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Which one would you pick?

We’ve narrowed it down to Cayo Largo for our trip in May.

Can’t decide between Sol Pelicano, Cayo Largo or Sol, Cayo Largo.

The price difference between the 2 is very little, so not an issue.

We know that the beach, location will be the same. If you had to pick between the 2 based on the actual hotel, staff, food, which one would you pick?

Thank you,

Jeweles21

[quote=@jeweles21]We’ve narrowed it down to Cayo Largo for our trip in May.

Can’t decide between Sol Pelicano, Cayo Largo or Sol, Cayo Largo.

The price difference between the 2 is very little, so not an issue.

We know that the beach, location will be the same. If you had to pick between the 2 based on the actual hotel, staff, food, which one would you pick?

Thank you,

Jeweles21[/quote]

In my opinion, the biggest difference between the two resorts has more to do with the atmosphere: it’s definitely livelier at the Pelicano, the Sol is more quiet and laid-back.

Personally, I prefer the buffet at the Pelicano, not only because of the food, but also because it’s air-conditioned (the Sol’s buffet is open air) and I prefer AC in the evening because mosquitoes love me!! It can also be pretty hot in May, so you might want to keep that in mind. I was at the Sol Club in June and found it pretty darn hot in the buffet at night. Only thing missing at the Pelicano’s buffet (unless it has changed recently) is a station for flambéed desserts… the ones at the Sol Club are really good!

The rooms are a bit nicer at the Sol, but the ones at the Pelicano are still decent, especially ocean views.

The staff is great at both places, you can’t go wrong in that regard.

Another difference is that the Sol has a gym, the Pelicano does not.

Don’t hesitate to ask more specific questions and do keep us posted on your decision!

Thank you so much for the quick response. I really appreciate it.

I would love to hear from anyone else who has been to both resorts.

Right now, we are leaning towards the Sol Cayo Largo.

Did you happen to look at the Barcello. Had friends there in Jaqn/09 and they speak very highly of the place.

Cheers

:slight_smile: AnneM - I know what the “night-life” is like at the Sol (or lack thereof) but what is it like at the Pelicano? :-*

[quote=@jeweles21]We’ve narrowed it down to Cayo Largo for our trip in May.

Can’t decide between Sol Pelicano, Cayo Largo or Sol, Cayo Largo.

The price difference between the 2 is very little, so not an issue.

We know that the beach, location will be the same. If you had to pick between the 2 based on the actual hotel, staff, food, which one would you pick?

Thank you,

Jeweles21[/quote]

        Hi Jeweles21-

           My wife and I have been to  three resorts on Cayo Largo. Twice at the Sol CL, twice at the Barcelo and once at the Pelicano (we booked a week next month at the Pelicano- our 2nd visit there).

        As far as the rooms go the Sol Cayo Largo are the nicest.  Larger than the rooms at the other two resorts. The Barcelo is a close 2nd and the Pelicano 3rd. 

        The Sol CL and the  Pelicano have the nicest pools on the island. Both free form. The Sol has a swim up bar the others do not. 

      AnneM is correct about the AC at the Pelicano buffet. We were eaten alive a couple of times at the Sol CL buffet. 
     The food at the Pelicano was the best of the three. The Sol and Barcelo are both good but the Pelicano is a little better.

     Service at all three is very good. Front desk, waitstaff, housekeeping, bartenders, all the resort employees are all very good.

    As far as the beaches go it's tough to tell in advance because they can change overnight. But the good thing about that island is that if the beach in front of your resort is narrow a wide beach is only a short walk or ride away.

    We chose the Pelicano this time because the price was so good when we booked in November. If the price of the Sol or Barcelo would have been closer to the Pelicano price we would have had to flip a coin.

    Whichever resort you choose I think you will have a great time.
                                                       Have fun.
                                                         daveb

Not sure, as I go to bed early, but I do know there used to be a party at the Ranchon every Friday night, from 11:00 to 1:00, which was apparently very popular. Not sure if it’s still happening this year. The lobby bar (which isn’t in the lobby!) is a pretty lively place after dinner and late into the evening. I believe the animation staff also takes you into the village or at the Iguana for late-night partying.

daveb: when will you be at the Pelicano?!

