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Back from Cameleon Villas Jibacoa - any questions?

Been back a week now…it was excellent. Food was good, beach was clean and the staff were happy!

Any questions?

Hi glad you had a good time. We are heading here on the 23 of Jan only for a week tho. You have answered most of my questions. Two more can you get coffee anywhere at say around 5am-6am and is there for sure a plug in the bathrooms for hubbys cap machine and if so how long of an extension cord would we need. Got replys to the negative for coffee and yes to plug in but hoping that you could verify both. Thanks Char

Looking at doing a budget type trip this year, looking at Club Cojimar in Cayo Guillermo as #1, but Cameleon Villas Jibacoa is #2 on my list. Anyone been to both? ???

Charlene: If you want coffee at 5:00am, bring your own machine … :frowning: the lobby bar isn’t open then. But, when it is open … forget about your coffee machine! Rudy will knock your socks off with the absolutely best cappuccinos & Spanish Coffee that I’ve ever had in Cuba! ;D

[quote=@steeletug]Hi glad you had a good time. We are heading here on the 23 of Jan only for a week tho. You have answered most of my questions. Two more can you get coffee anywhere at say around 5am-6am and is there for sure a plug in the bathrooms for hubbys cap machine and if so how long of an extension cord would we need. Got replys to the negative for coffee and yes to plug in but hoping that you could verify both. Thanks Char[/quote]Haven’t been to CVJ for awhile, but I doubt you will find coffee anywhere in the wee hours. There are (or were) 110 volt outlets in the room, so no problem finding power for Canadian appliances. :smiley: I love CVJ, and I will be going back sometime…the only caveat is the possible/probable presence of Portuguese Man 'O Wars to mess up the snorkelling!

Speaking of snorkelling: how were the weather conditions? How many red flag days or more importantly, how many green flag days? How’s Rudi and Pablo Pedro? Is the clientele still 99% Canadians?

Ok, …so I keep hearing about what time you can’t get a coffee, can you tell me what time I will be able to get a coffee (in 16 days) ;D oh and of course what time can I have my last drink at night, well at least from the bar? Any scooter tours? if so…where to and how much, for how long? Thanks in advance for the info.

Ocanada and Charlene E… You can get your coffee at 7:30am, at either the Lobby Bar or the buffet. If you can’t wait until then…you will need to bring a coffee machine. There are 110V in the rooms.

As for snorkelling…we didn’t do any this trip. It was quite windy most of the week and PMO were around for about 4 of the 7 days we were there. Also, it wasn’t as warm this trip. When there in Jan/08, we had excellent snorkelling weather for 5 days. Only the last two days were ruined by PMOs. Oh well, just means we have to go again … and soon!

Will be writing a review soon…but with the holidays, it has been difficult.

BTW… Rudy is still the BEST bartender in Cuba!

Cheers.

Obviously, the weather is out of anyone’s control, but I’d love to get a status report on some of the more controllable variables.

Ordinarily, the food would be quite adequate - not great, but certainly fresh and plentiful. When I was there this past October, the food quality and preparation was surprisingly poor. Virtually no fresh vegetables, no fresh-squeezed orange juice, limited supplies - if you didn’t get to the buffet at the beginning of the meal time, there would be almost nothing left a short time later.

More troublesome than the short supply was the lax practice in food preparation. Many guests became very ill due to the food (meat that perhaps had not been properly refrigerated or past its prime) and the dessert trays were constantly over-run with ants in both the buffet and à-la-carte restaurants. There was no mint to be had for mojitos (which I found to be quite odd - mint is a weed: I would expect it to be growing wild). There were frequent shortages of certain beverages or drink ingredients at the bars.

The pack of cats/kittens (over two dozen) at the entrance to the buffet was cute but a bit much. Especially since the plant boxes lining the entrance to the restaurant were being used as litter boxes and were not being cleaned up by the resort staff. The smell was pretty bad, not to mention hygiene issues. :-/

Due to the bad weather for the week I was there and the oil spill off-shore, the beach was a disaster. However, I watched the “clean up” crew every morning as they went along the beach in front of the CVJ and Breezes next door. They raked a bit, chatted amongst themselves a bit, moved on, did NOT pick up the crap, just left most of it there in little piles. :o Hotel management explained, at the time, that these workers were not technically “hotel staff”, but outsourced and that the CVJ had no control over their work. I call BullRoar on that. Still, wondering if the clean-up has improved.

