Looking for the Best Beaches in Cuba? Here Are 5 of Our Favourites

2min read

Published 3 December 2019


More than a million Canadians choose to visit Cuba every year and no other country sends more. This could be because of the its riveting history, its timeless ambiance or the honest warmth of its people — but let's be real, we go for the year-round sunshine, unbeatable value and bevy of breathtaking beaches. If you've yet to go or are looking for an alternative to your usual spot, here are five of the very best beaches in Cuba.

Playa Los Flamencos, Cayo Coco

Cuba's central north coast is a series of islands and sandy spits holding protected wetlands, an ocean full of marine life, all-inclusive beach resorts and not much more. One of these idyllic islands is Cayo Coco and its 3 km beach, Playa Los Flamencos. Said to be the setting for Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, it's truly one of the best beaches in Cuba. Cayo Coco is quiet, defined by its colonies of flamingos and ibis, and powdery white sand that's perfect for strolling and lounging on. Bring the kids. The sea is swimmable with gentle waves and the beach offers plenty of room for sandcastles.

Playa Paraiso, Cayo Largo

Cayo Largo is an uninhabited island paradise off the south coast in the warm Caribbean Sea. Apart from resort activities, there is little here to distract you from relaxing and enjoying its beautiful beaches. Playa Sirena holds most of the resorts (and action) but a quick walk at low tide brings you to Playa Paraiso (Paradise Beach). This raw, undeveloped-yet-naturally-blessed beach was ranked the third most beautiful beach in the world by Traveller's Choice in 2016. It's famous for having some of the calmest waters around, a large congregation of starfish and just off-shore, some of Cuba's best dive sites.

Playa Varadero, Varadero

Varadero is Cuba's most popular destination, and for good reason. Besides its vast array of accommodations, Havana is just two hours away by car, making Varadero perfect for those who want to visit the capital and enjoy some quality beach time. Varadero Beach itself is a stunner, stretching out for 25km, interrupted only by the tourable DuPont mansion and the region's only golf course. Varadero Beach is Cuba's liveliest stretch of sand, as well as the most touristy — but that takes nothing away from its dazzling perfection.

Playa Pilar, Cayo Guillermo

Divers know Cayo Guillermo well. Numerous dive sites just off Playa Pilar have been drawing scuba enthusiasts for years. And since it's been connected to Cayo Coco by a causeway, sunseekers are beginning to take notice, too. Another gorgeous island in the Jardines del Rey archipelago, Playa Guillermo is known for its crystal-clear shallow waters, impressive white sands and its 12,000 flamingos. Sheltered by a ribbon of coral reef, it's the perfect place to snorkel and laze around in deserted bliss.

Playa Guardalavaca, Holguin

A lot of travellers are interested in answering the Holquin vs. Cayo Coco beaches question...but honestly, it's tough to do! Especially with shores like this. One of the best things about Playa Guardalavaca, the most popular beach in Holguin, is that it's public and open to everyone — giving it an air of authenticity.

Its backdrop of lush rolling hills and swaying palm trees adds just the right amount of texture, and its coral reefs with abundant marine life provide access to limitless water activities. Not as secluded as the islands in the north and not as touristy as Varadero, Guardalavaca feels just right. While the nearby Playa Esmeralda and Playa Pesquero are nice, Playa Guardalavaca gets our vote.


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