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Connected to the mainland by a causeway, Cayo Santa Maria is the largest and most northerly caye in the Cayos de la Herradura archipelago off the north coast of central Cuba.

Cayo Santa Maria,CubaA low-lying, dune-like islet fringed with powdery white-sand beaches and lapped by very clear azure-blue water, it has seen much development in the form of large, modern, all-inclusive resorts, which squat, cheek by jowl, along its beaches.

The beaches themselves are clean, well maintained, and in some cases privately owned by the hotels. Do be aware that many of the hotels here are sprawling and garishly commercial, but we can recommend a couple of slightly smaller properties.

Aesthetically, this is Cuba’s best sun-and-sand destination, but there’s no town or hub here and, as such, no Cuban culture or personality to speak of. It’s simply a place to hole away in your chosen property and relax at the end of a busy Cuba tour, if you’re seeking undiluted beach time.

Hotels generally cater well to young families. They also offer a range of water sports, such as windsurfing, as well as catamaran trips, and there’s no noise pollution from jet skis.

The clear, warm water lends itself to snorkeling. Although you won’t find species such as turtles or starfish, you might find yourself finning your way through small shoals of neon-bright tropical fish, like blue tangs.

Best time to visit Cayo Santa Maria

The area experiences its driest and coolest weather between November and April, which makes for comfortable but still beach-worthy temperatures.


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who's been there

Audley Travel specialist Chris

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Cayo Santa Maria by contacting one of our Cuba specialists

Suggested itineraries featuring Cayo Santa Maria

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Cayo Santa Maria, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Cayo Santa Maria

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Cayo Santa Maria

    Accommodation choices for Cayo Santa Maria

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Cayo Santa Maria. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    • Hotel Melia Buenavista

      Hotel Melia Buenavista

      First Class

      A peaceful all-inclusive resort set on a beautiful stretch of beach. Welcoming adults only, the property offers a high standard of rooms and excellent facilities.

    • Pool at Melia Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Santa Maria

      Melia Cayo Santa Maria


      One of a group of three Melia resorts located along the white sand beach at Cayo Santa Maria, this all-inclusive resort offers comfortable accommodation and a higher standard of service than many other hotels in Cuba.