Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria

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Overview

Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria is an all-inclusive lifestyle resort located on a beautiful private beach. Amenities include five restaurants  and four bars, two swimming pools, fitness centre and Kids Club.

Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria also offers environmental conservation activities with a focus on caring for flamingo birds who gather near a small lake by the hotel's Fuego Del Mar restaurant. The resort emphasizes sustainable tourism at the heart of everything it does.

Location: Located beachfront on the island of Cayo Las Brujas, about 10 kilometers west of Cayo Santa Maria.


tripadvisor Traveler Reviews
  • eros2013 : Toronto, Canada
hotel its new but full with mosquitoes and small beach

we where there from august 29 to September 7.. We just got back one day before the hurricane..Anyways let start with the positive things about the resort... The room are nice and new and most amazing its the people working there very friendly that because they are most very Young .. comparing to other resort that they are nice only if you tip them good ... now let talk about all the negative side... The beach its very small short and full of stones... food its very very poor... very short varieties most of times everything its cold and been there for the day before or 2 days before over and over.. be careful to make sure you make the meat been cooking pretty good to avoid to spend your vacation in the room sick its happened few people that i meet there..but overall you may still find something to eat..now the main problem its mosquitoes... I have been in many other places in cuba and caio santa maria but this one its the most .. at nite you see people going crazy with spray to protect.. In so many times in vacations i never get bitten once anywhere but here i spayed my self too unfortunately for what local people told me its the location of the resort with many pond breeding mosquitoes every 72 hours i feel sorry for the local people working there even them they are attached like crazy.. in all the walls of the hotel because they are white anywhere lobby and bar and restaurant you see blood marks of dead mosquitoes look like Halloween party.. you may consider to go to nearby beach Las Salines 10 min walk from the hotel.. we tried this place for once because was new but personally i wont go back .. Usually Iberostar ensenachos its my favorite and i wont change for one else... As i said before all the managers of the resort they are very helpfully and also the personal working there..

  • ayoubb_ben : Montreal, Canada
This resort is 2-3 stars

Overrated .. It is not an 4.5 hotel .. it is really an 2-3 stars hotel .The beach is so bad comparing to another places in cuba ... and the food is really bad . all my familly got sicked there .. I love cuba but I do not recommand this resort to anyone ..

  • Kerry N :
Disappointing

I have never written a negative review, but I am so immensely disappointed in my vacation that I feel compelled to say something. I am a in my late thirties and traveled with my parents who are in their late sixties. Between the three of us we have visited dozens of countries around the world and lived on three continents. This is our fourth visit to Cuba and we've been to countless other all-inclusive resort. I feel like we have a well-rounded view of the world and always try to aligned our expectations in order to not be disappointed. In the case of Dhawa we read countless reviews praising this resort in ways we'd never seen before. In hindsight this should've been a warning bell. I still can't figured out how and why these reviews came into being because Dhawa fails horribly in so many ways. I've chosen to highlight three of my biggest beefs with Dhawa (I could go on and on) - three concerns that could come across as being petty or inconsequential - but if you bear with me you will see that this resort struggles to get even the simplest, most mundane things right...can you imagine how they fare with the big things? 1. You CANNOT get a clean beach towel daily. The towel hut is open 9am-5pm with a one hour lunch break. The beach and pool are still packed until 6pm so the idea that people would return their towels by 5pm is absurd. As a result, they run out of clean towels by 9:30am everyday. The little, surly Cuban man running the place said to me one day "You are fortunate, you got the last towel". The gives a little insight into their thinking: expecting a clean towel at this resort is a luxury, do not expect it everyday. His standard response was "Towels finished! Maybe later, maybe tomorrow". Isn't this Resort Management: 101 type stuff? 2. You've got to work hard for your coffee in the morning. One of the best parts of an all-inclusive is the breakfast buffet when you're greeted with "Buenos dias! Would you like more coffee?" At Dhawa, if you don't manage to flag down an employee you simply don't get coffee. Forget refills. More than once I got so tired of waiting to catch someone's eye that I just went up to the employee station and did it myself. I wouldn't even mind getting my own coffee/water etc. I'm not sure why they don't just set up self-serve stations since they seem so opposed to the idea of serving it themselves. Perhaps the filthy tables, lack of cutlery and flies wouldn't have been so bad if we'd been able to enjoy delicious Cuban cafe con leche. Instead we just got more and more annoyed and started focusing on all the negatives. 3. It is an ordeal to exchange currency and get change for tips. Everyday posed a new issue or a new rule or a rule change. After several unsuccessful attempts to change $20 into convertible pesos I asked to speak to the manager. I was told he was unreachable and to come back the following morning at 9am to meet with him, He never showed up and once again the staff told me he was unreachable, and shrugged their shoulders. I was told I could continue to wait. You will notice management is constantly replying to TripAdvisor reviews saying they would love to hear about complaints on the spot rather than after the fact. I'm not sure what else I could've done to voice my concerns. Bottom line: if you're an experienced traveler, don't expect the usual 4 star level from this resort. Your money could get you more somewhere else.

