Things to do in Cayo Coco beyond the beach
You’ve booked your vacation at a fabulous all-inclusive Cuban resort in Cayo Coco and you are dreaming of endless days sipping daiquiris and mojitos while laying on the beach. Sounds about right for maybe a day or two and then reality sets in. Beach time is great but you need a little bit more excitement and exploration in your daily Cuban routine. You are in luck because there are plenty of things to do in Cayo Coco besides sipping rum drinks and tanning at the beach. If you didn’t pre-book your tours before arriving not to worry, every hotel has a tour desk with an array of activities for you to choose from. I checked a few of them out for you. Are you ready for some adventure?
The first thing you need to know about Cayo Coco and any adventures you are planning to experience is that it is designed just for us tourists. No Cubans live in Cayo Coco. Most of the staff that work the resorts live in the neighbouring town of Moron and the surrounding communities. Getting to Cayo Coco from the mainland requires a 20-30 drive on a causeway built to make accessing the Cayo easier. This means no matter what you are planning to do you will be spending time on a bus getting there and back again.
If this is your first time heading to Cuba, you may want to check out my tips for what you should know before you board the plane. It will save you many headaches.
Snorkelling, Seafood and Swimming
For the first adventure, I picked a day on a catamaran, snorkelling, sunning and maybe a few rum punches. The tour starts early with an 8:30 am call to meet in the hotel lobby to board the bus. When everyone is on board it is off to pick up other hotel guests and then to the marina.
All aboard we head out to sea. We get the standard safety briefing and description of what to expect from our day. If you don’t speak Spanish don’t worry because our host gave the briefing in four languages. We had people from Quebec, South America, Europe and of course us English speaking Canadians with one or 2 Americans thrown in.
We actually visited two different snorkelling spots. The water is crystal clear, warm and plenty of fish around to see.
One of our guides dove down to the bottom to find a few Starfish to show off. After a few pics they were placed back where we found them, unharmed.
When were then served lunch on board that included Rice & Beans, mixed vegetables, Shrimp, a Lobster Tail and Baked Chicken. Not a bad feast for a day on the ocean.
After lunch, we set sail for Media Luna where we anchored and swam in the shallow waters for a while. On the way, we passed a tiny Cayo that looked like the perfect place to just escape the world at. Granted you’d need to bring all your supplies with you but it looks like paradise.
Don’t be afraid to bring a beer in with you, we did. Leave the camera on the boat this is play time.
It’s time to head back to the marina and I think this picture sums up the day perfectly. Amazing.
If everything works out right you should be boarding the bus back at the marina and be back at your hotel around 3 pm. That leaves you a few hours to nap, relax and get ready for your night’s entertainment.
Touring Lake Redonda and the City of Moron
Today’s adventure is another early morning excursion with an 8:30 am bus call. Loaded up our first stop is Lake Redonda. A nature preserve, the lake is rimmed in Mangrove trees and has one of the highest densities of trout in Cuba. We are not here to fish though, we are here for a powerboat cruise on the lake.
The setting is gorgeous and the trip through the mangroves is even better. Here’s a video of part of it.
After the buggy tour of the town, we are allowed to explore on our own. I found a cafe that makes great espresso and many shops that cater to the local population. PRO TIP: be careful of scams for money. People will come up to you claiming they served you at the hotel and ask for a little assistance for something special. I was asked to help buy diapers and fell for it. In all, though the townspeople are very friendly and I felt completely safe. Just don’t be a fool with your money.
We meet back at the town square where we board the bus and head to our next stop for lunch, Rancho Palma.
If you are looking to buy some cigars this is a good spot as they have a wide selection for sale at a small kiosk inside. What I love though is the demonstration and taste of fresh sugarcane juice. They literally make the juice in a press right in front of you and then let you add a shot of local rum to it. Delicious.
This is where we have our lunch and it is served buffet style. Simple food but very tasty. This is more in line with what locals would enjoy versus the food that is prepared at the resorts. Rice and Beans, Boiled Potatoes with onion, Cucumber, Carrots and Pork. Simple but tasty.
Next up we visit the ZooCriderio Moron or Crocodile Zoo of Moron. While I am not the biggest fan of visiting animals kept in pens if I am going to see a crocodile this is best way. Plus you can feed them if you are interested.
And that concludes the City, Cigar and Rum tour. By the time we return to the hotel, it is around 3 pm. Plenty of time to relax and get ready for dinner and drinks as the sun sets.
Sunset and Cocktails
Speaking of cocktails and sunset. If you want to escape the resort for a different scene head to Ranchón La Silla. It is located along the causeway about 10-15 minutes from the resort areas and is an independently owned Palador.
A perfect place to order a daiquiri and enjoy the sun as it sets on the water.
There are plenty of other tours and things to do in Cayo Coco this is just an example of what you can do. Talk to the various tour operators at your hotel and see what they offer. Don’t forget to bring some CUC’s and tip your driver and guide. This is what they work for, the tips.