Playa Santa Lucia, Playa Ancon & More Beaches Info Needed
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Dec 12, 2012 9:29 AM Last Post By: cresti
Dec 5, 2012 11:46 AM
Playa Santa Lucia, Playa Ancon & More Beaches Info NeededHi Everybody,
I'm traveling to Cuba for a couple of weeks this coming Holiday season, and am in the process of finalizing my itinerary. I will be starting from Santiago and making my way up to Havana. I'm not a huge beach guy, but my girlfriend will be coming along, and I'd like to give us the chance to hang out and relax by a nice beach for a couple of days. Definitely interested in snorkeling and scuba diving. I was planning to make a couple of beach stops along the way: one in Playa Santa Lucia, the other in Playa Ancon. I did search on the web and on TT4, but fresh opinions are always welcome. I would deeply appreciate any opinion you'd like to provide about the following questions:
1) If you have been to Playa Santa Lucia, what do you think about it? Is it as beautiful as the most rated other beaches in Cuba?
2) Is it still possible to go shark feeding in Santa Lucia? Would this tour be allowed for beginner scuba divers?
3) If you have been to Playa Ancon, what do you think about it? How is the snorkeling?
4) Does anybody have any opinion about Playa Jibacoa? Does it stand the comparison with Playa Santa Lucia/Ancon?
5) I'd like to go to Playa Maria La Gorda, but it's way to far for me, and I'll probably leave it for another time. Anybody would like to advocate that I should actually switch it with Playa Santa Lucia?
6) I know, Cayo Coco and Varadero are supposed to be amazing, but also very expensive (some say overpriced and overrated) and touristic. I think I'd rather spend time in beaches that would feel less of a pre-packaged tour. I've read beautiful things about these places, but I have also read horrific stories about the "fakeness" of them, and I'm leaning on bypassing them all together. However, I do appreciate any comment you have in regards.
Thank you so much, I really appreciate your help.
Dec 5, 2012 7:09 PM
11/. so-so beach. Nothing stunning. Many better including Ancon imho.
2/. why don't you post that specific question on Trip Adviser which principally caters to resort goers (or do search of recent posts).
3/. snorkellin off shore variable depends on wind etc. Yiu can go on island diving/snorkelling trips. Marina is walking distance from hotels.
4/. Jibacoa similar beach to Santa Lucia but reputably better off shore snorkellink but Snata Lucia has best diving/snorkelling if boating to nearby
5/.I think too far to get to i.e. no Viaazul to there.
6/. Know nothing about Cayo Coco.Prices of accomodation in Varadero vary considerably from cheaper than the other locations to much more than anything in those.
In such a very short trip of only 2 weeks Santiago to Trindad to Havana with option to spend some time at Jibacoa would be my choice (where are yu flying out of btw?).
Snata Lucia has virtually nothing to do off resort and is 2ish hours from Camaguey - the closest Viazul station. You will most probably have to get back to Camaguey to continue your journey to Trinidad/Havana.
Dec 5, 2012 7:24 PM
Dec 5, 2012 7:53 PM
3ps also try this publication (also available as eReader) from poster ttjpdo
Note Cayo Coco also has the logistical problem of getting there and from - again within such a short timeframe.. Note most people who go there fly direct in and out from Canada or Europe.
Dec 6, 2012 9:24 AM
4Great advice above. Thank you so much, John and travistouchdown.
I will be flying to Santiago from Havana. Then fly back home from Havana.
You are right, John... too little time for Santa Lucia. And if it's not comparable to Ancon, then I probably will have to cut it. Also, I don't think they will allow me to dive in a shark-feeding tour, as I'm a total diving beginner. This would be pretty much the reason I'd go there. And too little time for Cayo Coco, too, unfortunately.
So at the moment Playa Ancon seems to be the only beach I'd go. Maybe Playa Jibacoa, too. If I can.
Between Playa Jibacoa and Playa Ancon, which one is more beautiful? And which one has the better snorkeling?
Thank you, guys.
Dec 6, 2012 2:32 PM
5Best beach per se and easier access to other intreresting things (e.g Trinidad and environs) Ancon. Best walk in snorking Jib. But again note island snorkeling trip from Ancon.
Dec 7, 2012 2:27 PM
Dec 7, 2012 3:09 PM
Dec 8, 2012 5:01 PM
8As you are traveling up from Santiago, you might jump off the bus in Holguin and spend a day on the beach in either Don Lino--nice little cottages on a very pretty cove beach--this in a rural area maybe 30 minutes north of Holguin City)--or Guardalavaca where you might get lucky and find a cottage at Villa Cabanas which backs on a long lovely beach, but more likely would find no vacancies there and would have to stay at Hotel Club Amigo Atlantico or at Brisas Guardalavaca, both of which have villas (individual units) that are better than the barracks-type rooms in the main building. The advantage of this beach is that besides being beautiful and no more than one hour by taxi (no other transport) from Holguin, there's a long offshore reef that's within swimming distance of shore.
Supposing you left Santiago one morning, you could be in Holguin on the bus and then out to Don Lino or Guardalavaca by mid-afternoon, get in a bit of beaching before sundown, and maybe spend one other day there before taxiing back to Holguin to catch the bus on to Trinidad. The beaches near there are interesting but I agree with CheersTerry that the snorkelling and diving around there is not great. Maybe just spend a couple of hours on the beach before heading on to Havana.
From Havana, the beach at Playa Santa Maria, 20 km east of downtown, is very pretty but not for snorkelling. For that, Johnabbotsford's recommendation that you go for a night or two at Playa Jibacoa would be the best option. There is a 20-cuc/night campismo on the beach there, but the beach is much nicer at Villa Tropico, a couple of km further east. As noted, there is a reef not far offshore from Villa Tropico, where you can snorkle, going out either in a paddle boat or a regular dive boat.
Dec 8, 2012 5:03 PM
Dec 9, 2012 6:29 PM
10Thank you so much for the information above. It seems like that snorkeling in Ancon might not be worth. It's a pity. I was thinking about getting on a tour to Cayo Blanco, as the LP states that snorkeling is very good, there. But if you guys say it's not that great, I will have to change plans. Do you know whether or not snorkeling in Cayo Blanco is uninteresting, too?
I'd like to reach Holguin and Guardalavaca, but it will happen on another trip. I have no time this trip. I guess Playa Jibacoa seems to be the best place I can reach from my itinerary. I just hope the snorkeling will be good there. I'm glad you guys think highly of it.
Thank you, again, for your help. Very much appreciated.
Dec 11, 2012 5:02 PM
11There's also the Bahia de Cochinos. Casas directly on the beach at Playa Larga at the head of the bay, one of which is owned by a well-know scuba guide who would probably take you privately for anominal fee. Also casas on the beach at Playa Giron, at the mouth of the bay. (see www.cubacasas.net) At both places, scuba boats go out from the town's one hotel, and go to the same dive sites; don't know that one is any better than the other. Water can be cloudy if it's windy, but is generally crystal clear if you go out in the morning and there's no offshore storm brewing.
There might now be a Viazul bus from Trinidad to Playa Giron or Playa Larga--a trip of about 3 hours. Don't know if it's running now or not. Check when ou get to Trinidad.
Dec 12, 2012 9:29 AM
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