  • Sophana R :
First resort unfortunately cut short

First of all I'd like to say a huge thank you to the workers at the Dhawa Resort for taking such good care of us and making us feel safe when Hurricane Irma was heading towards them. It truly showed their character when we could leave and go back to a safe and secure home but they couldn't :( I don't know how helpful my review will be since we only stayed from Sept 5-7. So basically, we were only there for 1.5 days. I will still give my honest review but I'm not sure how consistent things will be after the hurricane. We booked with Air Canada Vacations and a rep by air Canada was outside to pick us up (along with a few other resorts) and bring us to our hotel. I can't recall exactly how long the trip was but it felt short. I did snooze a little along the way....something about bus rides make me sleepy lol. Another plus is the ride is somewhat scenic especially along the causeway. Upon arrival, we all lined up to check-in. Check-in was really quite quick and easy. I was expecting the worse since I read a review with long wait times but it may be because of the time of day and/or season (less busy because a hurricane was coming??). Drinks from the bar were offered while we waited in line. Have a hard copy of your Dhawa booking and itinerary, they will ask you in check in. Our room was available a few hours before check in so we didn’t have to wait so that was nice.We booked a Premium Ocean Front room and it did not disappoint. The view was gorgeous. Crystal clear blue water covered our whole view. Room is pretty standard—functional and clean. Mini bar was not stocked. We called and it was restocked it in a few hours. One thing I do have to mention is the smell of the pillows and one of the towels. They appeared clean, no stains but had an unpleasant odor. I though maybe it was just the one so I stole a “clean” one off house keeping’s cart—it had a worse smell. Pillow kind smelled like some man slept on it. Can’t quite put my finger on it. Towel smelled like straight up body odour. Buffet food was alright. Breakfast was the best out of the three meals. I noticed a lot of recycling of left over food. For instance, they’ll have a meat with sauce type dish for lunch, and for dinner the same thing will be turned into pasta. This isn’t a bad thing, just an observation. Some other observations worth mentioning: foods weren’t labeled, witnessed a server drop clean cutlery on floor and placed same cutlery back on table, witnessed server putting away cheese but bare hands, found a short, thick black hair in my rice—definitely not mine. Some positives: servers were quick to refill our drinks and their desserts were delish. Beach was beautiful. Again, maybe we came during off season. Of course a hurricane was coming, but there was no wait for a cabana when we went in the afternoon. We didn’t get a chance to try out the catamarans that were provided. Snorkel gear isn’t so bring your own if you want. The size of the beach seems decent to me. Any longer and you’d never get your drink from the server. It’s only one guy and he has to walk in the hot sun and sand for drinks. He works hard with a smile on his face. Definitely bring your CUCs for tips and definitely try the pina coladas! Other things I want to mention: BRING bug spray and don’t forget to reapply after you shower. That’s when they get you. You can exchange money in the cadeca at the airport or the exchange office in the resort. Internet is via prepaid wifi cards you buy from the front desk area. They only last an hour and really only work in the lobby. I think that’s when we got bitten the most. The workers speak very little English so communication is limited. Don’t worry about your ride back to the airport, it will be arranged when you book your trip and the rep on the bus will tell you more about it later. With all that said, I’d like to send my sincerest condolences to the Cuban people who were affected by the hurricane. Thank you to the Dhawa people for taking such good care of us during a nerve racking time. We hope to be back soon one day!

  • CanRu : Toronto, Ontario, Canada
A week in paradise.

