Barcelo Premium-Marina Palace, Varadero, Cuba
Barcelo Premium – Cayo Libertad-Royal Island, Varadero, Cuba
We were staying at the adult-only island complex referred to as Barcelo Cayo Libertad or the Royal Island. Barcelo Cayo Libertad occupies an island at the extreme end of the Varadero Peninsula approximately 24 km from the town of Varadero itself. Guests at Barcelo Cayo Libertad have full access to the facilities of the larger Barcelo Marina Palace complex.
The main entrance of the Barcelo Marina Palace resort features a large open area with a floor standing globe in the middle. The open area serves as a reception centre in one direction and a meeting area with 24hr bar in the other direction. The bar itself is backed by a large map of the world.
We had already been in Cuba for most of a week when I decided that I had better take the time to fasten my camera to a tripod and head out into the night air. These images are the result of that decision. A fairly constant breeze was blowing so getting rock steady images outside in the wind using my light weight travel tripod was a bit of a challenge but I was overall happy with the results. A bit tricky while out on the view platform of the resort’s lookout structure!
From the top of the tower yo can see for many miles as there are no large structures or hills or anything else to stop you from seeing right out to the horizon in all directions. Our accommodation was almost the last unit on the island so, as can be seen from this tower photo, it was quite a walk to get from our spot to join in any activities at the main Marina Palace complex.. Our unit is the lights in the top right corner of the above image.
The construction site at the new marina complex, which was just one of many buildings under construction along the peninsula, fascinated me. To me, the collection of pilings illuminated at night looked to be a modern city of skyscrapers.
From ground level, the same construction site provided additional interest as I had walked along the roadway earlier in the evening.
The walls of the Music room (disco) were vibrating to the music inside but, from my vantage point on the tower platform the loudness of the music was rather muted and lost in the natural sounds of the wind trying to blow me off of the platform.
When we had first arrived at this Barcelo branded resort, we had met Nguyen who drove us and our baggage to our Junior suite on the Libertad complex and given a proficient overview of how things worked. Over the next few days we had seen him often as he drove around the complex providing porter service for luggage and transportation in the people-movers that were constantly transferring people where they wanted to go. I had earlier in the evening given him a present of a baseball uniform that I had brought with me (Cubans love baseball) so this night he was all smiles as he posed for a photo. His only wish was that it might have been red, since the local Cuban team uniform was red. I think that the local opposition might have worn green but I’m not too sure of that. Nguyen did tell me though that the local team was doing very well in their league play. After the photo op, I was on my way back to my island retreat. It had been a long day and I had a willing driver once he got back into his official uniform so that management wouldn’t be unhappy :-).
The Barcelo Libertad-Royal Island guests have their own reception area so when they arrive for their stay in Cuba their bus brings then to this location after dropping off other guests at the registration and check-in area of the adjoining Barcelo-Marina Palace property. This Libertad facility alos provides a separate banking location for currency conversion and separate access to internet ($10CUC/hour of internet access). Although you might encounter wait times to access some of these services, the wait times are normally significantly better than standing in the longer line-ups at the larger facility.
From the reception area it is a short walk to the Cigar Piano Bar which is located beside the bridge that guest take to get to the island (referred to as either Libertad or the Royal Island). From the bridge it is possible to see lights stretched out along the length of Varadera Peninsula.
A look back across the causeway and then off to sleep. Lots to think about doing tomorrow including another trip into Varadero to buy a gift or two and to photograph some more Varadero taxis.