The five-hour tour to Cuba's isolated and practically virgin western tip at Cabo de San Antonio is superb. Along the way you'll see jungles of palms, deserted beaches, iguanas, crocodiles (if you're lucky), cenotes and petrified forests. The responsibility is yours to supply transport and sufficient gas, water and food, so you'll need a taxi or your own wheels.

During most of the 120km round-trip through the Parque Nacional Peninsula de Guanahacabibes, you'll have dark, rough diente de perro (dog's teeth) rock on one side and the brilliant blue sea on the other. Iguanas will lumber for cover as you approach and you might spy small deer, jutías (tree rats) and lots of birds. Beyond the lighthouse is deserted Playa las Tumbas, where you'll have time to swim should you desire. Thanks to the upgraded road surface, any hire car can make this trip. The five-hour excursion costs CUC$10 per person, plus the CUC$80 or so you'll need to hire a car (there's car rental at Hotel María la Gorda). Besides the beaches and exotic flora, there's a chance to see crocodiles, explore a bat-ridden cave and climb a wooden mirador to spy Cuba's north and south coasts. Near Playa La Barca, a recently wrecked ship adds romance to the proceedings.