First of all, I sincerely wish to Dhawa and it's crew to survive the hurricane season safely. It is an amazing place and doesn't deserve to be thrashed. Hope that crew and their families are safe too. Having said that, I decided to share a bit of my (99% positive) experience there during mid-August 2017.AIRPORTSanta Clara airport is smallish (roughly same size as Cayo Coco), fast and effective. I would say that it took us 15-20 minutes to get through the border control and to get our bags. There are clean washrooms in both border control waiting area and baggage waiting area. If you are taking an red-eye, there's a small crowd of Cubans on exit who're waiting for Miami flight. They would not bother you. There is a currency exchange office at the exit. Take sharp right turn, the office is behind the corner (please have your passport ready, otherwise you would not be served). Bus waiting area is across the road, slightly to the right of the exit door. There is a Cubacatering cafeteria on the way which sells (quite decent) Bucanero or (Guatemalan) Presidente lager for 1 CUC per can (they charge 2 CUC at the bus), as well as Cola, espresso and some sandwiches. This is very convenient way to get some small bills or coins (to tip the driver) if the exchange office doesn't have them.TRANSFERI had been quite worried about the transfer being 1.5-2 hour long, but it is not as bad as it sounds. Dhawa is the closest resort to the airport, so you can at least find some psychological comfort in that. Overland transfer takes about an hour (which you can consider an express tour of a Cuban heartland), and then you take the causeway for about 1/2 hour. They use Chinese buses, a/c works, road is quite decent both on mainland and on causeway.ARRIVAL We were greeted by a lady with a tray of cold Kirs on arrival, and another one with a tray of cold wet cloth napkins to refresh ourselves. A great way to start a vacation! The check-in process was fast enough, but we did notice that check-in persons did struggle with their English (a rather common trait among the staff, as we realized later). After the check-in they drove us and our luggage to our building in an oversized golf cart. The resort is pretty compact and walkways are very smooth, so it wouldn't kill us to walk there, but we appreciated the service.ROOM.There was a lot in other reviews about the room, so I wouldn't go too deep. New, clean, good-sized, well-maintained. Mini-fridge restocked promptly each afternoon.Everything works fine. Furniture is "Ikea-style", as opposed to "pseudo-tropical" in many other resorts which I rather liked. Actually, this kind of clean, functional and efficient design is followed throughout the resort. Buildings, pools, restaurants are all designed in the same fashion. I did notice that they use a cheap furniture, and it is not likely to age well.FOODThe old saying goes "Nobody goes to Cuba for food", but I would return to Dhawa Santa Maria for food, drinks and coffee. Buffet is a bit repetitive and selection is not huge, but they cook good home-style food which I rather liked. Mariscada seafood stew in tomato sauce was rather amazing, and other stews very good too. They cook mean bean soup. Generally, on breakfast there're 2 omelette stations, 2 crepe stations, smoothy/mango table and 2 buffet tables (hot and cold food). For lunch and dinner omelette stations turn into hot plates for seafood and meats, and one of crepe stations becomes made-to-order pasta station. I didn't try pasta, but grilled stuff is pretty good -- fish and seafood, chicken, pork, beef. Cubans are not used to heavy seasoning, but they do use a lot of minced garlic (which I rather liked), and there's a table with sauces and spices if you want more zing. Desserts are really nice too, in a homestyle and a bit rustic kind of way (although there's nothing rustic about flambeed fruits they made for dinner).There're 2 a-la-cartes (Seafood, Italian, French) and we visited all of them. All are pretty good. I had absolutely mean carpaccio in Italian restaurant, and very good Carbonara (my wife had a risotto, which was very decent too). Seafood place (we visited it for both lunch, which they started to serve a week or 2 before we were there, and dinner) does follow a mantra "take a tropical fish, deep-fry it, serve with good congri rice". Again, I liked it a lot. French was good but rather ordinary. We also had a lunch in the snack bar by the pool, and our opinions split. They do serve burgers and pizzas, but they are different from North American kind. I rather liked my burger, my wife found her grilled sandwich to be too greasy.All bars are good (hey, free booze can't be bad), but the main (lobby) place is the best by far. They make mean cocktails and amazing coffee (both plain and spiked, my wife liked Brazilian coffee, which is espresso spiked with brazilian rum, and I was very fond of Spanish and their signature Coffee Dhawa). The only think I can suggest as far as bars go -- have a bit of food there. Especially early in the morning for folks who are leaving. It wouldn't bankrupt the menagement company to put out a tray of cold cuts and a basket of buns for peoples to make some sandwiches for themselves. We did reward ourselves with some good coffee when we were leaving, though (the lobby bar worked and guys and girls were amazing as usual).BEACHVery good. A lot had been said about bottom not being cleaned far enough. What can I say? I noticed that they cleaned it to the depth which allows an average man to stand on sand in a high tide. If it is low water or you're a 7-feet tall, it can feel a bit shallow. The sand is amazing. There're many palapas, but there's competition for it too. If you want to snatch one not too far, you should do it before 7:30 am. Service guys do a fine job collecting orders and serving drinks, but the walk is not too far to the bar anyway. I preferred a little walk to waiting for my order.POOLWe didn't use the pool heavily (who needs pool when the beach is amazing), but went there couple of times, just to check it out. It is big, nice and clean (they do clean it nightly). It doesn't smeel of chlorine (which is a bane of ordinary resort pool in Cuba), nor it uses salty water. I'm not sure how they do it, but the pool is nice.GROUNDSNice, clean, well-maintained. No complaints. A Botanic Garden it is not, but nice and green. The much-maligned lagoon is there, but the smell was not while we were enjoying the place (mid-August).INTERNETFinally! Cuba jumped into 21st century. They are connected to the Internet now. It is not cheap (1.50 CUC for 1-hour access, managed through card with PIN, and you don't have to use the whole hour at once), but the speed is decent enough to watch netflix in good quality. They're still working on setting up wi-fi throughout the territory, so the best connection is in lobby or around the pool.ENTERTAINMENTThis is the weakest link by far. Where to start? The theater is hot and poorly ventilated, the entertainment crew is good individually but their shows don't work (which is director/choreographer's fault), there's no daytime entertainment or zumba or aerobics on the beach (although it is announced). Poolside entertainment in afternoon is OK, though. Not too sophisticated, but lighthearted and funny. TIPPINGTipping is not required (staff tries to do their best anyway) but mightily appreciated. Several CUCs a day (a peso to a beach guy who helps you get a palapa, a peso or 2 to the maid, several pesos for waiters and bar staff) wouldn't make a dent in your budget after you've paid $1000 per person for the trip, but would make a difference for Cubans and they'll be much more eager and proactive in making your stay as pleasant as possible (our breakfast waitress knew our tastes in drinks by the second day, and we had our juices, teas and coffees immediately after arrival). Just remember, even tipping doesn't give you a right to treat staff badly, as far as Cubans are concerned. I suspect that the condescend attitude is the core reason for negative opinions of staff. If you show them that you consider them your slaves for a week, they wouldn't appreciate you, even if you tip. This is a communist country, and egalitarian streak is very strong in their psyche. Besides, your waiter might be an engineer or other professional who abandoned his/her life dream in order to provide for his/her family by working in the hospitality industry (which is driven by tips). This is something to admire, not to feel superior about.

