Cayo Santa María
On the north coast of the province of Villa Clara, 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the northeastern fishing town of Caibarien, is situated the gorgeous key of Santa Maria. Its beach zone extends several kilometers disappearing into the distance, and has white sands, transparent waters and an environment that is practically untouched. It’s beauty makes this an ideal place to enjoy the tropical climate. Cayo Santa Maria possesses a large coral reef, where several species of fish reside year-round.
The key is connected to the mainland via the longest causeway yet built in Cuba. The trip along it into the sea is very different from any other drive. Soon the mainland fades into the distance and you find yourself rolling along with the sea stretching out on both sides and a gentle refreshing and relaxing breeze automatically winding down the pace of life, preparing you for the beauty of Cayo Santa Maria lying ahead.
Playa Ancón / Punta María Aguilar
These two beaches are located on the Ancón Peninsula, along the south coast of Cuba, 12 kilometers (75 miles) from Trinidad in Sancti Spíritus province. With tranquil and crystal clear waters inhabited by several species of coral, they are considered to be the better beaches of the island’s south coast.
Deep in the warm waters of these beaches extends a coralline wall forming an ecosystem of sea fans (Gorgonia spp.), gorgonians, tubular and barrel sponges and colorful tropical fish – an ideal scenario for snorkeling and diving amateurs.
Cayo Coco/Cayo Guillermo
These two keys which are very similar, are located very close to the Old Channel of Bahamas, off the north coast of the province of Ciego de Avila. A long causeway – one of the most complex engineering works in the country – crosses the sea to the keys. In the lower parts of the Bahia de los Perros (the Bay of Dogs) situated on the south coast of Cayo Coco, in an area exposed at low tide, live many sea birds and that can be observed from the viewpoint of La Silla. The drive along the causeway to Cayo Coco is 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from whence its coral reef extends more than 21 kilometers (13 miles) with white, fine sands and transparent waters. The key is admired for the softness of the sand, the unparalleled beauty of the sea floor and landscapes of abundant vegetation, where deer (Odocorleus virginianus), wild pigs (Sus scrofa) and other wild animals move about with no fear. The area also contains outstanding rocky prominences, coastal shelves and natural trails.
Among the 158 species of birds living on these keys, can be found the pechero (Teretistri fornsi), the sinsontillo (Polioptila lembeyi), the arriero (Saurothera merlini), and pelicans (Phoenicopterus ruber). Several mammals and reptiles can also be observed. The line of dunes reaches some 15 meters in height.
Cayo Guillermo is 13 kilometers (8.1 miles) long of which five are beaches. Their characteristics are very similar to those of Cayo Coco. Less than one kilometer out is a fascinating coral reef where several kind of corals can be found such as the brain coral (Meandrina spp.,Diploria spp.). This key is an ecological paradise of beaches with fine, white sands and comfortable hotels, one of which is a floating hotel. The better beaches are the Playa El Paso which is five kilometers (3.1 miles) of long , the Playa del Medio and the Playa Larga.
Guajimico is a pleasant all-round place to spend a seaside holiday with principal activities being swimming, snorkeling and some excursions. The beach is located in the mouth of La Jutía River, to the south of central Cuba, 26 miles to the west of Cienfuegos on a road that leads to the colonial city of Trinidad. In its sea depths live many colorful and different sized fish – of special attraction to photographers, as well as diving and snorkeling amateurs. The waters here are clear with high visibility, their turquoise color striking a contrast with the limestone sides of the surrounding hills which are covered with the intense green of lush vegetation. A great variety of birds in the area attract bird-watchers from all over the world.
The natural setting of Guajimico invites a morning horse-ride into the Escambray Mountains returning to the villa on the beach which offers comfortable cabins lending a rustic country air to a thoroughly pleasant day – or two, or three…