Marea Del Portillo
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- All Inclusive Features
We returned to Marea del Portillo on October 19 2016 after a 4 year absence. Marea was our first of many trips to Cuba since that time.Overall we were not disappointed again at Marea. By luck we were assigned the same Cabana as our first trip. It was the last beach front Cabana next to the entertainment staff cabana.The cabanas were undergoing renovation during our trip. We had one of the upgraded cabanas with updated shower, toilets and wash basin. Neat tidy and functional.The flooring was updated to nice new polished tiles. Downside of the room was a very sticky patio sliding door. Not a deal breaker, but a little bit of lubricant would help to prevent the corrosion.Grounds continued to be well kept and well lit at night. Pool bar area was in good shape, however the "Snack bar" could use some upgrades and increased staff at lunch.Breakfast and dinner in the main buffet was average to above average. Average on a day to day basis, above average on the days they offered the whole roast pig, roasted Turkey or a fine cut of roast beef.Pool area and loungers: No lack of loungers at time of our visit. No evidence of the "towel game. Entertainment was ok, however in and around 1 pm each day the music went from light "Cuban" style background music to a thumping "disco" style music. Given the main clientele are 50 plus, the need to play the thumping disco music was not needed. At this time many guests abandoned the pool and headed to the beach or or beach bar.Pool itself was clean, well cared for with good tiling surrounding the pool.Beach Bar: A nice quiet spot with tables where many guests made there way in and out. Great service with a smile and polite conversation.Beach: Dark sand with many small round rocks that were brought ashore during the October Hurricane. Very hot on the feet in the afternoon. Entrance to the water easy and many hours spent floating about in the warm Caribbean Sea.After dinner entertainment: Sorry, cannot comment here as we were off to bed early each night. We prefer to get up early and enjoy the full day.Staff: All were very polite and helpful as we have experienced every where in Cuba.Overall we were again very happy with our trip, given the very low price point in the off season ($2250 total for 14 days for 2 adults all in) we will look to return again.Area is slowly expanding with new restaurents in Marea and Pilon which offer great low cost off site dining.Overall rating is at 3 stars, due to the average food seen in the buffet and snack bar area. Definitely an area that can be improved upon as the supply chains are improving in Cuba as the years pass.
We stayed at Marea del Portillo, not Faralon. Rooms: basic accommodation, AC, well kept, clean. Food: basic, unremarkable, but well prepared. May lack flavour if you are used to North American food, but this is you chance to live through pure organic experience. Not a lot of variety, but fish, chicken, pork, beef is always there. Yoghurt is great but breakfast lacks variety overall. Food at a-la-carte restaurants is good. Beach: very close to the living quarters, opens great views, long enough for long walks, well maintained, enough beach chairs if you are up before breakfast. Sand is not white. Warm water, good for swimming. Sandy bottom. Activities: not too much to do overall unless you brought your own bike or you are into scuba diving. When we were there, there was not even a volleyball net on the beach. Activities during the day are sporadic. Free trips on a catamaran. Outside trips are booked through you agent or Ecotour, e.g fishing, island trip, visiting Pilon. A trip to La Comandancia (Fidel's hideout in the mountains) is worth doing if you are into history and hiking. If you are into hiking or trekking, climbing Pico Turquino, Cuban highest summit, is well worth the time and money (it's a two day trip, usually, and your agent can not book it at the hotel, your own arrangements). Entertainment: Difficult to figure out where the upcoming night show will be - Marea or Farallon. Quality of dance team is great, some guest shows (e.g. aqua ballet from Santiago) were fantastic. Scuba diving: positive experience overallPros: water, beach, sunshine, quiet place - all you really need for a good rest. Cons: no variety of food, not too much in terms of activities, too many elderly folks at Marea - at some point you wonder if you booked yourself a vacation in a long term care facility.
