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Click here for my flight from Vancouver, Canada to Santa Clara, Cuba

CAYO SANTA MARIA

CAUSEWAY AND ROAD SERVING
THE RESORTS OF CAYO SANTA MARIA
(Photo map courtesy of Google)

Story and Photos by

LEE A. WOOD

Basically, Cayo Santa Maria runs East to West.

The islands are virtually uninhabited. There are no towns or villages.

There are a few large resorts, with a couple more under construction, scattered along the Northern shore, facing the Atlantic Ocean.

There are no; towns, villages, or residences.

Most employees work a 10 to 12 hour shift and are bussed in from towns such as; Caibarien, Cambaito, El Crucero, or even as far away as Remedios.

There is a small airport and 2 or 3 small plazas with a few stores, which are mostly closed in the evenings.

The causeway is long, winding, and narrow.

Though the speed limit is high there is little opportunity to pass slower vehicles as there is a steady line of busses in both directions.

(Pic. of entrance driveway.)

Between the entrance from the highway and the entrance to the hotel is another, smaller street that parallels the highway
and links the hotels for use of golf carts that carry passengers, for free, from the hotels to the markets.

STARFISH TROPICAL

(Pic. of entrance trees.) (Video of tree area.)
Click on the above picture for a short video.
(Pic. of lobby.)
MAIN LOBBY ENTRANCE
(Pic. of lobby from the back.)
REAR LOBBY ENTRANCE

(Pic. of tail of snake lady.)
SNAKE LADY
(Pic. of lounge.)
TAIL GOES UNDER BRIDGE
ENTRANCE TO 24 HR LOUNGE

Click on the above picture for a short video.
(Pic. of Snake Lady in Water.)
Click on the above picture for a short video.

(Pic. of hotel hallway.)
MAIN HALL, BUILDING 29
(Pic. of washroom.)
RM. 2915
(Pic. of main room.) (Pic. of patio doors and jungle.)
PATIO
(Pic. of Swans made from towels.)
SECOND DAY - TOWEL SWANS
(Pic. of elephant made from towels.)
THIRD DAY - ELEPHANT

You have to open a tap slowly or the water pressure will spray the room.

Also you have to be sure the shower head is aimed directly into the tub or the water runs down the walls, along the surround of the tub, and onto the floor.

STARFISH FOOD

There are four food venues in the Starfish Resort.

The main one is the large smorgasbord that is open for breakfast and supper.

DESAYUNO / BREAKFAST (7:30 - 10:30)

(Pic. of smorgasbod.)
ONE SMALL PART OF THE MAIN -
(Pic. of food on table.)
SMORGASBORD - FOR BREAKFAST AND SUPPER

There is a small hamburger stand that is open in the pool area between lunch and dinner and then moves into the Ancon for the rest of the night.

At the far end of the pool is the `GRILL ANCON' which is open for lunch and has a dual smorgasbord.

ALMUERZOL / LUNCH (13:00 - 15:00)AND BETWEEN MEALS

(Pic. of front of open building.)
MAIN, POOL ENTRANCE
(Pic. of side entrance.)
EAST ENTRANCE
(Pic. of main room.) (Pic. of plate of food.)
BEEF, CHEESE, PINEAPPLE, FRENCH FRIES, NO KETCHUP
YET KETCHUP IS AVAILABLE WHEN ORDERING BURGERS
FROM THE ALL NIGHT GRILL
(Pic. of buffets.)
THERE ARE TWO BUFFETS
(Pic. of tables and chairs.)
AFTER SUPPER, THE GRIL MOVES INSIDE FOR THE REST OF THE NIGHT

The main dinning area is the large smorgasbord that is open for breakfast and supper.

CENA / SUPPER (18:30 - 22:00)

(Video of supper area.)
MAIN DINNING HALL

Click on the above picture for a short video.
(Pic. of meal.)
(Pic. of meal.) (Pic. of meal.)

Dinner is served in the `El Quijote' dinning area.

Though it is free it is by reservation. Reservations are made at the airlines' desk in the mornings.

