With its idyllic setting in the glittering Caribbean Sea, it should come as no surprise that Cuba is home to a vast array of beautiful beaches, some of them ranking amongst the best in the world.
Everywhere you go, you will come across gorgeous golden sands, sweetly swaying palm trees, and of course, the enticing turquoise waters of the Caribbean itself. Many of its beaches really do look like a tropical paradise.
Just offshore, visitors will find some beautiful coral reefs and spectacular dive sites, while Cuba’s cities are fascinating to explore. You are greeted with wonderful colonial-era architecture, lively nightlife, and the decaying grandeur for which the island is renowned.
In recent years, Cuba has opened up to the world; as such, its tourism sector is rapidly developing. Consequently, it’s a good idea to visit all of its beautiful beaches now before word spreads about the island’s well-kept secrets.
With its soft, silken sands and laidback vibe, it is hard to imagine that in 1961, Playa Giron was the setting of the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion, when Cuban exiles landed on the island and attempted to overthrown Fidel Castro’s recently established government.
Nowadays, there is an interesting little museum on offer where visitors can learn about the area’s history – and that of Cuba itself. Giron village is a very chilled out place with a good selection of bars, restaurants, and hotels, while its long beach is perfect for lounging on and taking in some rays.
Located in one of the most extensive wetlands in the world, Playa Giron also has some fabulous coral reefs lying just offshore. This makes it a great spot to go scuba diving or snorkeling, as the abundant marine life below the waters is mesmerizing to witness.
Well worth a visit if you have the chance, Playa Giron certainly won’t disappoint with all that it has to offer. Its history makes it all the more enticing; there aren’t many beaches in the world where you can recline in the spot where an invasion force once landed.
Located just a short distance away from Guardalavaca town, Playa Esmeralda looks absolutely incredible and is quite exclusive; there are only two luxury hotels for guests to stay at.
The pristine white sands are lined with lovely palm trees which provide some much-needed shade, as do the hotel sunshades which are set out along the beach. The views over the Caribbean are astounding, and swimming in the beach’s gentle waters is equally delightful.
Not far from Playa Esmeralda lie a couple of national parks and nature reserves for visitors to check out, and at the nearby Dolphinarium, you can even go for a swim with dolphins in Naranjo Bay.
Lying on a small peninsula that juts out from the west of Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico, Cayo Jutias has a very wild and untouched look about it; every evening, glorious sunsets bathe the beach in a lovely ruddy hue.
While it may be off the beaten path for international tourists, it is a favorite spot to head to amongst local Cubans, and there are some fantastic little beach bars and restaurants for you to try out.
Mangroves and coral reefs hug the coastline, and after lounging on the beach and taking in some rays, there is nothing better than taking a refreshing dip in the sparkling turquoise waters that border Playa de Cayo Jutias.
If you want to combine both history and beach time into just one location, then Playa Ancon is the perfect place to head to; the nearby city of Trinidad has one of the most mesmerizing colonial-era centers in Cuba.
With its white sands and welcoming Caribbean waters, the beach itself is fantastic, and palm trees only complement the perfect scene. There are lots of watersports and activities for visitors to indulge in, with sailing, fishing and snorkeling all being particularly popular.
Located on the south coast of Cuba, Playa Ancon also has some brilliant dive sites and colorful coral reefs for scuba divers to enjoy, while Trinidad boasts lively nightlife, delicious restaurants, and a whole host of accommodation options.
Separated from the mainland of Cuba by a vast stretch of sea, Playa Sirena is a very peaceful and quiet beach, perfect if you’re looking for a relaxing holiday.
Located on Cayo Largo, it is as idyllic as they come, and many people consider it to be among the best of Cuba’s beaches. That being said, there is not much going on here. There is very little in the way of hotels and restaurants for you to choose from. As such, guests primarily come to get away from everything while enjoying the spectacular scenery.
With a coral reef lying just offshore, it is a nice place to go swimming or snorkeling. The stunning Playa Paraiso is located not too far away if you want to check out yet another of Cuba’s impressive beaches.
The fourth largest island in Cuba, Cayo Coco is home to some incredible beaches, with a couple of them ranking amongst the best in the world.
Playa Los Flamencos, for example, is breathtaking; all along the northern coastline of the island, you’ll come across lovely white sand beaches. In addition to the stunning scenery, visitors will find lots of fantastic resorts and hotels on offer, as well as some lively nightlife as holiday goers unwind and enjoy the beautiful setting.
Quite touristy in comparison with other parts of Cuba, Cayo Coco has plenty of watersports for visitors to enjoy. Alongside its fantastic swimming and snorkeling conditions, it is one of the best places in the country to go kitesurfing.
Appearing as if out of a travel catalog, Playa Guardalavaca’s idyllic look has long attracted both locals and tourists to its shores and is one of the most popular beaches in Cuba.
As such, the area surrounding the beach is now quite developed, although there is still an authentic vibe about the place. You can find loads of great restaurants and hotels on offer that cater to all budgets.
Gently swaying palm trees overlook its white sands and the coral reefs just offshore are perfect for snorkeling; you’ll be thrilled by the shoals of shimmering fish and rainbow-colored corals below you.
Described by Christopher Columbus as the most beautiful place he ever laid eyes on, Playa Guardalavaca is well worth visiting. Fidel Castro himself actually inaugurated the first resort that was established here in the 70s.
3. Playa Paraiso Where to Stay
Playa Paraiso really does match its name, as its bright white sands are bordered by the most incredible turquoise water you’ve ever seen; the word paradise certainly springs to mind.
Regularly featured on lists of the most beautiful beaches in the world, this tranquil beach is perfect for kicking back and relaxing on while taking in the awesome scenery. Its secluded location on Cayo Largo – an island lying off the mainland of Cuba – means that it is delightfully undeveloped, so only a handful of bars, restaurants, and hotels are found nearby.
Its welcoming waters are ideal for snorkeling, swimming or fishing. The wonderful Playa Sirena is just a short journey away if you can tear yourself away from this spectacular beach.
2. Varadero Where to Stay
Due to its proximity to Havana, its fantastic amenities, and of course, its beautiful scenery, it is no surprise that Varadero is one of, if not the most popular beaches in the whole of Cuba.
The beach’s dazzling white sands remarkably stretch for twenty-five kilometers, and the shore is lined with restaurants, bars, hotels, and resorts. There is absolutely loads in the way of entertainment and activities; guests can sign up for anything from dance lessons and yoga classes to fishing and sailing. There is also a multitude of excellent dive sites for scuba divers to check out.
Although it is quite touristy and can get crowded in peak tourist season, Varadero really is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and is indeed worth a visit if you have the chance.
With its crystal clear waters and sun-kissed white sands, Playa Pilar certainly paints a pretty picture. The beach is named after Ernest Hemingway’s yacht, as the famous novelist spent so much time here.
Lying right at one end of Cayo Guillermo, this beautiful beach is amongst the best in Cuba. It is a very laid back place to visit; its secluded location means that you’ll often find it completely deserted.
Because it borders a lush national park, there are some nice trails to follow amidst the dunes and mangroves. Many people come here to catch a glimpse of the majestic pink flamingos that call this shoreline home.
While there aren’t many hotels, restaurants or bars on offer, there are a couple scattered about the cay here and there. This really emphasizes what Playa Pilar is all about – sun, sea, sand and solitude amongst the spectacular scenery.