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Cayo Santa María
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Cayo Santa María. BEACHES WITH CRYSTAL CLEAR WATERS AND SOFT WHITE SANDS

Los Cayos, also known as Sabana-Camagüey, form part of an archipelago whose beaches have been given the nickname “Rosa Blanca de los Jardines de Rey” (The White Rose of the King’s Gardens). Their nickname highlights, in the most romantic way possible, how essential it is to visit this unique part of the Republic of Cuba.

Located in the province of Villa Clara, Cayo Santa María is one of the most extraordinary destinations for enjoying a holiday in the middle of the Caribbean Ocean. It offers idyllic beaches with stunning turquoise waters and soft white sands, alongside an incredible natural environment.

Cayo Santa María is a long and narrow island of 22 km2 and its landscape is littered with small hills and cliffs. It has an abundance of idyllic beaches, mostly to the north of the island, and an area dominated by marshland and mangroves to the south. Its borders are marked by Punta del Este de Santa María to the east and to the south, Punta Matamoros to the west, and Punta Madruguilla to the north.

Havana Airport, the country’s main airport that provides a wide range of international flights, offers domestic flights to and from Cayo Las Brujas. Those that would prefer to enter the country via Varadero can transfer to the capital to take an internal connecting flight or travel on land via the "Pedraplén" to Cayo Santa María.

Cayo Santa María is the ideal paradise for those who love to relax but also have fun. This small island offers all kinds of services and facilities which allow its visitors to enjoy a well-deserved rest during their holiday. A unique natural environment, a wide variety of activities, water sports and endless idyllic beaches of the kind that we all hope to find when we travel to the Caribbean. Its tropical nature, close to the Bahama Canal, has provided this island with some beautiful coral reefs, making it ideal for those who love snorkelling and diving.

 

Transport:

Airplane, car, bus, bike, motorbike or taxi.

 

Distances:

Cayo Las Brujas Airport: 2 km

Abel Santamaría, Santa Clara Airport: 102 km

Las Salinas: 0 km

Las Gaviotas: 21 km

Punta del Este: 21 km

Punta Matamoros: 14 km

Punta Madruguilla: 15 km

Cayo Ensenachos: 8 km

Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba

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All
Beaches
Towns
Must-visits
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Las Salinas
Beaches
Discover the 2-km white-sand and crystal-clear water beach right in front of Grand Sirenis Cayo Santa María, located in Villa...
Read more
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Playa Perla Blanca
Beaches
The charming Playa Perla Blanca is located at the tip of Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba. There’s nowhere quite like this...
Read more
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Playa Las Gaviotas
Beaches
Plunge into Playa Las Gaviotas, a stunning enclave in Cayo Santa Maria and enjoy this paradisiacal beach in Cuba. Playa de...
Read more
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Pueblo Las Estrellas
Towns
A 48-kilometre-long causeway over the sea links the largest island of the Cuban archipelago with the keys of Santa María,...
Read more
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Guanabacoa, City of Havana
Towns
There’s nowhere in Havana quite like Guanabacoa. Named Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Guanabacoa, it was founded in 1554...
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Viñales, Pinar del Río
Towns
In the western province of Pinar del Río, the town of Viñales is home to the Viñales Valley National Park...
Read more
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Plaza La Estrella
Must-visits
For those who love a spot of shopping, we have the perfect proposal for a day with no shortage of...
Read more
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Parish Church of San Juan Bautista
Must-visits
I Parish Church of San Juan Bautista and Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje, Remedios. Visit the only Cuban square with two Catholic...
Read more
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Shopping in Cuba
Must-visits
Los Habanos: Cuba isn’t the only country that makes cigars (for us tobacco refers to cigars, not cigarettes), but Habano...
Read more
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Las Salinas

Discover the 2-km white-sand and crystal-clear water beach right in front of Grand Sirenis Cayo Santa María, located in Villa Las Brujas.

For diving and scuba diving lovers, it’s the perfect place to dive into its calm waters, not to mention its numerous coral reefs, making it a one-of-a-kind place for its exotic marine life.

Plunge into its crystal-clear waters, stroll along its fine white sand, top up your tan on our hammocks on the shores of this stunning beach.

Ask our team about all the water activities you can try your hand at in our resort.

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Playa Perla Blanca

The charming Playa Perla Blanca is located at the tip of Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba. There’s nowhere quite like this beautiful white sandy beach paradise to enjoy some much-needed tranquillity and relaxation in one of the Northern Keys’ most unspoilt spots.

Its irresistible crystal-clear waters and the tranquility oozing out of this dreamlike setting will make for a stay you’ll never forget.

Its waters are shallow, perfect for trying your hand at a wide range of water activities such as scuba diving or snorkelling, as well as marvelling at the stunning corals on its seabed.

The sea here is home to exotic and colourful fish, not to mention different types of starfish. For an even more incredible experience in Playa Perla Blanca, how does sailing aboard a catamaran around Cayo Santa Maria while taking in jaw-dropping views and sipping on the best Cuban cocktails sound?

