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Things to know before you go!

All about Cuba (well almost!) to better prepare for your next visit on the main island of the Caribbean, visit our website www.cubainfos.net online since June 2009 and bilingual since October 2010.

It contains a lot of information (50 points) on Cuba and its people, airports, language, capital, currency, electricity in the hotels, tourist visa card, departure tax, cooking, shopping, etc.. and a section of « things to know » before leaving.

The site is divided into sections, the homepage, the currencies in Cuba, the page « About » which deals with Cuba in general, the page « Things to know » based on our experience, the page « Top 5 » beaches of Cuba (according to us) and a miscellaneous section.

This site is designed specifically for tourists who have never visited Cuba and want to know more ... and also to those wishing to improve their general knowledge and learn new things about the Cuba.

We have visited the « Isla Grande » more than fifty times. It is a destination that we know well and this site allows you to learn more about this beautiful country on the eve of great changes.

Hope you will find this site useful!


Here is a list of additional information about Cayo Largo. These informations come from the documentation of the Tour Operator, various websites but most of them are from our impressions and personal experiences of Cayo Largo.


Pools and beaches:

Every hotel, except Villa Soledad, has a swimming pool (salt water). It is generally permitted to use them 24 hours a day.

There are no private beaches in Cayo Largo. It is not polite to use chairs and umbrellas from other hotels. If you absolutely need shade and chairs, you will have to be on the beach in the morning or bring your umbrealla.

Bring in your luggage an inflatable mattress which you will leave at destination (to another tourist!). This mattress is very useful for swimming, on the beach and pool chairs (made of out hard plastic, though for the back!) and in your hammock. Very usefull!

Beach towels:

In Gran Caribe hotels, cleaned beach towels are put in your room everyday, they are exchanged for the ones from the day before. At Sol Pelicano, Sol Cayo Largo and Olé Playa Blanca hotels, you get and exchange them at the Club House near the pool. It is included in your all-inclusive plan.

If you loose or do not bring back your beach towel at the end of your stay, you will be charged 20 CUC. Do not leave your beach towel unattented on the beaches.

Medical services:

You may contact the hotel lobby and the doctor will come to your room. It is also possible to see a doctor directly at the mini-clinic of certain Hotels or at the polyclinic in the village. Doctors are available 24 hours a day. Cost will vary depending on the time of the day and care received. Do not forget to ask for a receipt, it is possible those fees will be refunded by your insurance company (only if it is an emergency).

It is strongly suggested to buy a medical insurance before you leave. Most of the credit cards do have travel insurance included (Gold or Platinum cards) but only if you have purchased your trip with the same card. Consult their websites to know more. Before leaving, you should visit a Traveler's clinic to be informed of vaccines recommended in the country you will visit. In Cuba, no vaccin is mandatory but the Twinrix (Hepatitis A + B) is good to have.

Buffets:

Every hotel, except Villa Soledad has a buffet restaurant. Breakfast is served from 07h30 to 10h30, lunch is served from 13h00 to 14h45 and dinner from 19h30 to 22h00. Wines and beers are included but do not except too much from wine in Cuba. They now offer wine in Cuba in the province of Pinar del Rio. The wine is called Soroa.

Beach Grill (Ranchón):

The Ranchons are very popular at lunch time. There is a beach Ranchon at hotel Sol Cayo Largo, Sol Pelicano, Villa Lindamar and Olé Playa Blanca. It is possible to eat lobsters ($) or large shrimps ($) on request.

Snack bars:

There is a snack bar beside the pool bar at Sol Cayo Largo (snack bar Sol Azul), Sol Pelicano (bar ZunZun), Barceló (snack bar Opalino) and Isla del Sur (bar Medusa) where they make pizza during lunch time.

« A la carte » restos (dinner only):

The Restaurants « A la carte » at dinner time :

  • Sol Cayo Largo: Restaurant "Las Trinas" (gourmet)
  • Sol Cayo Largo: Ranchón "Lindarena" (mixed-grill)
  • Sol Pelicano: Restaurant "La Yana" (gourmet)
  • Sol Pelicano: Ranchón "Los Quelonios" (Creole cuisine)
  • Villa Lindamar: Ranchón "Espigon" (Creole cuisine)
  • Olé Playa Blanca: Ranchón "Vela mar" (Creole cuisine)
  • Olé Playa Blanca: Snck bar « Opalino » (International cuisine)
  • For all « A la carte » Restaurants, you need to make a reservation (dress code). They will give you a coupon to present at the door. All these Restaurants are also part of the all-inclusive package. You may buy better wines than the one included in most Restaurants.

