I can't say enough great things about our stay at Daniel and Marcia's Casa. My wife, our 2 year old son, and I flew into Holguin for 14 days of bicycle touring and travel. We stayed at the casa for 3 nights at the beginning of our stay and 3 nights at the end. We all loved the comfortable accommodations and we miss Daniel's big smile and his persistent and genuinely enthusiastic high 5's. Here are some highlights:
Service - Daniel, Marcia, and the whole team are professional and friendly. They are helpful and always seemed to intuit our needs and be there to make our stay and planning super easy. Communication before our trip was prompt and clear.
When my bike's disc break needed some work after getting bent in travel, Daniel had a mechanic there literally within minutes. Need a load of laundry done? No worries. Want your meals at a certain time? Done. Daniel would always check in with us at mealtimes, ready to help with planning, tell us about Cuba, or mix a fantastic Mojito.
Great rooms - They had a variety of rooms. All have air conditioner units and private bathrooms. They all have a fridge that is kept stocked with cold beer, water, juice, and pop. Everything is clean and in great condition. We had a spacious room with a comfortable king bed and a private balcony.
Food - These were some of the best meals that we had in Cuba. The kitchen staff are talented and caring and put out some great spreads. The mains were always good with meats or fresh fish in delicious sauces. Typical sides of rice, beans, and plantains were nicely done and plentiful.
There was always a salad plate that included vegetables that we didn't see in other parts of Cuba or other Casas. Typical elsewhere was to get a mix of two vegetables like cabbage and cucumbers, but every night here the plate had tomatoes, cucumber, avocados, green beens, and cabbage or lettuce. All perfectly ripe too!
We ate well and our toddler had plenty to choose from. The cooks also often brought him yummy chicken noodle soup which he loved.
Breakfast was fresh eggs to order, fruit, bread, and a thermos of rich hot coffee and another with steaming milk so we could pour our own cups of goodness (I like coffee).
Travel arrangements - I speak Spanish and have done a fair bit of travelling in Latin America so I wouldn't have anticipated wanting or needing to have somebody arrange transfers and lodging. However, Cuba has limited internet access and a lack of easy to navigate listings of services in smaller towns. Plus, our needs of bike touring with a little one included being able to adjust our itinerary and change plans. So, having Daniel organize some of our transport and reserve casas in other towns was fantastic.
Daniel sent us off from Holguin with detailed written instructions including names of casas, directions, and phone numbers. All we needed to do to change plans was call or text him and tell him what we needed. He would say "ok, I'm on it, call back in a couple of hours" and sure enough, he would come up with a solution and make the necessary arrangements and then give us the new details. He has a great network around the country and everything worked out perfectly.
When we arrived at our Casa in Banes, a few days after the previous time we had spoken to Daniel and after a great morning on one of our longest biking stretches, the owners said, "oh yeah, Daniel just called about an hour ago and said you'd be arriving around now". In Bayamo, as the Casa owner showed us our fantastic room with another large private rooftop patio, she said "Daniel said that you'd appreciate this space and privacy with your son". Later she confessed that he also told her that I eat lot so to get ready!
Daniel, Marcia, and the staff at Villa La Roca are hospitality experts. They understand tourism. They just get it. We can't wait for our next visit.
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