Playa Santa Maria


  •  Photo: Theresa Boehl

  •  Photo: Theresa Boehl

  •  Photo: Theresa Boehl

Cuba’s Pristine Keys

Visitors to the keys (or cayos) on Cuba’s northern coast say they’re home to some of the most beautiful beaches they’ve ever seen. And with pristine golden sand, electric blue water and long sandy stretches free of crowds, it’s no wonder.

But be aware that as of yet, it’s not legal for U.S. citizens to visit Cuba independently, though there are no restrictions for Canadians traveling to Cuba.

Oasis for Beach-lovers

Located along a causeway known as the Pedraplen, Cayo Santa Maria boasts eight miles of oceanfront, a handful of all-inclusive resorts and a southern coast replete with forests, marshland and mangroves. Arriving here by bus is an adventure that can take several hours — you’ll get amazing views of the ocean while passing mile after mile of undeveloped coastline.

Sunrise is a special treat here — plan to wake up early to take in the scenery. Early birds are also more likely to claim a chair underneath the beachfront palapas, which get more packed as the day wears on.

Inquire at your hotel’s activities desk for water sports rentals and excursions.


With tourism restrictions for American citizens, visiting Playa Santa Maria is not as easy as booking a room and hopping on a flight down to Cuba. However, some licensed tour operators make a stop through nearby towns like Remedios or Santa Clara and will arrange a stay at an all-inclusive resort in Cayo Santa Maria as part of their approved people-to-people itineraries.

Playa Santa Maria at a Glance

City:Cayo Santa Maria

Country or State:Cuba

Length of Beach:.6 miles

Access:By car or bus

Best time to visit:Fall - best hotel rates

High Season:Dec. to April

Low Season:May to November


  • Loungers and umbrellas provided by resorts

Beach Type:

  • Golden sand
  • Saltwater
  • Secluded