunch – so many places to choose from for lunch! In particular we liked the place next to the beer garden (for the life of me I can’t remember the name!)...they served chicken breast tenderloins and fries...yum! You could also get friend chicken, which was good too. The beach restaurant had the best shrimp “shrimps to the iron” is what they were called and also friend cheese and hamburgers ...one thing to note is that other than the Trattoria every “hamburger” you order will actual be HAM. They are very good but if you don’t know you will be surprised! The “beef” burgers at Trattoria were very good. I am not a pizza fan but my husband had the pizza a couple of times and liked it. We only ate at the lunch buffet (The Grill) once and it was good (they will make you whatever kind of pasta you like) but once I discovered some of the other places we preferred to eat there.

Snacks – you will see it here over and over again.... The Beer Garden is the place to go for 24-hour snacks. Misty chicken, spring rolls, lobster appetizer and of course the bacon wrapped shrimp were all fantastic. One hint- if you would like more than 2 shrimp just tip the waitress and tell her you would like “mucho shrimp” on one plate...we did this a few times and received at least 12 shrimp at a time. Never a problem to ask for seconds or thirds! yummmm Also, at around 3 every day in the main lobby they have ‘tea time’ with sweets and small sandwiches. Chicken and swiss chess on a croissant was my favorite.

Dinner – We booked our a la cartes early the morning after arrived and had no problem getting the restaurants or times we wanted. I booked our a la cartes for 7 p.m. and if I would do it over again I would book them for 8 as we liked to stay at the pool bar until it closed at 6 and found 7 p.m. dinner a little early. But that is a personal choice.

Dinner buffett ...found was good and the staff was excellent but we found it to be VERY hot and stuffy. If you can, sit towards the outside or in one of the little rooms on the water..much cooler there for eating. Huge selection of food and it changed daily.

Romantico : By far my favorite both for atmosphere and food. I have the lobster and pineapple appetizer and the lobster tails for my main course. I grew up on the East Coast so am pretty picky when it comes to Seafood but this was fantastic. I also tried the salmon puff pastries ...very good. My husband had the cream soup and he didn’t really like that and he also had the bacon wrapped veal, which was good but overdone. Just a note that if you like it rare you will need to stress it to your waiter. A guy played piano and the lighting was very soft, very much a 5 star service at this restaurant.

Seafood: Both of us had the lobster again and it was delicious. The beach restaurant turns into the seafood at night. It is open air so you should wear bug spray and be aware that the only a la carte which is air conditioned is the Romantico.

Italian: I ordered the salad and chicken, it was ok. Staff work very hard to stay in theme and they always serve with a smile. My husband had the veal here and really liked it.

We did not try the Asian or the Vegetarian so I cannot comment on those.
Overall I rate the choice of food and quality at PP a 5 star...it would be very difficult to go here and not be able to find something you liked. Of course the food is different from home... you aren’t at home! And I can’t forget the Ice cream place which was a daily favorite!! The ice cream sundae at the beach restaurant (served with caramel) is delicious!

The beer is quite good, we are normally Coors Light drinkers but very much liked the Cristal. Another favorite was the Crazy Canadian (best one to make this is Jose at the swim up bar!) and the Slushy lemonade with Rum. You will need to tell them if you do not want alot of rum, otherwise your drink will be VERY strong. If you are a wine drinker my favorite was at the Italian restaurant and it was called “NordEast” ...very nice! We tipped the staff and they gave us two bottles to take to the lobby show with us, as they do not have the same wine in the lobby bar.

Overall the nightly entertainment was what you made it; there was alot to and lots of places to hang out. We tended to play pool in the lobby bar after dinner, head to the disco and then to the beer garden for some late night snacks. We always had a good time!
The band that played with many of the shows was very good. We often would play pool in the lobby bar and watch the shows in the background and they were ok. Shrek was cheesy but funny. We didn’t participate in any of them but they looked ok.

Disco – We met alot of people while we were there so we would often meet the disco. The karaoke was entertaining but could be better organized and maybe would have more participants...but also I think this is largely dependant on who is on the resort at any given time. We had some very fun nights at the disco and it was typically open until 2 a.m.
The resort was only about 60% full when we were there and the lobby bar at night was understaffed. The staff tried their best and were very pleasant but service was slow...often there were only 2 of them working a very large bar. We quickly learned to order 2 drinks at a time!

