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Welcome back YVRck! How was it?

Hi Yvrck, I look forward to hearing about your trip to Breezes Jibacoa. Will you be writing a review?

I am going to the Dominican next week but I am hoping to return to Jibacoa in the spring if all goes well.

I hope you had a great time. I noticed a great review of the flight down. That is a nice change from all the negatives about the airlines we constantly hear about on all the travel boards.

Cheers
George

Welcome back! Hope this visit to Jibacoa was your best yet!

Thanks guys!

Much as I love going to Breezes Jibacoa, it’s good to be back home again too.

I plan to write a review shortly as an update to the ones I submitted previously. I’ll also post photos, especially of the buffet food area because several people have asked for these. If the intent was to streamline the buffet lines, it’s not working. To be honest I saw little difference in the reno. The new beach bar is lovely. The two new hot tubs on the pool deck are quite small.

The resort was full to capacity during our visit which surprised me as we’ve never experienced more than 70% occupancy during our usual end Nov/ beginning Dec. visits. Line ups were very common! The mad rush of people waiting for the dinner buffet to open was ridiculous/embarassing. Geez, you’d think people hadn’t had a meal for days! Our dinner at Martino’s was wonderful until a domestic dispute/brawl shattered the ambience. Somewhat ugly!

Weather was a mixed bag but we anticipated this. Managed to snorkel and get lots of footage during the first two days. After than it was cloudy, rainy and red flagged. Last two days were also red flagged due to jellyfish but it was lovely and sunny. Sadly the reef is about 70% dead now and the fish more aggressive than ever due to the guests continuing to feed them bread and bananas. Still, we did attempt to educate people- one at a time, and will work closely with the management team on future educational programmes.

The beach dogs are gone. Lots of cats and kittens hanging around the buffet restaurant and of course guests are busy feeding them.

Going back to Breezes Jibacoa which is still very heavily dominated by Canadian guests seemed like a roadtrip across Canada in a tropical setting.

The Cameleon next door had about 80 guests. We spoke to several and also visited the resort. Looks like not much has changed there. Still lovely, quiet and very civilized. No complaints that we heard of so those going to CVJ soon can rest easy.

Stay tuned for the review and photos. I just need to find a few free hours.

Thanks for the update on CVJ

Thanks for posting YVRck!! Sounds like you had an interesting visit to Martinos!! ::slight_smile: Look forward to seeing your review.

Brawl?? never seen even an argument while in Cuba, some people just cant seem to relax

We were equally shocked as we’d never witnessed this before in numerous trips to Cuba and especially to Breezes Jibacoa.

Seemed to us like a full day of drinking and a misunderstanding between the spouses brought on the ugly domestic dispute which turned to physical abuse initiated by the wife and escalated by the husband. He’ll have a birthday to remember!

By booking into Martino’s a la carte we had hoped to avoid the “animal show” in the buffet on Seafood Night which featured lineups out the door and waits close to an hour to get food or a table.

It was all just a bit surreal but full marks must go to the exceptionally professional staff in the restaurant who handled this explosive situation very well.

Thanks for the update to the CVJ–I thought the same thing when we visited it in Oct so I am hoping the few bad reviews were just that-- a few. When we were at Breezes Oct 28th it was at 100% capacity which I found rare as most other resorts we have visited at that time are no where near that full.

My impression of the “bad” reviews posted for CVJ this fall were that the vacationers were “jaded”, possibly by the beach dog issue which btw has been taken care of.

We did meet one fellow who was staying at CVJ last week and he was not having a good time. Clearly the fellow did no research before booking because he was a single, looking for a party and most people know that CVJ is NOT the place for this sort of vacation experience. That mistake however is not the fault of the resort. If this guy were to post a review, I don’t think it would be a glowing or unbias assessment of the resort. Everyone else we spoke to loved the place, were returnees with another trip to the resort already booked for next year and said the food was just fine with good service in a very relaxed and casual atmosphere. That’s the CVJ we’ve come to know!

One especially interesting CVJ guest we met on the beach was a returnee who first discovered the place in the 1980s when it was known as the Tropicoco and under Canadian ownership/management. What a fabulous history lesson of the resort he was able to share with us! I can imagine how pristine the reef must have been back then.

Of course, I’ve been known to be wrong, so if those going to CVJ in the next while disagree with our impressions of last week, don’t hesitate to set the record straight when you get back. Based on what we saw and heard, we’d go back to CVJ without reservation if the price were right.

