News:

  • February 28, 2021, 04:06:53 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: John and Ann's report on Marea del Portillo (Manzanillo Cuba)  (Read 7340 times)

Offline Jammyisme

  • Max Member
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1994
  • whooping it up in pilon cuba :)
John and Ann's report on Marea del Portillo (Manzanillo Cuba)
« on: February 20, 2008, 06:58:27 AM »
 We flew out of Montreal for two good reasons, one it was a lot closer to Ottawa and two the flight was during the day. I am not a big fan of night flights. I have nothing but praise and congrats to Sunwing. They did a bang up job. We paid the extra 50 bucks each to get a set in row 6 , which had more leg room for me. I brought my bag of medical stuff from NJT and realized that I had forgot my papers at home.  :duh:  So that cost me 60 bucks for the extra weight. I was rushed right through customs in Cuba. They had drug dogs running amongst the tourists smelling the bags. So  outside of the little airport there is a hotel person with a box of envelopes waiting for you with your registration info and bracelet. Onto the bus we go and after an hour and a half of rickety roads through the mountains (very scenic!) we arrived at Marea del Portillo Hotel.  Most of the day was spent travelling. We went to check out our cabano and it was not what we had expected. 3 single beds and nothing working. My wife was very dissapointed and wanted to go home. Much to our disappointment we thought you had regular , superior , vip and cabano.  And cabano was one step below a vip.  Very disappointing because we had paid for what we thought was the best.  the attitude was too bad so sad.  So the next day, we managed to get ourselves transferred to cabano 40 on the ocean side.  Big difference, although it was smelling of mold. (We thought maybe it was something in the sewage pipes)  We were second from the end where a lagoon was.  We tried to sleep with the bathroom window open but ended up picking up little green tree fogs in the bathroom and spiders.  The area, is rugged and beautiful, the people are magnificient and desperately poor. It is mostly a farming province with the two hotels as being the major source of foreign income. I saw a lot of people with no shoes , dressed in rags, grinning and smiling and waving at us when we passed by. One of the singers put dibs on my sandals.  He spent the next two weeks reminding me of our agreement. I thought that was a bit much. We bought the three village bus tour, which was pretty good. We recvd a lot of information and checked out the three local villages nearby. Two of them were Marea and Pilon. The highlight of our first week was the tripto the capital city of  Bayamo, Loong day. Three hours there, (with frequent pit stops) and whirlwind tour of the city, (cigar factory, museum, bar and stores) and then three hours back to the hotel. So that was a long day.  We found out we had full use of the falaron hotel up the hill. The first week at Marea, a lot of the guests were averaging 65 and up.Lots of walkers and house coats in the cafeteria in the morning.  :roleyes: I felt very young there  :yahoo: We had brought some extra shopping money and there was practically nothing to buy. I was disappointed. The only handicrafts you could buy were from the black marketers who hung out in the woods on the end of the beach at each side. The store up the hill at the Falaron was much larger and had a few things you could buy. Cigarettes, cigars and booze and teeshirts.  The Falaron , is a newer hotel  with lots of stairs and people with a pulse,  but much further away from the beach. Marea is very quiet  and very popular with the seniors,on the beach and older. So its a toss up. The food was fine for Cuban food I actually like the homemade ice cream for dessert.  (coconut, yummy) We started to check out the night shows at the Falaron out of boredom and found them to be a lot more active. I also found out there was a disco at 11pm . I couldn't stay awake that late, because I was too bored  So I missed out on it. The first week just flew bye with our friends from Toronto area leaving on Thursday evening. Next morning the hotel was full of new Toronto area tourists.  Then again it changed over for the Montreal flight on Sunday morning. We had bought a bus ticket for church in Niquero at 11am, which never showed up. I asked what happened and was told that the bus was cancelled.So we shared a cab with 2 other people and took a 45 minute cab ride to Niquero, The cab driver (Roy) waited for us and took us back when we were done. Total cost  64 pesos. Every time we took a cab somewhere we ended up picking up a local to bring with us as transportation between the various villages was extremely difficult and a daily chore for the locals. When we got back to the hotel we heard about a mountain tour that one of the bus drivers would give us for 15 pesos each, instead of 49 pesos, with a minimum of 4 people. We met up with a couple from the Toronto area and booked it for the following week. That turned out to be the highlight of week 2. Three hours of driving through the mountains, along the savage sea coast, and through the villages.We dropped off some supplies at what they called an elementary school. Visited a farm and drank homegrown cuban coffee. Amazing time. Our tour guide showed us the damage caused by the various hurricanes and explained how it is a constant battle for villagers to keep up with the repairs. He told us that the Cuban government was considering building another hotel in this region,  Back at our cabana in the hotel we started receiving unwanted visitors. It rained one time for one day and that was enough to bring out the mosquitoes. We found a buggy eyed  white tree frog on the wall in the bathroom. Numerous small , fast moving black spiders. One day a spider that was at least 3.5 inches in diameter (the mother?) came through the air conditioner. I almost tripped over the biggest black cockroach I had ever seen in my life. And finally a Cuban Boa Constrictor ran for cover when I walked by it on the sidewalk leading to our cabano. We were ready to go home after this. I noticed an unusual large presence of police everywhere and I was wondering what was going on. We paid 20 pesos each for the vip treatment at the airport and we turned out to be the only ones who did that. First in line for boarding pass and first on the plane. With our own private air conditioned lounge. I liked it.  :) After a good flight home,  I heard the news that Fidel Castro had resigned and realized that was probably the reason. So would we go back? Not for 14 days for sure. Not during the raining season for sure. And not anything less than a vip. The people were magnificent and heart warming. The nature was astounding . The hotel needs work.  And we are glad to be home in frozen Canada again with no gigantic spiders on the walls .  If you want to see my pics I started loading them under a folder called john in the gallery  :hellowave:

