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by alex b
Brooklyn, New York
September 4, 2002
While the beaches to west of Havana are said to be more aesthetically pleasing, they are the property of the resorts that were opened during the country to bring in more revenue through tourism. Cubans are restricted from these areas and the resorts are known for their shady racial politics. Besides, if all you wanted was to sit on a beach with other Canadians and Europeans and go jet skiing, why not just go to Cancun? Playas del Este is the strip of beach where Cubans go to swim, play volleyball and show off some skin. This is not a mecca of spring break goofiness, but a meeting place of local life.
While there are some hotels along the eastern beaches, they are less exclusive than their western counterparts. Most like the Hotel Tropicoco are somewhat of an eyesore, but are convienient for bathroom access and calling a cab. There are several supermarkets in the area where you can stock up on beach snacks and there are many bars along the beach itself that serve (of course) mojitos and daiquiris.
Playas del Este are about a twenty minute cab ride outside of Havana proper. Most cab drivers are reliable to drop you off at a good spot. The ride cost about twelve dollars, but along the way you'll come across some camera worthy sites such as the national baseball stadium and an abundance of roadside billboards declaring the strength of la Revolution.
From journal hidden havana
February 14, 2003
The beach is gorgeous and very clean with fine white sand and blue waters. It mirrors what you see in those Caribbean beach brochures. There are huts along the beach which serve great fish--they are much better than the hotel food . . . and quicker. Enjoy a bucanero and some lobster while watching the old disgusting men flirt with the jineteras and their pimps making deals--a sad situation which seems to operate in full force on this beach.
From journal The Real Habana