As for the Breezes being at capacity during your visit in late October, I’m not surprised. The resort seems to go out of its way to please Canadians. Heck, even the coffee served in the buffet comes from Canada and it’s pretty weak. Personally when I vacation in Cuba I look forward to drinking the more full-bodied, robust Cubita coffee. Breezes is the only resort in Cuba (that I’m aware of) that does Oktoberfest (Canadian style according to a german review I recently read) and Halloween.

As my hubbie pointed out, this visit to Breezes seemed more like a trip across Canada in a tropical location. We met Canadians from every province except Saskatchewan and Quebec is now much more heavily represented than in previous visits.

Thanks for your comments - I would be interested to hear how the beach dog issue has been ‘taken care of’?

We are leaving for CVJ opn Friday for our 3rd visit. Will let you know if indeed your impressions are spot on. Hopefully they are right, since we love the place!

3 more sleeps…

While we were at Breezes, there were no dogs to be found anywhere on the property except for one dog who showed up briefly on the beach one afternoon. It appeared he may have wandered over from CVJ. We saw no dogs anywhere on the CVJ beach either and we walked the length of beach both morning and afternoon. I have no idea where the dogs went and presumed the dog catcher a previous reviewer had mentioned, managed to do his job which I understood was to rid the resorts of the canines.

As I had promised Radar before departure, I made an appointment with resort management to discuss the Spanky Project. We asked that the resorts consider a spay/neuter programme for both the dogs and cats since there are many cats and kittens hanging around the lobby/buffet area of Breezes right now. We also suggested signs be posted that guests please not feed the dogs and cats. We suggested that all vacation reps should be required to do a short “education” blurb at every briefing to inform guests.

Management at both resorts were very polite to us and said they would take our suggestions and see what could be done. They were already aware of the Spanky Project and another programme run through the University of Havana. What Cubans do have a very hard time understanding is the cultural difference between how Cubans and Canadians view their pet dogs. Cubans have enough trouble putting food on their own tables, nevermind having any money available for pampering their pooches. Cubans just can’t comprehend that some Canadians see their dogs as their “children” and treat the animals accordingly by spoiling them with organic biscuits from doggie bakeries, special dog clothing, doggie jewellery, etc. One thing neither management team was willing to risk was a possible future law suit brought by a guest injured/bitten by a dog. This and disease issues have always been my own personal concerns with regard to the dog problem.

The cats were viewed differently by management. Cats keep the rodent/cockroach populations under control and are therefore of value to the resort. Of course, this could all change if the now very skinny cats become “lazy” and fat because they are constantly fed scraps from the buffet.

I also spoke with the Breezes employee who helped find Chi Chi so the dog could be brought to Canada and she showed us a photo of Chi Chi in his new home in Toronto along with the couple’s other dog. My husband commented that Chi Chi didn’t look especially happy and maybe missed roaming freely at Jibacoa where it’s much warmer. I’m sure the new owner would beg to differ with hubbie’s opinion!

Just as the reef fish are becoming ever more aggressive due to them being fed bread and bananas by snorkeling guests, so too I suspect the dog problem will reappear at some point in the future because guests are attracting the animals by feeding them.

If we want to stop what some see as cruelty to the animals by the resident dog catcher, we have to take responsibility for our own actions. Even zoos post signs saying “Do Not Feed the Animals” so I see no reason why the resorts can’t do the same.

It’s all up to us!!

YVRck: Thanks so much for your updates about Jibacoa – both Breezes and Cameleon. I wholeheartedly agree that the responsibility rests on guests (us) to ensure that dogs & cats do not become unwitting victims of our largesse of treating them as pets. >:( The same could be said about “responsible snorkeling” … feeding bananas and bread to fish is not “normal” and needs to be vigourously discouraged.
Of course management and staff will be polite and receive our suggestions. I wonder if, somehow, we could not go further by providing a plasticized one-page info sheet that would remain in each hotel room that could outline some education regarding snorkeling, as well as clear info about the real impact of ‘befriending’ the dogs and cats. :slight_smile:
Seriously, if someone would ‘write up’ such a document, I would gladly contribute to ensuring that the info is available in every room, and promoting educational seminars for all staff who deal with guest orientations and snorkeling activities.

[quote=@madrugada]I wonder if, somehow, we could not go further by providing a plasticized one-page info sheet that would remain in each hotel room that could outline some education regarding snorkeling, as well as clear info about the real impact of ‘befriending’ the dogs and cats. :slight_smile:
Seriously, if someone would ‘write up’ such a document, I would gladly contribute to ensuring that the info is available in every room, and promoting educational seminars for all staff who deal with guest orientations and snorkeling activities.

