Published on June 26th, 20160
CUBA: Playa Boca & Playa Ancón
A most apt adage for my dalliance in polishing off a report on the final destination in my amazing romp ‘round “The Forbidden Land”. Indeed, though months may well turn into YEARS, time can never erase the many wondrous moments of every.blessed.country I’ve ever explored on this Big Blue Dot.
In short, travel is the only thing you can buy – that makes you richer.
Ah but today, it’s Playa Boca’s turn. A tiny corner of Cuba that few seem to pay much attention to. Just a 15 minute taxi ride (US$5/CUC depending on your negotiating skills) from Trinidad, most main-stream travelers bypass the sleepy town of Playa Boca in their hell-bent haste to lounge on the (much touted) nearby Playa Ancón.
And for good reason, I suppose. For no way can little Playa Boca rival the stellar stretch of white sand beach at Ancón. The truth is, the term “Playa” (“beach” in Spanish) is a bit of a misnomer as – though this sleepy little town DOES lie along the blue Caribbean – alas, the coastline of Playa Boca is predominantly rocky, with precious little “beach” of any kind.
Ah, but for this diehard “not-a-beach-person”, I hadn’t included Playa Boca on my Cuba itinerary for the “Playa” part. I’d already blissfully gotten my fill of wiggling toes-in-sand at Playa Larga, after all. So my quest to visit Plays Boca was to drop out of the usual Cuba travel “circuit” and spend a few days away from the tourist scene so palpable in nearby Trinidad.
And so it was – precious few travelers staying there, so I pretty much had the whole place to myself. As I said, no mile-long, sugar-white sand beach…
Nonetheless, my kinda place. Quiet, with but only a few places to eat, and nary a SINGLE kiosk selling c̶r̶a̶p̶ errr… souvenirs. Better still, in Playa Boca I found one of my most charming Cuban “casa particulars” to date: “Hostal Villa Flerida”.
Alas, no a/c, but by then I’d pretty much acclimatized to the swelter that is Cuba in November. Besides, located on the waterfront, the sea breeze made sleeping quite pleasant, and the authentic experience of dreaming in the spare bedroom of a most hospitable Cuban family was more than worth it.
Mostly I just reveled in the serenity of a hidden corner of Cuba away from the tourist scene. But naturally, I couldn’t resist checking out the highly touted Playa Ancón just a few kilometers away. It was easy to hop on the shuttle bus that passed by my casa each morning (US$2/CUC), and I enjoyed one final day lazing under a beach palapa and splashing in the Cuban Caribbean.
But otherwise, I spent long, lazy days simply meandering around the bitty town of Playa Boca, sampling the haute cuisine at the local Pizza-Hut-wannabe and chatting with the townsfolk. This of course, in between diligently attending to my grueling mojito-sipping chores.
And on my final day (before grabbing a collectivo taxi to whiz me the 4 hours back to Havana with a great bunch of travelers from the U.K., Denmark and Guatemala), I still had a few excess hostess gifts and kids’ trinkets (ribboned hair barrettes, fragrant soaps, etc.) left in my backpack. So… happily I was able to pass them off to a sweet lass serving as the local “Walmart” that I’d befriended in my daily walks to… yes, to watch a spectacular sunset and sip yet another of the aforementioned icy mojitos along the shores of Playa Boca.
And THAT my dear TL readers, does it for C-u-b-a. Just a handful of remaining pics to show you just how sweetly sleepy dear Playa Boca is. And do check out all (*8*!) of my earlier Cuban posts on a most memorable skip ’round The Forbidden Land.
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