With their pure white sand and contrasting deep blue waters, the natural beauty of the beaches of Cuba are difficult for many travelers to fathom. Surprisingly, this is true for persons who have visited other Caribbean islands of even Bermuda.
From heavily populated beach resorts in Varadero Beach and the popular Cayo Coco to relatively private beaches that almost seem undiscovered, the beaches of Cuba can’t help but connect with visitors. Like other aspects of the Cuba travel experience, unspoiled beaches that are only mildly commercialized make for a totally unique experience.
From shell hunting to bird watching, fishing and enjoying the peace and quiet of what often feels like your own private beach, the Caribbean does not have other beaches as can be found and enjoyed in Cuba. The beaches of Cayo Coco are located on an island in central Cuba in the Ciego de Avila Province.
The island is one of the chain of islands known as the Jardines del Rey of the King’s Gardens. Cayo Coco is named for the white ibis or white coconut birds. The island covers 370 square kilometers and is a favorite destination for Canadians and Europeans. Many vacationers spend weeks at a time dodging Winter in Cayo Coco.
There are several first class resorts in the area, including another Spanish-Cuban Melia Hotel, Dave and Yordi’s favorite hotel chain in Cuba. Cayo Coco and neighboring Cayo Guillermo served as the settings for Hemingway’s Old Man and The Sea and his Islands in the Stream. With that in mind, it is difficult to escape the magnetic appeal of Hemingway’s characters while strolling the beaches, diving the reefs or staring into the sunset.
During the colonial era, Cayo Coco was a favorite hideaway for looters and buccaneers. At the same time, a community of fisherman thrived on the island until the fresh water supply was exhausted in 1955. In 1988, a 27 kilometer causeway from the mainland across Bahlia de Perros (Bay of Dogs) onto the island was completed. Tourism then began to arrive on the island en masse. The island’s first resort, Guitart Cay Coco, now the Hotel Colonial Cayo Coco, was opened for business in 1993.
Despite the increased tourist trade, the wild flamingos that have always characterized the island still thrive. Environmentalists have sufficiently preserved the island swamp areas, many of which are populated by wild cattle. For tourists who like to fish, Cayo Coco is a paradise beyond imagination.
Divers and fisherman swarm to the massive coral reef that shields the island. The combination of beaches and the coral reef have led to the construction of 12 international hotels (8 on Cayo Coco and 4 on Cayo Guillermo). Want to learn more about the attractions at Cayo Coco, contact Dave and Yordi at Info@travelguidecuba.com. Cayo Coco has its own international airport, the Jardines del Rey Airport. As of 2005, international travelers now fly directly into the island resort community where service is still is highly personal and provided without hesitation. With a morning arrival, visitors can be checked in and on the beach and water by midday.
The magnificent Beach of Playa Pilar is not as well known to Americans as it is to international travelers but it is regarded as one of the finest beaches in the world. At a cost of 5CUC per day, this Cayo Guillermo Island destination is well worth the short ride from Cayo Coco.
Tourists love to bicycle on this safe and secure island. Once over the causeway on the mainland, it is amazing what a full Cuban experience can be enjoyed. Everything from taking in a baseball game to seeing how Cuba cigars are rolled and enjoying the hustle and built of the colonial city of Moron and the town’s famous bronze cockerel opens before you. These are elements that most People-to-People tour providers do not offer travelers but which can be incorporated in a customized tour.
Interested in recommendations about customized travel and tour arrangements in Cuba? Please contact Dave or Yordi at Info@travelguidecuba.com.
Travelguidcuba.com is not a licensed People-to-People tour provider but works closely with licensed providers. Complete Cuba People-to-People tour is licensed (CT-2013-299822-1) by the United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to engage, organize and conduct authorized people-to-people travel to Cuba that engages participants in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.