Playa Jibacoa Cuba – The Best Kept Secret in Cuba?

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When planning a trip to Cuba make sure to make time to visit some Cuban beaches, our personal favorite was Playa Jibacoa in northern Cuba.

We recently returned from our trip to Cuba, as it is now becoming easier and easier for us Americans traveling to Cuba. We wanted to travel to Cuba as soon as possible, as we all know flights to Cuba from the USA will be happening soon.

Related Article: Cuba Travel Guide

Cuba’s Best Beach Playa Jibacoa

The long bridge to the beach playa jibacoa
The long bridge to the beach

We rented a car and explored Cuba at our own pace but if you’re on a one-week trip to Cuba I’d suggest splitting your time up traveling Cuba between Havana, Trinidad, and some of the many beautiful Cuban beaches. If you only have time to see one beach make sure to visit Playa Jibacoa Cuba.

Where Is Playa Jibacoa?

Playa Jibacoa is on the northern shores of Cuba, between Varadero and Havana. Playa Jibacoa is 60 km/38 miles from Havana and can be reached in just under an hour from an hour. A good portion of the drive from Havana to Playa Jibacoa is along the coast. Varadero to Playa Jibacoa is 90 km/56 miles and is 80 minutes away.

How To Get To Jibacoa Beach?

Playa Jibacoa Cuba Blue Old American Chevy Drives
Blue old American Chevy drives the road along Playa Jibacoa

Unless you’re on a tour that includes stopping at Playa Jibacoa Cuba the only way to get to Jibacoa is by either having a private taxi bring you or renting a car and driving yourself.

We rented a car and drove from Varadero to Playa Jibacoa. Driving in Cuba was super easy, we just had to keep our eyes open for potholes as they seemed to be never-ending.

Related Article: Best Places to Visit in Cuba

Things To Do In Playa Jibacoa Cuba

Woman on Driftwood on the beach Playa Jibacoa Cuba
Love the trees and driftwood on the beach in Playa Jibacoa, Cuba

There aren’t a ton of things to do in Playa Jibacoa, the main draw is the beach and ocean. Enjoy the day laying on the beach, snorkeling, or going diving.

In Jibacoa, there are two shipwrecks you can dive: a sunken cargo ship, and a military ship. The cargo ship is visible from the beach and the military ship lies on its side and still has ladders/anchor ropes/guns. Diving the shipwrecks has been one of the favorite things to do in Playa Jibacoa by divers.

Related Article: Things to do in Cuba

Palm umberlla on the beach of Playa Jibacoa

For those that don’t dive, just laying on Playa Jibacoa is my personal favorite things to do in Jibacoa. There is hardly anyone at Playa Jibacoa, you’ll probably have the beach to yourself. Across the street from the beach, there is a shop selling cold beers, soda, snacks, etc. Grab a few drinks and just enjoy being in Cuba.

Playa Jibacoa Vrbo

There are several Airbnb and Vrbo listings in nearby Playa Jibacoa that are a fraction of the hotel prices in Playa Jibacoa. You can rent an entire beachfront home that sleeps 6 for $75 a night.

If you are wanting to spend the night in Playa Jibacoa we highly suggest renting in advance on Vrbo that way you aren’t driving around looking for a casa. As an added bonus it will be prepaid online so you won’t have to bring as much cash.

Hotels In Playa Jibacoa

There are 3 hotels in Playa Jibacoa as of April 2020, but as tourism in Cuba increases, I would imagine more hotels will become available. Click here to check rates on The #1 hotel on TripAdvisor is Memories Jibacoa, an all-inclusive property, click here for reviews.

Pictures of Playa Jibacoa

Driftwood on the beach Playa Jibacoa Cuba Club Havana bottle on Driftwood on the beach Playa Jibacoa Cuba Tree Stump on the beach Playa Jibacoa Cuba Woman in an orange dress on Playa Jibacoa Cuba

Bottle of Cuba's club Havana propped up in the sands of Playa Jibacoa
A bottle of Cuba’s finest propped up in the sands of Playa Jibacoa

The Main beach in Playa Jibacoa Cuba

Playa Jibacoa Cuba woman sitting on a tree ocean iand beach in the back ground
Playa Jibacoa is full of interesting trees and driftwood

The Main beach in Playa Jibacoa Cuba Playa Jibacoa Cuba road side vendorBlue Ford car in front of the beach of Playa Jibacoa

We made friends with a few local guys on the beach who helped us arrange to get an old American car up on a hill overlooking the beach for some photos.

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Playa Jibacoa was one of the prettiest beaches in Cuba we stopped at on our recent trip. Varadero is gorgeous but there was something special about Jibacoa.

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Playa Jibacoa Cuba woman at the end of along bridge at the beach

28 thoughts on “Playa Jibacoa Cuba – The Best Kept Secret in Cuba?”

  1. Hi hannah we are staying at the memories jibacoa in july 2019 and cannot wait to check out the beaches and havana, i came across your web site by accident and found it a great read keep up the good work. Roll on july rum and a fat cuban cigar chilling on a white sand beach.

