In a resort destination filled with all-inclusive hotels it is hard to make a go as an independent restaurant or bar. And yet, along the main beaches of Cayo Coco, there are a handful of Ranchons, beachfront bars with cheap beer & rum and reasonably priced lobster. I knew that I was going to try a Ranchon, assuming I could find one, because I wanted the experience. After having a pretty bad meal at the resort I was disappointed that there were not more of them to sample. It was delicious.
Set back off the main beach, Playa Larga, Ranchon Las Dunas is essentially an open-air hut raised up on stilts above the sand dunes. Booze is cheap – dollar beers and $5-12 for a full bottle of rum – and the full lobster meal was $12. That included rice, plantain chips and a handful of shrimp, along with a grilled lobster.
And so I sat, with the ocean breeze keeping the bugs away and with the sound of the waves breaking just over the dunes, drinking my beer and enjoying the one good meal I would have for the day.
As the meal (err…beer) came to an end I approached the waiter and asked, in my horribly broken Spanish, “A que hora es cerrado?” I had plans to be back for dinner that night, even before I saw the free buffet at the hotel. Alas, the shop closed at 6pm, well before I was ready to eat dinner. Maybe it is open later in season but I only got my one lobster. Still completely worth it.
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