Relax in paradise
The beach at Guardalavaca slopes gently into tranquil water protected by nearby coral reefs. Along the sand you'll find thatched palapas to escape from the dazzling heat, and sunloungers for rent from the cafes and restaurants.
For the restless, the beach serves up a fantastic offering of watersports from windsurfing and kayaking to leisurely pedal boats and catamaran tours. Come sunset, the lively bars along the waterfront start the Cuban party.
Dive to the depths
Guardalavaca is a spectacular place to dive during your cheap Cuba holidays, offering excellent visibility and a multitude of sites to explore. Along the beach you'll find diving centres offering taster sessions for the complete beginner and advanced night dives for the well acquainted.
The seabed is uneven and comprised of walls, caves, valleys and a number of coral reefs in the shallower water. Ranging from 5 to 40 metres in depth, there's a dive site to suit everyone's ability. Expect to see colourful coral fish, moray eels, crustaceans, groupers, barracudas and dolphins – and even the odd plankton-eating whale shark.
Explore the provincial capital
If you'd like to experience the culture of Cuba outside your resort, head to the city of Holguin where you will find one of the country's biggest cigar factories. People watch in the shade at one of the city's many cobbled squares and enjoy a Cuban dinner in one of the many up and coming restaurants.
Ascend the 465 steps to La Loma de la Cruz and enjoy panoramic views of the city, or wander around the picturesque Catedral de San Isidoro. For a taste of Holguin's history, head to the beautiful Museo de Historia Provincial, a former Spanish Colonial army barracks, where you will uncover a small collection of local artefacts.
Take a hike
A few miles west of Guardalavaca, you'll find the wonderful winding trail of Las Guanas Sendero Eco Arqueologico. Close to Playa Esmeralda beach, this off-road track will take you past endemic plant species and archaeological sites including a cave full of ancient petroglyphs. Along the way you'll find lots of information in both English and Spanish explaining the surrounding fauna and flora and detailing the historic importance of these sites.
Discover the Aboriginal past
For a real blast from the past, and to uncover the ancient history of the pristine beach resort, make your way to The Chorro de Maita Aboriginal Museum. This fascinating museum is home to a collection of nearly 200 skeletons from the 15th and 16th centuries, kept in their original found state, with pre-Columbian artefacts to marvel at too.
Across the street from the museum sits Aldea Taina, a life-size, model, indigenous village. To help depict what life may have been like for the Taino, wander around the interactive village and watch them dance, perform rituals and prepare food before enjoying a bite to eat at the restaurant.