All that being said, the hotel staff was, as usual, WONDERFUL. Before we consider booking the CVJ again, I want to ensure that all these other problems have been fixed.

Can you confirm or add any updates?

Food Hygene / Food General:
Good while we were there. No illness etc noted. No ants at the dessert table either. There was always someone stationed at the Dessert/Fruit table to serve you during Lunch/Dinner. The fruit was freshly cut for you. Orange juice was available every morning for Breakfast.
Plenty of everything to go around. Empty/near empty trays was replaced quickly. Note that I did speak to couple of the staff and they mentioned that during the low season, there were many Cuban guests that horded food at the Buffet and didn’t eat any of it. This lead to shortages etc. One staff member said that this would not happen again, as the resort would no longer be booking any Cuban guests going forward.

Mint was abundant. Always had some for my favorite Mojitos. No shortages at any of the two bars.

Cats:
There were about a dozen cats/kittens by the buffet. No problems regarding the cat litter issue. Didn’t notice anything…and I ususally do…given I’m highly allergic to cats. They were friendly…and only a little aggressive. I was constantly warning other guests not to feed, them, but they don’t listen…

Clean up of the beach was essentially good. The first day (Saturday), there were mounds of sea grass and garbage in front of the Beach bar…but this was cleaned up by Sunday. Over the course of the week, the grounds people were good at keeping the beach clean. By Friday (our last day), the beach was not as well kept as it was throughout the week. Maybe it was their day off, before the big Christmas rush?

Staff as usual were wonderful! They seemed very happy and content. The new management appears to be working out…now anyways. There were no ashtrays at the lobby bar…guest were using disposable cups, with water in them as ashtrays. Rudy, a Bartender mentioned this to the Management, and the next day, there were 50 new ashtrays for the Bar. This made Rudy a happy man.

Hope that helps. I know that Zeuzeuze’s last visit wasn’t as good as previous trips. Maybe the issues were due to the time of the year and changes in Management? For us, it was the same great place, as our previous visits. We will be back…

JJ.

Hubby and I were at Cojimar a couple of years ago just after Christmas and thru the early new year - great 3* - ya know, the sun, rum, and beach are the same at a 3* and a 5* - it’s the people that make the holiday and we enjoyed the Cojimar. Staff and guests were great, food was - it’s Cuba - frankly no real difference between other resorts we’ve stayed in over the past five years - buffet was good, breakfast best, always found something to eat, bar was great - no complaints - We had been to Cayo Guillermo two years previously at another resort and for the difference in money, the Cojimar was great. We’re heading to CVJ on the 21st, have heard good thing from people who’ve been there and if the holiday is anything like what we had a Cojimar, we’ll be very happy. So how many ‘big sleeps’ is it until we go?

Thanks for the info jjbean. 7:30 is late but I can wait, hey I’ll be on vacation… ;D I am not packing a coffee maker, not a chance. As for the weather and the ability to go snorkeling, as I said earlier, thats the chance we take…oh well. As long as I don’t have to go to work for the week that I will be in jibacoa…life is good… :sunglasses:

Hello,

I’m very curious to know who has been replaced in management. Do you know which managers were replaced?

Regarding Cuban guests…was this confirmed, or did you just get this info from one staff member?

Thank you so much for the updates. It’s really great to hear that some of the big issues seem to getting resolved.

hey
im going on my first vacation ever!!! Im taking my gf to cameleon villas jibacoa. i have a couple questions, how late are the bars open? should i bring travellers cheques? canadian cash? try to track down cuban money here first? do they have a proper scuba rental shop?/ charter? can i rent scooters? and do they have a massage therapist? and how much is he/she. also is it a he / she lol

thanks in advance. ps i leave monday~!!!

[quote=@jeweles21]

I’m very curious to know who has been replaced in management. Do you know which managers were replaced?

