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Jibacoa: Cuba's Holiday Relaxation Hot Spot

Jun 23, 2008
Relaxation, peace and quiet are very much the watchwords of Cuba's reputation as being an exotic holiday hotspot, but as more and more people hear about it, the less and less relaxing it gets! It's a bit of a catch-22, but as more and more people are heading on Cuba holidays to the likes of Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Varadero, it becomes less and less relaxing. Fortunately, there are still some hidden gems on the island that are clear of the hustle and bustle of tourist life.

My pick of these places is the calm resort of Jibacoa in Cuba. If you're thinking of booking into a hotel in Varadero or Havana, consider these selling points first - you might just have a change of heart:

1) The peace and quiet

Jibacoa, Cuba, is the very definition of a quiet resort. It's beautifully tranquil - just you and a handful of other visitors enjoying the sunshine and the wonderfully calm atmosphere. It's something of a hidden gem, so you shouldn't have to compete too much against other Cuba holiday makers. In particular, party animals and families with noisy young children have no interest in the place so won't be on hand in Jibacoa's hotels to disturb you. It really is the best place on the island to unwind from the stresses of modern life.

2) Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

Just a little way off the shore is Jibacoa's coral reef, making this an unforgettable place to snorkel and scuba dive. If you have access to an underwater camera, bring it along, because the quantity of tropical sea life beneath the surface is simply astounding, and the kind of thing you do not want to forget in a hurry. If you have no experience of either snorkeling or diving, you will have to pass a test - but there are facilities at the Jibacoa resort to prove you have what it takes to the instructor. It may seem like a lot of hassle for a 'relaxing resort', but you'll thank me as soon as you get an eyeful of the beauty beneath the waves!

3) Beach

It should be enough to tell you that residents of Havana take the 60km journey to Jibacoa resort's beach to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. If it's good enough for the locals, then it is good enough for you. A small secluded beach that is the perfect antidote to the chaos of Varadero's miles of sands. Here, it's just you, the white sands, then sun and crisp blue water as far as the eye can see.

4) Markets

If you ever tire of the beach and blissful relaxation (what's wrong with you?!), you may wish to venture from your hotel to Jibacoa's old town. The sight that will greet you is a street market stretching off into the distance. For shopoholics, the 15 Mile Market is an attraction to the area in itself, and here you'll be able to buy everything you could want, from jewelry, to leather goods to keepsakes and crafts. With so many stalls to see, its well worth coming over for a couple of visits.

5) Easy Access to Havana

Perhaps the main reason people don't choose resorts off the beaten track is because they want to have access to the bigger cities, but Havana is just a 33 miles away from the Jibacoa resort! This is close enough to allow you to enjoy the bright lights of the city, but able to return to your tranquil Jibacoa hotel when it becomes too much like the busyness of everyday life.

Sure, it's not the perfect Cuba holiday destination for party animals, who would be better served with Varadero's delights (though there are places to stay out all night should you wish for a break from the relentless calm!), but for everyone who likes an ocean of calm in their hectic lives - be they couples, families or singles - the beach of Jibacoa, Cuba, is simply an unbeatable solution.
About the Author
Emma Lelliott is the general manager of Captivating Cuba, an independent Cuba holiday specialist. With offices in Havana and the UK, Captivating Cuba can help you tailor-make the perfect holiday at the Jibacoa resort.
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