Offline Milli

  • Max Member
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 4896
Re: John and Ann's report on Marea del Portillo (Manzanillo Cuba)
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 08:51:12 AM »
 :icon_thumright: Very interesting trip report Jammyisme!  I am beginning to think that this is where my nephew went to in Cuba on vacation a year before our first trip to Cuba. I know he and his friends left most of their clothes behind for the desperately poor people living around the very "rustic" resort.  This sounds like it was a real adventure...maybe not one you would like to repeat but a real "experience".  What keeps all these "elderly" people coming back to this resort?  I don't think I would get much sleep with all the wildlife sharing my room!
Melia Las Americas  '05,'12,'12
Iberostar Varadero '06
Paradisius Rio de Oro '06
Sandals Royal Hicacos '07
Playa Pesquero '07 '11
R. Hideaway Ensenachos'08
GBP Ambar '08 '09
GBP El Portillo '10 
GBP Cayo Leventado'10

Offline Jammyisme

  • Max Member
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1994
  • whooping it up in pilon cuba :)
Re: John and Ann's report on Marea del Portillo (Manzanillo Cuba)
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2008, 08:56:43 AM »
I dunno. they love it . Its like a senior citizens residence. Every night the band did the cha cha cha song, Lady in red , and Blue Spanish eyes. No wonder my wife and I went to bed early a lot.  We were falling asleep  :binkybaby:

oh and I forgot to mention the rampant diaherra (spelling?). Thank God for my bottle of acidophilus. It helped a lot of people. One couple called me their new best friend.  :laughing7:

BTW One couple told me the reason why they like it there so much is that there was nothing to do.  :ROFL:

Offline Jammyisme

  • Max Member
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1994
  • whooping it up in pilon cuba :)
Re: John and Ann's report on Marea del Portillo (Manzanillo Cuba)
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 08:57:47 AM »
And yes it was an adventure.  :yahoo:

Offline mojitomiss_cuba

  • Locker Talker
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 3444
Re: John and Ann's report on Marea del Portillo (Manzanillo Cuba)
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2008, 01:45:00 PM »
Jammy, you and Anne are WAAAYYYY to young and lively for this resort :ROFL:

Thanks for scoping this out for me, I can now scratch it off my list. Definitely not my cup of tea.

Oh and as for your NJT thing. Sunwing is VERY good at reimbursing overweight charges after the fact - just ask Randy Rainbow. He paid the overweight charges upfront and submitted a copy of his signed NJT letter upon his return and they reimbursed him the cash. Worth a shot - hey 60 bucks is 60 bucks :)

Look forward to seeing some pics
PCV 2005, 2007
SCSM 2005
SCG 2006
RTB Negril 2006
Allegro Cozumel 2007
AB & Solymar Varadero 2008

Offline LindaBT

  • Max Member
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 17575
Re: John and Ann's report on Marea del Portillo (Manzanillo Cuba)
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2008, 03:49:08 PM »
Thanks for the review.  I can also say that I don't think this resort is for us.  I like certain critters fine just not in my room while I'm trying to sleep.  Your mention of the "rampant diarrhea" is also a bit scary.

Offline Gambitt

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 6977
  • High-Tech Redneck!
    • Gambitt Homepage
Re: John and Ann's report on Marea del Portillo (Manzanillo Cuba)
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2008, 03:58:37 PM »
Yup, it's another place that I won't have to consider, but I'm glad you made the best of it.   :grin:
 
If at first, you do not succeed; You Obviously did Not use a BIG enough Hammer!!!
If at first, you Do Succeed.. try not to look tooo Astonished!

Offline Bulldog

  • Member Emeritus
  • Senior Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 28824
Re: John and Ann's report on Marea del Portillo (Manzanillo Cuba)
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2008, 04:27:23 PM »
Well that is not a place I would ever go,m but you have to make the most of thing in that situation. I hope you where able too J & A  :grin:

Now I'm off to check out you pic's  :icon_thumright:

Offline Milli

  • Max Member
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 4896
Re: John and Ann's report on Marea del Portillo (Manzanillo Cuba)
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2008, 07:11:04 PM »
Nice pictures Jammyisme.  So am I right to assume that if you book a Superior room that you will end up in the Farallon section of this resort?  Is this section nicer?   Apart from the boredom factor and all the "critters"  this place does have an appeal but maybe not for two weeks!  The countryside looks amazing. 
Melia Las Americas  '05,'12,'12
Iberostar Varadero '06
Paradisius Rio de Oro '06
Sandals Royal Hicacos '07
Playa Pesquero '07 '11
R. Hideaway Ensenachos'08
GBP Ambar '08 '09
GBP El Portillo '10 
GBP Cayo Leventado'10

Offline Jammyisme

  • Max Member
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1994
  • whooping it up in pilon cuba :)
Re: John and Ann's report on Marea del Portillo (Manzanillo Cuba)
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2008, 09:48:42 PM »
If we ever go back, definetly a superior room at the Fallaron would be the way to go. Absolutely without a doubt. Its a newer hotel with all stairs. So be prepared to walk. And yes the countryside was magnificient. So were the people. They touched us in a way we never thought possible. I just loved that old man. God he was cool. He gave me his cd and said that he put his heart and soul into it and he would love for me to bring it home with me and treasure it for him. I said I would. I cant wait to share it with you guys some day.  Its just the Maria needs work in a big way.  oh and I posted some more pics for your viewing pleasure.

Offline Jammyisme

  • Max Member
  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1994
  • whooping it up in pilon cuba :)
Re: John and Ann's report on Marea del Portillo (Manzanillo Cuba)
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2008, 09:50:31 PM »
oh and .. NOT FOR 14 days. 7 would do just fine