Our Opinion of Cayo Santa Maria
The province of Villa Clara is a traditional sugar, cattle and mineral producer. Excellent coffee grows on its southern mountain slopes, as does one of Cuba's important tobacco crops. Hence Santa Clara has always been an important commercial center and today houses one of Cuba's largest universities. Now, with the resort area of Cayo Santa Maria, it is also becoming known as a beautiful beach vacation destination. A recently built causeway linking the mainland to the keys of Santa Maria has helped open the beautiful virgin beaches to tourism.
A quieter destination, Cayo Santa Maria is the perfect getaway spot for couples and families looking for rest and relaxation. Singles looking for a lively destination might be better off in Varadero or Havana.
With untouched beaches of fine pearly sand, azure Caribbean colours and world class deep sea fishing, Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Ensenachos are the perfect getaway. Tour Santa Clara and explore its central plaza. Do some shopping, visit the Che Guevara Museum and Memorial Centre and learn about the Cuban Revolution. Discover the 16th century colonial town of Remedios and its patrimonial church, meet the locals and see how cigars are made at an authentic cigar factory in Camajuani.
Accessible by a recently built causeway linking the mainland to the keys, Villa Clara's northern coast boasts the two pristine beaches of Cayo Santa Maria, with 11 km of spectacular sands set in beautiful natural surroundings and the isle of Las Brujas with its 2 km of virgin beach.
Things to know about Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba Vacations
Activities & Sports
This destination is made for rest and relaxation. Most activities are located by the water: sunbathing, swimming and other water sports.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are wonderful here with the abundant formations of Coral and varied of sea fauna.
You can hike along the shore and on the inland portions of the Cayos and the Escambray Mountains area.
Hanabanilla Lake is a popular trout and largemouth bass fishing spot.
Dining & Nightlife
Catch a show at the Teatro La Caridad or at Mejunje, a cultural and sports center bar that hosts various performances such as traditional and modern music, theater and art exhibits.
Santa Clara offers a few dancing clubs like El Bosque Disco and Cabaret and the popular discotheque in the hotel Santa Clara Libre.
Traditional Cuban and Creole dishes can be had in Santa Clara at the Villa La Granjita, La Casa del Gobernador or at the restaurant of the Santa Clara Libre Hotel.
A few shops can be found within the hotels and there is also an open air market in Santa Clara where local artists display their wares. The Cigar Lounge is a spot where you can try before you buy, as well as relax with a rum cocktail and enjoy the Cuban salsa band.
Languages: Spanish, English widely spoken in tourist areas.
Currency: CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso); CAD dollars easily exchanged but subject to 8% conversion fee (10% for US dollars and 11.24% for credit card charges). US-issued credit cards and travellers cheques are not accepted in Cuba.
Climate: The temperature varies between 25 and 27C. Coral reefs create a barrier producing gentle waves and breezes. Sunny days and pleasant tropical climate allow the beach season to extend throughout the year.
Electricity: 110V or 220V (converters required) depending on hotel.
Canadian citizens require a valid passport to enter Cuba. All other nationalities please consult a vacation specialist or the Cuban Consulate at (416)234-8181 or the Cuban Tourist Board at (416) 362-0700.
Cuba tourist cards are supplied & validated with vacation packages. Some restrictions apply to tourists 18 years & under, when traveling without parents.
Note: Some hotels require credit card imprint upon check-in for any incidental charges. Hotel check-in is typically between 3pm and 4pm. If your flight arrives early, it is a good idea to pack essential items in your carry-on luggage (i.e. bathing suit, suntan lotion, medications, etc.), so you do not miss any valuable vacation time.
IMPORTANT: Each traveling passenger is responsible to pay a local departure tax in Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). This fee is payable in cash at the airport in destination prior to boarding your flight, in the amount of CUC$25 (subject to change).
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