My family has been traveling to Marea del Portillo for many years. The area is beautiful and the people friendly. Staff at this resort are generally very conscientious and hardworking. Perhaps in an attempt to remain competitive, price-wise, the variety of the food has been suffering over the past few years. The resort is noticeably increasing the amount of processed food (especially meat) on offer. Thankfully you can still find good quality fish, and there is limited, but excellent, fresh fruit. You can usually find a few good fresh vegetables too, but increasingly there are more canned vegetables (green beans, beets) on display. The rooms are modest, and sometimes not fully functional but staff do their best.The most unfortunate aspect of the resort and the surrounding area is that the beach is covered with cigarette butts, and there is a lot of plastic trash. In and around the resort there is a lot of discarded plastic cups, and around the roadways beer cans. This is largely the fault of really inconsiderate and irresponsible Canadian tourists, but the Cubans are also contributing. The resort fails to do anything to meaningful to reduce littering (e.g., prominent signs to remind people not to pollute the local and marine environment, there are few waste bins (no recycling at all), and there are insufficient staff cleaning up plastic trash on a regular basis, and no deposit system on cans and bottles that would likely be very successful given the economic circumstances). It does not appear that there is any consistent collection of waste material and recycling appears to be non-existent in the communities between Marea and Manzanillo de Cuba. Plastic bottles, bags and assorted trash litters the countryside - in front of people's houses, on the side of roadways, in grazing areas and embedded in organic waste ready for burning. As each year passes non-organic (largely plastic trash) waste is accumulating in this part of Cuba. It is a blight on a particularly beautiful corner of the world. Not only is it a blight but will cause many tourists to avoid this area in the future, which is unfortunate given the positive impact of tourism in Granma province. It must be particularly disheartening for the local Cuban population as well. The problem of plastic being discarded into the natural environment is not unique to Cuba, as Canadians themselves know. Our roadways and parks are also increasingly covered with litter as successive governments fail to prosecute individual polluting and fail to devote sufficient resources to maintain public areas. Hopefully the resort and local Cuban authorities will take steps to rectify this problem; they have every incentive to do so.
This review is overdo as we went there in March 2016. We like this place and keep going back. However, it appears that the expectations of the people in the area are changing. Taxi and horse and buggy rides are increasing in cost. 10 CUCs to ride to Marea village. A 1.5 liter bottle of honey has gone from 4 CUCs to 10. On the plus side, souvenirs are very well priced and the vendors are located close to the parking lot instead of out at the main road. Still a great place to vacation and we really enjoy the Cayo Blanco trip. I fished at Cayo Blanco and caught and released a few nice yellowtails and lost a barracuda which I didn't see but safely guess it to have been 18-24" based on the fight. It headed under some coral and I had forgotten to put a steel leader on so my line got cut. If you fish here I recommend wearing running shoes not sandals. You will be walking in the ocean which may not do your shoes any favour but you toes will thank you for it. The coral is very sharp. Fish the pools located in the coral bed. This is old dead coral beds so no worries about damaging it. Maybe don't walk in the vegetation though.We ate at the Ferlin restaurant twice in Marea village. Excellent meal and the prices are quite reasonable. The second time we ate there though the shrimp was not quite cooked so I sent it back. I got the feeling the staff thought I was being too picky. Raw shrimp doesn't do it for me. Try the fish wrapped in ham stuffed wit cheese thing. Very good.Lots on Cubans fishing in the bay for sardines with nets. A few with rods and reels fishing for ?. I was out there when they were and many opportunities to speak with them (as much as my limited Spanish allowed. Still good fun though).Will go back again I'm sure but not the only place in Cuba we want to go back to.
I returned to Marea del Portillo after a one year hiatus while I visited other parts of this wonderful country. A great deal of work and resources have gone into upgrading the Cabanas and the resort (Marea) in general. It was my 8th visit to the resort. Unfortunately the era of efficiency experts has reached this outpost of the hospitality industry! Major cuts in staff is affecting the level of service, particularly the food services and the entertainment group which was always the highlight of the resort and which has been shamefully downgraded in terms of duration and otherwise. As regrettable as this may be, a vacation at this resort remains pleasurable as are the notable services provided by the Sunwing representative, Elena, her patience and gratiousness. As a footnote I recommend a little know attraction: A visit to the Cactus Gardens 2 Km west of the access road to the resort on the main highway, direction Pilon. Go an hour before sunset and bring your camera.
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
- Hotel transfers for packages with WestJet to USA (with exception to Honolulu)
- Hotel transfers for packages to Europe
- Items of a personal nature
- 3 Meals daily plus snacks
- All drinks (domestic beer & cocktails daily from 10am-11pm)
- Daily activities
- Nightly entertainment
- SCUBA lesson
- Non-motorized water sports
- 1 Buffet & 1 a la carte restaurant
- 1 Snack bar
- 2 Bars Pool (with kids area)
- Beauty salon (fee)
- Day time tennis
- SCUBA Diving
- Shops (fee)
- Medical service (fee)
- Tour desk
- Two 3/4 beds
- Bathroom with shower only
- Satellite TV
- Safety deposit box (fee)
- Balcony or Terrace
- 110v or 220v (adaptors/transformers required) available
- Max occupancy 3 persons
For the Kids - Kids' area of pool.
Resort Location Map
Marea Del PortilloManzanillo De Cuba,Cuba
- Hotel Contacts
- Extra Info
Carretera Granma, km. 12 1/2 Marea del Portillo, Pilon 87900 Cuba
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.
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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.
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