With a coastline that is more than 5,000 miles long, Cuba is home to 300 stunningly beautiful beaches that are often compared to paradise by visitors. Tranquil, warm waters in amazing shades of turquoise, azure, and sapphire provide the perfect opportunity for a number of watersports, including snorkeling and diving, while the gorgeous, pristine sands offer a great place to relax.
While there are plenty of Cuba beach resorts, there is also ample opportunity for adventure and isolation. Many of the most beautiful beaches in Cuba are kept shaded by lush palm trees and native grasses. The exquisite underwater world just off the beaches is a wonder in of themselves with brilliantly colored tropical fish, colorful sponges, and coral.
If you have never considered a visit to Cuba, it is time to reconsider. In addition to the beaches, the area is ripe with culture, offers opportunities for exciting entertainment at every turn, and allows you to step back to a simpler time. While it is difficult to narrow down the amazing beaches into a small list of the absolute best beaches in Cuba, here are just a few of the ones you can’t miss.
1. Playa Maguana, Baracoa
Enjoy fine golden sands and the peaceful tranquility of this mostly virgin beach, lying 14 miles from the city of Baracoa. There is very little in the way of commercialism here, outside of daily Cubatur excursions, just a small hotel, and some simple food stands. Credit Thomas Brown
2. Playa Duaba, Baracoa
The black sands and beachside vegetation of Playa Duaba lie 3.7 miles from Baracoa, near the point where the Rio Duaba enters the Caribbean Sea. Search for the somewhat hidden obelisk marking the location of General Antonio Maceo’s landing during the 1895 War of Independence. After the beach, check out nearby waterfalls and locals willing to guide you on a wonderful tourist free eco-excursion. Credit Gradski
3. Bahia de Baracoa
Located on Cuba’s eastern tip, Bahia de Baracoa is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Framed by a stunning mountain range, the sparkling turquoise water meets the sandy beach lined with palm trees to form the perfect place to capture magical photos. This beach is largely unknown to tourists and offers an ideal spot to relax and enjoy all the sounds of the beach. Image Credit
4. Playa Santa Lucia, Camagüey
The stunning turquoise water of Santa Lucia is soothingly calm thanks to the world’s second longest coral reef located just 2km from the coast. The astounding array of colorful fish, as well as the assortment of shipwrecks in the area that date back to the 19th century, attracts divers from all over the world. Image Credit
5. Cayo Iguana, Cayo Largo
Perfect for nature lovers, Cayo las Iguanas gets its name from the unique lizards with spiked jowls that call it home. Quiet and peaceful, the beach is a unique mix of rocky coastal parts and fine, white sandy beaches with crystal clear water that is home to a breathtaking underwater world, including colorful sponges and an array of tropical fish that snorkelers will love.
6. Playa Tortuga, Cayo Largo
Despite Playa Tortuga’s tendency to become crowded with families out to enjoy all this beach has to offer, this is a popular spot for sea turtles to lay their eggs during the summer. Although it is a smaller beach, there are a number of bars, restaurants, and shops with inexpensive souvenirs along its edges. Image Credit
7. Playa Paraiso, Cayo Largo
Although the exquisite turquoise waters and glittering white sand of Playa Paraiso was somewhat secluded in the past, it has quickly become a favorite of hotel guests staying in the area. The calm, shallow waters and the bar with a shaded terrace have plenty of appeal to families with young children, as well as couples. Image Credit
8. Playa Sirenas, Cayo Largo
With crystal clear water perfect for snorkeling and fine white sand that is broken up by numerous palm trees that provide plenty of shade, Playa Sireno is gorgeous, but it is also becoming increasingly commercialized. Many hotels provide a free transfer here and it is a prime spot for watersports including sailing, surfing, water skiing, and more. Image Credit
9. Playa Rancho Luna, Cienfuegos
Located just outside of Cienfuegos, the soft sandy beach and warm waters of Rancho Luna are favored by locals, as well as visitors. It is well-known for an exciting underwater world that includes corals, sponges, gorgonians, and plenty of marine life. Delfinario, a dolphin park that allows you to swim alongside these magnificent creatures, is nearby.