    Please note: During the low season (May to November), some Restaurants may be closed.

    Other Restaurants & bars:

    The following places are not part of the all-inclusive package, but you can eat and drink for very reasonable prices.

  • Restaurant and bar of Playa Sirena: Lobsters and shrimps.
  • Bar of Playa Paraiso: Cocktails, beer and snadwiches.
  • Restaurant « El Torreon »: Pizza and seafood.
  • Bar « Taberna del Pirata »: outdoor terrace in the village near the marina
  • Disco « La Movida »: Outdoor bar and dance floor.
  • La Movida is located in the village, on your right when you arrive in the village (the new location). Open from 11PM until 2AM (Beer 1 CUC and drinks 2 CUC). The perfect place to meet the hotels employees. Tourists and Cubans love that place to meet and dance all night long. Salsa lovers... this is YOUR place!

    Beauty parlor:

    There are beauty parlors in Cayo Largo. They are often located in the same building of gym and spa facilities:

  • Africain braids: 25 CUC
  • Cut: 8 CUC
  • Shampoo: 3-4 CUC
  • Styling: 6-8 CUC
  • Manucure: 6 CUC
  • Massage:

    Most hotels at Cayo Largo offer professional massage. Some places are in a private room and others in a hut near the pools. In this case, always book your massage early in the morning before the boom-boom at the pool in the afternoon. Here is a price list of the services offer :
    Type of massage Time Price in CUC
    Body massage corp. + anti-cellulitis 40 mins 20
    Body massage + anti-cellulitis 60 mins 25
    Anti-stress 60 mins 25
    anti-cellulitis 25 mins 15
    Local massage 20 mins 10
    Facial massage 20 mins 15
    Facial + body massage 60 mins 30
    Mud therapy Time Price in CUC
    Body therapy 40 mins 25
    anti-cellulitis 30 mins 15
    Local therapy 20 mins 10
    Facial therapy 20 mins 15
    Physiotherapy Time Price in CUC
    Therapeutic massage 20 mins 15
    Reflexotherapy 25 mins 12
    Digipuncture 20 mins 12

    If you want to have a massage at Sol Pelicano hotel, ask for Judy, she is very professional. We know her for many years. Say Hi to Judy from Lily & Normand!

    Internet:

    You can access the Internet at the following hotels (24/24):

  • Sol Cayo Largo: 2 stations
  • Sol Pelicano: 3 stations
  • Olé Playa Blanca: 2 stations
  • Isla del Sur: 1 station
  • The fee is 10 CUC for one hour. The connection speed is quite slow and the keyboard layout is in Spanish, so be patient and buy more minutes than you think of.

    Phones:

    To phone to Cayo Largo from Canada, you must dial:

  • 011 (to exit country)
  • 53 (Cuba)
  • 45 then the phone number.
  • If you want to call Cayo Largo from Canada, dial 011 then the area and phone number. From Cayo Largo to Canada, dial 119 followed by the area and phone number. Collect calls are impossible at Cayo Largo neither Canada Direct nor 1-800 phone numbers. You can buy prepaid cards at the stores or lobbies. It is very expensive, 2.50 CUC per minute.

    Here are the communication fees at Cuba...

  • Local: 0.10 @ 0.60 CUC/minute
  • National long distance calls: 0.70 @ 2.40 CUC/minute
  • International long distance calls...
    Canada, USA & Mexique: 2.00 @ 3.50 CUC/minute
    Central & South America: 4.50 @ 5.90 CUC/minute
    Others: 7.80 @ 8.00 CUC/minute
  • Roads:

    There is only one main paved road, connecting the hotels with the airport and the village (marina). It is obviously impossible to get lost in Cayo Largo! There is very few traffic and driving is on the right side. Other roads are small sandy trails, so take care if you rent a scooter!

    Do not drive scooter or Jeep if you are drunk! You will be held responsible for injuries. This is a very serious offense in Cuba.

