Ask a random sample of travellers, across a range of ages, what places are on their “Top Five Must Visit” lists and chances are most will say Cuba – unless they’ve already been, in which case they’ll probably say that they want to go back. It is one of the world’s travel hot spots. As for myself, I’ve visited six different times one of the things that always lures me, aside from Havana, are the white sandy beaches and all-inclusive resorts. My last trip took me to in May of this year took me to Villa Tropico, located in Playa Jibacoa, a small fishing village in the Mayabeque Province of Cuba. The Villas Trópico resort is located on the lovely Arroyo Bermejo Beach, about 75 km from Havana and 70 km from the Varadero airport.
Picking this resort over hundreds of others in Cuba seemed to be a daunting task at first, but after looking through some traveler’s photos and reviews it became clear that this was an excellent resort where I could spend the days relaxing by the beach digging my feet into the sand while the sun splashes across the horizon.
Without a doubt Villa Tropico is a paradise retreat perched along the Northern Coast of Cuba, nestled among seven hectares of lush vegetation. Just steps away from on of the country’s most pristine coral reefs and lush mountains, nature lovers and divers alike will enjoy the incredible reefs that offer great snorkeling and diving.
Guests will also enjoy plenty of luxury amenities including a large pool, air-conditioned fitness facilities, Tennis court, and nightly entertainment. There is plenty of pool space to go around, and the two-level design of the pool offers lots of shade or sun depending on your preference.
It offers over 100 bungalow-styled rooms with traditional Caribbean influences. My room was a large ocean view bungalow which included a queen-size bed. Expect the beds to be a bit harder than you may be used to. It also included a large desk to work at with a light and a basic chair. There was a stocked bar fridge in the room and a kettle for coffee and tea.
An hour’s drive from both Havana and Varadero, the natural beauty here is the result of eons of Mother Nature’s handiwork. The limestone-covered seabed offers good snorkeling and the forested rocky cliffs covered in pine and palm trees invite explorers.
In the early sixties Chuchu (who is the hotel plumber) and Lulu (head of housecleaning) began demolishing defense works (constructed along the coast during the Missile Crisis) with many others, to prepare the property for what was to become Villa Tropico, opened in 1962.
Here, nature’s bounty abounds. Just 50 meters offshore is a 3-kilometer long reef, reached by swimming or in a pedal boat (included). Reef shoes are recommended and take some snorkel gear to explore the underwater wonderland. The hotel has a diving center offering several off-shore dives.
The beachside hotel complex is backed by picturesque cliffs where guided hikes are possible on a network of established trails.
The only restaurant in this resort is a buffet restaurant opened for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It offers very good homemade meals with a variety of meats, including beef, chicken, pork, fish, and on special nights even lobster. Most importantly, it’s always clean and the waiters are very helpful.
Moderately priced, the Villa Tropico (Villa Jibacoa) is among Cuba’s best-kept secrets. Built and run by local staff, it attracts nature lovers, divers, and those looking for a tranquil getaway. While not fancy, the natural setting provides excellent added value.
For more information please visit the hotels’ website.