To say Cuba would make many to think about Havana. It’s the country’s capital, after all, and through the years is being appearing in thousand of brochures and publicity. But this island – the biggest in Caribbean – offers more than big city hustle and bustle.
We think of Cuba as a single island, when it’s actually an archipelago, formed by over 4,000 islands and keys. Without a doubt, one of the most geographically privileged, beautiful areas of Cuba is the keys of the northern coast, we are talking about Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, and Ciego de Ávila northern keys.
There are many features of a tropical coast beyond sand and palm trees. Cayos constitute unique outcroppings, reefs or islands that attract a variety of wildlife, as well as tourists looking for unique landscapes and secluded getaways. Formed out of tropical wind, ocean currents and erosion, natural keys dot the maps of the Caribbean and itineraries of coastal explorers.
On these difficult times where travelling costumes is about change we thought you may be interested in some of these destinations that we´ll be soon available to travel and stay at again. Of course we are reminding you that our agency along the hotel management and the government we´ll be taking care of all the health measures so you and your family live your holidays safe and sound.
Cayo Guillermo is home to one of Cuba’s best beaches, Playa Pilar. Ernest Hemingway set the end of his story “Islands in the Stream” here (and Pilar was the name of Papa Hemingway’s yacht), and deep-sea fishermen have flocked here since the 1960s, taking advantage of the close proximity to fish-rich waters. The local mangroves are ideal places for large populations of birds, so birdwatchers know this key as a place to bring their binoculars.
Cayo Las Brujas (Witches Key)
It´s a quiet resort destination with baby blue water lapping against the soft white sand. Thatched huts line the coast. Legends of unrequited love, superstition and animal spirits have lent the key its peculiar name. Some of the area is a protected refuge, and hosts various species of reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds and mammals, as well as over 240 different kinds of plants. Options for catamaran tours and other day trips are offered, allowing explorers of the key the opportunity to observe the unique flora and fauna first hand.
Cayo Santa María
One of the smallest keys on the island, Santa María lies in the mini-collection of islands called the Cayos de Villa Clara, and it holds over 6 miles of gorgeous beach. Particularly popular with tourists, there is a variety of activities that keep people occupied. Although it is the second largest beach resort area in Cuba, it somehow maintains its quality of a quiet and relaxed destination, so explorers can still find themselves immersed in that small island feeling.
At the end of a 17-mile causeway that crosses the Bay of Dogs lies Cayo Coco, the second largest key in the King’s Gardens. The key is named after the White Ibis, a lanky native of Cuba that locals call the Coco Bird. Matching the plumage of this lanky shorebird, the famously white sand on this key attracts explorers and beachgoers who love their natural surroundings. The area is largely covered with vegetation, and over 200 species of birds make this place home, including pink flamingos. After a sojourn of exploring the key and its wildlife, visitors can enjoy a cold Cuban cocktail and a lobster lunch in one of the open-air, palapa-style restaurants that line the coast, called ranchons. Apart from the tourist offerings, there is little development at Cayo Coco, allowing journey makers a bit of seclusion.
The northern keys like Cayo Las Brujas and Cayo Santa María, as well as Cayo Guillermo are popular with ‘sun and sand’ tourists from other countries, who enjoy the all-inclusive resorts in the area. On the other hand, International airports and a well-developed hotel infrastructure with 4-and 5-star hotels in Cayo Coco make these attractive destinations for travelers who would prefer a less-regimented excursion.
For a trip to the Cuban keys, all you need to do is to plan ahead and learn as much as possible about your destination. Booking in advance will only be an advantage and in our agency, we are more than willing to help you out with it. Finally, bring plenty of sunscreen and of course Caribbean clothes. Cuba’s tropical, hot, humid climate can quickly wear out even the most seasoned outdoors person. As in so many destinations throughout the Caribbean, early mornings and evenings are best times for exploration and bathing.
We hope you got to know a bit more about these destinations before booking your next trip to Cuba. Remember if you ask a Cuban you will always receive the best and most complete of the answers so share our blog with family and friends and in socials.