By Sarama – (Gibsons, B.C., Canada)
I’d like to recommend snorkeling Jibacoa, Cuba as a great destination.
We recently spent four days snorkeling at Jibacoa. We did not stay at the all-inclusive resorts of The Breezes, or Tropico, but a little farther down the beach at Campismo Los Cocos, (where the Cubans go).
The food was not that good, but we knew that… we were there for the snorkeling, over the coral, which was fantastic.
The best coral reefs are located just off of the two all-inclusive resorts. A few minutes of swimming out, and there you are, in wonderful coral. The best spots to explore are the outer reef edge, where there is the drop-off, from about 2-3 meters depth at top, to about 10-12 meters down to the sand, at the bottom. Lots of tunnels, grottoes, and fish.
Also, if you take a little trip with the guides, (about $5), they will take you to see cannons and huge old anchors embedded in the coral.
The only downside is that due to the location on the windward side of Cuba, there can be red flag days when the waves are too high. Luckily for us, the entire time we were there, the conditions were excellent.
I highly recommend this spot. I am diver/snorkeler with over forty years of experience, and have gone diving in the Pacific Northwest, in Canada, in the south of Argentina, in the south of Chile, also, in Belize, and the Caribbean coast of Mexico.
Jibacoa is one of the nicest spots I’ve seen. Another spot I’ve been to in Cuba for snorkeling is at Playa Ancon, near Trinidad. This is more sheltered than Jibacoa, but Jibacoa has the advantage of great snorkeling right off the beach. 🙂
Hope you enjoy it sometime, as we did.
Remember, don’t touch the coral.
Comments Moved From Previous System
Nicole & Galen – Feb 4, 2013 – Thank you!
Sarama, thanks for your submission. It’s great to have a story about the snorkeling in Cuba on our site. Hopefully it will inspire others to check it out. Feel free to email us some pictures to add to your post!
Anonymous – Oct 19, 2014 – Jibacoa
We’ve been to Jibacoa April 2014 and stayed in an all-inclusive. We snorkeled from shore in that same place. It was wonderful. Very convenient! However, we are at the very beginning of our snorkeling adventures, so we haven’t seen much anywhere else.
Sarah – Mar 20, 2017 – Renting Snorkel Gear
Hello! Thank you for your post, it sold me on snorkeling here! Were you able to rent snorkeling gear from the hotels? Or did you bring your own?
Sarama – Jul 5, 2017 – Personal Gear
We always travel with our own snorkeling gear. Of course, when I scuba dive, I rent gear. The prices for rental at Jibacoa were very reasonable.
Anonymous – Feb 24, 2018 – Campismo
Hi there! Great article. I was wondering if you made a reservation at the Campismo or just showed up?
Sarama – Feb 25, 2018 – Campismo
We made reservations.
Anonymous – Apr 2, 2018 – Snorkeling Bay of Pigs?
Is Jibacoa better than Bay of Pigs for snorkeling in Cuba?
Sarama – Apr 02, 2018 – Windward vs. Leeward
Not sure, I haven’t been snorkeling in the Bay of Pigs. But Jibacoa is on the windward side of Cuba, and you can have “red flag days”, whereas on the leeward side, (south), it tends to be more sheltered.
Florence from Montreal – Apr 28, 2018 – My Experience
I would like to share my snorkeling experience in Jibacoa.
First, you need to know that Jibacoa is situated on the north side of the island and one hour from Varadero Airport. It is not quite a known destination and it is fine like that for those who are looking for a tranquil place and a small resort to relax and enjoy the nature.
I would recommend Jibacoa, Cuba if you don’t want to be bothered about too much activity and just want to enjoy a lot of snorkeling in the morning and relaxing at the beach in the afternoon (it becomes windy around 11 in the morning).
Hurricane Irma did a lot of damage in Jibacoa last year but there are still good snorkeling spots just facing the beach restaurant. The reef is big and shallow so if the water is calm and the sun is shining, you will have very good opportunity to take beautiful pictures of many different fishes and a lot of smooth coral.
It is a good place to snorkel in Cuba compared to other more popular places. It is a small resort, a bit old but you have all the essentials to pass a nice week.
Sandra T – May 9, 2018 – Snorkeling Jibacoa
Hello, thanks for the article. I am wondering, when you said “the best coral reefs are located just off of the two all-inclusive resorts” did you mean Memories and Villa Tropico? We have booked at Villa Tropico and would like to know if the snorkeling spots you visited are near.
Sarama – May 9, 2018 – Reef location
Basically, the reefs are right in front of those two resorts, (the reason for their locating there, for sure!). A short swim out and you are over the reef, or if you want to explore a little farther out, there are staff who can take you on a boat at a reasonable fee, but you don’t really need that.
One important note, as always, please don’t touch any of the marine life, also, please don’t participate in any feeding events, and since some of the reef is shallow, you should not swim over those areas since you will almost certainly damage the coral. Also, use a long sleeved rash guard type top to protect from sunburn, instead of using any sunblock.
Enjoy, the reefs are really beautiful there!
Altarose – Jun 6, 2018 – Thanks
Loved your review. It brought lots of memories back of my great stay at Breezes. The shore snorkeling was great.
Joni – Jun 6, 2018 – Snorkeling Jibacoa, Cuba
I snorkeled in Jibacoa, Cuba a few years ago. We went with a Canadian company for around $600 for the week and that included airfare at the all-inclusive resort where the Cubans stay. The food was not that great, but we never went hungry.
The snorkeling was with the best live coral I have ever seen. The whole bay was very shallow and the snorkeler only had a few feet of clearance over the coral. It was mostly Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals. We did not see a lot of different fish species, mostly just a few small fish.
It was a very easy sandy entrance into the water and sea grape trees near the beach for shade.
A lovely beach and very laid back resort. It is only about one hour from Havana so it was easy and less than $100 for a guide that spoke English and a driver of a 1952 car to take us to Havana to tour for a day.
I have snorkeled many places and I would highly recommend Jibacoa for its coral.