Hello hello my lovelies! How’s it going?
A bright one from me today! Cuba is a place I’ve always wanted to visit and if you follow me on Instagram (@sachietv) you’ll know that I was there last week! I got on a plane and flew down to C-C-Cuba for a week at the Sol Rio Luna y Mares Resort!! I’m all about warm sun and clear skies, and literally did a backflip when I found out I was going with Matt and his family.
I had never been to a resort before – the closest experience for me would have probably been when I was 12 and went on a cruise. I couldn’t wait to park myself in front of those crystal blue waters and try to get some colour into my super pale skin. I have a little photo diary ready for you, as well as a rundown of the resort we stayed at!
Sol Rio Luna y Mares is a medium sized resort but there are quite a lot of things to see there, so I’ll be breaking this into a few parts! Let’s talk about the venue itself and the beautiful beaches today!
The we booked a resort package at Sol Rio Luna y Mares through RedTagDeals. We flew out of Toronto Pearson International Airport on Saturday Feb 19th via Air Transat, and landed at Holguin Frank Pais International Airport. The trip only took about 4.5 hrs! It was a nice trip because there was no jetlag, as Cuba shares the same timezone as Toronto (EST). From the airport, we were directed to buses that took us straight to the resort.
Keep in mind, there are travel restrictions on Americans entering Cuba. More details on that here, but tourist travel is still prohibited. If you’re Canadian, then you’re all gucci!
Sol Rio Luna y Mares is located in Playa Esmeralda, Guardalavaca. It took approximately 1 hour to travel by bus from Holguin Airport to the resort. We arrived at the resort at midnight on Saturday – everything was basically closed for the night, except for the faint sound of dance music in the distance at the beach club house. Luckily there was a 24 hour snack bar a short walk from our rooms, so we dropped by for a bite.
The resort is actually divided into two sections – the main Mares section, where most of the entertainment and activities are held, and the quieter Luna section which is perfect for a relaxing stay. They are separated by a 2 minute walk, so it’s easy to join in on the fun or escape for some quiet time.
The front lobby area was fully renovated when we arrived, complete with swinging basket chairs! 😀
It’s an all-inclusive resort, which means all food, drinks, entertainment, and recreational activities are included in the cost. However, there are other services that are extra, like wifi, massages, day trips…etc.Also a heads up, wifi costs 2 pesos and can only be accessed in the front lobby of the Mares and in the main Luna lobby area. You can purchase wifi cards at the desk next to the reception area (by the elevators.)
When we woke up on the first morning, we were greeted with some gorgeous views! Our first room was located on the ground floor of the left wing of the Mares, behind the main pool. Our room had two twin sized beds, a vanity, and an old TV/CD player. Sorry for the terrible photos, I took them the morning after we had settled in!
Unfortunately, we had a bit of an ant issue in our first room. There was a little hole next to our balcony door and we discovered a steady stream of little ants invading us. We informed the front desk and were immediately given a new room, which was actually much better than the first!
We were booked into a first floor room in the right section of the Mares, with an ocean view!! The room itself looked the same as the first, except with higher ceilings and a 1st floor balcony overlooking the beach. The sunsets were especially incredible. A big thanks to the Sol team for sorting everything out so quickly. 😀
(Slideshow above: room + view)
Mares vs Luna
As I mentioned earlier, the Sol Rio Luna y Mares is divided into two sections: Mares section, and Luna section.
Mares is the main section, and is where most of the action is. Events are held almost every night in the main lobby, such as musical performances, karaoke, or dancing. There are lots of tables to sit an enjoy a drink (alcoholic and coffee bars located in the immediate area.) There is also a pool table and ping pong. Vendors also set up tables during the day where you can buy various souvenirs and trinkets.
A gorgeous pool with an aqua-bar sits in the middle of the Mares resort, surrounded by beach chairs for a lazy day of lounging around.
I’m wearing this gorgeous black laced swimsuit from Adore Me. (The black version isn’t available anymore but you can find this style in a cool red floral print here!) I loved pairing it tucked into a pair of mom jeans from Topshop.