We didn’t book any excursions as we found there was always something to do on the resort. One morning we opted to book a taxi into Holguin (5 pesos return pp), they dropped us off and we arranged a pick up time. We wandered around the open air market a while and then hired a horse and buggy to take us around Holguin. Horse and Buggy was 15 pesos. We visited the school and brought some school supplies. I felt very safe in the city and the only problem we found was being approached to buy cigars. In a span of ˝ hour we were approached at least 6 times.

WEATHER We could not have asked for better weather, sunny and 30 + every day. It rained maybe 4 times and never for more than 15-20 mins and usually in the evening.

We did not notice the bugs until we started to see bites on us...you often don’t feel them but you will see them the next day. Bring some deep woods off for the evening and also some after bite.

Some tips/ things to note:

FINALLY ....I would recommend this resort to anyone, we had a perfect vacation in a little piece of paradise. We will look forward to returning there again !!


Playa Pesquero Resort - Holguin Heather and John Toronto, Canada

Playa Pesquero Resort Holguin Cuba
May 14 - 21 2005
Room 1511

We flew with Skyservice out of Toronto. Nothing special about the flight, the usual cramped seating and tired meals. Service was good. No delays.

Holguin Airport
This is a small airport, but they seemed to be able to cope. We were through security in a few minutes and our bags were already waiting for us. We exchanged some money at the exchange counter. I used $50's CDN and didn't have a problem. Another woman beside me was having problems trying to cash travellers cheques. It had something to do with her signature not being the same, and they didn't think it was really hers. She was almost in tears. So the tip here is, unless your signature is always exactly the same TAKE CASH.

We found the bus, it was nice and big & comfy, why can't skyservice be like this?
I had a few requests from the airport staff to change coins for them. People were tipping in Loonies & Toonies ($1 and $2 CDN), and the coins are useless to them. Also US $, the staff were complaining that this is worthless to them. I made a few new Cuban friends from all this before I even boarded the bus.

The Bus trip to the resort took about an hour. It started to rain and it was obvious that they had a lot of rain the night before. Some roads were flooded and the ditches were full.

Check In
Check in at the resort was the best yet. They met us with welcome drinks and had a seperate station set up for registration. People in front of us were all complaining that their rooms weren't ready yet, so we prepared ourselves for this. However, when it was our turn the supervisor come up and told us that the chamber maid had told him that our rooms were ready. He even filled our our registration cards for us and gave us our orange bracelets. We had two rooms on the second floor next to each other. I had emailed the resort before hand so maybe this had something to do with it? This is the email address I used. jefe.ventas@ppesquero.tur.cu
Check in took about 5 minutes. We were then wisked away to our rooms on a very quiet battery operated golf cart. Nice!!!

The Resort
The resort is quite large, over 900 rooms. It is well laid out and you never feel crowded. You can either do a lot of walking or jump on one of the many golf carts that go around. These carts are great, they are battery operated which means that they are practically noise free, and no exhaust fumes.

We had two rooms, 1511 and 1512, second floor of a two story building. Our building was the second row of buildings from the beach. From our balcony we could see the beach and that beautiful turquoise water. We only had a small view between 2 buildings but it was enough to put a smile on my face.

The room was large, we had a king sized bed, 2 night tables with lamps, a desk, a sitting area with two large wicker chairs and big comfy cushions and a wicker bench. There was a TV stand with a TV and a few odds and ends, there was also a fridge inside the unit. The fridge was stocked with 2 cans of TuCola (not bad, tastes like pepsi), a large bottle of water and 2 very small cans of Bavaria beer. They replaced whatever you used daily. There was a coffee maker, and a CD Player but no clock.

The bathroom was large enough with a tub and shower, toilet sink and bidet. Lots of counter space to put your cosmetics and things. They give you soap, shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, and body lotion and replace them as you need them. They are small bottles but you can get as much as you need. Plenty of toilet paper, towels and face cloths. The towels really need to be replaced and improved. They are thin and in desperate need of some fabric softener. Very rough on the sunburnt skin!! Maybe they add starch to the towels so that they will hold their shape when they do their towel sculptures?? Who knows.