Sus aguas son poco profundas, por lo que podrás realizar multitud de deportes acuáticos como buceo o snorkel, así como admirar los espléndidos corales y arrecifes que se encuentran por sus fondos marinos.

La variedad de vida marina que se encuentra sumergida en esta playa hará que conozcas los exóticos y coloridos peces y las numerosas estrellas de mar que se encuentran en ella. Una de las mejores actividades para hacer en Playa Perla Blanca que harán que tu experiencia sea aún más increíble es la experiencia de navegar a bordo de un catamarán recorriendo todo Cayo Santa María mientras disfrutas de las insuperables vistas y de los mejores cocteles cubanos.

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Playa Las Gaviotas

Plunge into Playa Las Gaviotas, a stunning enclave in Cayo Santa Maria and enjoy this paradisiacal beach in Cuba.

Playa de Las Gaviota is next to the eastern tip of Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba. This jewel of the Caribbean is considered one of the island’s most beautiful places, not to mention the fact that it’s a protected area due to its stunning landscape and priceless ecological value.

The beach stands out for its small Cuban-style hits, where you can relax and take in the stunning sea views.

For water sports lovers, there’s no shortage of fun things to do, as it’s the perfect place to go scuba diving and snorkelling or to marvel at the exotic and colourful fish that live in its waters.

The beach’s one-of-a-kind location means you need to walk for about 15 minutes along a path that takes you straight to it. What’s more, there won’t be many other people there!

The perfect beach for the more adventurous.

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Pueblo Las Estrellas

A 48-kilometre-long causeway over the sea links the largest island of the Cuban archipelago with the keys of Santa María, Las Brujas, Ensenachos, Cobos, Majá, Fragoso, Francés, Las Picúas and Español de Adentro, to name but a few. The different waterways become a true aquatic labyrinth between the cays, perfect for a wide range of sightseeing and boating excursions.

Another thing that makes the region stand out is the ship San Pascual; stranded in the vicinity of Cayo Francés for almost 70 years. This is rare naval construction as it was made of reinforced concrete and set sail in 1920 from the shipyards of San Francisco, California. Also known by the locals as El Pontón, many consider it to be just another islet, although nowadays holidaymakers can avail of its 10 cabins and a stunning location to really make the most out of everything the region has to offer.

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Guanabacoa, City of Havana

There’s nowhere in Havana quite like Guanabacoa. Named Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Guanabacoa, it was founded in 1554 and sought to bring the indigenous communities that lived in the surrounding areas together.

A year later, it became the temporary capital of Cuba and many of those fleeing the attacks of pirates such as Jacques de Sores settled there. This gave rise to the Cuban saying: ‘Meter La Habana en Guanabacoa.’ (Like putting Havana in Guanabacoa)

The industrial development of the town in later centuries was conducive to it being granted its coat of arms in 1743. In August 1762, when the British occupied Havana, the Guanabacoans ferociously resisted them under the command of "Pepe Antonio", a town mayor. This led to it being known as "Villa de Pepe Antonio".

Urban growth linked it to Havana once and for all. It preserves vestiges of buildings declared National Monuments dating back to the 18th century. However, the most significant thing about Guanabacoa in the Cuban spirit and imagination is the religious syncretism, with its focus on Santeria, Palo Monte and the Abakuá secret society. They celebrate the feast of the Virgin Mary, while paying homage to African deities with the annual "Wemilere" festival, dedicated to a country on the Dark Continent. The streets are brimming with music and dance for an entire week.

What’s more, renowned figures in national art, such as Rita Montaner, Ignacio Villa, "Bola de Nieve" and Ernesto Lecuona, have left their mark on this town. Places such as the central José Martí square, a local commercial area, the house of Bola de Nieve, the Escolapios School, the springs of La Cotorra, the Potosí Hermitage, the Santo Domingo Convent and the Parish Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, are all must-visits for any tourist.

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Viñales, Pinar del Río

In the western province of Pinar del Río, the town of Viñales is home to the Viñales Valley National Park and Cultural Landscape of Humanity, surrounded by stunningly beautiful mogotes.

Although archaeological excavations show evidence of aborigines across the Viñales Valley, the first recorded settlements date back to the turn of the 19th century, when a large number of families made there way there, with their sights set on tobacco cultivation.

Officially founded in 1878, it is currently only home to roughly 28,000 inhabitants, despite tourists flocking in droves. From an architectural point of view, the vernacular stands out, as the wooden houses with reddish tile roofs intertwine with guano palm roofs, with this play on colours making it visually appealing. Places such as the Municipal Museum, the Palaeontological Museum or the local Botanical Garden recount the traditional and natural history of Viñales.

However, you should definitely go down into the valley that can be seen from above. Amidst the green countryside, you can visit tobacco plantations, artisan cigar and rum factories, peasant farms, go on excursions to the Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás and the Cueva del Indio, go horseback riding and, last but not least, taste the most native and delicious Creole food.

