Several holidaymakers have gone on TripAdvisor to comment on a stomach illness they suffered while staying at the Brisas Guardalavaca, with several unfortunate guests getting sick after travelling to the Cuban hotel for a wedding.

The Brisas Guardalavaca in Holguin

Situated in the popular Holguin region of Cuba, the Brisas Guardalavaca is advertised by Thomas Cook on an all-inclusive basis to British holidaymakers, including packages tailored to honeymooners.

Reviewers comment on possible causes of holiday illness

Although Brisas Guardalavaca has been reviewed positively by many holidaymakers, there have been several recent reports of illness on TripAdvisor:

Cornwall holidaymaker ‘newfou’ wrote a review of their stay at the Brisas Guardalavaca in December titled “Newfoundland“. In their review, they say that “the hotel has gone downhill“, explaining that “the beach was never clean [and] the swimming pools were dirty and [slippery]“. They go on to say that “a lot of people came down with sickness due to poor hygiene with cutlery not cleaned properly and food been not cooked“.

‘jaynee102015’ wrote a review of her stay in November titled “Wedding“, in which she says they “were with a party of 32 people for [their] friends daughter’s wedding“, but unfortunately, “mosquitos were feeding on the wedding cake” and “there were flies everywhere“. She says that “the food in the buffet area was […] always lukewarm and never cooked properly” and “the water [that] was served out of plastic jugs […] tasted like pool water“.

She comments that they ate “in the Italian [restaurant]” where she “had steak“, and subsequently, “had food poisoning the day after“, adding that “so did [her] friend and his little girl“.

Commenting on her symptoms, ‘jaynee102015’ says that she “would be ok one day then have the runs again the day after“, stating that she “had to self-medicate, as did a lot of other people [that she] spoke to“.

She says that “when [she] finally complained to public services [she] was told [that] it was not the food, and [she was] advised to pay and see a doctor“. When she “decided to go to the local chemist as [she is] a nurse assistant“, she was “charged […] a lot of money for medication to stop the [diarrhoea] and [she was charged] more for [medication to help with stomach] cramps“.

Concerningly, ‘jaynee102015’ says that “when [she] asked for a receipt she [was] refused [one] as she [was] told [by the pharmacist that she] would get into trouble for selling [her] prescribed prescriptions“.

‘davehni’ from Carrickfergus also stayed at the Brisas Guardalavaca in November, and in his review titled “What they do well, they do great, what they do poorly, well they really do it poorly“, he says that they “left Cuba a week ago and [he is] still getting stomach cramps“. He says that he “vomited for three days and still [hasn’t] had a solid bowel movement“.

‘Cherilyn M’ was also a guest in November, and in her review titled “Beautiful 5 – Star view, unfortunate stomach illness“, she says that they got “sick“, suffering from “extreme stomach cramping and [diarrhoea]“. She explains that “it was day 3 when [she and her] husband […] both developed severe stomach cramps and [diarrhoea], accompanied [by] chills, fever and lethargy“.

She explains that “it felt as though [they] had been run over by a truck“. Subsequently, they “stayed in bed for 24 hours straight” and “are still having periodic [diarrhoea] since arriving home“.

In addition to concerns over whether the water being served was safe to drink, she says that they ate “a burger and hotdog from the 24 hour snack bar by the pool and [her] husband wonders if this also may have contributed to [their] illness“, explaining that “the burgers are not made fresh and sit out for long periods“.

‘Cherilyn M’ also says that she “had a moth at the bottom of the curry sauce that [she] poured onto [her] potatoes“.

See a medical practitioner if you’re sick abroad

If you contract a stomach illness or suffer the symptoms of Gastroenteritis on holiday, it’s advisable to see a medical practitioner as soon as possible to receive a diagnosis. It’s likely that you’ll need to provide a stool sample for testing, but by doing so and obtaining a diagnosis, you should receive the most effective treatment, and you’ll also have a record of your illness if you choose to claim compensation.

If you're sick on holiday, see a medical practitioner

While it can be tempting to avoid seeing a medical practitioner and to self-medicate your condition, it’s advisable to receive a second opinion. You may find that by self-medicating you make your condition worse, and in countries where medicines aren’t regulated as stringently as they are in the UK, you might end up making yourself worse.

You might be able to claim ‘no win no fee’ compensation

Whether you’re travelling abroad for a big wedding or just for a break away from it all, if your package holiday is marred by illness, you might be able to claim compensation from your tour operator under The Package Travel Regulations 1992. A member of our travel law team can assess your case during a free no-obligation consultation, and if we’re able to represent you, we can do so on a ‘no win no fee‘ basis.

Claire Rabbetts – Holiday Accident and Illness Claims Specialist

Get in touch

If you want to find out more about claiming for illness at the Brisas Guardalavaca in Cuba; contact Claire Rabbetts by completing our enquiry form, call us on 0808 145 1353 or visit On Holiday Claims.