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Cayo Santa María, Cuba

Come to Cayo Santa María, one of the best keys in Cuba, and enjoy its paradisiacal beaches of turquoise waters

Cayo Santa María
Cayo Santa María
© Riccardo Romano

Cayo Santa María (Santa Maria Key) is the largest island in Cuba and is located in the splendid  archipelago of the Cayerías del Norte It is the last of the wonderful cayos (keys) to which you can access the amazing Pedraplén, the road that crosses the waters of the  Bahía de Buena Vista (Buena Vista Bay).

Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba
Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba
© Antonio Cinotti

The Pedraplén of almost 50 kilometers, recognized at international level by its respect to the natural environment that frames it, connects Cayo Santa María with the island of Cuba, Cayo Ensenachos and Cayo Las Brujas. It is a unique route that you will feel as if you were floating over the sea on your way to the key. Cayo Santa María is connected to Cayo Ensenachos, and this in turn connects to Cayo Las Brujas.

This incredible key has about 18 km2 of land and about 10 kilometers of paradisiacal beaches. These beaches are the reason why it is often called the "Rosa Blanca de los Jardines del Rey" or the "White Rose of the King's Gardens", since on these beaches you will find a combination of fine white sand and crystal clear waters. Don't worry, this does not detract in any way from the first "sun and beach" destination on the Cuban island, Varadero. Here you can also enjoy a fantastic natural area.

However, this beautiful island will not only provide you with all kinds of services, but it also offers you the most varied options for nature tourism, especially in the south, where a lushly vegetated landscape dominates. So, if you decide to visit the most virgin side of the key, the endemic flora and fauna is in its best state of conservation. This will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in an incomparable environment.


What are the best beaches in Cayo Santa María?

Playa Blanca, Cayo Santa María
Playa Blanca, Cayo Santa María
© Michele Testini

Discover the most beautiful beaches of northern Cayo Santa María, among which Perla Blanca, Las Caletas, Cañón and Cuatro Punta will undoubtedly be unbeatable options, all of them with the traits of a Caribbean postcard

Playa Perla Blanca Beach is the most northern beach of Cayo Santa María and its fine white sand offers you an incomparable place to rest, it is easy to find dolphins near the shore or other beautiful animals like starfish. The Hotel Valentin Perla Blanca is nearby and connects to another beautiful beach worth visiting, Playa Las Gaviotas. A special beach for its natural environment where you can snorkel and marvel at an incredible sea bottom. In addition, Playa Las Gaviotas has picturesque cabins where you can get protection from the sun and store your things.

But if you are interested in diving, maybe the most suitable beach is Playa Periquillo, because here you will be able to observe the spectacular coral reefs and a sea bed full of color.

What activities can I do in Cayo Santa María?

Catamaran in Cayo Santa María
Catamaran in Cayo Santa María
© Leonardo Kerner

One of the most remarkable excursions in this area is the Crucero del Sol, a day you will never forget. You will be picked up from your hotel to go to Cayo Las Brujas where you will sail on a catamaran along the Cuban coast. The journey will amaze you with the splendid turquoise blue sea and the small islands creating a labyrinth of sea and land paradise. The excursion includes swimming with dolphins, snorkeling, and an exquisite seafood lunch.

The Delfionario de Cayo Santa María (Dolphinarium at Cayo Santa Maria) is another attraction that is well worth visiting. If you are an animal lover you will know that dolphins are especially friendly. This is one of the best dolphinariums in all of Cuba, both for the treatment of the staff and for its facilities.

Another activity is to visit San Juan de los Remedios. There are organized visits that include the arrival by steam train to then visit Remedios and its tobacco factory. The excursion continues in Santa Clara, where lunch is included, a visit of the city, and a tour in the Tren Blindado (Armored Train) that the revolutionaries attacked in the battle of Santa Clara.

The Jeep Safari tour is ideal if you are looking to connect with the countryside and its people. You will tour the Cuban countryside by Jeep, and for a few hours you will also meet a rural community where you will help with food gathering, milking cows or other work. This excursion also includes a delicious Creole meal.

Of course there are sea excursions like Aventura marina, a sea route where you will be surprised by the San Pascual Ship, a shipwrecked since 1933. There you can practice snorkeling and admire it up close. 

If you are more of a mountain person, you will love the Aventura en la Montaña (Adventure in the Mountains Excursion). You will go up to Guanayara, which is part of the Parque natural Topes de Collantes. You will be able to go down to the river for a while, and at the end of the trip you can cool off in El Venado, a natural pool. This excursion includes lunch in a restaurant.

What kind of accommodations are there in Cayo Santa María?

It is important to know that as it happens in some keys of Cuba, the lodging is more exclusive and luxurious. In Cayo Santa María all accommodations are all-inclusive hotel resorts.

The 5-star Hotel Be Live Collection Cayo Santa María are the perfect example of the hotels you can find here, with thousands of services and a swimming pool. There are several 5-star Melia resorts on the cay such as Memories Paraiso, Melia Las Dunas, perfect for kids, Grand Memories Cayo Santa Maria, Melia Cayo Santa Maria, Paradisus Los Cayos and Melia Buenavista.

There are also specialty hotels just for adults like the Royalton Cayo Santa María. The ROC Lagunas del Mar resort is a good and modern hotel option.

There are very luxurious resorts full of services like Sol Cayo Santa María, Starfish Cayo Santa María or the 5-star Lagunas del Este. Also, very close to Playa Las Gaviotas you will find the resort Valentin Perla.

Are there any organized trips to Cayo Santa María?

organized trips to Cayo Santa María, Cuba
organized trips to Cayo Santa María, Cuba
© Visitar Cuba

You may be thinking of visiting Cayo Santa María on your next vacation but you may also want to visit some other place in Cuba, perhaps more cultural or authentic. If that is your case, or you want to relax in the Caribbean sun, you can book several travel packages to make the most of your time.

Some of the most popular packages are the ones that combine Havana with Cayo Santa María. Within this combination there are different variants such as a week including visits to Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Some packages include the stay in the key at the beginning, and others at the end to rest after more cultural visits around the island of Cuba.

Booking this type of offer is very popular. If you want to know more, ask for a package that fits your budget and expectations.

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Northern Cay Group, Villa Clara, Cuba.

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