Is it possible to get bored lying on a beautiful white sand beach all day long? If it is I am not one of those people. If you need to shake up your all inclusive vacation may I suggest a Varadero snorkelling and dolphin swimming cruise to Cayo Blanco? It is a perfect escape from the resort out onto the Caribbean Sea with salt water spray in your face and some amazing crystal blue waters below you. This part of Cuba is a paradise of relaxation and adventure. Luckily you don’t have to choose between them because you can do both in Varadero and this catamaran cruise out to Cayo Blanco is the perfect mix of both. Are you ready? Let’s set sail.
In the lobby of the Iberostar Bella Vista Varadero, there is a tour desk with all the options for a days adventure laid out in front of you. My friend Karen and I have chosen the Varadero Snorkelling and Swimming with Dolphins cruise out to Cayo Blanco as it has a great mix of adventure and relaxation.
The cruise starts early in the morning when a shuttle bus picks us up at the hotel and takes us with the other participants to the Aquaworld Marina. It appears to be a bit unorganised at first but all we have to do is show our ticket to the guy with the clipboard and we are given directions to our catamaran.
Once we are all boarded the catamaran takes off from the dock and our guide begins the safety briefing. I think he did it in five languages so no need to worry that you may or may not understand him because they seem to have it covered! There is plenty of room on board to move around with a bar in the middle if you are thirsty.
As we begin to sail out towards Cayo Blanco the sky is a bit cloudy. Don’t let that fool you though, it is hot and the UV rays will burn you in a few minutes if you don’t slap on the sunscreen. Karen and I are lathered up and ready for it.
As we cruise out to our first stop we start talking to the people around us. Two families from Argentina are visiting Cuba for the first time and they are excited to be out on the water. Karen speaks Spanish fluently while I speak only a little, but with her help, we start talking up a storm. It turns out that one of the young men actually took English in school and is very fluent. So good in fact he becomes my interpreter to his parents.
As we approach the Islands the catamaran begins to slow down. We have reached our first stop where anyone who wants to can get into the water and snorkel for a bit. You can’t go far from the boat but it is great to cool off in the warm Caribbean waters. They have attached a bag of chum to a rope which helps to bring some of the fish closer to us.
In all, we are here for about 20 minutes before we have to re board and head off to Cayo Blanco. Our first sighting of the island has me excited. It is small but it is all ours. No one but us is there.
I head straight to a beach chair, drop off my bag and head straight into the water. OMG, it is magnificent. THe photo below doesn’t do it justice. It is warm, clear and you can walk out quite a ways before it gets too deep.
I never leave the water until the lunch bell is sounded. They have a lovely buffet of Cuban favourites, vegetables and seafood including Lobster which is a special and additional charge. I eat lightly as I want more time in the water.
After lunch some of the guests are invited to re board the boats to head off to a “swim with the Dolphins” adventure. I have declined this option as the Dolphins are not wild. They are still in the Ocean but not free to roam about outside of the pen. I prefer to swim with wild dolphins that are not captive. Instead, I witness a fun Crab race where the guest who picks the fastest crab to reach the outer circle wins a bottle of rum. OMG, fun to watch.
Back to the ocean for me. Not before I enjoy a cocktail in a pineapple though.
After another glorious hour in the water, it is time to return to Varadero. I’ve made some new friends and had a fabulous time both on the boat and in the ocean. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
This was a full day excursion leaving the resort around 8:30 am and returning close to 4 pm. Just in time for a little disco nap and a cocktail before dinner.
Check out the video that the group photographer made for me. It captures everything we did.