Backpacking through Cuba. Day 10: Cayo Guillermo

Day 10. 29/10. Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo

What a day this one… It turned out to be the best day of our trip but let me tell you from the beginning:

When we got up the next morning it was like waking up in Paradise. The crystal clear water stretched out in front of us, starting just a couple of meters from our tent. After a refreshing quick morning swim in our paradisal bay our perfect start into the day was interrupted, in form of the most annoying tourist ever, Heinz. Heinz offered us a coup of coffee which he would bring from his all-inclusive nearby hotel and i was stupid enough to accept. Our punishment were 40 minutes of monologue: how rich he is here in Cuba, how luxurious he living is, how lucky his (cuban) wife is etc. etc.

Just about when I couldn’t take it anymore he luckily walked off and we went for a snorkeling excursion into the shallow waters. Around midday we broke down our tent and went to a nearby hotel to wash ourselves and to catch a bus to nearby Cayo Guillermo. I don’t want to bore you with all the details of how we got there, we ended up hitchhiking a construction site’s bus and learned to know under which conditions the simple, cuban workers live on the Islands: In small settlements where around 200 people live in tiny dormitories . (also they don’t have the right to go to the touristic spots and beaches!)

Cayo Guillermo seemed even more touristic then Cayo Coco and, after some 3 hours of hitchhiking, walking and looking for a nice spot to camp at we had to accept that there seemingly is no such thing as a remote beach. Turns out though that almost every hotel on Cayo Guillermo has a passarella (a small wooden pier which leads into the sea and usually has some small huts on it), so we decide to sleep on the  of one of the hotels’ piers, hoping not to be discovered by the hotel security. When until midnight still no security had shown up and I felt saver and saver in our small romantic spot, 200 meters from the beach and literally ON the water I decided to give my tourist looks a try and find ourselves something to drink in the hotel. I put on some long sleeves to hide the fact that I don’t have one of these all-inclusive bracelets that are being handed out in hotels and headed for the pool bar. It was only then when I noticed that we had picked to most exclusive hotel on all of Cayo Guillermo, the Mélia is a 5-star all-inclusive spa hotel where I night costs around 250 Euros. The friendly cocktail waiter at the pool bar took me for one of the hotel guests and my ___ was rewarded with 3 mojitos and 3 margaritas. That being only the first of many rounds on the house (the last one consisted in a bottle of champagne!!) you can imagine we had a fun night on our romantic camping spot.

Thanks Melia Cayo Guillermo!

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4 thoughts on “Backpacking through Cuba. Day 10: Cayo Guillermo

  1. Hi there, I hit on your blog after looking for camping in cayo coco. On our tourist map there seems to be a campground, so we thought we’d have a look for it. We are campers by nature, but this year found a dirt cheap package trip to Melia Cayo Coco six months in advance (the $350 dollar a night cost us about a hundred). I’m not sure what you are talking about with the bracelets, we never had to wear any such thing, and early one morning when I couldn’t sleep, the beach workers found me taking a whiz on the beach at 5 30AM. They were questioning me about whether I was a guest and I thought they were security until I realized that they wanted to know if I was a guest because maybe I would part with my two free beers which are part of daily room service (which I did).
    I admire your moxy. I’m used to a soft bed, so find european (and Cuban it seems) beds quite hard, so ironically I found sleeping on the lounge chairs on the beach to be much more comfortable than the bedroom. We were playfully fantasizing about staying at the resort and simply sleeping on the beach-I don’t think they’d be any the wiser! The food there is fantastic, but the worst thing about tourist hotels is that food is usually pretty bland. The shrimp we had in the azores had the most miraculous sauces on it that it was to die for, whereas the shrimp here was certainly fresh, but when simply fried on a grill its a tad boring. Anyway, cool blog posting, I’m really envious. This was our first trip to Cuba but we’re already learning spanish for more trips to central and south america. It IS too bad to read about cuban workers, and hearing about the wealthier cubans! Its sad that no matter the society, those with the power always promote inequality. With such beautiful weather there is no reason any cuban needs any more than the basic necessities, but the rich always want to get richer!

  2. Hey Benno, great blog and lovely pics.. looks like you had a fantastic trip. I am hoping to travel to Cuba, Mexico and Guatamala next spring with my boyfriend and sister and much like yourselves are reluctant to have to book into a resort style compound for our time in Cuba. The cheapest flights we have found from London arrive in Cayo Coco and after much online research I can see there is no cheap ‘backpacker’ style accommodation options for our first night. Can you give me any advise on either any cheap hotels you may of come across or of how to get the hell off Cayo coco and to the mainland where we may be able to find a regular casa. Our flight arrives at 2.30pm so it may be hard to get from the airport to any bus which may drive to Moron or somewhere else on the mainland..We want to travel up to Havana after that but are not in a rush. Thanks so much in advance!

    1. Hi Erin,

      sorry for my super-late reply! Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about cheap hotels – I was always just travelling with my backpack. Have you found any good&cheap accomodation after all?

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