Hi, this is Letundra speaking! I’ll tell you what you need to know before you travel to Cayo Coco in 2023.
Basic information on Cayo Coco
Cayo Coco is a resort located a few kilometres from Cuba. It is connected to the main island by bridges and causeways. There is not a large flow of people here as in the famous Varadero, nevertheless, the island is in demand among tourists. All thanks to a developed tourist infrastructure, hotels, and restaurants.
The area is 370 square kilometres. Originally, Cayo Coco was a deserted island favoured by fishermen, and the entire land was given a protected area status.
Vacation can be categorised as budget-friendly. A week-long all-inclusive trip from Canada to an island will cost $800-$1,000 an average.
When to go on vacation to Cayo Coco
The climate on Cayo Coco is, as you can easily guess, tropical. The high tourist season starts in November and lasts until March, when the island enjoys clear, dry weather. May to October, on the other hand, is the low season, which can be accompanied by rain.
During high season, the average air temperature is 28°C and the Caribbean coastal waters average 26.4°C. This is when the water really does feel like steaming milk. The best times to stay are February, March and April, when temperatures reach 27°C to 29°C. May is the least comfortable time to stay, with 7 rainy days an average.
There is little difference between the low and high season weather. The air, like the water, cools down by only 1.5°C, so you can come here at year any time.
How to get to Cayo Coco
Cayo Coco has a small international airport.
It is possible to fly to Cuba via the USA, but there are certain restrictions: the US authorities do not allow its citizens to visit Cuba for tourism purposes. But there are regular commercial flights from the US to Cuba, operated by major airlines like American, Delta, and United. In order to take a direct flight from the States, you must have a visa and fall in the 12 categories authorized one to travel to Cuba:
- Family visits
- Official business for the US government, foreign government, and certain intergovernmental organizations
- Professional research and professional meetings
- Educational activities
- Religious activities
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
- Support for the Cuban People
- Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials
- Humanitarian projects
- Private foundations or research or educational institutes activities
- Certain export transactions
Please notice, for some of that categories you will need a license by the OFAC.
For those flying from Canada to Cayo-Coco on their own, there is an option for a direct flight: traveling from Toronto (YYZ): Air Canada and WestJet providing such service, the trip duration is up to 4 hours. Prices starting from $242.
Other options are flights with one or two connections from Vancouver, or charter flights with tour agencies. Prices are starting from $526 per person, though the average price is tending to be $970.
From Europe, there are no direct flights to Cayo-Coco at all. For example, a single ticket from Paris-Charles de Gaulle costs at least $457, for a 38 hours route with 2 stops.
Finding a tour from Europe to Cuba is almost impossible, so it’s worth relying on your own.
An alternative to direct flights is flights to Havana, from which you can reach Cayo Coco by the following means:
- By flying on a local airline. For example, a flight from Blue Panorama Airlines takes 1 hour to reach Cayo Coco. This is the fastest way to get to your holiday destination.
- By train. Havana is connected by rail to the Myron town. From there you can get to the island by taxi or long-distance bus. The total time is 11 hours and 35 minutes, and the price is $45-60.
- By shuttle bus. This option involves a 9-hour journey to the island at $45-$52 a cost. Unless the local beauty outside the window helps you pass the time.
- Rent a car. Drivers over the 21 age can rent a car in Havana—the journey to Cayo Coco will take 7 hours an average. A driving license (international standard), passport, insurance, and a deposit are required for rental. Reservations are mainly made through hotels, and prices start at $90 for a mid-range car. It is possible to take a taxi, or hire a car with a driver.
Getting around Cayo Coco is possible by taxi, for example, Taxinhavana has good reviews.
Accommodation: Which Cayo Coco hotel to choose
When renting accommodation in Cuba in remote areas, it is advisable to ask about the shops and bottled water availability.
There are hotels plenty on the island, but you should be careful: the AirBnB didn’t have any offers, and booking.com doesn’t work in Cuba at all—you can use expedia.com instead. In any case, all these services offer to rent a hotel only in the Cuba main part, not in Cayo Coco.