Die Ortschaft wurde offiziell 1878 gegründet und hat heute trotz des starken Touristenstroms nicht mehr als 28.000 Einwohner. Aus architektonischer Sicht sticht der volkstümliche Baustil hervor, denn die Holzhäuser mit rötlichen Ziegeldächern vermischen sich mit Palmblätter gedeckten Häusern, was der farbenfrohen Architektur ein reizvolles Erscheinungsbild verleiht. Stätten wie das Städtische Museum, das Paläontologische Museum oder der örtliche Botanische Garten geben einen Einblick in die traditionelle und natürliche Geschichte von Viñales.

Allerdings führt kein Weg daran vorbei, das Tal zu besuchen, das man von oben sehen kann. Inmitten der grünen Landschaft entdecken wir Tabakplantagen, Manufakturen von Zigarren und Rum, landwirtschaftliche Betriebe; es lädt ein zu Ausflügen zur Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás und zur Cueva del Indio, zu Reitausflügen und natürlich bietet es sich an, die einheimische und köstliche kreolische Küche zu probieren.

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Plaza La Estrella

For those who love a spot of shopping, we have the perfect proposal for a day with no shortage of activities away from the sea.

You can go shopping, experience Cuban parties, listen to live music, check out handicrafts, have a refreshing drink or a mouth-watering ice cream, as well as taste exquisite food, or get yourself a spectacular massage. Come to Plaza La Estrella, the perfect place for families, groups and couples with something to suit all tastes.

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Parish Church of San Juan Bautista

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Parish Church of San Juan Bautista and Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje, Remedios.

Visit the only Cuban square with two Catholic churches located opposite each other to learn about its history.

This square, home to Iglesia Parroquial Mayor de San Juan Bautista and Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje is rather interesting, as the priests offer religious services alternately between the two churches.

The first one dates back to the end of the 18th century, although the site had previously been home to another church. It’s considered one of the island's most beautiful ecclesiastical buildings, which you can check out for yourself in Remedios.

The bell tower was erected between 1848 and 1858 and, in 1944, the millionaire philanthropist Eutimio Falla Bonet financed a restoration project including the beautiful gilded high altar with its mahogany ceiling.

The church of Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje, a true jewel of colonial architecture, was founded in 1600. Its priceless architectural and heritage value means that it’s a place of tourist interest for people from all over the world.

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Shopping in Cuba

Los Habanos: Cuba isn’t the only country that makes cigars (for us tobacco refers to cigars, not cigarettes), but Habano cigars are known all over the world for being the very best.

There are many internationally-renowned brands: Cohíba, Monterrey, Romeo y Julieta, Partagás, to name but a few top-of-the-range brands, each with their own characteristics, some made with dark tobacco leaves, some blond, some with more time to dry the leaf, some are even twisted differently.

Cuban Rum

Just like Habanos, Cuban rum is renowned all over the world. Its notes and flavours whisk us off on a journey to 500 year old cane fields and thousand year old cedars.

The most famous Cuban rum is Havana Club, although there are many others such as Ron Santiago de Cuba, Caney, Legendario, Santero, Mulata and Guayabita del Pinar (typically sold in Pinar del Río).

However, these aren’t the only rums. If you’re looking to take a little piece of Cuba home with you, there are countless brands, some only sold in specific regions but, broadly speaking, these are the best and easiest to come across.

You can get your hands on these Cuban rums in liquor stores, airports, hotels, as well as in shops and street markets. Just like cigars, only two bottles per person can be taken through the airport.

Typical clothes

A traditional type of clothing worn in Cuba is the guayabera; it’s even the official garment of the Cuban state and diplomacy. It has become a symbol of Cuban identity and respect for traditions. Cubans wear them on special occasions and always with the utmost respect. This would make an excellent gift to take back home, an example of true Cuban craftsmanship. Guayaberas are easy to come across in Cuba, whether in textile shops, cultural shops such as Artex or in some handicraft markets.

A special place to get your hands on a unique variety of guayaberas for men and women alike is in the colonial city of Trinidad, declared a city of craftsmanship. Not just guayaberas; there’s no shortage of styles, with excellent designs and always with the warm and fresh touch that our tropical climate is known for.

Yarey Sombreros

As well as guayaberas, another one of Cuba’s traditional souvenirs are Yarey sombreros. These traditional sombreros come from the Cuban countryside and are highly recommended to protect yourself from the sun. So, as soon as you see one, buy it.

Dominoes

There’s a board game that’s a big hit in Cuba: ‘Dominoes’

Although it comes from Asia, at some point you’ll definitely see four people sitting around playing dominoes on street corners, in doorways or in courtyards. They’ll also more than likely be sharing a bottle of rum, and you’ll probably hear the players before you see them.

There are different ways to play it, although it’s usually played in pairs. This is the perfect family-friendly gift to buy in Cuba. It’s sold at virtually every craft fair and they come in a range of materials.

 

Paintings, pop art

Apart from tobacco, rum and traditional Cuban clothing, there’s no shortage of folk art, one of which is painting.

These paintings aren’t difficult to come across; you’ll see them in every tourist area, whether at state markets or craft markets where artists, often amateurs who are self-taught, sell their works directly (most of which are the latter).

Variety of themes, sizes, shapes, styles and colours; what all the works of art sold in these markets have in common is that they convey the day-to-day life of Cubans.

Made