A guide to the best beaches in Cuba
Cuba holidays are brimming with sublime Caribbean beaches. Head to the mainland or to the incredible Jardines del Rey chain archipelago, which is linked by causeways to the mainland. Wherever you end up on your holiday to Cuba, you’ll find yourself in a Caribbean dream, with the fine white sand beneath your feet as you look out over the aquamarine sea. Some of the areas have even been immortalised by American novelist Ernest Hemingway.
Cayo Guillermo is part of the Jardines del Rey chain archipelago off the north coast of Cuba, in Ciego de Avila province. It boasts top hotels that straddle the golden beach and Atlantic Ocean, with plenty of watersports and other fun beach activities available. There is also a diving centre here – and with nine kilometres of coral reef in this area, it’s a great opportunity to explore the marine life.
Also in Cayo Guillermo is the hidden away Playa Priya. Boasting remarkable towering sand dunes, this beach is considered one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean. The area is most famous for being brought to life in Hemingway’s Islands in the Stream, aptly depicting the glorious environment he so enjoyed in real life. Surrounding the beaches is fertile marshland, lagoons and forests – great if you like a spot of birdwatching.
Near to Cayo Guillermo is Cayo Coco. This is one of the largest resort areas in Cuba, and the magnificent hotels sit on some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. With glistening sands and a sea of aquamarine, this is another snorkelling and diving hotspot with the coral reefs nearby. Palm trees provide shelter on the beach, while the shallow, warm waters also make it popular with families.
Marshland and lagoons cocoon the area and you may even get the chance to see rare wild birds, such as a colony of pink flamingos. The hotels in the archipelago offer top class restaurants, swimming pools and plenty of watersports that can be enjoyed on the beach such as wind-surfing, kayaking and paddle-boarding, or you could even get your shorts out for a game of beach volleyball. If you’re searching for a honeymoon spot, this could be it.
Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Santa Maria is in the Villa Clara province, located about 30 kilometres west of Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Coco. Its main attraction is the 13-kilometre stretch of wonderful fine sand beaches. Split into three sections, the beaches are all located along the northern coast of the island, while the south coast boasts yet more fertile land.
Most of the hotels are located on the longest, six kilometre stretch of Playa Santa Maria. If you can bare to tear yourself away from this idyllic spot, there’s a town for a little retail therapy. All the beachside hotels are owned by the same group, so you can rest assured they’re top class. The island is linked by road and bridge to the town of Caibarien on the main island.
Varadero is the largest beach resort in Cuba, located on the bendy 20 kilometre-long Hicacos peninsula. A great selection of All Inclusive hotels line Varadero Beach, so it’s not far to walk each morning. Fine white sand, clear blue ocean and stunning plant life make this a popular tourist attraction.
If you’re getting itchy feet, there are plenty of watersports opportunities and beach bars, but if all you want to do is relax, this stretch is so long, you’re bound to find the ideal spot that offers plenty of personal space.