Still, there are hotels on the island, booked locally or via their own websites—in case you haven’t booked an organised tour. Cost: from $45 per night.
Grand Muthu Imperial 5*. Located in the Cayo Guillermo resort area on the island western tip, 43 kilometres from the international airport. They offer an all-inclusive vacation. The only “but” is that you can’t stay at the hotel with children; it’s only for adult guests.
- The Grand Muthu Imperial has 500 rooms set amidst gardens and swimming pools. Some rooms also have the Atlantic Ocean a view.
- The Grand Muthu Cayo Guillermo 5* is another five-star hotel located on the Cayo Guillermo beaches. This area belongs to the Hardines del Rey archipelago. It is close to a coral reef, which attracts divers hundreds every year.
- Melia Cayo Coco 5*. It was built in 1999. Tourists are offered here all-inclusive services, and are again only for adults. In total, the hotel has 250 well-appointed rooms, which differ in both comfort level and views from balconies and windows.
- Playa Coco 4*. This hotel is 10.5 kilometres away from the airport, so it is tourists the choice who want to take a break from a long flight. Playa Coco is located on the oceanfront. It caters for all age’s guests and offers play areas, shallow pools and animation programmes for children.
- Hotel Mojito 4*. Located in Cayo Coco, a quiet and secluded area, so couples with children prefer to rest in the Hotel Mojito. 353 rooms a total. There are entertainment areas, swimming pools, including children’s pools. The hotel rents at a good price rooms with three double beds, so it attracts many families with children.
There are many hotels on the Cayo Coco island—you can find suitable rooms according to the comfort level and accommodation cost. Budget options include a hostel room or an apartment which costs $25 an average a night. In addition, if you’re travelling with family or friends, you can rent a house or cottage from $110 per night.
Internet in Cayo Coco
As elsewhere in Cuba: not everywhere, and where it is, it is very slow, 3-4 mbps. To access it, you need to buy a card from the local ETECSA provider—don’t forget your passport. Internet is charged by the time, one hour is $1.
Don't forget to press "end session" button at the end, if you don't, the system will assume you're still using the Internet, even if you put your phone in airplane mode.
In the larger hotels you may find computers with free internet access, but in order to use them you will most likely need a NAUTA card—an account to access the internet.
Vacations in Cayo Coco
A vacation in the Caribbean islands is undoubtedly associated with visiting the beaches. However, the activities list is not limited to buying sunscreen and snorkelling with goggles.
The largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere, located in the Atlantic Ocean kilometres a couple off the coast, is in demand among divers and snorkellers.
Dive centres arrange dives at sites along the coast at up to 30 metres depths. Reef sharks, actinides, lobsters and other underwater creatures can be seen off the coast.
However, there is an opinion that the reef is not as beautiful as one would like it to be: the fish variety is not impressive compared to, for example, Mexico’s Cozumel. The dive organization is also better to follow: sometimes there are too many divers, not enough equipment or even life jackets for all, so an hour under the water instead you can spend only 25 minutes.
The island is home to the Rocarena Climbing Centre. It is eight 32-metre a modern complex masts with a 13-metre rope structure. There are 90 activities for all levels visitors.
Another option for an adrenaline rush is bungee jumping.
Moreover, even more popular with tourists are:
- windsurfing, surfing and kitesurfing. Those who have not yet mastered all these tricks will gladly be taught on site. According to Tripadvisor reviews, the best schools one is Cuba Kite, but Kitesurf Cuba Travel is best avoided.
- Offshore fishing: the boat is hired for 4 to 7 hours and can be hired as your own boat or shared with other fishermen. The price includes bus transfers to and from the hotel, and the fishing takes place offshore between Cuba and the Bahamas.
- swimming with dolphins, who show many tricks: contact, kissing, dancing, jerking, jumping. The exact set depends on the programme chosen. The duration is 30 minutes.
- night-time activities in clubs, discotheques and bars.
The Cayo Coco beaches
The sand dunes cover 26 kilometres a coastal strip. This makes it the longest one in the Caribbean. Popular beaches, a list:
- Los Flamencos beach. This is where most tourists come to Cuba. The beach is three kilometres long. Throughout the beach, you can see flamingos, which waltz about here at year any time.
