Think of the perfect beach and your mind will conjure up images of pristine white beaches and crystal clear water. Water so clean that you can see marine life few feet from the beach. The best part is that such beaches still exist in the Caribbean. The tiny island nation of Cuba boasts numerous such beaches which feel like paradise on earth.
10 Top Beaches in Cuba
Everyone has heard about the world-famous Cuban cigars. Thanks to its many tobacco fields, Cuba has been synonymous with high-quality cigars for a long time. Equally famous is the Bacardi brand of rum, which was started in Cuba in the nineteenth century. A lesser known but nevertheless absorbing fact about Cuba is its luxurious beach landscape. It’s an island, so you are spoilt for choice, with each beach better than the rest. Have a look at this list of the best beaches in Cuba and start making travel plans.
Starting the list with the most famous of Cuban beach resorts, Varadero has something to cater to all kinds of tourists. There is no dearth of restaurants, resorts, hotels and tour guides to take you around. The beach is long, almost 25 km, so even if it gets crowded, walk a little further, and you'll find space to stretch out. Fringed by palm trees on the inner side and dazzling water on the outer side, with hawkers dotting the landscape, this is the beach to unwind. For the more adventurous, there are numerous caves to explore and some offshore coral reefs to admire. You are certain to wake up early each morning, grab your beach blanket and spend the day lounging on the sand.
This is an island forming a part of the Jardines del Rey series in the Atlantic Ocean. Its shallow waters make it perfect for water sports and further out, there are excellent diving options too. Many lagoons and marshes are part of the island’s landscape. For bird lovers, this is paradise, as white ibis and pink flamingos abound. Cayo Coco has three big beaches where all the big businesses are centered. For tourists yearning for tranquility, Playa Los Flamencos makes a great option.
Very close to Trinidad, Playa Ancon on the south coast is one of the best beaches of Cuba. It is long, it is clean even though it’s a popular tourist destination, and it offers great snorkeling and diving opportunities in and around the surrounding coral reefs. For a change, stroll into Trinidad which is just a stone’s throw away, for a glimpse into Cuba’s colonial history.Here’s a guide to more activities around Playa Ancon.
Playa Perla Blanca
Part of Cayo Santa Maria, this beach is a veritable pearl in the ocean. 50 km away from the mainland and linked to it by a causeway, it takes a little effort to get there, but it’s worth it. You will feel you have reached a place where barely any other humans have tread. Predictably, new resorts are being developed here to take advantage of the island’s virginity, after all, it is one of the best beaches in Cuba.
Another island in the Atlantic, just like its neighbor Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo is surrounded by cays, which are mounds of sand bordered by coral reefs. If you want to get away from the crowds, this is the place to be. You could also head west to Playa Pilar, Ernest Hemingway’s favorite beach in Cuba. Remember to carry your beach towel. Be careful, just like the great author, you may end up spending all your holidays here.
It's a resort town popular with both locals and tourists. On one side you have the gentle sea and coral reefs, while on the other you find sugarcane fields and rolling hills. What is unique is a small stretch of palm trees along the center of the beach, providing shelter from the intense sunlight. If a beach resort is your idea of the perfect holiday, this is the place to head to.
It is isolated and out of the world beautiful. Driving along a dirt road to get here makes it difficult, so that explains its seclusion. With almost 30kms of powder white beaches, Sabinal is one of the gems in Cuba’s crown. What makes it even more delightful, is that wild deer and horses are found in plenty in the jungles adjoining the beaches.
This island is for the pure adrenaline junkies. Almost 150 km away from Havana, it’s the best scuba diving and snorkeling location in Cuba. You can get there by boat, and it's only recommended if you want to do nothing other than enjoying the marine life and underwater reefs. Keep in mind these rules to improve your diving experience.
Isla de la Juventud
The water around this island is ecologically protected, making it a fantastic location for scuba diving. Playa Frances is a superb ribbon of beach with palm woods on one side and the sparkling Caribbean on the other. Cruise ships often make stops here, so it is possible that you are unlucky enough to run into droves of tourists.
100 km off the coast of Isla de la Juventus, lies Cayo Largo, home to the beautiful Playa Sirena. The coral reefs protect Playa Sirena from the fury of nature and make it a great holiday destination. The economy on the island is wholly geared towards tourists, with no Cubans living there permanently. You can either relax on the beach or indulge in watersports, whatever strikes your fancy.
With this comprehensive guide to the best beaches in Cuba, you should be well set to enjoy this tiny country’s delights on your next vacation. Don’t forget to return with a few cigars and a bottle of rum. And in case you are wondering what to buy before you hit the beaches, we’ve got your back. Here are some deals for you that will make your beach visit more pleasant!