Picture this. You are enjoying a cold beer on a wooden open-out treehouse overlooking a secluded white-sand, turquoise beach. Your back is surrounded by a jungle of palm trees. There is a buffet of fresh fruit, pizza, and pasta, a few feet from you to indulge in as you wait for a jeep to take you through herds of wild zebras, antelopes, ostriches, and deer. This is Castro’s Island.
The island is believed to have been the private holiday home of Cuba’s notorious leader, Fidel Castro, up until the early 90s. My boyfriend and I were introduced to this hotspot while vacationing in Holguin, Cuba.
To get to this destination, we were able to take a bus from our hotel to a dock. The bus ride provided a scenic view of Cuba’s countryside and a look at the natural landscapes.
When we arrived at the loading dock, we boarded a catamaran that journeyed us to the island. This relaxing sail offered free alcoholic drinks and music that we enjoyed while lounging on the catamaran net; a great way to set the tone for the rest of the trip.
Before stopping off at the island, we spent time with some colourful coral fish during an unexpected snorkelling pit stop in the middle of the ocean. It was a pleasant surprise that captured the excitement of a day that promised unique animal site-seeing in their native environment.
Complimentary drinks greeted our arrival to the island as they organized the group into two. Half of us stayed back to enjoy a buffet and drinks on the beach, while the other half went on the safari jeep tour to see the herds.
The jeep tour was worth the wait! We encountered large herds of animals in a somewhat natural habitat. Most of these animals were imported from Africa. The jeep drove slowly and stopped so we could take pictures. The terrain was a mix of open plains and forests with swampy areas. We watched zebras, buffalos, various antelope and deer species, and ostriches roam freely for tourists to enjoy. We also noticed a few horses grazing the area. Not much was told about the history of the island or the circumstances around the animals’ presence, but they seemed to be thriving and had plenty of space to graze and wander.
After a long day of site-seeing and adventure, it’s a gentle sail into the sunset back to the bus to take us to our hotel.