We’ll tell you how to find turquoise water and dream beaches in Cuba and where to go to escape tourists and feel like Robinson Crusoe.
Smile! Making pictures of dream beaches
After visiting beaches and the Caribbean Sea in the south of Cuba, it was time for us to go north and check what the Atlantic Ocean has to offer. If you are looking for turquoise water in Cuba, that’s where you should head to as well. Why beaches on the Caribbean Sea side of Cuba do not look that dream like on photos and are not necessarily camera friendly? To blame for it is the sun. If you are trying to capture the sea in the south, most of the time during day you will face the sun. Therefore pictures at a beach in the south of Cuba look more like this:
Of course here you can see spectacular sunrises and sunsets, but you can forget about shots of turquoise water in the full sun. (ok, ok dear photography freaks, we know about fancy equipment, but we as well know, that not all of our readers are willing to get additional luggage to fit all possible lenses and filters 😉 Still be free to comment with your tips.)
When you go to the north of Cuba and you stand facing the Ocean, the sun is behind you and voilà, no filters necessary:
Where to go
One of the most popular resorts in the north of Cuba is Varadero. We very rarely pick hotels to stay in and the word “resort” causes a rash by us, so of course we decided to skip it. And I must say every time we met anyone who falls into the category of shmucks, they usually stayed in Varadero; coincidence? 😀 After crossing out Varadero from the places with a beach on the north of Cuba, we were left with Cayerías de Norte. These are the islands on the north of Cuba in the Villa Clara province. Among the most famous are Cayo las Brujas, Cayo Ensenachos and Cayo Santa Maria. The islands are connected with the rest of Cuba with a 48km causeway called El Pedraplén.
However, the Cayerías del Norte have no hidden beaches any more either. The accommodation is available only in hotels there and one night costs more or less the same as one week accommodation in the rest of Cuba. Therefore, we decided to visit Cayerías del Norte during a one day trip from Santa Clara. There is as well the possibility to find an accommodation in two more cities closer to the islands: Remedios and Caibarién. Still at the end, taking into consideration public transport and casas particulares that we found that were in worse conditions and usually more expensive, we decided to stay in Santa Clara and rent a taxi from there to the Cayos. We asked our hostel owner and he found us a taxi for 70 CUC per day, which was more than a fair price for visiting the Cayos and Remedios on the way back. And so was it set, we are going to search the most beautiful hidden beaches in Cuba on Valentine’s Day.
Business and Tourism
Our taxi driver spoke only Spanish, as most of them usually did. Today I’m wondering, how it was possible for us to communicate with Cubans with our very poor Spanish knowledge. What I think now is, that we simply wanted to understand each other, so it was easier for all of us to communicate in an understandable way. Few words, few gestures, aaa …. I got ya. It definitely worked. So on the way to our dream island we crossed a border. Not to the other country apparently but to the ugly business enclave called: “welcome tourists, no Cubans.” We showed our passports, our taxi driver – his car documents and license allowing him to enter the islands with us. If he would like to take his wife with him instead of us, they wouldn’t be let in there as they are Cubans. We were outraged and told him how unfair we find it. (It seems that slowly some change is coming. Recently our Cuban friends managed to get for holidays to Cayo Santa Maria. We truly hope that all the Islands and beaches will be in the future available for all Cubans).
Our initial plan was to get to Cayo Santa Maria and find some free beach, “free” meaning not many tourists, no all-inclusive hotels crap. However, on the way we found out that unless we are guests in a hotel, we have no other possibility but to pay and use the hotel beach. “Other option please”. As it turned out there was only one beach that at the moment was free. It was Playa Las Salinas on Cayo las Brujas, but probably already next year there will be some new hotel build there. Well, of course we wanted to go there. And this is how we landed on the island of Robinson Crusoe.
Searching for Robinson Crusoe
We entered Playa Las Salinas and there was no one else there. Just the three of us. No tourists, no hotels. Here and there you could see abandoned broken umbrellas from palm leaves. On the horizon many cranes, reminding us that this idyllic peace will be soon broken by tourists.
But in front of us was the turquoise water of the Atlantic Ocean and this was what mattered for now. We found some shadow under an old palm. I cleaned a little the dry leaves and coconut shells from the sand under it. Zosia took her travel friend Phillip, a coconut, our Cuba tour guide and felt like at home. We made a table from an old brunch and a sand-leaves-scarves bed for Zosia for her nap. We were alone, we had nothing there, but yet we couldn’t be more happy…
On the way back we visited Remedios, according to some Cuba’s second oldest settlement and a colonial jewel. We walked a little bit around, then stayed at Parque Marti and drunk black tea at one of the hotels there. Remedios is a nice small town, but we didn’t find it that special, especially after already visiting Trinidad, Cienfuegos, and Havana. It is definitely worth to stop by but not a special trip. It was already late afternoon, so we decided not to keep our driver far from his loved ones any longer, it was Valentine’s Day at the end 😉
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