Sometimes in life, we are faced with a once in a lifetime opportunity, the kind of thing that you can tick off your list right after you've added it because you didn't realise that you could do it in the first place. Visiting Cayo Saetía was just that opportunity.
Cayo Saetía, for those who like me didn't know, was Fidel Castros Cuban holiday hideaway. The island boasts one hotel, one restaurant, and herds of abandoned African animals which were brought over for him to hunt. At 40km away from Holguin, it takes a one and a half hour boat trip to get there, which proved to be the best sailing I have ever experienced.
As it was Mr M's birthday we wanted to do something that he would remember and I believe we ticked that box, and then some.
Boarding our boat for the day we took our place on top deck, settled in with a drink and sat under the sun as our skin soaked in the salty sea air. The sound of Bob Marley floated through the wind as we passed away the time jelly fish spotting while the boat sailed us through the waves.
When the island started coming into view it wasn't hard to see why they call it the Paradise Island. The whitest beaches lined with turquoise blue, crystal clear water stood waiting. It was without a shadow of a doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life.
Sea urchins, tropical fish and corals lined our underwater adventure with a guide, somewhat questionably, encouraging fish out of their hiding places with the bribe of some food. The snorkelling in Cuba is truly brilliant, if you're a nervous snorkeler then I'd definitely recommend trying it out in Cuba, the easy water, safe reefs and enormous amounts of tropical fish will ease you in to getting hooked to it.
It didn't take long for the rumbles of hunger to start rolling in, so it was time to give Cayo Saetía's only restaurant a try. As we shored up and the boat started to empty leaving us the last on the boat, the Skipper pointed out a school of Moray and told us to wait for a barracuda to appear. Within a matter of seconds, two appeared, both about six feet long. It might sound arbitrary but seeing something like that with your own eyes rather than through someone else's camera lens is truly exciting. For the duration of our lunch, we kept entertained watching the Barracuda circling the Moray. Poor moray.
With bellies full of classic Cuban cuisine we headed down to the sandy white beach and spent the afternoon laying back on the outrageously white sandy beach, soaking up the golden sunshine and swimming in the crystal clear water. Before all too soon it was time to head back to the mainland.
I can definitely see why Castro chose Cayo Saetía as his hidden escape – however questionable his presence there might have been. It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have ever had the fortune to visit. As we sailed back we spent our time making use of the free bar and talking through our amazing time in Cuba.
The most important thing of the day was that Mr M had a good birthday and made some amazing memories to remember the day by. Toasting to the trip we sat back soaked up the sun and the sea spray, and made a promise that one day we would go back.