Vacations packages include round-trip flights, accommodations, round-trip transfers (unless outlined below) to and from the hotel, and tourist cards (if required, unless outlined below).

If selecting an all-inclusive resort option, the package will also include the all-inclusive features as outlined by each resort.

Items not included:

  • Travel insurance (mandatory if traveling to Cuba)
  • Tourist cards ($10USD) if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing Airlines
  • Departure taxes ($20USD) if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing or Signarture Vacations
  • Resort fees (if applicable) must be paid directly to the hotel
  • Hotel transfers for packages to USA
  • Hotel transfers for packages to Europe
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
  • Snacks 24-hour
  • Unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
  • A la carte dinners 3/week (reservations required)
  • Daily activities program
  • Domestic drinks and select international drinks 24-hour
  • Evening entertainment
  • Introduction to scuba diving in pool once/stay
  • Non-motorized water sports (select) 
  • 516 rooms
  • 3 pools
  • 5 restaurants
  • 4 bars
  • Disco
  • Fitness center
  • 2 tennis courts 
  • Basketball court
  • Games room

Superior Room

  • 1 king-size bed or 2 twin beds
  • Garden view
  • Private balcony
  • Air conditioning
  • Working desk
  • 700 sq. ft.
  • LCD TV
  • Cable channels
  • Personal safe
  • AM/FM clock radio
  • Hair dryer
  • Direct dial phones
  • Coffee maker Iron & ironing board
  • Bathroom with shower
  • Mini bar
  • Up to 3 people : Maximum 2 adults; Maximum 1 child