There was a large closet with plenty of hangers and a couple of drawers and shelves. There is an umbrella in the closet and this is where the safe is. It is a digital safe, you program in your numbers, no key. There is no charge for the safe at this resort.

The kids room was the same except they had two double beds.

We were in a second floor room so we had a balcony. It was a good size with two wicker chairs and a large wicker table. We had a lovely view of Palm Trees and we could see the beach. The carts go back and forth all day and night, but they are quiet. We've stayed at resorts where the carts are gas powered, these can be very noisy and smelly. I prefer the battery operated carts that they have here.

They fog for the mosquitoes around 6:30 - 7 pm. Keep your door closed because the smell comes into the room.

Room Service
24 hour room service is offered.
You have a choice of various sandwiches, misty chicken (chicken nuggets), hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, fruit plates and drinks. Delivery was fast and efficient and they were still smiling when having to deliver in the rain. There is an additional cost for room service, $5 CUC which you can charge to your room. Don't forget to tip these guys.

Maid Service
Our maid was very nice and friendly. She would arrive anywhere from 9:30 - 11 am to clean. There is a little card to leave on your pillow if you don't need your sheets changed. Remember they still have a water shortage here. Put your towels in the bathtub if you want clean ones. Our room was cleaned daily, not spotless but she was so friendly I couldn't complain. Supplies were restocked as we need them. We always had a nice towel critter to meet us on our bed and she even gave us a vase with fresh flowers. Nice touch.
We gave her little gifts everyday as well as a tip. She thanked us many times, and was very appreciative. She said she loves Canadians because we are always friendly and respectful.

Lobby Area
The lobby is quite large and very attractive. It has an asian feel to it. There is a reception desk, a guest relations desk, tour desks, phone area, internet area, toilets, money exchange, lobby bar, coffee bar with snacks, two pool tables, entertainment area, disco, hair dressers, cigar shop, and plenty of seating. There is also a large air conditioned conference room, this is where you go to book your al a cartes.

You can purchase your internet password at the reception desk. It is $4 CUC for 30 minutes and it goes fast. The internet connection is very slow and I do mean SLOW.

You can get your hair braided at the salon for $40 CUC for a full head of shoulder length hair.

You book your al a carte reservations in the conference room. There are 7 al a cartes, but there were only 5 al a cartes open for dinner when we were there because of the off season slow down. Dress code is compulsory for the Al a Cartes. Long pants and collared shirts for men. The buffet was less formal, we saw men in shorts and sandals.

Service was impeccable, and the food was good. This restaurant served international food.
There is a grand piano and a pianist that plays while you eat. The piano was a little out of tune but he did the best he could.

La Gondola
Very romantic italian restaurant surrounded by moats with a large gondola and several little private areas covered with palapas and curtains which were usually set for two.

We were booked here but cancelled, but I heard that people either loved it or hated it.

This is located on the beach, and is open for lunch as well as dinner. It was nice to have dinner on the beach. The staff were dressed like sailors, and there was a five piece band that came around the tables and serenaded you while you ate. The food was excellent here, this was our favorite meal. The staff were very good as well. The ambiance wasn't as fancy as some of the other restaurants but it was very nice.

Club Cubano "Vegetarian"
Open for lunch and dinner. Lunch was chicken and fries, and dinner was vegetarian. Lunch was good here, the kids loved the chicken. It always seemed empty at night.

La Tattoria
We had lunch here, and they serve the best pizza anywhere. I had the Playa Pesquero pizza with mixed salad. The salad was shredded cabbage, shredded carrot and a bit of tomato. The pizza was delicious. I highly recommend this. This was only open for lunch while we were there. On our last night they had changed this to a 24 hour restaurant.

This was open for lunch, situated beside the pool. We ate here for lunch and I was very disappointed. Hamburgers and hotdogs and salads, the hamburger was raw so I didn't eat it and the salad bar was very poor.

