goingtocubaParticipantApril 2, 2015 at 2:18 pmPost count: 1
we will going to Havana on Saturday and then on to Varadero 3 days later. While in Varadero we were thinking about renting a car for 1 or 2 days but after reading your advise in the guide I am quite hesitant about doing so. We were planning on going to Jibacoa to snorkel for one day since that seems to be the best spot for snorkeling (enlighten me if im wrong) in that area of Cuba. We were also planning to go to Santa Cruz del Norte for lunch at Los Amigos restaurant (since it has good reviews) and a bit of exploring. What other transportation options would I have to do something like that?
MarioKeymasterApril 2, 2015 at 5:21 pmPost count: 212
- This topic was modified 4 years ago by goingtocuba.
Hi, I will consult some of my friends who live in that area and ask them what their best advice is. I will have a response for you shortly.
MarioMarioKeymasterApril 2, 2015 at 9:42 pmPost count: 212
Hi, I got in contact with some of my friends in Cuba who are in that area and who work in tourism. Apparently, a lot of the cars are booked now. With the influx of American tourists you might have a hard time sourcing a rental car. All my sources are dry right now. I really won’t be able to help you in that area at the moment.
Renting a car is not idea. Really, there are many horror stories about tourists getting into accidents, leading to problems. There is a good chance you won’t have any problems at all. It’s just that when you do have trouble, they can quickly become major.
Getting a taxi to bring you from Varadero to Jibacoa would be an option, but it will be expensive. A ride like that would have to be at least 80cuc. If you can find it for less, it is a good value. The taxi option, in addition to costing about the same as a rental, and being safer, since you are not liable for accidents, also has the advantage that the driver is Cuban and will likely know the route to the destination.
I have heard that, in the general Varadero/Matanzas area, Jibacoa has the best places for snorkeling. But it’s also rather difficult to get to since it is a small community with not many tourists. There are only 2 or 3 resorts in that area. There are places closer to Varadero which will be almost as good. It really depends how hardcore you are. Coral Beach is about 20 minutes from downtown Varadero and a taxi would cost probably 40cuc to take you there. It’s not the best, but it’s an easy excursion. There are some reviews here (http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g147275-d2623390-Reviews-Coral_Beach-Varadero_Matanzas_Province_Cuba.html#REVIEWS)
Ultimately, snorkeling is very dependent on personal tastes. There are many people who take the catamaran from Varadero (most hotels offer this excursion) and it goes out about 5km from shore, and there are tons of colorful fish and ocean creatures. It’s not coral, but it only costs about 20cuc. For the average person, they have an amazing trip. But if you are really into diving and are more professional, this will not be so impressive. But, from what I hear, if you are a pro, then Jibacoa will not blow you away either.
In then end, I say, if you want to get out there and explore, Going to Jibacoa for snorkeling is a great idea. It’s away from major tourist areas, and it will be a fun trip. Going to Santa Cruz del Norte will be interesting as well. It’s a very small town, but it’s cool to see. Ultimately, I would have to say, the best recommendation on an excursion like this is to rent your own car. It will really give you a lot more independence and over the course of a few days it will be cheaper. But, if there are no cars to rent, then you might have to adjust your plans, perhaps opting to stay closer to Varadero and only taking a taxi.
As a side note, I will just say, if you get 5kms away from Varadero, already there will be no tourists in sight. 99.9% stay within the Varadero boundaries. So, if you just want to get away and explore an area where there are Cubans and no tourists, you really don’t have to go far. Even if you go for a long walk in the town of Cardenas, just beside Varadero, there is a good chance you will be the only foreigner.
Have a wonderful trip and if you have more questions, just ask.
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