    Clothings:

    During the day : light sport clothing and beach clothing. Evening: bring a pair of sweaters and long pants between December and February as the evenings could be cooler. Generally, casual attire is worn all day, but at dinner time and for the evening most people dressed up a bit more, especially when going to « A la carte » Restaurants.

    Medical facilities:

    There is no hospital in Cayo Largo. In the village there is a clinic for minor injuries ($) and basic treatments. There is also a dental clinic. In case of serious injuries, you will be transported rapidly to Havana to receive proper cares.

    Distance (km):

    With the help of Google Earth, I was able to evaluate the distance between the hotels, beaches and some particular places (might be good for your long walk on the beaches):

  • Playa Tortuga (east beach) down to the communication tower: 16,3 km
  • The communication tower to the Olé Playa Blanca: 1,5 km
  • The distance between the Playa Blanca hotel to the west beaches (approximation of the entry point to the hotels beach):

  • Villa Caprichio (closed): 0,9 km
  • Villa Iguana (closed): 1,3 km
  • Isla del Sur hotel: 1,6 km
  • Villa Coral hotel: 1,7 km
  • Villa Soledad hotel: 2,0 km
  • Villa Lindamar hotel: 2,5 km
  • Sol Pelicano hotel: 3,1 km
  • Sol Cayo Largo hotel: 3,6 km
  • Playa Punta mal Tiempo: 6,3 km
  • Playa Paraiso: 7,0 km
  • Playa Sirena: 7,5 km
  • Water:

    The water in the hotels is drinkable but do not have a good taste. It is suggested to buy bottled water at the stores. You get a refill at the bars (for free) as they use purified water for ice and cocktails.

    Mosquitoes:

    Especially during summer, mosquitos may be present. They usually appear only at sunset, not during the day. It depends on the climatic conditions (rain, humidity), direction of the wind, time of the year, etc... As a preventive measure they fog the hotels surroundings every night. However, it is still very much recommended to bring a good insect spray repellent (DEET Based), just in case.

    We always bring with us a very good insect repellent in cream called Bizzz Bizzz (or Watkins). These creams are allowed aboard the aircraft.

    Sea Lice / Sea-Bathers Eruption:

    What is sea-bathers eruption? Seabather eruption (also known as sea lice) is a form of dermatitis that appears on covered areas of the skin (under bathing suits, shirts, and long hair), rather than on exposed areas as with swimmers itch, and is associated with bathing in coastal waters.

    Episodes reported in Long Island waters are believed to be caused by the larval form of the sea anemone (Edwardsiella lineata). A similar condition that occurs regularly off the coast of Florida (also termed "seabather eruption") is caused by the larval form of the thimble jellyfish (linuche unquiculata), locally referred to as sea-lice. In either case, the dermatitis results when the tiny larval forms (the size of a pin head) are trapped underneath bathing suits or in the hair of the bather. Each larvae is equipped with a number of nematocysts (stinging cells), that can be triggered by simple mechanical pressure or by osmotic changes that occur with evaporation or when rinsing off with freshwater.

    What are the symptoms of sea-bathers eruption? The dermatitis that results from the nematocyst sting appears within a matter of hours, and can be intensely pruritic (itchy). As with swimmers itch, the rash usually subsides within a week, depending on its severity and the individuals sensitivity. Treatment of sea-bathers eruption is the same as with swimmers itch. If itching is severe, contact your health care provider who may prescribe lotion or creams to lessen your symptoms.

    Visit this website to learn and be prepared (Cancún Travel Guide): http://www.cancun.bz/information/sealice.php

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    Cayo Largo is owned by the Cuban government. Some contracts of administration are given to foreign hotel chains like Sol Meliá.

    Language:

    Spanish

    Currency:

    Convertible Peso (CUC)

    Required documents:

    Valid passport + Visa tourist card

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    About the authors ... We are Lily and Normand, globetrotters and Cuba lovers. Our travels took us to many wonderful countries around the world, but Cuba will always have a special place in our heart. We have been there more than fifty times. We like to call it our "segunda casa". We are Canadians and we need to escape our harsh and long winters once and a while! Traveling and building personal websites are our greatest passions. The information which is ensued there is simply from our experience and appreciation as travelers. Our sites are non-officials and opened to general public. In spite of we did our best to share the most exact informations, we cannot be held responsible for changes, errors or omissions. No part of this website may be reproduced, modified, distributed, published, broadcast, retransmitted or circulated in any form without our prior consent.