10. Marea del Portillo Beach, Granma
With a gorgeous mountain backdrop, Marea del Portillo is situated on a spectacular cove. However, it is best known for its brownish black sand and pristine waters. It is a must see for anyone who enjoys photographing rare landscapes. Image Credit
11. Jibacoa, Havana
Located on the northern coast, this isolated bay is flanked by hills filled with greenery. Jibacoa is a favorite of divers and snorkelers thanks to the nearby coral reef that is home to an explosion of widely colorful, tropical sea life just below the surface of the azure water. Image Credit
12. Playa del Este, Havana
Twenty minutes east of Havana, Playa del Este is a favorite spot for locals, though few tourists visit because it is somewhat hard to find. The sandy beach is the perfect spot to find the remains of beautiful corals and shells, while the blue-green water is ideal for swimming or splashing around with friends. Image Credit
13. Playa Blanca, Holguin
Widely believed to be the spot where Christopher Columbus landed in 1492, a large monument was constructed in 1992 in nearby Parque Nacional Monumento Bariay to commemorate the 500th anniversary of his arrival. An exquisitely beautiful beach, it is also very quiet and is rarely visited by tourists.
14. Playa Esmeralda, Holguin
Playa Esmeralda is the perfect place for anyone looking to have fun on the beach. Watersports, including sailing and diving, as well as horseback riding, are a constant source of entertainment, while the nearby tennis courts and miniature golf course provides even more recreational options.
15. Guardalavaca, Holguin
The sparkling waters of the Atlantic, soft, sandy beaches, and abundance of shady spots make this uniquely shaped beach (similar to a shell) a tourist favorite. A gentle breeze seems to always be blowing, making it perfect for kite boarders and windsurfers.
16. Cayo Coco, Jardines del Ray
Used as the setting for Ernest Hemingway’s “Islands in the Stream” and “The Old Man and the Sea”, Cayo Coco and neighboring Cayo Guillermo is world renowned for its calm, crystal clear waters and pristine beaches. The area is home to flamingos and more than 200 species of birds making it ideal for nature lovers who dabble in birdwatching.
17. Cayo Guillermo, Jardines del Ray
Cayo Guillermo offers plenty of water sports, including non-motorized options such as hobby cat, kayaking, and windsurfing, despite the shallow waters. This makes is a favorite of families, though it is important to mention that the entire beach is clothing optional. Image Credit
18. Covarrubias Beach, Las Tunas
Considered the most beautiful beach in eastern Cuba, Covarrubias Beach is in a somewhat remote location, though it still attracts plenty of visitors. Banana boats, fishing, catamarans, and pedal boats give visitors plenty to do. In addition, there are 12 sites nearby for snorkeling. Image Credit
19. Playa Larga, Peninsula de Zapata
This beautiful beach is a hidden gem of Cuba. It’s off the beaten tourist path, and you can enjoy the wild beaches and fresh ocean air right outside the local beach houses that are available to rent. Image Credit
20. Playa Girón, Peninsula de Zapata
Next to the wetlands of the Zapata Swamp, lies the historical beach of Playa Giron. Not only is a stunning beach, but it is the location of fighting during the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Image Credit
21. Cayo Jutías, Pinar del Río
There are no permanent settlements at Cayo Jutias, only a beachside restaurant and a small kayak rental shack. Thanks to this lack of tourist comforts, you can seek and find solitude in the 3 kilometer long white sand beach.
22. Cayo Levisa, Pinar del Río
Cayo Levisa is known as Pinar del Rio’s most beautiful beach, and for that reason it’s a more popular beach than its neighbor in Cayo Jutias. The water is a brilliant sapphire, and the White sand beaches are spectacular. Image Credit
23. Playa Los Cocos, Santa Lucia
If you enjoy swimming, this is a great spot, just be aware of strong currents in the area. The beach is several kilometers from the hotels, but the fabulous sand, jade waters, and the nearby lagoon populated with flamingo still draws many visitors out from the hotels. Image Credit
24. La Boca, Trinidad
La Boca is a rocky beach, far away from the popular destinations. If you can reach it, you’ll enjoy taking in breathtaking views of the Escambray Mountains. Image Credit
25. Ancón Beach, Trinidad
This picture perfect beach can be found several kilometers from Trinidad. With the stunning mountain views and perfect sands, it has the reputation as the finest beach on the south coast of Cuba. Image Credit
26. Varadero Beach
If you love brilliant shades of blue, then the sea off Varadero beach, should be right up your alley. While the beach is a major attraction, there are numerous natural getaways nearby, like caves, lagoons, and seaside cliffs.
27. Playa Mayor, Varadero
Studded up and down with resorts and hotels, Playa Mayor is one the most developed beaches in Cuba. The beachfront is long and wide, with many upscale and luxury resorts overlooking their own slices of private beach.
28. Playa Las Salinas, Villa Clara
Playa las Salinas is located near the Zapata National Park. There is excellent bonefish, snook, and snapper fishing in the waters in and around this beach. Image Credit