The Most Beautiful Beaches in Cuba

Keep your eye out for informal bars too
Keep your eye out for informal bars too | © GregMontani / Pixabay
Photo of Jack Guy
2 November 2017

Cuba, as you might expect from a Caribbean island, is home to some incredible beaches. Here are the best sandy shores to seek out while you’re on the island.

Cayo Jutias

Not many foreign visitors make it to Cayo Jutias, which is found to the west of Viñales. Come here to eat lobster, drink rum and see how Cubans enjoy the beach.

Volleyball net at Cayo Jutias | © shaorang / flickr

Playa Giron

The Bay of Pigs was the site of the famous failed invasion backed by the United States and designed to bring down the revolutionary regime. It’s also home to some incredible beaches, including Playa Giron. Relax on the sand and explore the Zapata Swamp, one of the largest wetlands in the world.


It might be home to the biggest all-inclusive hotels in the country, but despite that, there is no denying that Varadero is a wonderful beach. Even if you tend to avoid the crowds and big hotels, it’s still worth a trip.

Varadero beach | © paulcezanne / Pixabay

Playa Pilar

Plenty of people visit the big hotels on Cayo Coco, but far fewer choose to go to Cayo Guillermo. It’s far more peaceful here, and at Playa Pilar you could often have the place to yourself. An interesting piece of trivia is that the beach is named after author Ernest Hemingway’s yacht, as he used to come here often during his time on the island.

Protected area at Playa Pilar, Cuba | © Kevin Cabral / flickr

Playa Ancon

If you’re in the colonial city of Trinidad and fancy some beach time, Playa Ancon is just a 20-minute drive away. It’s one of the best beaches on the south coast of Cuba, and you can go snorkelling and diving in the nearby reefs.

Playa Esmeralda

Just five kilometres (three miles) from the town of Guardalavaca in eastern Cuba lies this picture-perfect beach. There are two luxury hotels here, which are wonderful places to stay if you want to treat yourself.

Playa Francés

Nestled on an isolated point of Isla de la Juventud in southern Cuba, this charming three-kilometre (2-mile) beach is often completely deserted. Playa Francés is inside a nature reserve, and there is great diving to be had on the nearby reef.

Maria La Gorda

Right out on the westernmost point of Cuba lies this palm-lined beach, a favourite with divers. It’s been named one of the top ten diving spots in the whole of Latin America.

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