Latinamerica Journeys | Travel Design

Cuba Tailormade holidays


Best beaches, keys (cayos), snorkeling & diving locations

We do realize everybody`s wishes for an ideal Cuba beachholiday, whether you look for a beach holiday in an all-inclusive 4 or 5 star luxury beachresort, or prefer a tailor made roundravel visiting several beaches along the way, staying in homestays (casas particulares) or small boutique beach hotels. We can for sure help you further with tailor made travel solutions, feel free to Contact us.

The nature on Cuba is still very pure, with great beaches and clear water, the people a discovery, an island with cultural variations from West to East, which all make Cuba one of the most interesting destinations of the Caribbean. Travelling in Cuba is an eye and heart opener, suitable for couples, honeymoons, friends and families alike.

When you wish to visit one of the keys (cayos) of Cuba together with exploring the authentic Cuba and beaches by selfdrive, private taxi transfers, travel with a guide-driver, or by regular bus Viazul with local taxi transfers, we can advise you which key might suit you best within your itinery for a beach retreat, diving, sailing, snorkeling & catamaran activities and/or for a honeymoon.

Most of all northern keys (Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo & Cayo Santa Maria) including Varadero, are prepared for large scale tourism, they are exclusive tourist resorts and are worlds on their own along beautiful beaches.

Of the northern keys, Cayo las Brujas is one of the few not all-inclusives, it is a lovely & intimate setting of wooden lodges on a key with a small beach and a harbour from which you can undertake many activities on sea, from sailing with a catamaran, diving, snorkeling, sunset tours, deep sea fishing & sea kayaking.

The neighbouring island Cayo Ensenachos has one of the most sophisticated 5 star beach resorts of all the northern keys (Iberostar), but you can say that all the 5 star resorts on Cuba have their specific ambiance and attraction. From Cayo Las Brujas you can fly back with a domestic flight of AeroGaviota to Havana Baracoa airport which is one hour from Havana center.

A general recommendation is not to book a 3 star all-inclusive as most of them are rundown at this moment. For all the northern keys and the peninsula of Varadero, the website of Tripadvisor might help you to orient which beach resort might be your best choice. When you have made your choice we integrate your hotel or resort wishes into your favourite itinery exploring Cuba with a beachstay included.

Playa Santa Lucia is worth visiting for the individual traveler (situated above Camaguey, central Cuba), looking for beautiful beaches and away from the large tourist resorts. Santa Lucia offers good diving locations (with diving even among sharks) and nice hotels. Dolphins have been spotted here regularly.

Cayo Saetia (near Holguin) offers an idyllic beach holiday on a small exclusive island with abundant sealife & coral reefs, beautiful beaches, forests and wildlife spotting of Cuban and African animals.

Cayo Levisa is a quiet small key resort at northwestern coast. Cayo Paraiso is a an inhabited key close to Cayo Levisa. You can visit this key with a special boat excursion leaving from Cayo Levisa. The ferry times to get to Cayo Levisa are: 09:00 hrs departure from Cayo Levisa to mainland; 10:00 hrs from mainlaind to Cayo Levisa; 17:00 hrs from Cayo Levisa to mainland and at 18:00 hrs from mainland to Cayo Levisa.

The best areas for scuba diving and snorkelling on Cuba are the coral reefs outside the coast of Maria la Gorda, Isle of Youth, Cayo Largo del Sur and at the Bay of Pigs with Playa Larga & Playa Giron (Bahia Cochinos). The coral reefs of Maria la Gorda are noted among the top 10 places for diving in Latin America. A little north of Maria La Gorda which is located in the NP Guanahacabibes you find the hotel and dive center Cabo de San Antonio, lovely for its remote location and beautiful drive along the wild beaches in the National park Guanahacabibes.

On Cuba, Maria la Gorda is regarded as the best international diving location together with Isle of Youth (Isla de Juventud) and for diving with sharks the archipel Jardines de la Reina (Central Cuba, south of Camaguey) is recommended with a divepackage of staying ona floating hotel.