  AnneM-

          We'll be flying down to Cayo Largo  from Montreal on April 16th for a week. 

        We would rather the 9, 10 or 11 day packages but the tour operators were only offering 7 and 14.

        Maybe we'll do 14 next time.

        Are you going down anytime soon?

                                                                        daveb

[quote=@daveb]

  AnneM-

          We'll be flying down to Cayo Largo  from Montreal on April 16th for a week. 

        We would rather the 9, 10 or 11 day packages but the tour operators were only offering 7 and 14.

        Maybe we'll do 14 next time.

        Are you going down anytime soon?

                                                                        daveb[/quote]

11 days are being offered again from Montreal during the low season, as of May…!

Hi Anne M. I think you would be a good choice to comment on the Gran Caribe chain on CL. Nobody seems to talk about it much except the members of the cayolargo.net members. I know it is only rated as 2.5 star and from what I can see on the travel websites, Canadian suppliers only sell two of the four Gran Caribe hotels on the island (Villa Soledad and Villa Coral) as the other two (Lindamar and Isla del Sur seem to be exclusively booked by tourists from Italy, Germany, etc). Why is it that Canadians don’t show much interest in the Gran Caribe? Is their food not as good as the Barcelo or Pelicano/Sol? Is it because there is no entertainment or the hotels are older or is it because Canadians simply prefer to stay in higher rated resorts in Cuba? The price difference out of Montreal is significant between the 2.5 to 3.5 star rated resorts. Plus, the Gran Caribe does not show a single supplement added for solo travelers. The beach is just as beautiful and it isn’t as remotely located at the Barcelo. What are your thoughts on the Gran Caribe resort in CL? Why isn’t this hotel as popular? I have stayed at 2 stars in Cuba (Don Lino), 3 stars in Varadero and 4 stars in Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Holguin/Guardalavaca. I think that the difference might be because of the food and what entertainment/activities are provided or not available that would influence the tour operators to give the Gran Caribe a lower rating. Thanks for any input/incite anyone may have.

Hi Trillium! First of all, the beach right now in front of the Gran Caribe is the best of all hotels!

Indeed, there are fewer options in terms of food and facilities at the Gran Caribe complex. In fact, there is no restaurant at Soledad, you have to walk to Coral (not exactly a hardship, it’s only a few minutes, and you can do it by the beach!). The pool at Coral is also small compared to the ones at the Sol Club or the Pelicano. The rooms are probably a bit dated too, but they are clean, and a couple of them open directly onto the beach…! If you are looking for a quiet beach vacation and can be content with basic food (i.e. little variety) and little animation, then by all means, book the Gran Caribe, you should save a good chunk of money.

Also, in case you didn’t know, there is a new restaurant at the Marina (El Torreon) which is apparently very good and could provide a nice change, although it is not part of the all-inclusive deal.

Are you planning a trip to CL soon?!

