Best beach towns in Cuba – Hidden places to discover

Cuba is a magical land that somehow seems like time forgot it. The streets are lined with vintage cars while homes and businesses are decorated in colorful mosaics. The stunning turquoise waters and balmy weather attracts more and more visitors to spend a beach vacation in Cuba. However, first-timers might flock to the touristy spots, returning visitors probably head to the hidden, quiet places. If you are a vacationer who wants to see the real side of the country too, here are the best beach towns in Cuba that are worth exploring!

Baracoa

Baracoa lies along the far east of Cuba fronting a little semi-circled bay of the northern coast. The town is encircled by an isolating rugged ring of mountains that cut it off from the remainder of the country up to the 1960’s when the government completed a road through the mountains that linked it to Guantanamo.

Baracoa - Cuba
Baracoa – Cuba

The area was first put on the map by the arrival of Christopher Columbus in December of 1492. As the Spanish Conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar settled Cuba he constructed the original Spanish habitation here in 1512. Baracoa became the capital of Cuba from the years of 1518 through 1522.

This town is proud to feature clean, hidden beaches in Cuba with beautiful backdrops of coconuts, cacao, and bananas thriving in the countryside that are top exports from Baracoa port. About 20 kilometers northwest of the town, there is the picture-perfect Playa Maguana, the region’s most wonderful beach. If you’re adventurous, rent a bicycle and peddle out there.

Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos, often nicknamed as the Pearl of the South is one of the most interesting beach towns of Cuba and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This southern Cuban coast city lies 160 miles (250 km) from the country’s capital Havana and today boasts a population of 150,000. Now among the country’s primary industrial centers particularly for sugar and energy, it also offers some beautiful sites to take in as a visitor. El Nicho Waterfalls are here, as is the incredible Palacio.

Cienfuegos - Cuba
Cienfuegos – Cuba

This palace features incomparable architecture that delights the soul. Moorish arches give ways to arabesques that line the walls. From the bar on the roof you can take in unrivalled bay views. This stunning palace reminds visitors of the famous Southern Moorish architecture that hails from Andalusia in the south of Spain.

Guardalavaca

Along the north shore of Cuba visitors find Guardalavaca, the paradise of the coast. Adventures abound here to suit every taste and interest. These many activities here make Guardalavaca one of the best beach towns in Cuba.

Guardalavaca
Guardalavaca

These attractions range from snorkeling, diving, sailing, horseback riding through the peaceful countryside to taking in the stunning country while enjoying the Beautiful Bariay Jeep Tour. This tour works in a side trip to the quaint local village that includes visits to the ration shop, school, and doctor’s house. Speedboats are available for more adventurous guests who want to jet over the Bahia de Naranjo. The town also boasts a Dolphinarium. Excellent restaurants in this town include La Maison Restaurant and El Ancla.

Guanabo

Along the Guanabo River mouth lying between Santa Cruz del Norte and Havana is the town of Guanabo. It fronts the Atlantic Ocean and is bounded by the mountains of the Sierra del Canchon.

Guanabo beach at sunset
Guanabo beach at sunset

This quiet beach town in Cuba features smaller villas and several low rise styled hotels in its seaside attractions. Dating back to 1800, the history of the Penas Altas uprising occurred here and was ruthlessly put down by government soldiers out of Havana in 1827.

Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs)

Playa Giron has gone down in history more famously as the Bay of Pigs. Once the site of a failed CIA-backed Cuban freedom fighter coup, today’s Playa Giron is far removed from this dark and sinister past.

The beach is a gem of a sandy semicircle that shelters along the east side of the Bay of Pigs. Its incredible backstop is a charmingly out of time Cuban village where all the locals know one another. If you love underwater sports, you will be right here since there are excellent snorkeling and diving spots around Playa Giron.

Gibara

One of the most charming small beach towns in Cuba is Gibara. It lies in the midpoint of Santa Cruz del Norte and Havana along the Guanabo River. Besides great beaches like Playa Caletones, Gibara also features its iconic Museo de Historia Natural.

Gibara town - Cuba
Gibara town

The beaches are ideal for bicycle riding. Visitors pass windmills and charming small restaurants along the way. The town of Gibara is one of a kind and boasts some of the most friendly people you can meet.

Maria La Gorda

Maria La Gorda lies in a remote part of the country and so its stunning beaches are unspoiled. Privacy seekers come here who like to avoid the hordes of tourists. Activities from the beach include snorkeling while the more adventurous can go out on a boat trip. A little restaurant and bar entertain locals and a few tourists.

Maria la gorda beach
Maria la Gorda beach

Diving is such a popular activity in this town that the entire community is obsessed with it around the clock. Among the finest dive sites in the entirety of the Cuban nation can be found here and Maria La Gorda also boasts a dive resort.

Puerto Padre

Puerto Padre’s history stretches back to the 1500’s. By the year 1851, the town had started down the path of evolving into an important center of industry with its original sugarcane mill construction.

This town had an outsized role in the various wars of independence fought by the country. Today it has morphed once again into a major tourist center. Among its many attractions are the Cabaret Nocturno and the Casa de La Musica Holguin. An amazing live band that performs here is always popular with both tourists and locals alike.

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