Planning your itinerary? We will help you discover the beaches you should visit on your trip to Cuba. In BandCuba, Bed and Breakfast in Cuba, we will show you our favorite options for scuba diving, relaxation and fun. Crystalline water, thin sand, and warm weather are common points for every place on the list.
How to plan a beach trip to Cuba?
If the purpose of your trip is to visit the beaches in Cuba, planning is essential. The advantages of planning are:
- You will find good accommodation.
- Save money on transportation.
- It will be easy to move to other areas, to continue discovering the country’s natural paradises.
- Make a budget and plan an itinerary based on the places you want to know.
One of the aspects that worries more the tourists is transportation. Because taking a taxi to the beaches and areas of interest is expensive. It is best to negotiate rates in advance or consider the option of paying for a rental vehicle to travel by road.
There are no so many cheap possibilities to go around to the most popular beaches from Havana. The only options are to travel on the tourist bus VíaAzul or the Astros line. Both are comfortable and prices range from 8 to 44 CUC (depending on destination).
For accommodation, a good option to save money on your trip to Cuba is to stay in a private house “casas particulares”. That is important if you travel with your family. This gives you the possibility to get to know the surroundings and relate to the locals.
Also when you travel to Cuba with the purpose to go to the beach you should check when is the dry and rainy seasons. Between May and October is the best climate (22-31 °C) to refresh you in the calm and crystalline waters.
8 beaches you should visit on your trip to Cuba
To help you put together your itinerary we will prepare a list of the 8 best beaches to visit on your trip to Cuba and some more. Dare you to meet them all.
1) Guardalavaca, Holguín
Eastern Cuba is a tropical paradise of white sands, crystal clear waters and natural beauty. Guardalavaca is one of the country’s tourist centers. Strengthened by a constant flow of visitors throughout the year.
The beach is located on the north coast of Holguín, an area known for the biodiversity and ecosystems that live in its waters. The beach has a length of 1200 meters and about 50 meters wide. It is a place with high tourist traffic there are many activities to do on your trip. Among the most popular are water sports such as windsurfing, kayaking, boating, diving, nautical excursions, exploring other islands, parachuting, and excursions to the aquarium.
If you like scuba diving you have more than 25 diving sites to appreciate the coral reef that surrounds the place. This adventure will cost you around 35 CUC with qualified staffs and quality equipment.
Fact: This beach is listed by tourists as the most beautiful and paradisiacal of Cuba. To enjoy it to the most it is advisable to go with a good amount of money.
2) Playa Varadero, Matanzas
Varadero on the Hicacos peninsula is one of the most visited and appreciated areas in Cuba by tourists from all over the world. It has a 12-mile stretch of soft, white sand and crystal blue waters. It´s known for the number of activities that can be done during the visit. Some things to do in Varadero are:
- Do hiking trips into the Cueva de Saturno, Camino de El Patriarca, Cueva de los Musulmanes and other natural wonders.
- Practice aquatic activities. Such as scuba diving and snorkeling to explore tunnels, caves, corals, sea sponges, and underwater passages.
- Sport fishing is also permitted in Varadero.
- Visit areas of interest such as the Xanadu Mansion, the handicraft fair, and the central park.
- Go on an excursion and bathe with dolphins.
Those are some options for activities in this area. If you want to do a full tour use the tourist buses, the ticket lasts all day.
3) Cayo Largo, archipiélago de los Canarreos
Entering the waters of the beaches in Cayo Largo is like swimming in a huge crystal-clear pool with turquoise water. The sensation of lightness and relaxation has no equal in this paradisiac destination. It is not as crowded as Varadero and that is why it is perfect to relax, explore the wilderness of the area and drink some delicious tropical cocktails.
In Cayo Largo, there is an International Diving Center and more than 30 areas dedicated to this activity. The price per dive is about 30-40 CUC with a specialized guide.
4) Cayo Saetía, Holguín
Cayo Saetía is a natural paradise hidden in an island of the Province of Holguín. It is rich in native flora and fauna and is also known as “city of parks”. Transparent waters, cool climate, and thin sand define this piece of Cuba. It is one of the best areas to do marine exploration.
It is a destination with a little-hidden access, so it is limited to a few options. It is best to access from Guardalavaca beach by boat or from the city of Mayarí about 12 miles. For lovers of nature and tranquility, this place is fantastic.
5) Playas en Baracoa (Province de Guantánamo)
Baracoa is a small town full of stories and beautiful tropical beaches in Cuba. The most representatives are Maguana, Duaba, Miel, and Nava. All are ideal for relaxing, long walks on the soft and warm sand and even for cycling. There is an interesting contrast between the sand (of an intense dark brown), the transparent waters and the dense vegetation that borders the mountains.
Among the best things to do in Baracoa is to bathe in its crystalline waters. Also, it’s recommended to take long walks along the beaches. To visit the Independence Park, the Serobuco Castle, and the Chocolate House. To explore the mountains and more.
