“Fidel Castro, rum and the Cuban cigar.” Most people mention these words when asked about Cuba, even though the country has much more to offer! The sunshine, the sea and the sand on the beaches are wonderful here, similarly to most places that can be found on the Caribbeans. It is amazing to experience the Cuban atmosphere on a beach. We will show you the places worth visiting if you would like to relax.
This article gives an overview of the following topics:
- The finest beaches in Havana and its neighboring areas
- Beaches in Cuba: The five most famous Cuban beaches
- Beaches in Cuba: Some other great beaches in Cuba
Beaches of the Playas del Este
This is a long, contagious shore segment with more than 6 kilometers in length where we can find several smaller beaches. It is located about 20 minutes from the center of Havana. The Playas del Este is very popular amongst locals and tourists as well and is especially crowded at the weekends. In the summer, there are of course many people here, so if we are looking for a quiet period, May and October may be a better choice. One of the finest parts is the wide, beautiful shore segment called the Playa Santa María del Mar. Many sunlounges are available, and the turquoise ocean is tempting for a swim. It is also possible to rent a jet ski.
The Playa Boca Ciega will make you believe that you are in another world: it can be found on the same spot but is still quieter. Another advantage is that the bars and restaurants in the area are cheaper. If you would like to experience the atmosphere that locals like, the Playa Guanabo is your place to visit. This is a beach that belongs to Guanabo, one of the suburbs of Havana. Formerly a small village, this place provides a beautiful and cozy spot where we can watch the sunset. There is also a lagoon here – Laguna Itabo – and we can rent a kayak or a peddle boat while listening to the local birds.
This is the beach that lies closest to the center of Havana. So it is an ideal choice if you do not have much time to spend. There are several coral reefs here, making the spot popular amongst snorkelers. The beach is not as fine as it usually is on the Playa del Este. It is rather pebbly, but the ocean provides an amazing sight regardless.
Playa El Salado
The place is called “salty beach” for a reason. The waters here contain much more salt than in other areas of Cuba, due to the ocean currents. It might be interesting to swim here, even though we have to travel 30 minutes further from Havana for the experience.
Varadero Beach (Hicacos peninsula)
The most famous seaside resort in Cuba. Everything is about relaxation. There is a breathtakingly long beach with white sand, which lies 25 kilometers long on the peninsula. The seawater is much bluer than you would imagine before your trip. Temperature hardly drops below 25°C (77°F); the waves are silent and gentle. Water deepens gradually and is fairly shallow for a long distance, so it is safe to go in with kids. If you have had enough of swimming, you can choose from the different watersports. Also, there are more than 30 spots that are ideal for scuba diving on the peninsula. You can go fishing or snorkeling as well.
Playa Los Flamencos (Cayo Coco Island)
This island is amongst the three most popular tourist destinations of Cuba. Interestingly, the name does not come from the coconut but the beautiful and rare bird called “white coco ibis”. The entire island – including Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Romano nearby – is equipped for tourists coming here to relax from abroad. The place is only second to Varadero in terms of the number of hotel rooms. The archipelagos name is Jardines del Rey which translates to “The Garden of Kings”. The finest beaches of the island are on the Northern shore; Playa Los Flamencos is one of them.
Ancon Beach (Near Trinidad)
Another popular resort of the southern shores of Cuba is on the Ancon peninsula. Visitors are welcome by white sand and turquoise water. We can try deep-sea fishing and snorkeling here. The place is a paradise for diving enthusiasts with more than 30 recommended diving spots. Coral reefs located around the island of Cayo Blanco are the most popular. If you are interested in culture, the city of Trinidad – more details here – offers several sights to visit and is about 12 kilometers from here.
Cayo Levisa island
The island is near Havana, so the port Palma Rubia is easily accessible from here. The tiny, narrow island offers a humble restaurant and a small hotel with the design of a bungalow which is right next to one of the beaches. The place is suitable for snorkeling and scuba diving. The reefs are nice, and we can have a clear vision underwater. The most interesting experience is scuba diving on the northern shores. There are tropical fish as well as black corals and exciting yachtwrecks from the 18th century waiting to be explored.
The Guardalavaca resort is popular for a good reason: we can find many beautiful beaches here that are surrounded by mysterious reefs. One of the finest beaches of the area is the amazing Playa Guardalava, which is an incredibly white expanse of sand with the length of 15,000 meters; the spot is tempting for both local Cubans and tourists. The palm and tamarind trees in the center of the island provide visitors with shade and a cool footpath.
If you are keen on having an active recreation, besides swimming, you can try kayaking, sailing, water-skiing, and kiteboarding as well. And the necessary equipment for snorkeling and scuba diving is available for rent. The best diving spots – with coral reefs and underwater caves – may be accessed by boat without any difficulties.
If you have not found anything interesting from the activities mentioned so far, we can still show you some beaches that might be worth visiting. There is the Bahia del Baracoa for a start. This beach is different from what you would expect from a Cuban or a Caribbean beach. The sand here is smooth and dark, almost black in color. The surrounding area is also unique: the oldest town on the island is Baracoa, which was founded by the Spanish in 1510. The Eastern-Cuban town was slightly stranded from the other parts of the mainland; rail and road transport had only been built by the 1960s.
Cayo Guillermo island
If you are an admirer of nature and not only swimming, and you are also passionate about birds, the island Cayo Guillermo should be your destination. The 4 kilometer-long shore segment has several abandoned spots and will make you feel completely free. One of these spots is the Playa Pilar beach. Waters here are rich in marlins, so you can admire thousands of flamingos gathering around the place. The huge crowds of these aquatic birds provide a wonderful site.
Cayo Santa Maria and Playa Perla Blanca beaches
Fidel Castro is probably the most popular person who was born in Cuba. When talking about the beaches, we rarely mention his name. Still, if you are interested in his opinion on the topic, the beaches of the holiday resort Cayo Santa Maria with their gleaming white sand are the finest all across Cuba. Castro once said that they are even better than Varadero Beach. So the Playa Perla Blanca is a great spot that is definitely worth visiting if you are in the area.
We have provided you with a list of several amazing Cuban beaches where you can enjoy a carefree holiday. If you would like an active recreation, read about the sights or the best activities of the country.[ HELP ME TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT BOAT