Buffet Latino
There are two Buffets but this was the only one open during our stay. It is very large and the service was good. It was only open for Breakfast and Dinner while we were there. Breakfast was your typical buffet style. Lots of fresh fruit, bread and juices. Eggs cooked to order as well as bacon and sausage cooked while you wait. Good choice of yoghurts, cereals and smoothies. Everything was fresh. For dinner there didn't seem to be a lot of meat selection, chicken, pork or veal every night. One night we had turkey which was really good. Lots of veggies and rice, and a pasta station. Desserts were good, lots of pastries, cakes, cookies and ice cream. Great coffee to finish it all off.

Beer Garden
This was open 24 hours up until our last night. They serve snacks like burgers, chicken, fries, fruit, and lots of drinks. This place was always busy.

Ice Cream Parlour
Across from the Beer Garden and very popular with everybody. About 4 different flavours of ice cream and toppings including fruit.

There were two pools. A sports pool where the activities were held and a large pool that winds through the resort like a lazy river. The swim up bar is located at the end of this pool near the sports pool. The pool is quite shallow and in parts it is only ankle deep, this was great for the kids. Plenty of seating and shade around the pools. Lots of washrooms close by. The towel hut and the animation hut were located by the swim up bar. You can change your towels for fresh ones as often as you like. There are private massage areas set up by the pool, and a large jacazzui that holds about 12 people if not more.

Beach and Watersports
The beach is gorgeous. Wide enough and long enough with plenty of natural shade as well as palapas to sit under. There is good snorkelling right off the beach, but beware of lots of little sea urchins hidden in the rocks. Best to wear water shoes if you venture into this area. There is a nice sandy section for swimming, no shoes required here. You can walk right along the beach past the other two resorts. Next to the Playa Pesquero is the Playa Costa Verde, and next to that is the Blau Costa Verde. There is excellent snorkelling at the far end of the beach by the Blau Costa Verde.
You book your watersports at the watersports hut, you can change your towels here as well. You book the same day that you want to use the equipment. Best to get in early for the Hobie Cat, it books up fast. Snorkelling equipment is available from here too. They have kayaks, pedal boats, wind surfers, and Hobie Cats for use.
There is a large beach bar and snack bar, but it is a good bit away from the beach so bring your insulated mugs to cut down on the trips to the bar.

There is a piano player in the lobby until about 9 pm, and then the shows start. We watched a few but they really need to improve in this area. It is usually just dancers, and one night they did a Disney show which included Shrek. They tried but it wasn't very good.

Excellent. Everybody at this resort goes above and beyond to make sure that your stay is enjoyable. It's the little things, and attention to detail that makes them extra special. Always a good morning or hello when passing.

They have a well equipped sports center near the lobby. Everything from shuffle board to air hockey, archery, rifle shooting, large chess and checker set, tennis courts, ping pong, badminton court.

A very well equipped gym located in the medical building. Change rooms and fully equipped workout room. At the opposite end there are four hot jacuzzis. Massages are also available here or at the pool.

Childrens Club
There is a well equipped childrens club located between the pool and the beach. It is completely fenced in so the little ones can't wander off into the pool. There is a club house, a kiddie pool and lots of play equipment. Little Tikes style.

This is the largest resort that we have stayed at anywhere, and we were a little apprehensive. We really had nothing to worry about. The resort is well laid out, so at no point did we feel that we were on top of people all the time. There are well maintained pathways and gardens that wind through the resort. The pathways are made to look like railway tracks which fits with the many trains and train parts that are positioned throughout the resort. There are ramps going up to every building, which makes this resort very wheelchair friendly. We saw quite a few people on crutches or in wheelchairs and they seemed to be doing fine. The carts are equipped to pick up a wheelchair. The whole resort revolves around a Boulevard which is like the main street of a small village. This is where the gift shops, restaurants, bars and ice cream parlour are located. The boulevard leads down to the beach or up to the pool. Very well laid out. The rooms are all in 2 storey buildings with plenty of garden space between them.

Overall, we had an excellent time and would return in a heartbeat. The staff and attention to detail is what makes this resort outstanding. I highly recommend it.

You can view my photos at http://www.7daysinparadise.com.


