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

Guardalavaca

AVERAGE CUSTOMER SAVING£486

Guardalavaca Holidays

Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful spots to visit on Cuba holidays, sweeping white sands meet fluorescent blue Caribbean ocean at this chilled out resort on the Cuban coast. Spend sunny days on the shoreline and idyllic evenings sipping mojitos along the waterfront.

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Picture perfect

Christopher Columbus once described the area around Guardalavaca as the most beautiful land he had ever seen, and 500 years on you can still see why. With it's fine, white sand beaches which boast clean warm waters, it's no hardship spending days in the sun here.

Aside from the palm strewn beach, this area offers numerous exciting excursions and activities. Head inland and explore the mountains and rural regions or don your snorkel and jump in the sea. Look no further than the bustling flea market behind the beach for all your souvenir needs where you'll locally made cigars, wooden crafts and paintings.

You'll find live music and dancing most nights of the week but in August the celebrations are turned up a notch as Carnival comes to town. In the nearby city of Holguin, a 45-minute drive from Guardalavaca, the massive party atmosphere comes complete with fancy dress parades and musical performances. If visiting in December it's worth tying in your trip with the Full Moon Festival which takes place over three days, where you'll experience the true Cuban spirit full of live music and dancing.

Quick Tips

  • Roman Catholic
  • Peso
  • Portuguese
  • GMT -5

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.