Deluxe Oceanview

  • 1 king-size bed or 2 twin beds
  • Ocean view
  • Private balcony
  • Air conditioning
  • Working desk
  • 700 sq. ft.
  • LCD TV
  • Cable channels
  • Personal safe
  • AM/FM clock radio
  • Hair dryer
  • Direct dial phones
  • Coffee maker Iron & ironing board
  • Bathroom with shower
  • Mini bar
  • Up to 3 people : Maximum 2 adults; Maximum 1 child

Premium Oceanfront

  • 1 king-size bed or 2 twin beds
  • Oceanfront
  • Private balcony
  • Air conditioning
  • Working desk
  • 700 sq. ft.
  • LCD TV
  • Cable channels
  • Personal safe
  • AM/FM clock radio
  • Hair dryer
  • Direct dial phones
  • Coffee maker Iron & ironing board
  • Bathroom with shower
  • Mini bar
  • Up to 3 people : Maximum 2 adults; Maximum 1 child

Junior Suite Oceanfront

  • 1 king-size bed 
  • Oceanfront
  • Private balcony
  • Air conditioning
  • Working desk
  • 700 sq. ft.
  • LCD TV
  • Cable channels
  • Personal safe
  • AM/FM clock radio
  • Hair dryer
  • Direct dial phones
  • Coffee maker Iron & ironing board
  • Full Bathroom 
  • Mini bar
  • Up to 3 people : Maximum 2 adults; Maximum 1 child

Premium Suite Oceanfront

  • 1 king-size bed 
  • Oceanfront
  • Private balcony
  • Air conditioning
  • Working desk
  • 700 sq. ft.
  • LCD TV
  • Cable channels
  • Personal safe
  • AM/FM clock radio
  • Hair dryer
  • Direct dial phones
  • Coffee maker Iron & ironing board
  • Full Bathroom
  • Jacuzzi tub
  • Mini bar
  • Up to 3 people : Maximum 2 adults; Maximum 1 child

Restaurants 

Sin Frontera

  • Buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • International
  • Dress code: Casual

Porto Fino

  • A la Carte for dinner
  • Italian

Maison Gourmet

  • A la Carte  for dinner
  • French

Fuego Del Mar Bar & Grill

  • A la Carte for lunch and dinner
  • Meat & Seafood

Captain Cook Snack Bar

  • �??�??�??�??�??�??�??24 hrs

Bars 

  • Havana Club Lounge
  • Havana Club Bar
  • El Porton Beach bar
  • Burbujas Bar

Child Policy

  • 1 child under 13 stays and eats free (2016-2017)
  • When sharing the same room with 2 paying adults
  • Applicable for travel between April 1, 2017 and October 31, 2017

For the Kids

  • Kids club for ages 4-12
  • Kid's pool

Early Booking Bonus - This hotel may offer early booking bonuses at certain times of the year. If early booking bonuses apply to your vacation, prices shown online have already been adjusted accordingly. Please inquire for complete details.

Resort Location Map


  • Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria
    Cayo Santa Maria,Cuba

  • Hotel Contacts
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  • Disclaimer

Some restaurants may be open for certain meals only and limited visits may apply. Reservations required and dress code in effect for a la carte restaurants. Time restrictions may apply for water sports.

Child pricing may only be available with select tour operators and valid for select dates and durations. Child pricing rules are subject to change without notice. Please contact one of our vacation specialists if you require assistance with child pricing.

Photo identification and/or credit card or cash deposit may be required at check-in for incidental charges.

Extra-person charges may apply and vary depending on hotel policy. Rollaway beds and cribs (infant beds) may be available and should be requested at the time of booking; fees may apply.

Special requests are subject to availability upon check-in. Special requests cannot be guaranteed and may incur additional charges upon check-in to fulfil.

Hotels do not condone unruly behavior, parties in rooms, excessive noise or any other actions that violate the hotels terms of use. Guests may be removed from the property at their own expense in the event of any disturbance or complaint from other guests or hotel staff. Escapes.ca cannot be held responsible for any guests who may be removed from the hotel due to a violation of rules.

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