There is an alchemy created by soft sands, Caribbean blue seas and whispering palms which exert a magnetic pull on the soul. Daydreaming to the pulse of the tide, strolling without a care, and suspending time and worries: the beach, any beach, is a place for rejuvenation, relaxation and freedom to reflect, be creative, and reconnect with nature.
Cuba is a large island blessed with beautiful, temperate seas and jaw-dropping beaches. To the north is the Gulf of Mexico, while the Florida Straits and Atlantic Ocean immediately surround the island. To the south is the one, the only, Caribbean Sea. With all this water, it’s not surprising that Cuba is home to all types and categories of beaches. Indeed, the island boasts some 300 sandy stretches officially classified as “beach”; at least 50 of these are named.
There are so-called privileged beaches, which are private strips of exclusive beach in the “front yard” of a hotel and only accessible to its guests. This is the case with the beach at Villa Maguana near Baracoa in the east of the country, and the two beaches of Cayo Ensenachos, on which Hotel Iberostar Ensenachos stands. There’s also Hotel Porto Santo in Baracoa with its private beach and the enchanting beach of Blau Privilege Cayo Libertad in Varadero.
"Dive Beaches" provide easy access to coral reefs – perfect for those wanting to scuba dive or snorkel. María La Gorda, in the southwest of Cuba, is highly ranked by international divers as a superb scuba spot. When not exploring the underwater world, you can find scuba divers lounging on the beautiful beach here. The same holds true for Cayo Levisa in Pinar del Río province. Not only can divers explore the more than 20 dive sites here, the remote and exclusive 3-km beach has the finest white sand, where you can find colonies of starfish. This beach is simply furnished with sun loungers and hammocks. Playa Larga and Playa Girón (in Cuba’s central south region) are not only “dive beaches”, they’re also ecological and historical beach sites.
Cayo Santa María in the north and Santa Lucia (northeast) boast wonderful (dive) beaches, offering quality accommodation at the same time.
Some “sierra-beaches” are beautifully backed by mountains, such as Playa Ancón near Trinidad on the Caribbean Sea, and the beaches of Baracoa (east), Jibacoa (just an hour from Havana) and Marea del Portillo in the southern province of Granma.
There are city beaches, located a stone´s throw away from urban centers and all their attractions, including the Playas del Este (and Jibacoa) near Havana, Playa Rancho Luna, only 18km from Cienfuegos, and the beaches near Santiago de Cuba (such as Playa Siboney).
Glamour beaches, such as the unsurpassable beach of Varadero, once the playground of the world’s rich and famous, are now accessible to everyone. At these beaches, every visitor feels a part of the jet set.
There is even a zoo-beach. The beaches of Cayo Saetía, for example, border forests and grasslands with diverse species of wildlife such as zebras, antelopes and giraffes. There are also turtle beaches, where the turtles lay their eggs in the sand at night from July through September. Playa Tortuga (Cayo Largo) is a spectacular place to witness this wonder of nature.
And then there are award-winning beaches – those top spots chosen by travelers like you. Of the 25 most popular Caribbean beaches, travelers voted 3 Cuban beaches among the most popular in the region in 2015: Playa Paraiso - Cayo Largo (ranked #2) – Varadero (# 5) and Playa Pilar - Cayo Guillermo (#15).