This blog's title means "Cuban-hearted woman" (very loosely translated!). I settled on this name because it had a nice ring to my unschooled ear and, more importantly, because I think the Cuban people seem to have so much
heart, and they're in my heart for that reason. In general, the people I've met in Cuba are quite consistently open-hearted and big-hearted in the way they relate to each other or to visitors in their beautiful land. A piece of my heart now resides in Cuba, with the warm, wonderful friends I've made there. This blog is not intended to be a guide to Cuba, just a forum for my eclectic bits of writing – poetry, opinion pieces and information gleaned from my personal experience and reading.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

BEWARE: Marea del Portillo is highly addictive!

Here's the most recent review I wrote for TripAdvisor about my favorite little resort, Club Amigo Marea del Portillo, Cuba. If you haven't been there yet, perhaps you'll be able to join me one day!
~ Jenny

I have just returned from another visit to one of my favorite places, Marea del Portillo, Cuba – another too-short two weeks’ holiday. I have been there before and reviewed Club Amigo Marea del Portillo before but, every time I go, I find there is something new to say about this small, charming resort. 

They always seem to be working on upgrading and improving the facilities here, thanks to a progressive management team. Now, thanks to increased governmental support, even more will likely be possible in the not-too-distant future. During my visit, the resort also hosted some important visitors from Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism. (Us ordinary flip-flop wearers could tell these other folks were special; they had really nice shoes on.) 

The subsequent buzz around the resort was palpable and positive. The general word was that the government intended to put more money into tourism along Cuba’s southern coast, enhancing existing facilities such as Club Amigo Marea del Portillo and potentially building additional resorts in the Granma region and further east, towards Santiago de Cuba.

Horseback Adventure Tour heads out!
As some readers will recall, Santiago de Cuba was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in late 2012. One resort was completely destroyed and several more were severely damaged, as well as many, many homes and other structures. Although reparations were quickly made, it certainly makes sense that the Cuban government would now target this area for a significant financial injection. Tourism is the country’s key economic driver and the spin-off effects of building and renovating resorts will have many benefits for people in the surrounding communities. 

Perhaps in a related vein – I am only guessing – road repairs have already begun near Pilón, the town just west of Marea del Portillo. This town is also rumored to be the potential site for a new resort but, of course, that could be years down the road, freshly paved or otherwise!

On the trail with caballero Chichi.
The accessibility of Club Amigo Marea del Portillo to nearby communities like Pilón and the villages of Marea del Portillo and Mota is one of the reasons I enjoy spending time at this resort. It is easy, as well as quite safe, to explore the surrounding area by foot or otherwise. You can go for a hike, ride a bike, have an adventure on horseback, enjoy a jaunt in a horse-drawn carriage or relax in a taxi – perhaps a vintage ‘50s model – as you take in the sights of the neighborhood or venture into the Sierra Maestra mountains. For the more adventurous types, scooter rentals are also available. For less adventurous vacationers, a pleasant stroll along the lovely beach may suffice.

Cool down ~ jump in & swim!
This resort has it all, even though it is relatively small. The nightly entertainment is top-notch and the daily excursions are always interesting – and they keep adding new options, which means even the repeat visitors will find it hard to say they’ve done it all! In my humble opinion, Club Amigo Marea del Portillo is well worth returning to again and again for a multitude of reasons, from the charm of the resort itself to the scenic beauty of the area, from the warmth of southern Cuba to the welcoming, hospitable people of the community. This is a perfectly wonderful place to relax but, be warned, it’s addictive! Before long, you may be like me, loving it so much you find that two weeks slip by in the blink of an eye.


Washing the horses after a hard day's ride.

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