ESPECIALIZADOS / DINNER (18:00 - 22:00)

(Pic. of emtrance to dining area.) (Pic. of tables.)
(Pic. of soup on table.)
SHRIMP BISQUE
(Pic. of entre.)
PORK IN MUSTARD SAUCE

POOLS AND RECREATION AREA

(Pic. of pool and ping pong tables.)
POOL (Not Swimming), FOOSBALL, PING PONG, ETC.
(Pic. of side entrance.)
CHESS, TENNIS, BADMINTON, ETC.
(Pic. of pool.) (Pic. of pool.)
SWIM UP BAR TO THE LEFT - DAY GRILL IS BEHIND THE BAR
(Pic. of pool.) (Pic. of walk wway to pools.)
WALKWAY TO THE POOLS OR TURN NORTH TO THE BEACH

BEACH

(Pic. of walkway to beach.)
TO THE BEACH
(Pic. of girls on the beach.)
LAST ONE IN IS A .......
(Pic. of beach looking West.)
LOOKING WEST
(Pic. of beach looking East.)
LOOKING EAST
(Pic. of snack shack.)
SNACK SHACK
(Pic. of catamarans,and paddle boats on beach.)
CATAMARAN AND PADDLE BOAT RENTALS
STARFISH ENVIRONMENTAL FARMING

The Starfish Resort has discovered an economical and environmentally friendly way to create lights for their pathways.

(Pic. of a brocken off lamppost.)
START BY PLANTING A CUTTING FROM A MATURE PLANT
(Pic. of small lamp that fell over.)
SOMETIMES, FOR SOME REASON, THEY DON'T TAKE ROOT
(Pic. of small lamp surrounded by flowers.)
ONCE ROOTED SURROUND THEM WITH PLANTS TO BLOCK THE SUN
(Pic. of tall lalmpost.)
THEY WILL GROW TALL IN SEARCH OF SUNLIGHT
(Pic. of lamposts at night.)
WHEN OLD ENOUGH THEY WILL ABSORD SUNLIGHT AND RELEASE IT AFTER DARK
(Pic. of lamppost with dual head.)
WHEN THEY MATURE THEY WILL GROW SPROUTS WHICH CAN BE TAKEN AND PLANTED TO GROW ANOTHER ONE.

STARFISH RESORT ENTERTAINMENT

(Pic. of Children on stage.)
AFTER DINNER IN THE THEATRE

Click on the above picture for a short video.
(Pic. of staff dancing in the lobby.)
AFTER DINNER IN THE LOBBY

Click on the above picture for a short video.

STARFISH CAYO SANTA MARIA BEACH

After Hurricane Irma Starfish Cayo Santa Maria Tropical did't reopen until December of 2017.

When I stayed there, in late January of 2018, the larger section, Starfish Cayo Santa Maria Beach was still not ready to be opened.

(Pic. of sign and driveway.) (Pic. of Fountain in front of main entrance.)
MAIN ENTRANCE AND LOBBY
(Pic. of BBQ pit.)
READY FOR A BBQ
(Pic. of statue in the middle of a dry pool.)
NOT QUITE READY FOR SWIMMING

STARFISH TROPICAL MISCELLANEOUS

(Pic. of walkway between buildings.) (Pic. of flowered bushes and trees.)
(Pic. of vendor's stand.)
FRESH COCONUT MILK SERVED IN A COCONUT
(Pic. of small office building.)
RENTAL OFFICE FOR CARS AND SCOOTERS

Click on the above picture for
PICTURES OF OLD CARS SEEN AROUND CAYO SANTA MARIA

Most hotels have a rental office.

The salesman that works out of this office actually works out of two, (the Royalton, next door.)

He is seldom around as he has little inventory.

Your best bet is to book on line.

It took me a few days to find him and then it took a couple of days for him to get a car.

A seven passenger van would have cost me 1,000cuc for ten days. (about $1,500 Canadian)

CAYO SANTA MARIA MARKET ENTERTAINMENT

(Pic. of small lamp surrounded by flowers.)
Click on the above picture for a short video.
(Pic. of dancers at the entrance.)
(Pic. of performers on stage.)
Click on the above picture for a short video.
(Pic. of fire juggler in the audience.)
Click on the above picture for a short video.

A taxi from the hotel to the market is 5cuc the golf carts, usually sitting in front of the hotel lobby, are free.

one golf cart driver tried to impress me with his high speed cornering, in a six passenger golf cart, really?

END

Click here for my bus trip from Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba to La Havana, Cuba

LATEST CURRENCY VALUES

The first time I went to Cuba the Cubans had a two money system.

Pesos for Cubans and American dollars for tourists.

They still have a two money system but American dollars are no longer used.

They use `cup' for Cubans and `cuc' (pronounced kook) for tourists.

When I was there, in 2018, it cost approximately $1.40 for 1 cuc.

Upon arrival at the hotel I found a small banking office.

They wouldn't accept my bank card but I could get an advance from my VISA or MasterCard.

For some reason they run your credit card through as US dollars and then the credit card company will charge you in your home currency later.

$20 cuc cost me $25.75 US on my Visa card which later became $32.96 on my statement at the end of the month.

A couple of days later I found a bank in the market place and got another advance of 400cuc which was billed as $414.51 US and later appeared on my VISA statement as $531.93 Canadian.

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