  2. Thinking of going to Cuba at the end of August and have no clue where to start looking for accommodations and things to do. We like to eat well and would love nice accommodations, but I realize that I am not going to be able to get the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills, in Cuba. Excited to walk all over and take in the architecture and history. Advice on hotels/airbnb in Havana and surrounding beaches is welcome.


    • Hi Amy – There are AirBNBs available but the responce can be slower since the internet is still pretty new. You can also stay in local casa familiares which you can just walk up and book while you are here. They are a room in a home which have been approved by the government to rent. Most are nice enough, but on the more basic side. There are also normal hotels in Cuba but most are government run and nice enough but you’re contributing to the government.

  3. I am going to Cuba for 2 weeks soon and hopefully make it to Playa Jibacoa, it sounds perfect. Currently reading blogs and trying to work out a rough route around Cuba. Thanks for sharing your travels

  4. Hey,I will be going Cuba in May 2018.
    I like snorkeling and diving.
    I can’t decide whether to stay in Cayo Largo or Jibacoa.
    A 2 nights 3 days in Cayo Largo cost several more expensive than in Jibacoa.
    So I was wondering is it worth to spend the time and money flying to Cayo Largo?
    Does Cayo largo has more number of fish than Jibacoa?
    Any advice is appreciated.


    • If your main concern is snorkeling and diving you may want to checkout Cayo Largo, Playa Jibacoa isn’t necessarily known for scuba/snorkeling. While there may be some good opportunities here, the south and the outer islands are more known for this type of sport. The beach in Playa Jibacoa is beautiful and there are opportunities to interact with the locals as well, so it comes down to what you want from your vacation.

  5. hey,
    super photos!!! can you tell me, where exactly these interesting trees and driftwood are? the beach seems to be quite long, according to google maps, 3 miles from the beginning till memories jibacoa resort. we have only 1 day there and want to find this nice place for photos. thank you!
    cheers, clara

    • These were from the stretch of the beach where the road runs close to the beach. There is only a few minutes drive where the road runs along the ocean. You should find these here, I hope they are cause they were really nice. Good luck!

  6. I will be going in january 2118. i am very excited about the wildlife i want to experience. i truly hopw to see the cuban spider monkey..

  7. Thanks for this info! We are going to be in Havana for just a day stop on our cruise. I was hoping to take in some history and then see a beach outside of town with my kids. Any way to categorize a trip to Jibacoa as a “person to person” educational experience?

    • When in Havana hire a local Taxi driver for the day to take you there in back. I would think this should be $50-75 depending on how long you want to stay etc. For example, we paid a driver $75 to take us one way from Havana to Vinales and that is much further. We rented a car and drove ourselves to Playa Jibaco so can’t really say for sure what a taxi will charge.

      Safe travels

    • It would be an hour drive from Havana to Playa Jibacoa. You would have to have a taxi bring you there or rent a car. The bus from Havana doesn’t go here but you could take the bus to Varadero and other beaches. A taxi here round trip I would guess would be $50-100 round trip. I would try and negotiate and get a day rate to see a few things. Renting a car will be about $100 a day so I would go the taxi route honestly.

    • We stayed in Varredero & Havana. Most casas you won’t find online you will have to wait until you are there. Just look for casa signs or the little symbol above the door indicating they have rooms for rent.

      Safe travels.

  8. I just returned from Cuba and we made a last minute decision to go to Playa Jibacoa and it was wonderful. Some of the best snorkeling right from the beach, unbelievable reefs. We did stay at one of the all inclusives because I was able to book while in Havana and pay in advance on my credit card. After the great casa particular in Havana from Airbnb it was almost like being on a cruise ship with the buffets and all but we were there for the beach after all so it was fine. Easy taxi from Havana Vieja.

    • So great to hear you made the trip to Playa Jibacoa! I am sure it was a nice treat for a few nights staying at an all inclusive resort. Cuba is amazing we can’t wait to return.

  9. Hey Hey,

    great report on the hidden secret; Jibacoa. We also loved your pictures 🙂 We have been to Jibacoa a couple of months ago and it was one of our favourite spots. This was the only time we stayed at a resort and not at a casa particular. To us it is the best destination to get used to the country and to take it easy during the first days of your trip.

    CU soon!

    • Tomo, but who do you think is doing the spoiling?!!! Tourists of course. Sorry to be a downer but its the way its always been. A place is special, people tell other people it is, they tell others, someone writes a blog or an article and then the inevitable happens. I have been going to Cuba for 25 years, am married to a Cuban and while I spend most of my time in Havana, which is not representative of the rest of the island, I was dismayed to see great flocks of American tourists wandering around Centro Habana gawping and commenting as if they were in a zoo. Luckily most Cubans can see the humour in it, and also are happy to have the tourist dollar, but every tourist has a responsibility to be respectful and discreet. When you go, try to make the tourist footprint as light as possible if you know what I mean.

      • Well, do realize that the tourists coming to Cuba just aren’t Americans… they are also British, Canadian, European, Mexican, etc so it’s not fair to say the “Americans.” All tourist should make a light footprint.


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