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Actually, there is already a sheet in the guest info. folder in every room at Breezes asking that guests not touch the coral but we felt this was inadequate. This was something we discussed with management a few years back and they obliged us. Problem is that many guests never bother to look inside the info. folder! That was why we suggested the info needed to be given at the welcome briefings and become a part of the resort mission statement. Even staff who should know better, need to be educated! We were mortified to find the dive master and his staff still taking bags of bread out. We continue to refuse to dive with them on account of their actions.

In our discussions with resort management, my husband and I immediately volunteered. It’s called putting your money where your mouth is! We are already in the process of putting together an educational sheet about not feeding the fish & general reef ecology for Breezes. We’re doing it in three languages- english, german and french. I feel confident that Breezes management will again follow through with their end of the “bargain” and promise to us. Not so sure about management at CVJ though, but hey we try!

Perhaps one of the dog lovers at Debbie’s could do the same type of thing for the dog issues? It’s one thing to “talk the talk” but quite another to “walk the walk” :wink:

Any volunteers??? :slight_smile:

YVRck, thanks for so obviously “putting your money where your mouth is” regarding preserving the reef and the marine life at Jibacoa. It is encouraging that you feel that Breezes management will follow through.
What further steps would you recommend be done – are there individuals here in Canada (I believe that Transat Vacations/Nolitours are the Canadian operator of CVJ) that should be approached? Should they receive a few letters from individuals outlining our concerns? What about the Cuban tourism representatives at the “Travel Shows” across Canada?
Last year at CVJ, even the waiter was trying to give me bananas when I was going snorkeling! It is difficult to encourage tourists not to feed the fish when the staff encourages it. (Reminds me of people who feed the ducks in our parks, standing beside the “Please don’t feed the ducks” signs.) :frowning:
Thanks again for your leadership on this issue. Let us know how we can best “step up to the plate”. :slight_smile:

[quote=@yvrck][quote=@madrugada]

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We were mortified to find the dive master and his staff still taking bags of bread out. We continue to refuse to dive with them on account of their actions.

In our discussions with resort management, my husband and I immediately volunteered. It’s called putting your money where your mouth is! We are already in the process of putting together an educational sheet about not feeding the fish & general reef ecology for Breezes. We’re doing it in three languages- english, german and french. I feel confident that Breezes management will again follow through with their end of the “bargain” and promise to us. Not so sure about management at CVJ though, but hey we try!

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This summer whilst diving in the DR the Dive Master pulled out a bag of banana’s from his BCD and started to feed the fish. I still don’t understand the need to do that on a dive, for me it’s only a sign of a crap lazy Dive Master who dosent want to look for more interesting things to see. For the couple of novice divers that where also diving, to be suddenly swarmed by a school of aggressive fish can be very unsettling. Thankfully I hadn’t seen this done previously in a long time.

The reef educational sheet is an awesome idea and I would love to see this kind of information in my room on arrival. ‘Bite Back’ which is a organisation against Shark finning and long line fishing etc, has provided some free stuff to give away on our next dive trip to Honduras in March. It’s a fantastic way of making people aware of what is going on and spreading the word of worth while projects. We will hand them out to other divers and dive operators.

[quote=@yvrck]We are already in the process of putting together an educational sheet about not feeding the fish & general reef ecology for Breezes. We’re doing it in three languages- english, german and french. I feel confident that Breezes management will again follow through with their end of the “bargain” and promise to us. Not so sure about management at CVJ though, but hey we try!
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I’ll be happy to lend any help you may need to finalize the French version!

On my last trip, there were a number of guests from spanish speaking countries. Perhaps the spanish version should be included as well.

Thanks for your offers to help with this project! I’ll be in touch by PM after Christmas because we’re all very busy right now with other committments.

I plan to take you up on your offers for translation help. Lord knows I get myself into enough trouble here in the forum because english isn’t my mother tongue :wink: The spanish was a given and is already covered, but adding Italian would be good. Anyone?

:slight_smile: Welcome back, yvrck! Thanks for the sharing your photos. What a lovely looking resort. :smiley:

Thanks for your conscious efforts to try and educate folks about the delicate balance between man and animal.

Sounds like a lot of us who travelled to various destinations at the end of November didn’t have great weather :’(.

I look forward to your updated review of BJ - I will continue to live vicariously through yours, and others’, reviews of this property as it’s not a resort we will likely visit. :-*