Trinidad with the quiet beach playa Ancon, is together with the salsa & colonial feeling of Trinidad, its natural attractions, horseback riding in Valle Ingenios, catamaran excursions to Cayo Leguano (Cayo Macho) & Cayo Blanco, and 1-3 days hiking options in the mountains of Sierra Escambray, one of the most attractive places within Cuba to visit, for those interested both in culture and nature experience. Trinidad has been declared by Unesco a World Heritage site of Mankind together with the Sugarmill Valley. Playa Ancon, which is half an hour away from Trinidad, has 3 relative small scale beach resorts, a beautiful beach, and has also quiet & remote stretches along the bay from which snorkeling excursions to closeby coral reefs with local guides or on your own can be made. Near Trinidad you have in total 4 beaches to explore. Alternatives for all inclusive beach resorts on Playa Ancon (Hotel Ancon, Costa del Sur, Trinidad Brisas del Mar) is to reserve a homestay / casa particular with us in Trinidad downtown, in village Puerta Boca near the open sea, or stay in Trinidad Iberostar Grand Hotel or hotel la Ronda downtown (colonial style 4 star boutique hotels). The catamaran excursions from Trinidad to the coral islands of Cayo Leguano & Cayo Blanco offer good snorkelling possibilities for people with some previous snorkeling experience.

The best places for snorkelling in always clear water and directly accessible from land are at the Bahia Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) and at Maria la Gorda beach. At Bay of Pigs there is a snorkel location with parking place opposite to the entrance of Cueva de los Pesces, halfway between Playa Larga and Playa Giron. Here you find also a seventy metre deep cave (cenote) connected to the sea & a rental shop for snorkeling equipment.

At Cayo Largo del Sur you can relax, enjoy the enormous white beaches, go sailing, snorkel in turqoise blue waters, learn diving and explore all diving locations. You arrive here with a direct international charter, or with a short domestic flight from Havana, the last is recommended when you wish to explore Cuba further with car hire, taxi or by bus.

The best beach resorts near Santiago de Cuba are Santiago Sierra del Mar & Los Galeones, 70 km west along the idyllic coastline. However the road is in a very bad state for many years and it needs patience to arrive here. To the east of Santiago you find lovely small beaches in the National Park of Baconao. Playa Cazonal is one of the furthest and ideal for a quiet day tour with an American cabriolet combining cultural stops and beachtime.

For swimming with dolphins, special catamaran excursions are organized leaving from Varadero to a platform in the open sea with dolphins in a relatively natural setting. Alternatives for an all-inclusive beachresort on Varadero: Rent a homestay / casa particular in Guanabo (Playas del este - Havana), rent a casa particular at Varadero itself, or in the colonial village Cardenas (close to Varadero), and explore all the different beaches east of Havana (Playas del Este) or the beaches of Varadero peninsula as selfdrive or with local taxis of the homestay families.

One of the best areas for a feeling of remoteness and paradise is the south coast from Santiago de Cuba eastwards & the northeast coast of Baracoa. For exploring the southeast coast of Cuba you need to have a rental car, travel by taxi with specific planned stops or with a driver-guide. Ask us for further detailed information.

The tropical rainforest and mountains of Baracoa offer several interesting full dayprograms with hiking in the mountains near El Yunque, visit a Cuban school, a cacoa plantation and families who make chocolate, all with American Vintage cars. Combined with swimming in the rivers, visit to fishers village, the Yumuri canyon, typical Baracoan lunch at the river Toa, walk through a coconut plantation at Cayo Chino, have an excursion by rowing boat and stroll along the beach with soft afternoon light between Rio Toa and Duabe. With an extra option of staying overnight at a lodge along the river Toa with campfire, salsa and musica cubana. There is also a boutique, small resort halfway Baracoa village and the NP Humboldt at the beach Maguana, Villa Maguana from Gaviota with the option to dinner directly at a private beach with a nearby living family under a starry sky.

We can design your favourite Cuba travel (from West to East), including the best beaches & keys, cultural excursions with local guides, the best daywalks and best beach places to be. Feel free to Contact us.

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