Jibacoa is a triple delight – it has a varied beach and mountain landscape; is located just an hour from Havana (a bit more from Varadero); and offers great seaside accommodation.
The mottled turquoise sea looks like it jumped from a postcard and there’s room to spread out on the soft white sand. Long walks on the beach are standard here, though the shoreline is rocky in parts – pack some reef shoes.
Underwater is where Jibacoa’s secret is fully revealed, since this stretch of coast enjoys a 3 km long reef, about 50 meters from the beach. Snorkelers and divers can swim to the reef easily to enjoy some of the clearest and most varied underwater visuals available on the island’s north coast. Even famous Varadero can’t compete in this department. Besides sun, sand and sea sports, visitors can enjoy other outdoor activities like hiking and horseback riding. While Jibacoa is a nature lover’s paradise, for nightlife beyond chirping bugs and twinkling stars, you’ll have to travel to Havana or Varadero.
The area of Jibacoa is actually four beaches, with just two international hotels. Another stretch of beach closer to Jibacoa town is popular with Cubans camping, barbecuing and sharing seaside recreation time with family. Both the town and this beach give visitors the opportunity to mingle with Cubans and learn about local life.
Places to visit nearby include Santa Cruz del Norte, a small, bustling town where world-famous Havana Club rum is produced, and the Bacunayagua Bridge, Cuba’s highest bridge with corresponding spectacular views.