Sun and sand calling your name? Consider traveling to Cuba for your next beach vacation.
Yes, Cuba! It’s easy for Americans to travel to Cuba and the island’s beaches make it totally worth it. Keep reading to learn all about our 7 favorite Cuba beaches (plus some helpful beach safety tips).
It’s no surprise that the name of this beach literally translates to “beach paradise.” It’s quiet, and looks exactly like what you expect when you hear the words “Caribbean beach.” Located on the tiny island of Cayo Largo off Cuba’s southern shore, this beach’s vibe is laid back—even the water is calm with just light waves. Fresh squeezed juice and beers are available at beachside snack bars, and sometimes local musicians play at the beach.
Local tip: Cayo Largo is only accessible via charter from Havana (and you can only reserve charters in Havana).
Just three hours from Havana, Varadero Beach is a great option for travelers who are on a short trip to Cuba. It’s easy to include a stop while touring Havana, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Cuba’s longest beach, Varadero is twelve miles of pure white sand. It’s also a great spot for scuba diving, with sea caves and coral reefs within easy reach.
Tip for Americans: While many international travelers stay in all-inclusive resorts, American travelers should stay in nearby casas particulares. This way, they can split beach time with activities that qualify as Support for the Cuban People. It’s easy to get a Cuban Tourist Card—the trick is navigating the US government’s categories of permitted travel to Cuba.
Whether or not you’re a fan of Ernest Hemingway, we bet you’ll love his favorite hideaway, named for his yacht, Pilar. The crystal clear blue waters and long stretches of white sand lined with coconut trees scream perfect Caribbean vacation. The best part? The area is home to a colony of 12,000 flamingos.
Local tip: Remember: while it’s easy to get a Cuba Visa (aka Cuban Tourist Card), the US government does have restrictions on travel to Cuba—so you can’t spend your whole trip at the beach. You need to qualify for one of the 12 categories of permitted travel.
Some of Cuba’s best snorkeling is at Playa Coral, situated about half-way between Varadero and Matanzas (about 2 hours away from Havana). It’s a great place to go snorkeling and learn about the numerous species of fish and other marine life in Cuba. Plus, a beach day spent learning with a local guide can count as a Support for the Cuban People activity!
Santiago locals love Playa Siboney, as it’s an easy day trip from Santiago. The beach has a rustic feel with views of mountains and many trees lining the beach. Kiosks pop up every day with vendors selling cold, fresh coconut to beachgoers. If you need a day off from your Cuba excursions, Playa Siboney is a great place to lay in the sun between dips in the ocean.
You’ll discover the ideal combination of adventure and luxury at Playa Cajuajo. Rent a bicycle and pedal the 20 km from Baracoa to enjoy this hidden gem. And since Baracoa is Cuba’s foodie paradise, there are tons of great places to eat at Playa Cajuajo! Indulge in fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and more options from local restaurants to fuel your bike ride back to Baracoa. The best part: eating at local restaurants qualifies as a Support for the Cuban People activity!
Located at the base of the Sierra Maestra Mountains, this beach is a little different from the others we’ve listed. The beach is lined with palm trees, but the sand is a handsome dark color. Swimming is a popular activity, but so is hiking to nearby waterfalls. If you crave variety on a beach vacation, Marea del Portillo is the spot to choose.
A day at the beach is tons of fun, but keep these Cuba safety tips while enjoying the beaches:
And for more on Cuban travel, check out: