Ancón

Sancti Spíritus shoreline, Cuba


A very long beach outside Trinidad, with white sand.


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The beach is situated about 12km from the historic city of Trinidad, and is rather long, about 5km. Each section of this long beach is different. Almost all of the beach is white sand but there are some stretches of rocky beaches. The rocky parts attracts the fish and the snorkellers. On one side the peninsula is open to the ocean; on the other side it sits on the bay (Bahía de Casilda), with a port and the resort town of Casilda. On the ocean side, there are about three hotels on the beach, a couple of beach restaurants and one diving centre.  

 
Posing with my husband Rhod.

Posing with my husband Rhod.

The locals build pyramids, not sandcastles!
 

I came to the beach with my family just for a short stop, on our way out of Trinidad, to Cienfuegos. We were on a road trip for three days from Havana, with a private driver Noel (in a 1952 Chevrolet). We entered the beach at hotel Club Amigo Costasur, the first one on the access road. Not that we wanted to do so; on the contrary, we wanted to go to the public beach. But our driver stopped by the hotel. Although he claimed he had been in Trinidad many times, I don't think he knew the place very well. Unless he thought we wanted to snorkel here, as they have a nice coral reef. Or maybe he thought we could use the hotel services.

 
The hotel.

The hotel.

We saw about five people during our visit, walking by.
 

We could not, but we asked the hotel staff for permission to access the beach and we were allowed to do so. We were even allowed to use their deckchairs with palapa roofs. We only stayed for an hour or so, for a dip and we brought our own drinks. We always had drinks handy in the car, as we were not certain that we could buy them on our way somewhere (mostly we could not as shopping does not exist here the way we know it). It was actually our son's birthday so we wanted to mark that moment, on our way to Cienfuegos, with a beer. This would not be allowed at Riviera Maya (Mexico), where we live now. They would simply not allow you to be on a hotel beach if you were not guests. Yet alone bring your own drinks.

 
Entry to the beach from the hotel.

Entry to the beach from the hotel.

Daniela and Rhodri.
 

The beach reminded me of the Caribbean coast of Yucatán, places like Xpu Há beach; the same white sand, the same calm waters. The main difference was the hotel set-up. The hotel looked a bit Soviet style, not quite run down, just not very pompous, as they are at Riviera Maya. Also, there were hardly any guests in the hotel (we only spotted two men who were at the bar drinking Cuba Libre), while all the hotels and beaches at Riviera Maya are crowded. So in essence it did not matter that we ended up on a hotel beach. We were the only people on it. We could see the public beach from where we were. It was very long and equally empty. Literally not a soul. If you don't like crowds, you will like this beach.

 
The long public beach (don’t expect public toilets here).

The long public beach (don’t expect public toilets here).

The access road and car park.

The access road and car park.

The seaweed was not raked away, just left to dry. It did not affect the quality of the water.

The seaweed was not raked away, just left to dry. It did not affect the quality of the water.

As for the seaweed problem, it seems to be the same as in Yucatán. The beach had some patches of dry seaweed, as it happened, so we were lucky there was no 'fresh arrival' that morning. We know that it can change overnight, as seaweed is of an intermittent nature. We were lucky to have crystal clear water.

 This coast used to be attacked by pirates in the colonial past so we were told there are galleons and boats shipwrecked here. It must be an amazing adventure for the divers.

 

 How to get there:

You can rent a bike in Trinidad (about 5 CUC per person). It will take you about 40 minutes to reach the beach. You can try and get a private taxi from Trinidad. On the way you will pass a beautiful lake, Laguna Paso Malo.

Another option is to go to the Cupet petrol station south-west of Trinidad (the one at the crossroads to Sanctí Spiritus). The street that continues to the south leads to Playa Ancón. There are local and school buses that will happily take you for 2 CUP. Also you can hitchhike; cars are obliged by law to pick up hitchhikers (it will also cost you about 2 CUP).

Laguna Paso Malo, on the way to the beach. We nearly opted for a swim here. So pretty, with the Escambray mountains in the background.

Laguna Paso Malo, on the way to the beach. We nearly opted for a swim here. So pretty, with the Escambray mountains in the background.

Or you can visit the beach on your way to (or from) Havana, or Cienfuegos, if you travel by private taxi as we did. It is certainly worth it if you are a group of four (we paid 150USD for the driver, including petrol, his accommodation and food).