Imagine visiting an island in the Caribbean and not talking about its beaches? Impossible!
I am very happy to say that I was able to spend some quality time on the beach. Quality time of course means laying on a sunbed (under an umbrella made of palm leaves) and reading with a cocktail in hand. For me Cayo Jutias was my favourite beach, where we came for a day trip from Vinales. It is here that we went snorkelling, not a pastime that I have any enthusiasm for but I am glad I went. A guy took us out on his boat, we jumped in the water, followed him around for a little bit and then were taken back to the beach. It was probably about 25 minutes altogether and swimming with the mask and snorkel never felt comfortable. However, I did see a blue tang fish (Dory in Finding Nemo) which made it worth it! IT was here where there was a beach bar where you could order coco loco, or crazy coconuts. A man with a machete would cut the top off a fresh coconut which the bartender would cut out some of the flesh and give to you to nibble on. He would then tip out some water so that there was more room for him to free pour rum, allowing you to say ‘when’, finishing with some lemon juice and honey. These were delicious. And strong! The water here was crystal clear and we visited on a perfect sunny day so that was definitely the favourite beach day of our trip.
Playa Ancon is a beach just outside Trinidad that Jimmy and I actually cycled to. As we were celebrating Jimmy’s birthday in Cuba I wanted to make sure we did some true “Jimmy activities” and as he loves cycling this was perfect. Unfortunately, only one other person from our tour was keen (shout out to Simon from Sydney) so it was a small group of 4, us and our tour guide – who is a very keen cyclist, who did the cycle to the beach. It’s about 12 kms from Trinidad’s town centre and I am happy to report that Cuba is pretty flat so we did the scenic route to get there which was very nice. The beach itself was also nice but not quite as beautiful as Cayo Jutias. We got kicked off our first set of sun loungers (we offered to pay of course), although they had allowed us to order and pay for drinks before doing so, so then moved to the other side of the beach. It was quite a windy day so actually quite cold (which is always deceiving when it comes to people avoiding getting burnt) and there was a lot of seaweed. However, we did get food and drinks delivered to our sun loungers and had some pleasant dips in the water between napping on the beach. We saw a black pelican that had had its wings clipped so that it wouldn’t fly away from its owner, who uses it to make money from tourists who want photos with it. To be honest this was heart-breaking but the animal cruelty laws in Cuba are, apparently, pretty lax. At the end of our beach day we cycled home and the wind made the return journey much tougher (apologies to the other 3 as I definitely slowed the group down).