Adventures to have and places to see

Memories Jibacoa

We really enjoyed our stay at this resort. The food and drinks were great. Service was good in every respect. Jibacoa is defintely a relaxed and secluded area. We plan to return again.

El Ranchon

One of our favourite spots at the resort was the El Ranchon restaurant at the beach. This was a great spot to get out of the sun for a bit and have drinks or lunch. The bartender Oraylis was always fun and the servers were in good cheer no matter how busy it got at lunchtime. Yes, there could be a wait, but that’s OK, you are on vacation and they can’t serve everyone at once. It was a great spot to do some journaling and have some conversation. The Chairs were really comfortable in there. They also put up sand screens when the weather gets windy.

Lunch was always good.

the Buffet

The food at the buffet was really good. There was something different everyday. The made-for-you fresh stations were tasty and the line-ups fairly short. I think they bake their own bread there- it was always good. The desserts were also enjoyable. All in all a thumbs up for the food at this resort.

The buffet servers were excellent. Take some time and befriend your table server. You will find they are very happy to get you in your favorite seating area and keep your wine glass full. We really felt welcome at the buffet and looked forward to going.

a la Cartes

There are three a la Cartes at the resort, and all of them are good. They like you to dress up a bit for these. That really just means pants for men and no beach wear for anyone. We always dress-up a bit. There is a Cuban tradition of long pants, shirt and shoes for men when going out for diner. It is intended to be a special occasion so we like to treat it that way. A live entertainer will be at the restaurant. You might find that same person up in the piano bar later that night.

Cuba Day is on Friday

Friday is Cuba day at Memories Jibacoa. This was actually a really fun day. The staff at this resort put a lot of effort into it and seem to really enjoy the day. Often it is at the beach, but ours were in the lobby. A lunch of traditional Cuban cuisine was offered, with delicious roast pork and Arroz Congri (beans and rice). A vintage motorcycle was brought in for people to admire. If you go to this resort, be sure to save Fridays for this event.

The show that night was awesome. This was a full band affair and was impressive.

the Piano Bar

In the enclosed lobby, if you head up the stairs you will find yourself in a mezzanine. There is a meeting room up there and a piano bar. In the afternoon they use the bar for activities and classes like rum tasting which are pretty fun.

Later at night (after the show), the piano bar comes to life. Different musicians at the resort will perform up there on the piano or with a guitar. They have sheet music and lyrics because they really want audience participation. It is very common for all the seats around the piano to be taken and for the guests to be belting out various songs! It is a complete blast. We always went to the piano bar after the show.

The bar service up there is great. It all shuts down at around 11 because the musicians need to catch the bus back to their homesteads. This resort does not have a late-night party crowd, so this is a good place to go for a night-cap. I became particularly fond of straight rum with ice. It was great, the bartenders would see us coming and nod with ‘red wine? Ron and ice?’. There were a couple of nights where our drinks were simply waiting on the bar for us. Such a warm and welcome feeling.

Tip everyone well up there, in particular the person on the piano or guitar. It was was pretty funny, one night we are sitting there and the guitar player starts playing Pride and Joy by Stevie Ray Vaughan, and another time Tragically Hip suddenly emerged. That kind of stuff makes my day. They are all accomplished musicians and entertainers at the resort. The Piano Bar time is their time to let loose a little at the end of a long and busy day.

Drinks

We found the drinks to be of good quality at the resort. You aren’t getting a premixed thing, you are getting a hand made cocktail. They readily had Mimosas which are one of our favourites when you want something light early in the day. Wine was available at any time of the day (some resorts try to reserve that just for meals). The Cappuccinos were tasty.

Getting drinks tended to be more of a “go to the bar” situation, but there was also table service. It depended on the time of day and how bust it was. The wait at the bar was seldom more than three or four people. Each bar had its own little dishwasher which meant that the drinks came in glassware. Straws were in abundance but remembering your own washable straws is always a good thing.

Room

We were happy with our room at Memories. We just went with the basic Gardenview room and asked for a balcony this time. It was fine, but I think we will return to a first-floor room next time. There just seems to be more space that way. The room was cleaned daily. It had a neat Cuban-style Keurig that actually made really good coffee. After one of those, it was time to head to the lobby for cappuccinos. We let the AC unit run while we went out for the evening and then shut it off when we got ready for bed. It wasn’t overly loud, but any noise like that is always bothersome to us when sleeping.

Lobby Life

Over the years we have discovered that the lobby is a very important part of any resort. After a day at the beach it is nice to go sit in an open air lobby and enjoy the shade and hopefully a slight breeze. The indoor and outdoor lobby at Memories were both very good (although we usually went outside). There are an assortment of patio tables out there, and at first it seems like there aren’t enough tables or chairs. Don’t be discouraged by this because it really is not the case. You will find the tables and chairs magically shuffle around as groups of people come and go. There are also tables and chairs around the perimeter of the lobby.

It is OK to move the chairs around. Just go ask if it is OK to take a vacant chair from a table with only a couple of people sitting at it. Once we caught onto this we always found a place to sit. You may have people ask if they can sit at your table. It is actually a nice way to get to know people by sharing your table. We made some pretty good friends on this trip by doing that.

One great thing at this resort is that there are a lot of smoke free areas- including the outdoor lobby. I would say there was more smoke free areas than not! Good for you Memories.

We love to watch the lobby musicians at 7 pm. They will set up and give you a good performance. We always tip these folks for the entertainment. You will also find the Mojito/cocktail bar gets set up around that time. You will get a good Mojito there and it doesn’t cost you extra although a tip is advised.

Now and then you will see living statues appear in the resort with amazing costumes. I have mixed feelings about these folks. They silently encourage you to take pictures of you posing with them and then expect payment (sometimes 5 CUC). The novelty wore off of that for us so we just avoid eye contact.

The lobby also has stands where you can place your glasses or exchange them for plastic if leaving the lobby. This was a really good idea, it reduces the risk of broken glasses and helps people know whether tables are being used or not.

Grounds, Beach and Swimming

The resort is taken well care of. We saw maintenance regularly going on during our stay. The fountains were running unless it was really windy. Groundskeepers are out everyday and are friendly. The backdrop for the resort is a tall mountain where you can go hiking. It is a beautiful spot and you can wander off-site without worries. The beach is clean and has soft sand. Swimming is decent and snorkeling is reported as exceptional (we had poor wear so didn’t get much snorkelling).