Cuba’s beaches range from cordoned off private affairs belonging to exclusive hotels, to deserted expanses of sand that you can set up camp on. Following are a mixture of the two and everything in between in no particular order.
1. Playa La Gorda, Pinar del Rio
A small but beautiful beach in the far West of Cuba, on the Guanahacabibes Peninsula has some of the best diving around with plenty of colourful fish and unique black coral. The only downside is that there’s only really the dive centre to stay in which is quite pricey. Camping may be possible, or just visit on a day trip from Vinales.
2. Cayo Levisa and Cayo Jutías, Pinar del Río
These are small islands just of the north, Cayo Levisa is about 45 minutes by boat and Cayo Jutias is connected via a causeway to the mainland. Stunning deserted beaches, turquoise waters, and great snorkelling.
3. Santa Maria del Mar, Playas del Este
This is one of the nicest beaches of the Playas del Este which are located not far from Havana and are very popular with Cubans, especially at weekends and holidays.
The most well-known and popular beach resort in Cuba has earned its name with good reason. With the nearby airport and Havana only three hours away, it’s certainly one of the most convenient options too. There may be a few too many gringos, especially in high season, but the beach it still undeniably beautiful and with so much of it, it’s still easy to find a space for yourself.
5. Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo
These two islands are now connected to the mainline by a long causeway to Cayo Coco and then another short one between the two. They are full of resorts but the sheer expanse of these beautiful beaches means it’s easy to find a remote camping spot. The area is known for its great deep sea fishing.
6. Playa Santa Lucia
Another great diving location, this long beach is also great for walks and relaxing swimming in the gentle waters. Those who want to snorkel can rent a pedal boat and sail out to the reef which is only 2km from the beach. There are plenty of local places to stay.
7. Playa Guardalavaca
This beach is again great for snorkelling with its coral reefs and colourful fish but it is also next to the lovely little town of the same name which has a great souvenir market just behind the beach.
8. Playa Miel
The small but pretty beach next to Baracoa is a nice day trip for the town and you can also camp here (always ask for permission). Great views of El Yunque Mountain.
9. Playa Ancon
Soft white sand and warm water with opportunities for scuba diving and snorkelling too. It sounds very similar to every other beach but its vicinity to Trinidad makes it easy to cycle to on a day trip.
10. Playa Paraíso and Playa Sirena, Cayo Largo del Sur
These are truly remote beaches on the tiny island Cayo Largo del Sur. Never-ending white sands and turquoise waters join the two beaches together with the odd tiny beach bar to order a refreshing drink. The only way to get there is by flying from the mainland.