Playa Jibacoa: A Break from Cuba’s Beaten Path

I arrived in Playa Jibacoa Cuba having been evicted from a horse cart by a scorned teenagerleaving yet another one of the worlds finest men heartbroken…if I had a nickel!

But Playa Jibacoa was a great retreat! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great, so no beach bumming or skin cancer for me.

I walked along the coast line my first evening there, exploring the beach and finding some treasures, beach glass, shells, etc. I was really excited to find fossilized coral, more on that later!

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For dinner that night the casa owner said he would make me fish. Ok, I like fish. Well, call me surprised when he slammed down a whole parrotfish on my plate. Bon appetite!? It was delicious, and yes, I ate the whole thing. Far be it from me to waste food!
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Things to See in Playa Jibacoa

The next day the weather wasn’t much better, but not raining, so I borrowed a bicycle from the casa and went biking around the Playa Jibacoa area until my body refused to go further. I went to a fancy all inclusive and stole the wifi, and then up to some high rocks with the waves crashing in.

Here I found some more awesome coral fossils, looks like that whole area of the coast was once a coral reef and now you can find remnants in the rock. So cool! I was disappointed all the fossils were firmly in the rock bed and there were none that I could easily steal. Nothing feels better than placing a piece of another countries natural history on your bookshelf.

General info, tips, tricks and advice to travelling Cuba for the solo traveller. Accommodation, internet, money, and transport in Cuba.
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In the later afternoon, I rode down to the beach again, and despite it being wind torn, read and drank a lemon pop. I was interested to see a man walk by wearing two different shoes. You just don’t see people in mismatched shoes very often, especially on a beach, unless they are hipsters and being ironic, which doesn’t count. The next person who walked by was Orthodox Jewish and wearing a yarmulke. Another sight you don’t see very often on a beach. I had never even considered seeing a yarmulke on a beach! Yet, there one was! I was amazed. He was also wrapped up in a big wool blanket, which I thought was overdoing the ‘cold’ schtick a little much. It’s windy, but it’s still Cuba!

Exhausted by the vast people watching experience, I retreated to my Playa Jibacoa rooftop and drank a beer. Two beers, let’s be honest.

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Travel from Playa Jibacoa to Matanzas Cuba

The next day was more of the same kind of crappy weather in Playa Jibacoa, so I decided to make for Matanzas where if it was raining I would at least be able to get food at regular intervals. In Playa Jibacoa there is nowhere to eat, so I only could eat at the casa. Lunch was skipped, and for anybody who has travelled with me, I do not like skipping lunch. My mom does. It’s her favourite thing to skip. It’s a conflict we regularly have wherein I get cranky, she gets stubborn, and we both remain hungry.

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Getting out of Playa Jibacoa was if not equally difficult as getting there, somewhat problematic. I walked out to the main highway, the Via Blanca, and started hitch hiking. Hitch hiking has always served me pretty well, I don’t look like a serial killer nor do I travel with large muddy dogs, so people world wide have normally been pretty keen on me.

Well, Cuba, of course, needed to break my ego.

I stood out there for over an hour until I got a ride. It was crazy! Only when I did get a ride and we sped away did the guy who picked me up tell me it was illegal for Cuban nationals to pick up foreigners, only licensed taxi drivers could. Whaaaaaaaaaat?!!?!? As surprising as this was (Not really. Par for the course actually) the truth did make me feel better about my hitching resume. Illegal and I still got a ride? Wink.

Newly minted fugitives from the law, I rode until Matanzas with a guy who spoke no English, but played good music loud enough that it was clear he wasn’t going to ask me to be his girlfriend, thankfully. He dropped me near the Matanzas town centre and he sped off, no longer on the run.

 

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Playa Jibacoa Travel Blog’s Points to Ponder…

Yesterday I received an email from Allan Warnock complaining the last blog did not have my customary notes at the end of it. In true Allan fashion he managed to both compliment my writing and criticize my email in the same sentence. And here I am mentioning him, which he will also glory in. Classic.

I had a really great burger and fries when I got to Matanzas. Like. Really great. I was surprised when a man came into the cafe asking people for money, surprised because the waitresses didn’t look like they would stand for that. Well they didn’t. One was soooo scary! She made my think of every bar maid that has been in any movie set in Tijuana. Or the Appalachians.

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There was a black puppy at my Playa Jibacoa casa. His name was Black. We were friends.

When I went to one of the two Playa Jibacoa all inclusives to steal wifi, even though most of the people there were Canadian, I felt oddly out of place. Probably had something to do with being covered in mud. That horse cart did a number on my bag and shoes.

I am on book number 13. I read all three Divergent series books over the course of three days. I sobbed. Like, gave myself a migraine from crying so much. It was a disaster. I don’t think I can see the next movies, I can’t handle it. I took a picture of me crying and sent it to Lindsay Manko. She was receptive, she knows how hard YA fiction can be.

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I typically leave my souvenir shopping until the end of my trips. Unfortunately, there are zero stores in Matanzas with that kind of things, so it looks like I’m not taking anything home from Cuba. Except of course for bruises. And memories. That bike in Playa Jibacoa gave me a few choice ones. 

I think that is enough for me today….aaaaand a bird just pooped on my bag. Ok. Bye.

If you liked this post, you may also like: Skip Varadero! Hit up real Cuba in Matanzas!

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A detour to Playa Jibacoa, a small hamlet with few amenities that is not easy to get to or get away from, Cuba's Northern Coast is wild and beautiful.

6 thoughts on “Playa Jibacoa: A Break from Cuba’s Beaten Path

  1. hey hey,

    we loved your report and your pictures 🙂 Jibacoa is still a bit of a secret, we believe. The nature and people in Jibacoa are amazing. In Jibacoa we stayed at a resort – it was the only time that we didn´t choose a casa particular. We wanted to get used to the climate and the new time zone. And it was a great decision. We could slowly get to know the country and enjoy a couple of relaxing days in Jibacoa. Maybe you would also like to read about our experiences 🙂 https://weareleavingtraces.com/2016/04/24/jibacoa/

    safe travels

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed Jibacoa as well. Maybe I sat on the patio couch of your hotel and stole internet 🙂 I adored my time in Cuba, wish I could have had a bit more of that relaxation you talk about though. Hope to go back soon and see the Eastern half of the island.

      Good luck on your blog, I’ll be sure to check it out,

      Cheers,
      Emily

  2. Hi!

    Greatly enjoyed both of your post about playa Jibacoa! I’m interested in taking the Hershey train there for the day from Havana. Is it possible to walk the journey from the train to the resort? Also, do you know if the Hershey train runs on Sunday.

    1. Hi Jassmin,
      It’s definitely a trek from the Hershey Train out to the resort area. I walked part way and then hitched a ride, and that was only to the area where I was staying the resorts are a solid 5 km further. I definitely wouldn’t think of it as a day trip, especially as the Hershey Train is not at all fast moving and is known for going out of service on the regular unfortunately! I definitely recommend it though if you have the time, it was super fun and you get to see a totally remote part of Cuba and everyday life!

      Cheers,
      Emily

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