When I visited Cuba with Cuba Solidarity Campaign in 2011, we didn’t just see the capital, Havana. The trip aimed to show us a bit more of the country than the average tourist and the itinerary meant we spent 48 hours in Playa Giron. As part of my travel series about this gorgeous, not that well known country, I wanted to talk about what we did, and what you could do, if you’re spending time in Playa Giron.
Playa Giron is a beach and village on the east bank of the Bahia de Cochinos, better known as ‘Bay of Pigs’. It’s where, in 1961, a group of 1,500 Cuban exiles, backed by the CIA, tried to invade Cuba, so they could overthrow Fidel Castro and his Cuban revolution. Before I’d visited the country I’ll admit I knew nothing about the history of the revolution, though I’ve taken more interest since getting back-and if you’re the same, you can read more about the Bay of Pigs Invasion if you’d like.
We stayed at Cubanacan Hotels Hotel Playa Giron as part of the trip, so the hotel wasn’t my choice and I didn’t look at what else was available. However, after staying at a large camp with shared showers and no mod cons, having a room I shared with just one person, air conditioning, a fridge and a tv (the only channel in English was a news channel but that’s more about Cuba’s access to things than the hotel) was absolute luxury. Rooms were all small, separate buildings which did mean it was difficult to find your way at night, especially after a few drinks in the hotel’s nightclub. Food was all inclusive, and we were thrilled that they did chips, pizza etc throughout the day-we’d had a rice based diet up until then, so we made the most of chips and the buffets at main meals. The hotel also had a pretty good pool, plenty of sunbeds and was right on the beach-so a perfect choice for if you’re looking for a beach holiday.
As we were at Playa Giron as part of a Trade Unionists trip, some of the things we did there wouldn’t be available to tourists, like a conference we attended (in the hotel nightclub, the morning after a heavy night out-not advisable) to meet local women. But we did visit the Museo de Playa Giron, which, although small, has a lot of artifacts and photographs from the Bay of Pigs Invasion, so it’s pretty interesting. I’d suggest you need a couple of hours there and it’s a short stroll from the hotel, so somewhere you can visit during a pool/beach day. My guidebook confirms that the resort itself is tiny and there’s really not a lot to do there, so I wouldn’t say you’d need much more than 48 hours in Playa Giron.
Because we’d had a really packed itinerary for the first part of our trip, both of our days at Playa Giron had either a morning or afternoon free, as well as the evening. They wanted to make sure we could swim, sunbathe, eat, and just relax for a while, before starting the busier next part of the trip. If you’re spending a longer period of time in Cuba, don’t underestimate how nice it will be to have two days to relax here.
Have you been to Playa Giron? Do you have any other recommendations for spending 72 hours in Playa Giron?