Playa Pesquero Resort - Holguin Tuss Canada

Intro: I traveled to Playa Pesquero in Holguin from May 1-8 2005. I flew with Sunquest on Canjet out of Halifax. I am 30y.o. traveling alone, and this is my 5th trip to Cuba. The hotel was only filled to about a third of capacity at the time I was there and some of the restaurants were closed and the staff had been pared down for the slow season.

Arrival: The flight was late, so we arrived sometime after midnight. Check-in was quick and efficient, and I was quickly taken to my room on a little golf cart. The bellman carried my bag into my room and showed me how the card works to control the air conditioner

Resort layout: This is a huge resort that is really spread out. If you don't like doing a lot of walking, then go somewhere else. The paths are well kept and the place is wheelchair accessable. There are golf carts that will take you anywhere on the resort if you are lazy. The gardens are well kept with lots of beautiful flowers and plants. Lots of mature palm trees around the pool which is nice.

Room: I was initially disappointed in my room. The minibar wasn't stocked when I arrived and there was no furniture on the balcony. I asked at the front desk early the next morning, and by noon there was a table and 2 chairs on the balcony and the fridge was stocked daily with 2 tiny dutch beers (by tiny I mean 200ml), 2 colas, and a large bottle of water. The room was actually quite nice. 2 double beds pushed together. A TV with about 25 channels, a coffee maker (with excellent coffee that was replaced daily). There was also an iron and ironing board in the room. The room had a safe which was free to use. The safe had a code which you set yourself when you locked it. I made a pot of coffee in the room each morning and thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the balcony sipping it in my pajamas! The rooms are arranged in 2 level buildings with about 12 rooms per building.

Food: I don't each much, and food isn't that important to me. A lot has been written about the food, so I won't write much more. I most enjoyed the beer garden though. Great food, and you can get it for take out to eat around the pool or in your room late at night. The misty chicken is great, as are the skewers with shrimp and bacon. Good hamburgers and fries too. Also amazing is the ice cream place. It's right across from the beer garden and is open from 9am to 10pm. They had chocolate, vanilla, coconut, orange-pinapple, honey, and caramel available everyday. Also had a variety of sauces and toppings to make a Sunday.

Drinks: There are several bars around the resort, but the busiest are the lobby bar and the pool bar. The lobby bar was open 24hrs. The drinks were very good, and they had a large selection. There was a menu listing all the different cocktails they could make and there were a few extras not on the menu like the "crazy Canadian" that are also worth trying. This bar was very busy in the evenings and it often took a long time to get a drink. The pool bar was also very busy. There was a swim up side and a dry side. Service here was quite quick and the bartenders were very good and very friendly. Tipping at the bars didn't get anyone faster service, but tips were very much appreciated by the bartenders and would generate a huge smile

Pool: The pool is really nice. It's huge with lots of different areas. The section at one end houses the pool bar and is also close to the activities area. Lots of music and activities during the day. The other end tends to be quieter. There is another "activities pool" that has a volleyball net, waterpolo, and waterbasketball. It is only used for these activities for an hour or so in the afternoon. For the rest of the day it is almost empty and is great for swimming some laps if you want a little workout.

Beach: The beach is a bit of a hike from the rest of the hotel, mostly due to the fact that the hotel is so spread out. The beach is very wide. There is soft sand, although there are some pebbles and small shells that make walking barefoot a little trickly, although still possible. The water is very calm and clear. There are a few fish around. There is a rocky outcropping in the middle of the beach and this area has some decent snorkeling. The water doesn't get deep that fast which is nice for kids. There are lots of trees on the beach which give some natural shade, and a few papalas for some shade as well. There is a guy that works on the beach that will bring a lounger to whereever you want to settle. There is also a beach volleyball net on the beach. There is a bar as well. There are catamarans, peddleboats, windsurfers that you can use. You just have to sign up in the morning. Edie-Lazaro is the guy that is in charge of the water activities. He is a nice fun guy and if you make friends with him, then he will treat you well. I also paid $15 dollars/hour for some windsurfing lessons from Luis. He was a great instructor and followed me all over with a kayak. And, when I sailed half way to Florida on the windsurfer and then couldn't turn around and get back, he paddled out to rescue me!

