aaa seeking desert beach in cuba!
Replies: 29 - Last Post: Oct 16, 2012 6:10 PM Last Post By: canadi
Oct 15, 2012 9:53 AM
15@DraJ and Holamivida:
Thank you, this sounds as well like a little paradise :)
Although our itinerary may not go on the side of Baracoa, but we still have to work it out, so we'll keep it in mind, it's a good tip :)
Spanish is ok, let's say (pre)intermediate level.... it's not the first time in central/south America though, so it's already proved enough to survive :)
Oct 15, 2012 10:04 AM
16#13 and #14 are recommendable.
So it is actually two different beaches? I found a "playa Manguana" north of Baracoa, is that the one or is it a third one?
+I don't know why other tourists should be detesting. +
Ok, I must apologise, in my conception "tourist" is actually "massive package-holidays makers"
a few independent travellers around are not detesting in the end :)
My idea is that untended beaches in Cuba might be idyllic, but often no pearls.
Yeah, I though so, that's why I'm looking for a compromise :)
the beaches east of Havana have comparatively very few tourists, if any at all. that is where Cubans go
Oct 15, 2012 11:41 AM
17No, Skitch, the names/locations of what I consider Cuba's best beaches are not secret. They are, as noted by some other posters (thank you kindly, guys), for sale in my book by that title that came out only a year ago. The 30 or 40 beaches described are divided into three sections: resort beaches, best beaches for cultural exchanges (that is, beaches where Cubans hang out and you can stay nearby in the home of a Cuban family, and best beaches for a get-away-from-it-all experience. The little book has a picture of each beach--there are none I have not visited once or many times--as well as info on where one can stay and eat in the area and how to get there. And what else there is to do in the area besides the beach.
In your case, looking for one of those get-away-from-it-all beaches, your major problem will be, as I said before, getting there, because virtually none of these get-away-from-it-all beaches can be accessed by public transport. On the other hand, there is hardly any coastal town in Cuba that doesn't have a decent (not necessarily picture-perfect) beach where locals go. But even there you would be looking at, say, a 5 to 25-km jaunt from the town or village where you're staying to the beach. Hikeable, or bikeable, or hire a taxi? Something, because you won't find a local bus or truck car going there--or if you do, won't find one when you need it to get back.
But...here's an exception: One hour north of the city of Holguin (which does have international flights), there are two beachfront villages--and I really do mean villages, as in, no commercial centre of any kind. One is called La Heradura, the other is Las Bocas. Each has not one but TWO beaches, one on the open ocean, one on the bay. And both have licensed casas, not directly on the beach but a block or two back. (The ones that used to be on the waterfront got wiped out in a hurricane a couple of years back.) While there is no regularly scheduled transport to either of these communities, there are trucks that run intermittenly. Just ask in Holguin where you go to catch a camion to La Herradura or Las Bocas. (Note: these days Las Bocas is the best option because hurricanes have just about destroyed La Herradura's once-beautiful oceanfront beach, leaving it with more rock than sand.) Because there are licensed casas in these villages, there are a handful of tourists. In my visits there I have come across only two types: a few Italians who have arrived in their rental cars, and students who congregate there during what we would call spring break. At other times I have been there when I was the only non-resident around.
Oct 15, 2012 11:47 AM
18By the way, Playa Maguana is one beach, 20 km west of Baracoa. The only place to stay there is a 16-unit "villa" which is very lovely, if a little pricy--about 70 CUC/night, meals included. But you can easily travel back and forth from Baracoa, where, as noted, there are a zillion licensed casas. I think there might be a daily shuttle between Baracoa and Playa Maguana now. And yes, that means you will find other foreigners on the beach. But nothing remotely resembling a resort atmosphere. If you don't want to eat at the villa cafe, you can contract with one of the guys who will approach you on the beach to have their wife fix your lunch. However, if you do this, I recommend that you VISIT their cottage (which will be only a 100 metres or so from the beach), talk to the wife, and LOOK at whatever she has on offer. As in, is it fresh seafood? And if so, how fresh (and if lobster, how big?) I have had a good meal prepared for me there by Pedro's wife. I also have had a couple of bad meals there prepared by other women that were not so good. So...if you make that dining choice, take the time to visit the family and adjust your expectations accordingly. If you're not satisfied, well, as noted by a previous poser, the food at the villa is not bad. And the view of the coastline from its open-air cafe is sensational.
Oct 15, 2012 11:52 AM
19The beaches east of Havana, known collectively as Playas del Este, actually have a lot of foreign tourists as well as hoards of Cubans--although fewer Cubans in winter when most consider it too cold for beaching. The prettiest of the Playas del Este beaches is El Megano-Santa Maria-Boca Ciega (all run together). They're also the most touristed because there are to very large, low-end hotels there on the beach. A few km farther west is Guanabo, a rockier beach but one that has a lot of licensed casas and which attracts even more Cubans because they can get there by bus from centro Habana.
Oct 15, 2012 3:22 PM
20The meal I had with my friends at Playa Maguana was good. Don't know the name of the person who cokked it though. Also lots of good meals available in Baracoa Paladars. If you like fish and seafood, this region will be a good choice.