In both of our rooms, we never experienced any issues with noise, which I think would be a concern as many of the events can be quite noisy. You might have a bit more of an issue if you are located in the central Mares area overlooking the pool though, because there are always events happening in the main lobby area.
We scoped out a bit of the Luna section as well, which has much more scenic views and an overall more peaceful atmosphere than the Mares section. In the main area, you’ll find the pool, right next to the 24 hour snack bar ‘Galileo’. There are multiple apartments located closer to the beach in their own secluded area, where you can sit open your balcony door and listen to the sound of the waves nearby.
The spa is also located in between the two resorts, in a quiet and secluded area, which you can read about here.
A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.
There are resident stray cats that live in the area, and you’ll often see a feline curled up on one of the resort couches or sunbeds. You may also see wild horses wandering onto the parking lot near the Luna section, which is quite a sight to see!
If you’d like the full resort experience, I’d say ask to be in the Mares section. It’s where the bulk of the action is, and you can always escape to the Luna section of the resort for some much needed R&R.
The resort itself is perched atop a hill, with winding steps that lead down to a beautiful white sand beach. The resort has its own private area, stretching over quite a distance! I’d say maybe 1.5-2km? You can get beach chairs pulled up to wherever you like on the beach – right up by the water, or under the shade of the palms. On the beach you will also find a children’s club area, an activity hut for renting equipment, and the club’s disco.
I would definitely recommend visiting Cuba in February because the weather was absolutely perfect. It was about 27-35C during our visit.
One of my favourite activities is beachcombing! I collected a few little shells, and even a sand dollar. (It broke in my suitcase on the way back though. Air Transat treated my luggage horrible, and even completely snapped off the handle!) The shore was lined with hundreds of coral fragments, which made for some interesting discoveries.
Shop my outfit:
Wearing this cute little two piece from Adore Me, which you can find online here. Sunglasses from Topshop!
Further down the beach, you will come across La Pinta – the resort’s mediterranean restaurant. You can read my review here.
I spent many a day on this beach, trying to get my tan on. I managed to get a little colour in my skin, I think I must have turned a shade darker? Not too noticeable of a difference but something nonetheless. I wanted to do a bit of a fake tan before my trip but I didn’t want to mess up because I’ve never done it before!
This is going to sound weird, but… bring your own condiments, lol! Cuban ketchup isn’t like Heinz back home, it tastes kind of like tomato paste with a dash of bbq sauce? Mustard tastes different as well. Does Heinz sell travel sized condiments…? 😛
We primarily ate at La Colon, which is the buffet located in the front part of the Mares. The buffet offers a huge selection of dishes, ranging from salads, pastas, fish, meats, cheeses, soups, vegetables, and desserts. The food was alright- I’d probaby give it a 3/5. Think more along the lines of home cooked meals, boiled vegetables, and not-quite-perfect pasta.
The Sol Rio Luna y Mares also offers 5 different specialty restaurants, which you can book a meal at during your stay. (This does not cost extra as it is included in the package price.) We ate at the mediterranean restaurant, La Pinta. I’ll have a review up on that soon! 🙂
Does Heinz sell travel sized condiments…?
Of course, you can’t go a day without having a mojito…or two…. or five……. hehe. I loved sitting in the main lobby area as the sun set. Cuba has some absolutely spectacular sunsets, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
It honestly felt like I was living in a tumblr aesthetic photo set. I’ve never seen such a pink and purple sky before! These sunsets only lasted about 10 minutes before the sky got dark.
But luckily, the nights were warm and the drinks were plentiful. I love the silhouettes of the palm trees against the dark night sky.
I hope you enjoyed my little overview of the resort. Thank you to Sol for such a great vacation! I promise to share even more travels with you this summer. Obviously, as always, you can follow my adventures on my Instagram! (@sachietv).
Are you going away anytime soon? Have you been to Greece Cuba before? Do you like the look of this area?