It’s usually in the hope of some sunshine that one chooses a tropical destination like Cuba.

Although there’s a lot of fascinating history and culture to discover in this warm and colorful country, a holiday is not really complete without some good and relaxing beach time. To help you plan your itinerary for your tour to Cuba without missing out on any of those tropical beauties of white sand and blue waters, here are the five best beaches in Cuba.

Check out our post on the best sunglasses for the beach.

5 Unmissable Beaches in Cuba

1. Varadero

Can you picture about 20 kilometers of white sand and a water so blue it’s almost transparent? This is the beach of Varadero, a few kilometers east of Havana. Varadero is one of the most renowned beaches in Cuba for several reasons. First, the beach is so big that, even if it’s one of the most popular spots, you’re assured to find a peaceful place for your towel. Second, the water is very clear and not deep at all for a long stretch, which makes it perfect and very safe for children. In Varadero, the clear water is also ideal for diving and exploring under the sea.

2. Santa Clara

Santa Clara is the perfect bet for those who want to add up culture and sunbathing. The little town of Santa Clara is charming and full of the history linked to Che Guevara. There’s even a huge statue of the man still standing on the main plaza. There’s also several museums, concerts and events happening all over town to help you discover the Cuban culture.

As for sunbathing, the beaches of the neighboring Cayo Santa Maria are everything anyone could wish for. With more than 10 kilometers of unspoiled sand, this unique beach is a UNESCO protected site and is home to a lot of wildlife. Flamingos, lizards, birds, … don’t be surprised if one of these creatures walks past your towel. At large, the reef protects the coast from the wind and from too intense waves, making this beach a real heaven on earth.

3. Cayo Coco Island

If you want to dive, Cayo Coco Island is the place for you. This island north of Cuba is in the middle of one of the most incredible coral reefs in the world (second in the world according to experts) and is an ideal place to view marine life with your own eyes.

The island itself is almost ridiculous in beauty as the beaches are going all the way around it, covering about 27 kilometers in total. The water is warm and clear all around, even though you’ll find a surprising difference between the beaches in the north and in the south of Cayo Coco Island. In the south, you’ll be able to explore some tropical mangroves, while in the north the Atlantic coast harbours the traditional picture perfect paradisiacal beach.

4. Guardalavaca

The beach of Guardalavaca is not one of those classic huge sprawling white sand beaches mentioned above, it’s a little gem that’s perfect for privacy and divers. The beach of Guardalavaca is small indeed, but protected by huge coral reefs that create a unique ecosystem. There’s even some underwater caves to explore. And if that’s not enough to convince divers, I’ll let you know that the water is so clear that the visibility underwater is of about 20 meters … in other words, this is a unique marine experience that awaits you on Guardalavaca beach.

5. Trinidad

Trinidad is by far one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world with its grand buildings and pastel colors, but its beaches are not to be forgotten either. As the town has several beaches facing different ways, you can find a bit of everything around Trinidad: both the classic postcard beaches on the north Atlantic coast, and the wilder beaches on the east coast.

Although many beaches will fulfill your sunbathing needs around Trinidad, one is unique enough to be mentioned on this list: Grande Rivière. This beach is a lush haven where you can kayak or take a dip in the river, as well as hike in the tropical forest surrounding the area. It’s also a huge turtle nesting ground. This area has several guesthouses, many going for sustainable tourism. In short, Grand Rivière is the perfect quiet getaway for when you’re done exploring the incredible Trinidad.

Check out these restaurants in Trinidad.

Of course, many other beaches are true tropical beauties in Cuba. Some of them can only be reached by hours of boating or are so wild there’s no accommodation available.

The only rule for a tropical holiday? Explore, but don’t forget to relax on the beach, that’s what you’ve been dreaming about.

Which one of these beaches made it into your itinerary for your travel to Cuba?


  • Travel Dudes

    I'm sure you've had similar experiences I had whilst traveling. You're in a certain place and a fellow traveler, or a local, tip you off on a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always add something special to our travels. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.