Activities: The staff organized a number of activities throughout the day. The list of activities was posted in several areas around the hotel, and things usually seemed to happen when scheduled. The activities included: bicycle tours and other outings, yoga/stretching, aerobics, beach volleyball, archery, shooting, pool volleyball/basketball/waterpolo, crazy games around the pool, fashion shows, "miss bikini" and "mr. Muscles", etc. There was also the "sports club" which had pool tables and other games - more of a hang out for kids I think.

Shows and Disco: The shows were really poor. The dancers were good, but the shows were boring. One night the show was a really bad rock band playing 1980's heavy metal. The lead singer was wearing really tight pants and cowboy boots, a vest and no shirt with a big gut hanging out. It was aweful. The whole audience got up and left. I usually like the cheesy resort shows, but this hotel was just too bad. The disco was actually quite fun. The music was cheesy, but there were lots of people up dancing and having fun. Some of the staff from the hotel would come too and take the tourists out for a swing around the dance floor - salsa, merenge, bachata, …. So much fun!

Staff: The staff of this hotel really make it special. All the staff were great, from the front desk, to the gardeners, to the waitresses and bartenders. The animation staff are a really special bunch. I became friends with a few and they went out of their way to make my stay great. If you are there please say hello to Danny, Hector, Yanet, and Niurki.


Playa Pesquero Resort - Holguin Bellagio Leicester, UK

March 2005

I spent 15 very happy nights at this hotel between 23rd February and 10th March 2005. The Playa Pesquero Hotel was opened by Fidel Castro on January 23rd 2003 and consists of 944 rooms which are in two storey villa type buildings containing 8 to 16 rooms per building. To the right of the hotel stands the Playa Costa Verde (formerly Superclubs Breezes) and then the Maritim Costa Verde (formerly LTI Costa Verde). The hotel complex resembles a small village and it covers a vast area, so despite the number of rooms you never get the feeling that the resort is overcrowded. The gardens are extremely well maintained and tended by caring gardeners and the resort is beautifully landscaped.

The lobby area is enormous. Check in was quite smooth - just fill in your registration card, and once your room has been allocated and your wristband affixed, you can then collect your luggage and board a buggy that will whisk you off to your room. The lobby bar is where most people congregate in the evening either to watch the show which starts at around 9.30pm or just to sit and drink. There is ample seating all around this vast area and despite it being very busy I never found it too long a wait to be served a drink at the bar. They did have a extension bar built in the form of a train engine but they pulled that down on the day I was leaving as I believe are going to extend the main bar. Also whilst I was there they had built a small Cadeca for money exchange which was an excellent idea as it frees up the staff on the front desk for other duties. There are two pool tables towards the rear of the area on a boardwalk and in the early evening a pianist plays, after that a live band plays from beside the stage for around an hour before the stage show commences. Just off from the lobby there is the Disco, but I never honoured it with my presence.

I was in Building 11 which is pretty near as close to the ocean as you can get at this hotel. This building comprised 16 rooms, 8 of which had an ocean view and the other 8 had a garden view. Although mine (1122) was a garden view room I was quite happy as I had the sun on my balcony all day so it was great for drying clothes. There is a large stretch of grass in front of the buildings which is at least 70 metres wide so no rooms here are positioned that close to the ocean. All rooms are equipped with coffee maker, cd player, TV with remote, iron and ironing board, mini fridge, free in room safe with digital touch pad locking system, umbrella and a quiet and efficient air conditioning system. The bathrooms are equipped with shower over bath, hairdryer, WC and bidet. Shampoos, bath gel and hair conditioners are provided and are replaced when emptied. Towels were changed daily, but I have a minor criticism here with regard to the quality which could have been better. They were somewhat on the thin side and could well do with being replaced. Electricity is 220 volts taking either the european (Not UK) two or three pronged plug or the North American two pronged flat pin. However because of the voltage difference Canadians will need to use a converter. There is one 115 volt plug in the bathroom suitable for running an electric razor but that was only configured for a two pronged round pin plug. Standard rooms are well furnished with either a king sized bed or two three quarter sized beds, large enclosed wardrobe, with shoe rack and two deep drawers. There are also two chairs, a large coffee table, a desk and a unit which houses the television and minifridge. The mini fridge is stocked with 2 cans of cola, 2 small cans of beer and a large bottle of water and these are replaced daily, if used.