Oct 15, 2012 4:12 PM
Oct 15, 2012 5:10 PM
22You might also try Playa Rancho Luna outside of Cienfuegos where there is a small village with a couple of CPs across the road. There are two AIs on the beach but it is a long, long beach and I rarely see anyone at those hotels.
Oct 15, 2012 5:25 PM
23We may have "the" 'secluded' beach with casas nearby. North of Holguin 35 km is one of our favourite destinations: Gibara which has many excellent casas, has claims to Columbus's first siting,friendly people, Spanish Colonial architecture anddddd...a beautiful, but small sandy beach, actually two, but unfortunately we can't speak to the other as we haven't been there. For one CUC each way , you take a small launch across the bay that holds 16 , walk 0.5 km or less to the right and voila you have a choice a few sandy areas with nobody around except for fishermen bobbing on the bay. Some prefer the beach on the right side, rumored larger as in more expansive.If you go there, because of limited crossing times, become familiar with the 'el ultimo' practice where you go early, ask who is the last person and remember who that was and you can leave as we did for one hour and return before the departure time-great 'system'!We were there twice, three times to Gibara almost second home and know of at least two casas with internet access.PM me if you need more info and recommendations re casas.
Oct 15, 2012 5:34 PM
24One of my favourite spots also mishkamo. I actually think Gibara has much of the atttractions of Baracoa but the great advantage of being so much easier to get to!
Not so impressed with those beaches - depends what one is used to I guess. Can't always count on that 'ferry' running btw.
Oct 15, 2012 5:38 PM
Oct 16, 2012 8:10 AM
26John, have you gone to the beach on the right side as you disembark? We haven't.The one we went to was small but cozy, definitely not for dozens of bathers, but secluded. As for the launch,yes there was a period where it was out of commission due to motor problems. We were there last Nov/2011 and it was operational, also Nov2010, also operating at a chug-a-lug speed in a beautiful bay.At the destination end there is a small kiosk that offers refreshment and shade while waiting for return sail.Don't forget your ticket stub in order to return w/o paying again.And the ubiquitous "el ultimo" upon returning to the dock.
Oct 16, 2012 10:53 AM
27One hour north of the city of Holguin (which does have international flights), there are two beachfront villages--and I really do mean villages, as in, no commercial centre of any kind. One is called La Heradura, the other is Las Bocas.
thank you ttjpdo, this is also a great tip!!!
you are really a volcano of ideas and information!!!
I should buy the book anyway :)
We might consider renting a scooter from one of the cities though, if roads to the beaches are accessible...
North of Holguin 35 km is one of our favourite destinations: Gibara which has many excellent casas, has claims to Columbus's first siting,friendly people, Spanish Colonial architecture
This looks a good tip too, thanks :)
You might also try Playa Rancho Luna outside of Cienfuegos where there is a small village with a couple of CPs across the road.
thank you, we still have to decide where to stop, options are between Santa clara and Camaguey, so this tip might be as good :)
Thank you also to all those who spoke about Playa Maguana, looks like a perfect place but might be a bit out of route for us as probably we will head to Granma and Sierra Maestra, so to the opposite side :(
But as I said, we are still working on the itinerary, so everything might change, and we will definitely keep it in mind :) you never know, we might end up there all the way...
thank you all!!!
Oct 16, 2012 11:24 AM
28Well, now that you tell us you are headed to Granma Province, my personal favourite beach there is Playa Las Coloradas, which is just 11 km short of Cabo Cruz at the very southeastern tip of Cuba. There is a campismo there, consisting of very basic duplex cottages (bunk beds, flush toilet, cold-water shower), and a lovely beach. Food served in the campismo cantina is barely edible, but you can always contract with one of the fisher guys hanging about on the beach to have his wife fix you a nice seafood meal. The landing site of the Granma is just 1 km down the road on the way to Cabo Cruz. A little further along there's a trail that takes off toward the mountains that the Granma guys followed, most to their death three days later in Alegria de Pio. And just before entering Cabo Cruz, there's a lagoon where flamingos are often feeding. I should mention that it is not all that easy to get to Cabo Cruz.
You can easily get to Bayamo on the Viazul bus, but then you'd have to find some other way to get to Manzanillo, maybe the train (?) And from there, catch a truck, or maybe several, town to town, down the coast to Cabo Cruz.
Given the hassle of reaching Playa Las Coloradas, the beaches north of Holguin--and the town of Gibrara (which is on a bay, not a beach, but does have a pretty beach up the coast and across the bay, if you can find transportation to either of them, which is not easy)--these would probably be better options, at least more accessible ones.
And yes, you should get the book, because it provides a lot of specifics about things that you don't even know yet that you need to know about getting around in Cuba. (Scooter rentals, for example, are normally only available from resorts, and a scooter cannot legally be taken out of province.)
Oct 16, 2012 6:10 PM
29Personally I found the kind of beaches you want in Veradero. and at Playa del este. I have been to the beaches around Baracoa and they are lovely and mostly deserted but only the aforementioned beaches have the dark blue, light blue, turquoise water and soft whitish sand. I found that you only have to walk away from the hotels to find these mostly secluded spots.
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From US$11.03 per night