Top 5 small beach towns in Cuba

Varadero, photo by Phil Bartle

Cuba might have had to deal with quite a few problems in the past, but no matter how many shortages and outages it had to endure, this country is simply buzzing with energy wherever you go. Cuban cities are places when boredom is simply out of the question no matter what you like to do. And if you’re a beach bum, then Cuba will feel like it was created especially for you. Cuban beaches are notoriously beautiful, and the ones around big cities like Havana are nothing if not popular. But if you need to replenish your energy levels, then you’d best head to a small beach town where the buzz is slightly more subdued and you can have some you-time, as well as socialize with locals and other travelers when you feel like it. So here are our top 5 beach towns in Cuba.


Baracoa, photo by Adam Jones

For four short years, five centuries ago, Baracoa was Cuba’s capital. But if it had stayed that way, Baracoa would not be the delightfully quaint beach town which it is today. Baracoa is small and uncrowded, and it’s easy to find secluded corners where you can relax and rest. The beaches are clean, and there are a few places to have fun in town, like a bar overlooking Baracoa, or a pub near the church where you can drink rum with the locals.


The small town of Varadero is one of the most popular beach resorts in Cuba, so if you’re looking for solitude and quiet it might take you a while to find a spot for yourself on Varadero’s pristine beaches. Varadero is also pretty exclusive, with many luxury hotels and the only full golf course in the country, so it is definitely in the top 5 beach towns in Cuba in you crave pampering. On the positive site, most of those staying in luxury hotels don’t stray into the town, and you can walk around the old streets without bumping into huge crowds all the time.


Cienfuegos, photo by Stephen Colebourne

Cienfuegos, nicknamed the Pearl of the South, is one of the most interesting beach communities in Cuba. Cienfuegos might be small, but it is a Unesco World Heritage Site due to its exquisite architecture dating back to the 19th century. If you like colonial towns and don’t mind spending some hours lounging on the beach as well, the Cienfuegos is a great destination.


Guardalavaca means ‘protect the cow’, an funny name that probably originated from the fact that pirates would often raid the coast and steal livestock, and local farmers had no choice but keep a very careful eye on their cows. The small town of Guardalavaca is pleasant and pretty common by beach town standards, but the sand of the beaches is soft and white and the water is very warm, which is great for prospective swimmers.


Guanabo, photo by Alex Barth

Guanabo is quite popular with tourists, but it is a fairly quiet town with only a few normal-sized hotels and many small villas that you can rent. The beaches in Guanabo are nice but not exceptional, but the town itself is worth a stay of a couple of days – it has a pleasant, typically Cuban atmosphere where you can soak in the atmosphere of ‘real Cuba’.


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