There is a separate large pool for water sports, but the main pool is huge and very well landscaped with small islands on which a couple of palm trees have been planted. It is a very picturesque setting and the pool is divided into two sections by a wooden pedestrian bridge that is beautifully illuminated in the evening. There was no difficulty whatsoever during the time of my visit in obtaining a sunlounger and this area was never too crowded. In some parts, the water was only ankle deep, which was fine for me!! There is a quite a large jacuzzi here as well, but that it only ambient temperature. The whole area is kept spotlessly clean and everything is superbly maintained. The Pool bar has a good selection of drinks and is usually manned by two or three staff - never had a wait at all here for a drink.

This was quite crowded particularly at the central location by the water sports. Sunloungers are cleared from the beach each day and stored at various points, so it is necessary for you to see one of the attendants to obtain your lounger and he will take it to the location you select. In truth I spent less time on the beach on this vacation than I normally would as it was a little too crowded for me. The sea was clear and calm and a beautiful turquoise colour and, even though I do not swim, I was surrounded by a myriad of fish when I paddled out waist deep in the ocean. At the water sports centre you can take out a pedalo, kayak or windsurf board, but on the Hobie cats you have to be accompanied by a 'skipper' who actually sails the craft. You need to book all these activities at the Towel kiosk which is situated behind the beach bar at the seafood restaurant. The beach bar here was generally very busy with a line formed for drinks, but they do have a 'portable' bar on the beach with a limited range of drinks.

There are two buffet restaurants the Latino and the Criollo - which are open for breakfast and dinner. As far as I could make out one or the other of them was open at lunchtime also. I used to have breakfast in the Criollo which seats 304 people. The Latino, which seats 640 people, some people preferred, but it was far too large for my liking and I could never find my way back to my table. The breakfast was standard fare for an all inclusive resort but one thing I liked was that the eggs were cooked at a different station from the omelettes and this resulted in little or no waiting. Another nice option available was that you could actually have your bacon (and sausage if you fancied their sausage!) cooked on the grill along with your eggs. Pre-cooked bacon and sausage were available also, but I preferred to have mine cooked to order. At times the service for coffee was a little on the slow side at breakfast time, so it does help if you are able to sit at the same table each time and be served by the same person and that certainly pays off. The evening buffet offered a reasonable selection of food, however I usually finished up in the grill section where I would have pork, chicken and veal along with fried onions and tomatoes. Soups were good and always piping hot. The banana flambe was my favourite dessert and it is was absolutely delicious.
There are seven a la carte restaurants and at the time of my visit you were allowed to book four in any seven day period. If you stayed for two weeks you could therefore book eight but they would only allow you to book the Romantico restaurant once during your stay. It is advisable to book your restaurants early, in particular the Romantico as this was always booked up for five days in advance whilst I was there. The large room where you make the reservations is just around the corner from the check in desk and it is open from 8.45am until 5pm and it is usually manned by three staff. Menus are available there for you to view also.

This is the best restaurant without any shadow of doubt. It holds 154 people and is the only indoor, air conditioned restaurant at the hotel. There is a grand piano and the pianist is, as you would expect, very good and the musical accompaniment to your meal is very welcoming and romantic. This is the labelled as their International restaurant. I had the lobster here and it was wonderfully well presented and quite delicious. All the a la carte restaurants offer you a choice of wine with the bottle remaining on the table. In the red variety there was a choice of seven Spanish or two Cuban wines.

La Gondola:
Both this restaurant and the Romantico are situated at the rear of the resort and if you are in Building 10 to 28 it is a long walk to get here so it may be advisable to take a buggy - a definite must should it be raining or you are running a little late. This restaurant is beautifully themed - you have to walk over a small wooden bridge to gain entry and the restaurant is surrounded by water with a large floating gondola at the front. There are several boardwalks leading out to small palapa type islands where an individual table for two is laid out. There are only a few of these, around five I believe, with everyone else dining inside the main restaurant. La Gondola has quite a reasonable capacity so there was little problem booking this restaurant. The meal was wonderfully presented and was piping hot, but the vegetable portions were disappointing small, and I mean small.

