Playa Jibacoa is the Varadero that never was, or the Varadero yet to come – depending on your hunch. For the time being it’s a mainly Cuban getaway, with a coastal branch road from the main Vía Blanca highway winding by two small all-inclusive resorts, a hotel-standard campismo (cheap rustic accommodation) and several other shoreline sleeping options thrown in for good measure. Punctuated by a series of small but splendid beaches and blessed with good snorkeling accessible direct from the shore, Jibacoa is backed by a lofty limestone terrace overlooking the ocean. The terrace offers excellent views and some short DIY hikes.
The Vía Blanca, running between Havana and Matanzas, is the main transport artery in the area, although few buses make scheduled stops here, making Playa Jibacoa a more challenging pit stop than it should be. Just inland are picturesque farming communities and tiny time-warped hamlets linked by the Hershey Electric Railway.