- Playa Projobida. Among the locals, it is referred to as the Forbidden Beach. The main attraction here is the ecosystem, almost untouched by civilisation, with the bustling hotels and bars far away.
- Los Colorados. Suitable for a vacation with children: the entrance to the sea here is shallow, there are no big differences in depth. In addition, there are large hotels in close proximity to the beach.
Food on Cayo Coco
Hotel cafés and restaurants in Cayo Coco often offer a buffet, where everyone can choose a meal to their liking. There are also à la carte, which means you can order food from the menu. You will usually choose from Cuban, Hawaiian, or European dishes. If you happen to be on Cayo Coco, you cannot beat sampling the national cuisine, especially the seafood. You can try them in the local cafés, which are usually located on the beaches. It’s also more cost-effective than dining in a restaurant.
Them some are:
- Ranchon Playa Flamenco. It’s a 10-minute walk from Playa Memories Flamenco. The staff are extremely friendly, and you can try fresh lobster here.
- Ranchon Las Dunas. Not only the ice-cold beer, but also the view of the ocean. On tripadvisor they suggest trying the prawns and lobster. Lunch is also in demand.
- Parador La Silla. Visitors speak the welcoming hosts and the Pina Coloda cocktail highly. The lobster, on the other hand, seems to be better eaten elsewhere—the portions seem to be small.
Shopping in Cayo Coco
The island is hardly a shopaholic’s Mecca—only two shopping centres are open. They sell mainly souvenirs, but you can also buy food or perfume—but the prices are aimed at tourists and may be higher than what you are used to at home.
- Centro Comercial La Gaviota. It is located at the roundabout where the routes to the hotels on Playa Larga and Playa Colaradas start.
- Plaza Los Flamencos. Located in the Playa Flamenco area, next to the hotels Melia Jardines del Rey, Memories Flamenco.
The Cayo Coco attractions: what to see
- El Baga Park. Cayo Coco is home to the low-growing baga tree, which can only grow in humid conditions. The main value of this plant is its edible fruit, which is rich in vitamins and is said to have medicinal properties.
- The mangroves a tour, where you can spot wild pigs, pelicans, herons, and cormorants. There is also a reconstructed village, once home to the Taino Indians, who host a dance party for the tourists.
If that wasn’t enough, trips to neighbouring islands can be included in the cultural programme. For example:
- An excursion to Laguna La Redonda Lake, on the shores of which is the International Fishing Centre. Located a few kilometres from the town of Moron.
- Crocodiles, a colony in the Treasure Lagoon, Tesoro Lagoon. In the 1960s they were rescued from extinction and there are now ten thousand of them. After a 45-minute tour, you can not only learn all about the reptiles, but you can even taste a crocodile and buy some leather goods. Don’t forget the receipt, you’ll need it at the customs office on departure.
Vacations in Cayo Coco with children
Although some hotels only accommodate adult tourists, there are family-friendly accommodations plenty on the island. I’ve already told you about them, see above. For couples with children, the hotels offer babysitting services, shallow pools, sports, entertainment programmes, and animation activities.
There is ibises a colony on the island in El Baga Park, which you can watch with children. A visit to the Delfinario Bautista Cayo Coco dolphinarium, located in Bautista Bay, is also available on the island. Tickets cost between $35 and $45.
Like everywhere else in Cuba, Cayo Coco is primarily a beach destination, although it can be done in ways a variety, whether on a sun lounger or scuba diving. Perhaps the main feature is that the resort is less crowded and quieter than more popular destinations. True, the island is some distance from the major centres: Havana, Varadero, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, it is worth bearing this in mind when planning your trip. The island itself is not replete with entertainment either, and public transport is a problem, so if you don’t want to spend your entire vacation in a hotel, a taxi might be a better option.
The weather is suitable for a tourist trip all year round, although prices for hotels are not the most budget-friendly: on average, a room will cost you $50 to $100 a night. It is also suitable for a family trip with children: there are hotels, beaches and places for entertainment.