I was rather disappointed with this because I had expected Asian cuisine. Some people I spoke to enjoyed it so really it's just down to a matter of taste. Word is that this will eventually be turned into a Japanese Restaurant.

This is the restaurant on the beach where you can also have lunch but at night it becomes the seafood a la carte. Good choice of seafood menu. The waiters and waitresses are all dressed as matelots which adds a nice touch. Unfortunately the chairs and tables are all plastic and IMHO this does distract somewhat from what otherwise was an enjoyable meal.

Le Grill (Steakhouse):
At this restaurant you help yourself to the starters, which consist of a soup and salad bar, and your dessert but the waiters serve the main course. I chose the Filet Mignon which was surprisingly tender. This restaurant is also open at lunchtime for a buffet lunch where the salads were excellent.

La Trattoria:
At lunch time they do the most marvellous pizzas here, with a choice of 11 varieties. My personal favourite was the 'Playa Pesquero' which was mushroom, shrimps, bacon and onion to which I sometimes asked them to add pineapple. Absolutely first class and I have to say I enjoyed my lunches here as much, if not more, than any other meal I ate during my 15 night stay. Once I had my first lunch here on about the fourth day I was hooked and didn't eat anywhere else at lunchtime after that. In the evening it becomes another a la carte restaurant. I had a disappointing steak here - I should have had another pizza, as I believe the lunch time menu was also available during the evening. This is a wonderfully themed restaurant with some fantastic murals.

Club Cubano:
At lunchtime you can have chicken and fries here but in the evening it becomes the Vegetarian restaurant. Whilst I am no vegetarian I had to try the restaurant and it was virtually deserted. The portions were quite large and I must say, surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed my meal. I had the puff pastry stuffed with mushrooms and it was truly delicious. However I would imagine if you are only staying for one week this restaurant would be one of those you would give a miss.

Beer Garden:
This is open 24 hours for hot snacks, beer, fruit juices and coffee and is a very popular meeting place. I did have a breakfast here one morning and I'm also told the hamburgers are very good. My particular favourite was the misty chicken - it was quite delicious. Opposite the Beer Garden is an Ice cream parlour - very popular with the children.

Sports and Gym:
The gym seemed to me to be quite well equipped and at the opposite end there were four hot jacuzzis which were open until 8pm at night. I did try these on a couple of occasions and they were very powerful and running at 36 degrees water temperature, which was just right I thought. The medical centre was also housed in this building. The Sports Centre was open from 8.30am until 10.30pm daily and included 3 floodlit tennis courts, This seemed to be a very popular centre and it was certainly well equipped. At 11am and 3pm rifle shooting, pistol shooting or archery took place. There was a Volleyball court, a football pitch, 2 shuffleboard courts, a badminton court, 3 sand pits for boules or petanque, a giant chessboard and checker board, two pool tables, three table tennis tables, table football a dartboard plus an air hockey table. Certainly one of the best equipped sports centres I have seen and everything was in working order.

I know much is said about the Cuban staff but at this resort I felt they went the extra mile. Without exception everyone was SO friendly, I was made to feel that I was the most important guest at this resort and I was treated like royalty. I will return to this hotel just to see the many friends that I made during my visit.

Here is a list, with prices, of the excursions available, priced in convertible pesos (1CUC = $1US)
Fantastica 115 CUC Visit to Indian village, doctor's surgery, local plantation, then swim with the Dolphins - Lunch included
Catamaran 69 CUC Lunch and all inclusive bar included
Havana 199 CUC One day tour - flight included
Havana 325 CUC 2 day - overnight stay in Havana including entrance to the Tropicana - flight included
Santiago 69 CUC Lunch included
Cuba inside 59 CUC Steam train ride, then on to Holguin, visit Cigar Factory - Lunch included
Adventure Tour 35 CUC Two hour boat excursion driving your own jet boat James Bond style
Dolphin Swim 89 CUC Dolphin swim only
Sport Fishing 68 CUC Or 270 CUC per boat - including drinks and snacks

My photos can be viewed at: