One of the most rugged yet beautifulof beaches my wife and I have ever been to is found along the south coast of Cuba. It's located about a half-an-hour drive east of the city of Santiago and about 70miles west of the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. It 's at the far west end of the isolated Club Bucanero Resort and is situated on a wonderfully rocky, horseshoe-shapedbay. Jagged basalt cliffs guard the amazing bay on both sides while the landward end is a protected, crescent-shaped sand beach. The bay can be calm and that's when snorkeling and swimming are at their best. Most days during our recent week-long vacation at the resort in early March saw a spectacular series of huge and powerful waves crash through the gap from the Caribbean Sea into the bay in a relentless pounding of the rocks and the sand. Few hardy souls ventured into the water on these tempestuous conditions. But, the part of this amazing beach just up from the breakers' powerful reach remained a calm and sunny oasis for us and the other vacationers who relaxed on lounge chairs in the sun or under the protective foliage of overhanging tree branches. Food and drinks were available at the beachside bar and were dispensed by a jovial crew of Cuban resort staff. Three or four iguanas ranging from a foot to four feet long were regular visitors to the beach and provided some exciting if scary moments when they scampered after dropped tidbits of food (french fries were their favourites). We found and claimed an ideal spot under some leafy palms at the back end of the beach, which formed the entrance to a long and narrow, coolcanyon reaching well back into the Sierra Maestra mountains that rise up just behind the beach. We liked this rugged beach setting a lot more than the usual, long white stretches of flat ocean-side beach you find in many Caribbean destinations and would return there again in a flash.



curtiejoe