Galleone(s): sailing ship in use (especially by Spain) from the 15th through 17th centuries, originally as a warship, later for trade.
Brisa(s): A gentle to moderate wind.
Brisas Los Galeones is an intimate, adults-only all-inclusive resort set on top of a hill, overlooking the Carribean Sea and Sierra Maestra Mountains (two hours drive from Santiago de Cuba). With only 32 rooms and most of the guests being retired Canadians, the place is pretty quiet – except for the occasional goat bleats during the day and the beautiful Cuban music – performed by local jazz and salsa bands during the dinner time.
To reach the beach, you need to walk down almost 300 steps! The beach is small and private by nature, with plenty of shadow provided by trees with big leaves. The sea is clean and calm, but the seabed on some portions is rocky.
For Cuba standards, the food and the service provided by Brisas Los Galeones are excellent. Buffet style and à la carte – the menu consists mostly of meat: pork, chicken and fish – with the occasional lamb and special request for lobster, with a choice of pasta. For breakfast: eggs, goat cheese, ham, bacon, cereals, fruit juice and very good coffee.
Lunch is also provided on the beach where the meat is grilled outdoors. Both bars, at the hotel and on the beach, offer the standard Cuban cocktails (including Mojito), beer and wine.
There is also a small pool, gym, sauna and billiard table.
Walking distance form the hotel is the village of Chivirico, which has a nice restaurant for a change.
Travelling to more than 30 countries I thought I know what to expect and how to prepare. Very good at theory, but…
Here comes Air Transat, a low cost airline for sunny travel destinations. A four hour flight from Toronto to Santiago de Cuba is straightforward. What can happens?!
Me and my wife packed one luggage and went to airport in the early morning of December 24. Arriving in Santiago de Cuba airport, the power was out and the customs couldn’t let us in until the power was restored.
Waiting for luggage for a very long time… Once the conveyor belt was empty, one airport employee brought us the news: “61 pieces of luggage were left on the Pearson airport” – including ours!
So, here we are, in Cuba, at +30 degrees C with jeans, sneakers and shirts – no changes, no swimsuits…
Christmas day, still no luggage. Finally we received the luggage in the evening, after two days, coming from Holguin.
Too late, we used all our cash to buy beach clothes from a nearby big resort. And, surprise – here are no ATMs! And the credit card machines usually don’t work… My Havana experience didn’t apply to Santiago de Cuba.
From some reason we got the VIP package, this including the room 301 (living room, bedroom, sea view balcony), lobster gala dinner, one bottle of rum and special attention (golden bracelet). The fridge was always full of beer, but surprisingly, no bottled water…
Spacious rooms with amazing sunsets. Cold water for shower, but hot water for the bathroom sink.
Going to the beach is easy, coming back it takes some effort to climb the 300 steps – but there are guardrails to help and benches for taking a break.
One distinct guest of Brisas Los Galeones is Margaret. At the age of 90 or 92 she is a truly adventurer who flies alone from Saskatchewan to Santiago (two days trip) every winter for 24 years! She has her own table with flowers and she deservedly gets VIP treatment.