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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Cayo Guillermo

AVERAGE CUSTOMER SAVING£316

Cayo Guillermo Holidays

With the Atlantic Ocean lapping the shores of fine sandy beaches, Cayo Guillermo is part of a small and tranquil archipelago off the coast of Cuba. It's what you'd expect the perfect Caribbean destination to look like – white beaches, lush greenery and exotic birds – and it's easy to see why this is such a popular spot with people planning Cuba holidays.

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Welcoming beaches

Cayo Guillermo is part of the Jardines del Rey archipelago, which translates to 'Gardens of the King' and this leafy, beach-filled corner makes for a perfect retreat. American author Ernest Hemingway immortalised this island in his book 'Islands in the Stream', and the key of Cayo Guillermo is an area where he loved to fish, camp and boat during World War II. His yacht was also called Pilar after Playa Pilar beach, which is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.

With its sun-bleached sands and crystal clear waters, it really does feel like an oasis of calm as you relax on a sunlounger surrounded by swaying palm trees. Nearby restaurants and bars are where friendly staff pander to your every need.

It's a lovely spot to get away from the crowds, though with only a handful of hotels on the entire island, it hardly ever gets busy. As the archipelago is part of Cuba's northern coral reef, spectacular snorkelling and diving excursions can be enjoyed in places such as nearby Cayo Media Luna, opposite Playa Pilar. Speak to your hotel about this and other excursions.

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Fantastic location

Located around the Cuban keys, near Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Coco, are national parks and lakes, so you don't have to go far from your hotel to appreciate the habitat around here. Guests can enjoy extensive water and mangrove areas, scrub and scattered trees.

Even if you're not here specifically to see the wildlife, it's hard to avoid it – you could spot the stunning roseate spoonbills, flamingoes, the Cuban crab hawk, and much more. Or if you're a beach lover at heart, Cayo Guillermo beach is a glorious spot. Even here, you need only look up to see fantastic specimens of birdlife. Expect to find the local seagull, the sanderling, roaming around.

More about the hotels

Stunning tropical rainforests envelop the the beaches and the mainly All Inclusive hotels here, so relaxing and enjoying all the facilities in peaceful surroundings is easy. With staff on hand all day long, by the time the sun starts going down you'll barely have to lift a finger to order that mojito. If you're feeling a little more adventurous, try the popular Caribbean cocktail 'Saoco', made from green coconut water rum and ice-cubes – a drink once used as a tonic by Cuban slaves.

All of the hotels in Cayo Guillermo are luxurious, including the Melia Cayo Guillermo Hotel which boasts a walkway over the sea and purpose-built viewing points. The Sol Cayo Guillermo has room or bungalow accommodation and comes with garden or sea views as well as a tennis court, gym, and massage services. Each have fantastic restaurants to suit all tastes, but if you want to try a local dish, the grilled lobster is a great start.

All Inclusive holidays in Cuba are the ultimate in relaxation, and Cayo Guillermo has choices in abundance when it comes to a little pampering time.

Other areas of interest

If you're willing to travel that bit further there are many remote islets off the coast. As Cuba is one of the most fascinating countries in the world, it might also be a nice idea to visit the mainland.

A 27-kilometre causeway links Cayo Guillermo to the historic town of Moron. Referred to as the 'City of the Cockerel' or Ciudad del Gallo, this urban area is home to 60,000 Cubans and dates back to the 17th century. You'll get a sense of an authentic Cuban way of life here. Head to the main Calle Marti and you'll even find some dilapidated colonial architecture.