The Best Beaches in Cuba

Travel + Leisure’s Destination of the Year offers a unique cultural experience–delicious cuisine, infinite salsa music, and endless stretches of beautiful white sand.

Varadero Beach, Varadero, Matanzas Province, Cuba
Photo: Getty Images

It’s no secret that Americans are eager to travel to Cuba. Last year, the country saw its relationship with the United States restored, and with commercial air travel expected to resume later this year, tourists are planning to flock to the Caribbean island. From the allure of colorful mosaics to the vintage car-filled streets, there is plenty to love about the destination–including its sun-drenched coastline. The warm weather and turquoise water welcomes visitors year-round, as average temperatures rarely seem to dip below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. No matter which part of the country you choose, you’re guaranteed to enjoy some relaxation time on the beach.

Varadero Beach

Cuba’s most famous beach (pictured above) stretches more than 12 miles and is surrounded by multiple all-inclusive resorts. If the dance lessons, aerobics classes, and games hosted by the resorts aren’t your style, explore the surrounding areas natural attractions, which includes sea caves and coral reefs.

Playa Ancón

Cuba, Playa Ancon (Photo by Marka/UIG via Getty Images)
Getty Images

A long stretch of clean sand lines this arch on Cuba’s southern shore. The coral rocks are perfect for scavenging for conch shells, and about seven miles to the north you’ll find the small Spanish colonial town of Trinidad, where the cobblestone streets and buildings have been preserved from the 1800s.

Cayos Coco and Guillermo

BHAEJR Playa Pilar(Nature Conservation Protected Beach), Cayo Guillermo, Cuba. Image shot 2009. Exact date unknown.
© City Image / Alamy Stock Photo

The shallow water off these keys make each ideal for both families with young children and those interested in non-motorized watersports like kayaking, sailing, and windsurfing. It’s a perfect place to kick back with a drink in hand.


(GERMANY OUT) Playa Esmeralda bei Guardalavaca- März 1999 (Photo by Meißner/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Getty Images

What was once a cattle-rearing rural village (its name quite literally means “guard the cow”) is now a hot spot for sun worshipers. The stretch of beach is lined with resorts, so you’ll see plenty of fellow tourists in addition to locals. Cuban culture flourishes as music plays and the beachside market sells cigars, handbags, and a variety crafts.

Playa Sirena

The mermaid statue La Sirena on Playa Esterillos.
(c) Driendl Group

This beach lies on the western end of Cayo Largo, a small island off the country’s southeastern coast. There are no hotels along the shore, and the lack of wind provides calm waters. Those looking for a bit of adventure can take their turn swimming with dolphins at the dolphin park on the beach.

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