Regarding Cuban guests…was this confirmed, or did you just get this info from one staff member?

Thank you so much for the updates. It’s really great to hear that some of the big issues seem to getting resolved.[/quote]

To my knowledge, and from those we spoke with at CVJ while staying at Breezes in early Dec., there didn’t seem to be a change in managers. However, the day we had our meeting about reef preservation at CVJ, we did notice some “big shots” getting a tour of the lobby area/cigar-rum shop at CVJ so maybe there were some recent staff changes. From jjbean’s report, it seems to be the resort is as I remember it from previous visits. Her posts/information mirror almost exactly what guests we spoke with on the beach were telling us about their stay at CVJ.

With regard to the Cuban guests at CVJ, we were told that Cubans would be allowed in the low season only. Not sure if this policy was going to apply to only those Cubans who already get several days stay at the resort as part of the work incentive/rewards programme or also to Cuban paying guests. Somehow I don’t see how management would be able to refuse paying Cuban guests from staying at any time they want to. It would be contrary to the new law allowing them to pay/stay at an all-inclusive resort.

Without a doubt, this resort is NOT for everyone! A lot of people have been going recently because they got a really great low price, they did no research before booking and they were then most disappointed. The place is very quiet!! and when it’s windy, the red flags are up so no snorkeling!! I still recall the mortified look on the poor fellow’s face- a single guy looking for a party and women- when we told him there were no night clubs, no 24hour bars, etc. at CVJ . He should have booked a resort in Varadero for the kind of “action” he was wanting/looking for :wink:

Bring Canadian Cash, change your money to Convertable Pesos at the Airport for the best rates.
You cannot get Convertable Peso (tourist Money) outside of Cuba.
Make sure your money is in clean unmarked bills, yeah sounds silly but they most likely won’t accept it if it’s been written on or is torn.
Have fun on your first trip. Take yourself an insulated travel mug, like the XL Coffee styles, you will thank me later…lol. :sunglasses:

if i dont spend all my cuban money. will they transfer it back at the airport? or will there be a mark up, and i lose money on it?

You’ll likely lose a couple of bucks. I usually figure in how much am I gonna need for some vendors, an excursion or two, and some tips, then if I need more I get it exchanged later. If I have $20 or so left over I tuck it away for next year, better to have a couple of cuban bucks when you are waiting for the bus to the resort, nothing better than a couple cold Cristals (beer) on the way to the resort. And remember you will also need $25 each when you leave Cuba, Exit Tax. Get it tucked in the passport day one and there is no surprises.

The lobby bar is open til about 11pm, and the pool bar sometimes later depending on the people there. When we stayed I think it was about 12-1am.
Bring Canadian bills and just change money as you need it at the front desk. Make sure to keep 25CUC each in your passport for your departure tax. Keep your passport and wallet, money etc in your room safe.
There was a scuba shack but I did not go in it, so can’t help you there. I did see a boat going out several times with scuba people.
Scooters are available. out to the left of the resort towards the Breezes resort.
There is a massage therapist, it was a man, I did not go but heard good things about him. It usually is fairly reasonable cost in Cuba for a massage.
Have a great time, and bring the suggested insulated mug, you will be glad you did. ;D

[quote=@yvrck][quote=@jeweles21]

Without a doubt, this resort is NOT for everyone! A lot of people have been going recently because they got a really great low price, they did no research before booking and they were then most disappointed. The place is very quiet!! and when it’s windy, the red flags are up so no snorkeling!! I still recall the mortified look on the poor fellow’s face- a single guy looking for a party and women- when we told him there were no night clubs, no 24hour bars, etc. at CVJ . He should have booked a resort in Varadero for the kind of “action” he was wanting/looking for ;)[/quote]

If tour operators on the internet, would stop putting CVJ in along with the list of resorts at Varadero, there might be less confusion. When I want price quotes for CVJ, I always have to select it from the drop down list for Varadero. Even some travel agents think that CVJ is in Varadero.

I’m going this april and hope that the sea will be calm more often than I’ve experienced in Jan and Oct.