The following is my experience:
Serenity Retreat On The Beach
Brisas Covarrubias – April 06th to 13th 2017
Clearing Customs was faster than expected, considering there were other flights being processed.
Once you clear customs, the money exchange booth is to the far right, close to the exit door.
Canadians are still being gouged with the exchange rate for example $200.00 = 143.35 CUC’s.
The bus ride to the resort took 2 hrs and 16 min, it could easily be done in 75 min. However, the roads for the most part are narrow and the driver has to skilfully manoeuvre around slow paced, horse drawn carts, bicycles, and a variety of animals mainly cows, horses, dogs, goats and chickens. My Husband and I really enjoyed the journey through the countryside with a few Villages on the way; it was like having a free tour of the real Cuba.
We pretty much lost two of our seven-day vacation due to travelling, but if you are true-blue, real beach lovers, like we are, it is so very much worth it.
The Cova is isolated and the only hotel in that area, this is a total bonus for the perfect beach retreat. You can walk for miles in either direction. There are no beach vendors or, hustlers, just perfect. We cherish our privacy and personal space, so the less we have to do with people period, during our precious beach time, the better. The beach is absolutely magically surreal and the perfect place to find that Zen and this is the only reason why I have given this resort a 5 star rating. Loved the interchangeable Ocean when it was smooth like glass on some days and gentle waves on others, we were so glad that we packed our water floaters, it was nice being surrounded by the needle and other variety of fish. The Ocean temperature was still on the cool side, but with the glorious sun shining, you don’t really notice once you adjust to it. I would recommend bringing water shoes, because there are allot of shells, conches, coral and rocks at the entrance to the Ocean and sporadically as you wade out; we managed without water shoes, but wish we had taken ours.
When facing the ocean if you go to the far right, you can walk over the rock beds (bring sandals) and go on a fantastic exploring adventure. It is amazing to see all the different types of sun bleached coral, shells, unusual bushes, plant vegetation and ancient embedded fossils within the rock beds; kind of expected a few dinosaurs to come walking out. If you keep on going you will find a small patch of beach, which is great for skinny-dipping.
Now if you walk to the far left of the beach (end of hotel zone) there is a chain link fence and behind there you can rent horses from the locals. If you keep on going you will experience the raw beach it is amazing to see all the stick huts made by the locals for their shade and sleeping in, we kept on going and crossed the rocky beds and that too was an adventure in itself, because you come upon more raw beaches which is totally rustic; it is like being transported back into time and so easy to imagine the Spanish galleons sailing across the ocean; really was hoping to find buried treasure. So nice to get away from people and truly appreciate the beauty of nature; you can bet your boots that the Cova is a hidden gem.
There is limited shade on the beach, so if you want a palapa you will need to get up early. We managed to hunt down two good fabric beach-loungers, but seriously the hotel needs to address their beach lounger situation, many of them are broken.
We were in block 32, ground level, which is a stone throw from the beach and has a beautiful view of the Ocean. It is true the rooms are very tired, outdated and have seen better days. The walls on the ground level are paper-thin, so you can hear EVERYTHING your neighbours are saying and doing. We did bring duct tape to seal in all the cracks around the door to keep the bugs out, this really helped. We want the second level for our return visit. Our maid ensured that we had bottled water every day, clean towels and toilet paper. We had no problems getting hot water or, our toilet flushing however, they do turn off the water periodically. Kind of cracked that the hotel offers a laundry service when they are trying to conserve water? The shower water tastes salty and has a sulphuric smell to it.
The safe costs 14 CUC’s a week. The whole principle of having a safe is to ensure that your valuables are secure, so it does not make sense at all that you have to use the same card to enter your room, for the safe and for the slot to work the air conditioning, electricity and fridge. For safety reasons and to keep your air conditioning on bring something like an old Costco card. Heads up that you will have to return to the receptionist approximately 2 hrs after check in, for them to take a few minutes to program your card for the safe; not impressed at all.
The hotel itself is small and very easy to get around, there are three wooden huts on the grounds, where you can buy souvenirs, really nice finished wooden carvings and trinkets; we did our shopping there, prefer to support the locals. There is a small gift shop close to the lobby where you can purchase booze, coffee, personal items etc. Beside the gift shop is a very small enclosed bar where you can write your name on the wall and here you can get a decent drink; the other bars do not have any top shelve liquor. I really wish they had more enclosed bars, because it is true the mosquitoes are indeed bad in the evenings, due to the surrounding swamps.
We ate primarily at the Buffet and found the food to be wholesome and for the most part tasty, never had trouble finding something good to eat and was thrilled to have lettuce and freshly cut fruit everyday; no tummy issues at all. You can purchase lobster for 15 CUC’s each at the Buffet, but you can also purchase two lobsters from the local fisherman for 10 CUC’s and have them cooked up for you at the Ranchon.
The Staff are put on rotation shifts (day/evenings) and some are moved around, this is hard on them and we found that the service was decent enough, but it made it difficult to find your favourites and establish that top level of service. We prefer to dine alone and found the service much better when we did.
I would like to thank Elizabeth Lllorente Leon for promptly answering my emails, the bottle of Rum in our room and for ensuring our comfort.