Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean Sea—which means that it has nearly 3,500 miles of coastline dotted with more than 400 beaches. Scuba diving, fishing, snorkeling, and swimming opportunities abound here. But there are also plenty of beaches in Cuba to lazily lounge under an umbrella with a good book and feel the sand between your toes. Whether its white sands, golden sands, black sands, a vibrant atmosphere, or a tranquil escape you’re after, there’s a beach for you in Cuba.
Varadero is one of Cuba’s most famous beach vacation destinations. Playa Varadero is about 80 miles east of Havana. It’s known for its bright blue water, miles of white sandy beaches and all-inclusive resorts. This is where you go to sit back and relax under a beach umbrella with a drink in your hand and the sand between your toes. Varadero is also a popular scuba diving and deep-sea fishing destination.
Playas del Este
You don’t have to venture far from Havana to find a beach. Just a half-hour drive from central Havana, you’ll discover Playas del Este, a strip of beaches on Havana’s eastern edge. One of the beaches, Playa Guanabo, is known for its markets. Playa Bacuranao is known for its snorkeling and scuba diving, and Santa Maria del Mar is where to rent umbrellas, chairs, and watersports equipment.
Playa Paraiso is literally a paradise beach. It’s tranquil without the hustle and bustle you might expect from a beach town. Playa Paraiso has a white sandy coastline and sparkling turquoise water. It’s been recognized as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and is known for its calm waters, among the mildest in Cuba.
Playa Flamencos is one of Cuba’s most popular beach destinations. If you’re looking for turquoise water and a place to let all your cares fade away, this is it. Best known for its luxurious, all-inclusive resorts, Playa Flamencos greets visitors with miles of white sandy beaches and sapphire waters. It is part of the Jardines del Rey islands off the northern coast of central Cuba and was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway. It’s connected to the main island by a 17-mile causeway.
Playa Perla Blanca
Some of the best things about travel don’t come easy. Playa Perla Blanca is among them. Getting to Playa Perla Blanca is a journey, but arriving is to find yourself on a quiet, smooth sand beach that’ll feel like a private paradise. This isn’t a place where you’ll find a busy boardwalk, a bevy of surfers, or rows of matching resort umbrellas; this is an untouched beach paradise that truly takes visitors away from it all.
Playa Ancón is the postcard-perfect beach of your daydreams. It's got turquoise blue waters and an expansive beach dotted with palm trees. This is the kind of place that’ll push you to unplug and dig your toes into the sand. Playa Ancón is a short drive from central Trinidad. A bus also runs between Trinidad and the beach, but it's known to get crowded.
Playa Guardalavaca is a beach on the northern coast of Cuba. This is a beach that’s off the beaten path and not frequented by foreign tourists. If you’re looking for a beach to truly get away from it all, make your escape here.
Playa Coral is a beach that's true to its name. This is one of Cuba's best beaches for shore snorkeling. It's near Varadero and just a couple of hours drive east of Havana. The best way to snorkel here is to with a guide through Flora y Fauna Reserve. Playa Coral is known for its crystal clear water and an abundance of fish and coral, though you may have to venture a bit from the coastline to find the treasures you’re seeking.
A roadside beach with the Sierra Maestra—Cuba's highest mountain range—in the backdrop, Punta Piedra is one of the most off the beaten path beaches on the island. It's a remote spot perfect for a picnic with a view of mountains that meet the sea.
You'll find Cayo Levisa a short boat ride away from Vinales in Cuba's Pinar del Rio province. This is an island paradise that's most definitely off the beaten path. It greets visitors with white sandy beaches and pristine turquoise waters. A day trip not enough? There’s a hotel with beachside bungalows you can settle into for a few days.
Bay of Pigs
You may know the Bay of Pigs as a failed CIA intelligence operation, but nowadays, this area is a diving and snorkeling paradise. Bahia de Cochinos is known for magnificent underwater landscapes where divers can spot parrotfish, angelfish even barracuda. It's also home to lots of coral and sponges. Dive shops at Playa Larga offer equipment rentals and training.
Playa Santa Lucia
For clear water, pristine sand and calming palm trees, head straight to Playa Santa Lucia. Playa Santa Lucia is an intimate beach lined with hotels and known for its hospitality. The beach has miles of wide white and golden beaches that jut up against warm turquoise water. It's near one of the world's most extensive barrier reefs and accessible to several dive sights, including several sunken ships.