6) Playa El Pilar, Cayo Guillermo
In travelers’ sites like TripAdvisor, some users rate the Playa El Pilar in Cayo Guillermo as the most beautiful in all of Cuba. Its main features are its white sand dunes with palm trees and a coral reef that extends to about 250 miles.
It is a perfect destination for lovers of underwater exploration as it has impressive reefs. To get to other nearby places you can use a tourist bus that charges about 5 CUC per trip, rent a vehicle or hire a taxi.
7) Cayo Sabinal, Camagüey
Do you want to relax without noise or discomfort? Then Cayo Sabinal is your beach destination in Cuba. This place is surrounded by an extensive coral reef. Another of its main characteristics are the flora and fauna that it gathers. Aloe, flat, oak, orchid and cedar are prominent plants.
Playa Bonita, Playa Brava, and Playa Los Pinos are in this cay. They are areas protected for the conservation of their areas and their flora and fauna.
8) Playas del Este
If you arrived at Havana with a low budget there are also cheap options to visit Cuba’s beaches. The option for those who stay in the capital are the Playas del Este. Like Tarará, Santa Maria del Mar, Boca Ciega Mi Cayito and Guanabo. The majority are 10 minutes far from Havana and can be reached by taxi or bus.
More beaches and cays you do not want to miss in Cuba
Cayo Coco, international destination
This is one of the most famous cays in Cuba, it is known among tourists all over the world. If you visit the island you must see this beach, that is part of a group of cays that faces the Atlantic Ocean.
This destination is also known as “Jardines del Rey”, since the colonial times. It has more than 22 kilometers of coastline. It is an exotic place where you can see amazing tropical landscapes, coral reefs, white sand beaches and clear water.
The touristic infrastructure is one of the best in Cuba. Thousands of tourists can stay there and enjoy in the luxury hotels, it has its own airport.
Cayo Santa Maria, in La Herradura, Buenavista Bay
This cay is the biggest one if we see it as a part of a group of Cuban cays in a zone called La Herradura, in Buenavista Bay. What stands out the most of Santa Maria is the biodiversity, it is considered a Natural Reserve of the Biosphere.
It has 10 kilometers of coast and several beaches. It has a very good tourism and hotel infrastructure, not as good as in Coco Cay, but it has important hotels complexes. There you can stay and enjoy activities like a scuba diving, a dolphinarium and different options of catamaran rides.
To arrive there you will need to travel from Caibarien.
Playa Ancón, near Trinidad
Some say this is the most beautiful beach in the Cuban Caribbean. It has white sand, turquoise and green water that you do not want to miss. The sunsets are amazing. And the best thing is that is only 11-12 kilometers away from Trinidad.
The advantage of this beach is that you can enjoy all the beauties of any other beach in the Caribbean of Cuba, but you won´t need to stay in hotels and resorts, you can stay in a casa particular in Trinidad. And then get there by bus, taxi or bike.
You can enjoy and relax in this beach, sit there and appreciate the sun, the sand and the sea. But you can also practice scuba diving and snorkeling.
Cayo Paraiso, in the Archipelago de Los Colorados
This cay in the Archipielago de los Colorados is a hidden gem. You can compare this to Cayo Levisa. In the landscape abound mangrove forests and a beautiful beach to enjoy the sun, in complete relaxation. Its seabed is excellent for diving and snokerling, among coral reefs near Cayo Paraiso.
This is a more relaxing cay, there are not so big hotels or resorts, but you can enjoy local restaurants for the tourists.
This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Holguin. The water has a beautiful blue, clean and warm. This is 5 kilometers at the west of Guardalavaca. We can say this is a little paradise.
The negative thing is that you can only visit this beach if you are staying in one of the three big resorts around it. There you can enjoy the beauties of the seabed practicing scuba diving and snorkeling.
Save on your tour of the beaches at a low cost
There are some ways to save money on your trip to the beaches in Cuba. To fulfill them you will have to sacrifice some luxuries in your stay and transport. Follow one of these recommendations:
- Save on hotel costs. Look for private houses in Holguin, Varadero, Trinidad or any other place of interest. In these destinations, the prices are lower, depending on the house that you want to rent, and includes breakfast.
- Ask for the possibility of camping for a few days on some of the beaches or in nearby villages. You need the corresponding permits.
- Investigate your transportation options in detail. As this will be your greatest source of savings on your trip.
- Be clear with the beaches you are going to visit. Make sure they are nearby to move easily. For example, Cayo Saetia is near Guardalavaca beach.
- The entrance to caves, excursions, monuments, parks, and others is of payment. So decide carefully the activities you want to do on your trip to avoid inconveniences.
- Join a group and ask if there are discounts on tours and activities together.
- Investigate some beach options that fit your budget. As there are expensive destinations such as Guardalavaca and Varadero.
Have you decided which beaches you should visit on your trip to Cuba? We hope that this guide will help you to set up your itinerary and get the most out of your trip. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need help in the search of private houses to vacation on your trip to Cuba.