Thank you AnneM for your comments on the Gran Caribe on CL. My friend that I met at the Don Lino on last year’s April trip has booked herself solo for 2 weeks mid April. She is flying in from Fredericton, NB to Montreal to take advantage of the good deal she found (using her airmiles from Fredericton to Montreal) and emailed me after she booked to ask if I would consider joining her for the company. She is an avid snorkeler like me and this will be her first solo trip (last year to the Don Lino was my very first solo trip and now that fear is gone). I’m OK with simple accommodations, no entertainment because I only need basic, quiet, relaxing, beautiful beach vacation. Food is only important to me in that, being a diabetic, last year at the Don Lino…never having stayed at a 2 star in Cuba before and didn’t bring along food alternatives - I was challenged for lunch every day because they consistently only offered deep fried meat (hot dogs, hamburgers, fish, and french fries) for lunch with no other alternative. There were no nearby restaurants off the resort and I never left the resort area that week. After the 3rd day, my body couldn’t process the fried foods and I couldn’t hold down much food for the remainder of the week. Had I known beforehand the lunches were so high in fat content, I could have brought some lunch protein with me like jar of peanut butter or canned tuna. In retrospect, I probably could have kept some food from breakfast, like a hard boiled egg and from supper the evening before stored in a plastic container on ice in an insulated lunch bag (no fridge in the room) but by the third day when I discovered I couldn’t eat the fried lunch foods any longer, it was too late for me that week because my body needed time to recover. I don’t drink anything but water, tea and coffee anymore because diet pop makes me nauseous (the aspertame I think). I can put about a tablespoon of all natural fruit juice into a bottle of water to give it a bit of flavour but the resorts don’t always have pure fruit juice. In future, I will bring a package of kid’s size tetra boxes of pure fruit juice to add to the water. I never was a beer drinker. I used to love the frozen drinks but had to give them up when the diabetes developed. The Gran Caribe is a 2.5 star and I wondered about the lunches. Breakfasts and dinners were fine at the Don Lino but diabetics can’t skip lunch or the blood sugar goes completely off the scale, causing the liver to produce more sugar. That makes me feel very ill because the kidneys can’t excrete the excess sugar. I’ve only been a diabetic for 2 years and I’m learning more about the disease through the wonderful education program that Public Health provides in our city. Traveling has become a challenge for me with regard to eating. The Don Lino was a challenge after day 3 and I was wondering if the Gran Caribe would be the same. These things are not an issue for a non-diabetic. I suggested that my friend watch the pricing and wait awhile and book the Barcelo or Pelicano but she was too attracted to the $300 price difference and no single supplement and I can’t blame her for that. In the end, if its still available, I will probably book and join her but this time I really need to research and find out what lunches are like at the Gran Caribe…all deep fried? If so, I can meet that challenge by bringing food alternatives. Reviews are rare regarding the Gran Caribe because it is primarily sold to the European market.

Trillium, I’m sorry to hear about your health issues and I understand your concerns. Good idea about bringing fruit juices, because the ones in CL all have added suger - it drives me nuts, but for a week or two, I can live with it, but given your condition, it would be best to bring your own.

I can’t give you more info on the food at the Gran Caribe, but I’d be surprised if you couldn’t find grilled fish and/or chicken at lunch. What I can tell you is that the gentleman responsible for public relations is a terrific person who will go out of his way to help you. You really should post your question on the Cayo Largo forum, and if you get answers in French that you can’t figure out despite the translator (it happens!), I’ll be glad to help you. The gentleman I mentioned is also a contributor to the forum, he posts a “picture of the day”, most of them are taken from the Gran Caribe complex.

As for snorkelling on CL, it is limited, but eeeefarm will be able to give you more info… as soon as she’s back from Santa Lucia!

Thank you AnneM. Yes, the pictures of Jorge Felix on cayoloargo.net are what grabbed my attention to this location one day when I was googling info on that island. Even the cayo largo posters mostly talk about all the other hotels and rarely the Gran Caribe. It must not be popular with Canadians because of its lower rating. If I decide to go, I’ll just go more prepared than I was on the trip last year. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right?..lol. I appreciate your comments.

Decent snorkelling right in front of Villa Lindemar if you are lucky and the sea is not rough. Check out the reef at Punta Mal Tiempo (where the beach turns the corner to go to Playa Paraiso) but be aware of the current when the tide is going out. The tour that takes you snorkelling at the reef is also worthwhile, and you might quietly investigate whether someone will take you just for snorkelling if you aren’t interested in the whole tour. If you are unlucky and the weather is uncooperative, you can still get in a bit of snorkelling behind the sand spit at Playa Sirena. There are often starfish there and other fish in the deep pool. :smiley:

[quote=@trillium2] Even the cayo largo posters mostly talk about all the other hotels and rarely the Gran Caribe. It must not be popular with Canadians because of its lower rating. [/quote]Don’t think that is the reason…just that those resorts are not offered or promoted much in Canada. You can’t book anything other than Pelicano, Sol and Barcelo from Toronto. I would be happy to try Cran Caribe, but it simply is not available to me without travelling to Montreal. :-/

We finally made our choice and booked today.

Going to the Sol Cayo Largo from May 21st to May 28th.

Thank you all so much for your input.

Can’t wait to see the beautiful beach.