Cayo Coco is an increasingly popular holiday destination. We went, we saw, we tried. Along with many other polish tourists that we met in local hotels. Before you plan your trip, here’s a few things you should know about this Cuban island.

We spent three nights in total on Cayo Coco island. To be honest, we wouldn’t stay there at all if it wasn’t for the fact, that we flew on a charter flight with other Rainbow Tours tourists. The flight was 11 and a half hour long, so we managed to catch up with movies and sleep for a bit. The only thing you really need to know when it comes to flights is that if you already have your visa (tourist card) you do not have to stand in a long queue to tour operator’s desk. You don’t have to show up at the airport three hours early either.

Cayo Coco

 Let’s skip to the good bit. Here’s a bunch of tips and subjective observations you might find useful when planning a trip to Cayo Coco:

  1. Once you arrive to Cayo Coco airport you need to be patient. Collecting luggage takes time. A lot of time. We spent about and hour and a half on this airport, counting from the moment of leaving the plane to the awaited moment of leaving the airport. Also the building is tiny and relatively dirty.
  2. Taxi from the airport to the hotel costs around 20 CUC. Of course if you choose all inclusive type of vacation this does not concern you, as a tour bus will await you. No matter what option you selected, you should have some local currency on you. You can exchange money in one of two exchange points located at the airport. Unfortunately sometimes it’s not possible, as they often run out of bank notes and simply close the exchange point. Don’t worry. The rate is similar to the one at the hotel anyway.
  3. Remember to book your hotel in advance via hotel’s website or local travel agency. This way you can save up to 50% of the price.
  4. If you’re coming from Europe, pack an American electric adapter. Our hotel did not have any european electrical outputs.
  5. Pack a mosquito repellent. Lots of it. We were there for 16 days, so we should have packed about a hundred of them. Last two days of our trip were the worst. There were so many mosquito bites, that our legs looked like we had some intense acupuncture going on.
  6. You should definitely visit a spot from which you can observe flamingos in their natural habitat. Amazing view!
  7. GPS works fine on Cuba. Before we left for holiday we researched Cuba on the internet. Majority of blogs and other sources claimed that there are major problems with GPS on the island but we found it was not the case. We recommend downloading app which allows you to use maps offline.
  8. The internet is available as well. You can buy a special internet card at your hotel. The cost of it is 2 dollars and it gives you an hour of internet access. Just remember to type in your browser to log out. Otherwise all of your “internet time” will run out even if you’re not using it.
  9. You can book many different excursions at your hotel, for example swimming with dolphins, sailing on a catamaran boat, fishing from the boat, visiting Havana by bus or plane as well as a jeep safari. You can find the whole list of attractions here:
  10. There are several kitesurfing schools on the island. Unfortunately the prices are not very pleasant, but it might be worth to splurge. Surfing conditions are said to be marvellous there. You might want to consider taking your own equipment. Renting is expensive as well.

  Cayo Coco

Cayo Coco

Cayo Coco is not Cuba

Now to the most important information: Cayo Coco is not Cuba – as an older resident of Havana told us when he first met us. Cayo Coco is a small island connected to Cuba by a 27 kilometers long road. The only things you’ll find on Cayo Coco are dolphinarium, flamingo watching points and several “luxury” hotels that have seen better days. Absolutely nothing else. And to get to Havana, the heart of Cuba,  you’ll have to drive for 500 kilometers.

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I won’t judge the all inclusive type of vacation. There’s no point. It’s not for me, but maybe it’s for you. But prices of all inclusive holidays in Cayo Coco are horrendous! When thinking about booking such a trip you need to remember that 4 star hotels in Cayo Coco are not what you’d get in other places around the globe. The rooms are moldy and smell old. If I can suggest something: consider holidays in Varadero. Prices are similar, the atmosphere is more “Cuban” and it’s way closer to the city of Havana.

If a person asked about the places they saw in Cuba answers they were only in Cayo Coco, they were not in Cuba. Not really. Remember: Cayo Coco is not Cuba.