After spending close to three months in England last year, and visiting Poland, Austria and Greece, I decided it was that time again to get my travel on. My friend Adrian and I talked for months about going away somewhere on vacation, and as the urge to travel came about, I knew it was time to plan my next adventure!
We didn’t give the vacation planning much thought, and within a few days back in last August we picked at random to go to Cayo Coco in Cuba. I was under the impression that it was a good vacation spot and decided to try it out. I had only been to Cuba once before, in the city of Holguin, which is on the South side of the island. Cayo Coco is located on a smaller island, North-East of the main island. The island is bridged to the main land by a land bridge that spans over 30 kilometres, and one of the coolest things about Cayo Coco which I only learned after arriving there was that the island of Cayo Coco was not inhabited by any locals, and was a resort only island. The closest inhabited city is on the other side of the land bridge, a city by the name of Moron.
During all of the “all inclusive vacations” I have been on, I typically prefer to just relax on the resort, and make the most o
ut of my money I have already spent. This means food, snacks and drinks all day long. And did I mention drinks? How about more drinks? Drinks on drinks for days.
I have hardly gone on any outside excursions.
However this time it was different, and I’m glad to say I was happy it was different.
Convinced by Adrian to look into excursion ideas in Cayo Coco, after a quick Google search of “Things to do in Cayo Coco,” the results were bleak to say the very least. There were literally about four to five things you could do outside of the resort, which were close by. We decided to hold off on booking anything ahead of time, and find out more once we arrive there.
The two months after booking the trip, until the actual departure went by excruciatingly slow, to be expected. But finally the day came, October 3rd!
We met up with two other friends, Brian and Roberto, at the airport, whom decided to join us on the trip last minute. After that fun 3 hour wait, we finally boarded on our for our adventure. Of course the obligatory picture of the plane wing happened.
It was a good thing we didn’t book any excursions ahead of time, because on the plane they offered us Duty Free excursion booking, which we could pay for in Canadian dollars and save on the exchange rate when getting to Cuba. The exchange rate for convertible pesos ended up being horrible. We got about 65 cents on the Canadian dollar, which is worse than the USD exchange rate. If I did the math right, we ended up saving roughly $15 on the more expensive excursion, and around $10 on the cheaper excursion. On the plane we booked the Jeep Safari Adventure Tour and the Boat Tour.
Once arriving to Cuba, we were absolutely decimated by a swarm of mosquitos in the airport, and this continued to be a recurring theme of this trip. I’m surprised we did not come back from the trip with malaria :/. We arrived at our resort Memories Flamenco Beach around 9pm. After quickly stashing our luggage in our rooms, we ran to catch a late dinner before the buffet closed, and that’s where we met our favourite server, Commander Master Chief Dave. At least that’s the name we came up with for him. His real name, which we only found out on the last day, was Derrian.ee
The next morning after breakfast, we got all of the “administrative” tasks done, like booking a day for our excursions with the on site agent, booking our “a la carte restaurant” dinners, and the ever so boring “first day resort meeting.” We spent the remainder of the day exploring the resort, lounging by the pool sun bathing, and drinking our heads off. The following day as time for our first excursion adventure, the Jeep Safari Adventure Tour. We met up at the lobby early in the morning around 8 to meet the tour guides and we embarked on a short bus ride to another resort where we would pick up our Jeep. Thankfully Brian knew how to drive standard, because the Jeeps all came in standard and we would have been screwed otherwise.
Jeep Safari Adventure Tour – Cayo Coco, Cuba
Price: $94 Canadian (if you buy it on the plane) or $79 Convertible Cuban Pesos (if you buy at the resort, approx. $106 Canadian)
Tour Length: Tour starts around 8:30AM, and goes till about 4PM
Tour Destinations/itinerary: While the on the plane they advertised completely different activities which would happen during the tour, I will list what we ended up doing:
- Drove across the land bridge into the City of Moron, to a local marina where we took a boat ride through some cool mangroves
- Next traveled to a Motel where we were we could buy “real” Piña colada and listen to traditional Cuban music
- Drove into town to a souvenir shop, and then a “museum” of metal sculptures made out of forks and spoons.
- Had some free time to wonder around town, where we were consistently asked for money by locals. They used this specific line “Do you have a present for me?”
- Drove to some sort of ranch where we had lunch and freshly squeezed sugar cane juice
- Drove up a mountain and visited a locals house
- Lastly went to a crocodile farm/conservation where we fed crocodiles
- Drove back to the resort
Now finally comes the time to share all the awesome pictures I took during the excursion. Besides getting hussled in-town by the locals for basically all the cash we had on us, it was a great excursion.
Hope you enjoyed the photos and see you in the next blog post!