We are a couple in our mid 50’s. We travel to Cuba at least 2 x per year. We try to chose a new spot in February and then return to our favourite (so far) resort in March April. We always travel for 2 weeks.
Villa Tropico is a lovely little resort. Approximately one hour from Varadero Airport. We loved how the bungalows were laid out-like a little community. The grounds were kept immaculate and the gardeners worked hard. Well done!! You can meander through the little paths and see many types of flora. The resort is built on a slight hill -so if mobility is an issue this may not be the place for you as the Buffet is at the top of a gently sloping hill. During our 2 week stay, the resort was frequented mainly by Canadians and Cubans. I have no problems with Cubans enjoying their own country and many are lovely and respectful of other guests-but some are not (and I guess this can also be said about some Canadians). But Cubans have fun when they come to the resort and are typically loud-so beware if you can not handle this.
The beach is lovely. It is more like an unpsoiled beach rather than the finely groomed beach of Varadero. It is well known for snorkelling as there is a reef just off shore. As a result of the reef the sand is not the finest. The water has some spots where you can easily go in without seaweed or rocks but I would recommend water shoes if you wish to be totally comfortable. There were a few “huts” scattered along the beach for shade and many areas of natural shade from trees. There always seemed to be beach chairs available and we were I think at full capacity while we were there. The chairs were fairly new and in excellent shape. The same can be said about the pool. A double pool one deep and one shallow. Always lots of chairs available.
We stayed in bungalow 71 which faced away from the water. (Even numbers face the water!). It was a standard Cuban room. Kept very clean by our maid who also left us various towel art which we enjoyed!! We never once had an issue with hot water, water pressure, toilet, tv, fridge or air conditioning!! This is a great thing for Cuba!! Beds were a little on the hard side but not so bad.
Food: Breakfast buffet is standard—omelettes, eggs, meats, breads, cereral, juice etc. We ate most lunches at the snack bar by the pool –great pizzas, hot dogs, ham and cheese sandwiches. And even greater staff in Lydia and Miladys!!! Always smiling and happy. Supper was often a free for all –as described in other reviews. We learned to time our arrival to after the first rush or to be in at the front on the line. Food was remarkedly good as compared to other places we have stayed. It was just a challenge to get it. I have read another review which suggested moving the grill station and this a fantatic idea as it would reduce some congestion. We learned to go around—which may have been perceived as “jumping the line” but no need to wait if you are not getting something from the grill. We would highly recommend the a la carte—in the evening the snack bar by the pool doubles as the a la carte. Reservations can be made during the day. There are three main courses: chicken (excellent), pork (excellent) and fish (excellent). We hooked up with another couple early on in our stay so we were able to share our a la cartes and went at least 4 times.
Drinks: The pool bar had everything you would expect including blended drinks, beer on tap, coffee and soft drinks. The lobby bar (which is 24 hours) had blended drinks, excellent Spanish coffee but no draft beer and since beer is all I would drink this is a huge issue. You could purchase bottles of beer-but I don’t come to an all inclusive and expect to buy beer. This needs to be fixed!!
Walking: If you walk along the beach to the left there is a lovely natural beach and a Cuban Camp site!! A great swimming spot just around the corner. Walking out the road and down towards Memories another Cuban Camp and a lovely walk during which we met some horses and cows. OF course up the hill is the restaurant and the “flea market”. Great walking!!
Other issues: One of the biggest issues for us was the animals. I know this will be a sensitive topic as there will be guests who love all animals and those who favor dogs over cats. We love both, however at this resort we witnessed a couple of very disturbing events. 1) a group of 4 dogs surrounded a cat and chased her—the cat was lucky enough to get up a tree but we were unsure for awhile. 2) We had heard that the dogs had killed Calli’s kittens (Calli is a lovely girl who can mostly be found in the lobby). 3)We witnessed a cat that was killed on the beach—very disturbing and not something I would have liked for children to see. 4) While walking the beach I was approached by a growling dog which was pretty frightening. Other guests had commented about concerns about the pack mentality of the dogs as well. And 5) we found a kitten who had been attacked by a dog and had a deep wound from the attack and damage to her hind end. We ended up sending this kitten to a rescue in Cardenas as we knew that if something was not done she would not survive. On other resorts I have seen the dogs and cats peacefully co-exist so I am not sure what has happened here. I do know that having a child witness what we did or worse to be bitten by one of the dogs will be traumatic for all. I spoke with Daniel about my concerns and hopefully the resort will find some way to remedy this situation (unfortunately it may not be the way we would handle things in Canada) as in my view poses a threat to people’s safety.
Overall, I would highly recommend Villa Tropico if you are looking for a quiet, relaxed setting away from the hustle and bustle of Varadero. It felt like we had joined a little community!! And you get to know your fellow guests and staff. Staff were outstanding, including Daniel (who listened to me—thanks Daniel) and Anne Marie –the Transat rep. We hope to bring a group of friends back next year if we can erase the images of the poor kitten!!