Welcome to the official guide for Cayo Santa Maria, it is designed to give you a quick overview of the island, some things to do in Cayo Santa Maria, all the hotels on the island and a list of major excursions available. Our guide also caters for those on a limited budget who may wish to stay in cheaper accommodations in Caibarien and visit Cayo Santa Maria simply for a day out, skipping the all-inclusive hotels but, visiting Cayo Santa Maria anyway. As its only 48km from the mainland, this is easily done and the beaches in Cayo Santa Maria are the same for everyone. A brief overview of Cayo Santa Maria hotels is also provided, however by visiting the “Reserve” section there are visitor reviews and more concise details of each hotel, including rate comparisons and multicurrency price checks, ensuring the very best rates direct from the source. You don’t need to book at the “Reserve” section but you will certainly find the more precise information for each hotel useful.
Cayo Santa Maria is linked to the mainland near the city of Caibarien via a 48 km causeway constructed between 1989 and 1999. There’s a 2 CUC per vehicle toll fee, introduced to attempt to finance the road itself. The first hotel on Cayo Santa Maria was the Sol Cayo Santa Maria, operated by the Melia Group since December 2001. All the hotels in Cayo Santa Maria are owned by the Cuban Hotel Group Gaviota and managed by the respective hotel chains shown below. There are currently 10 hotels for a total of 6,785 rooms in Cayo Santa Maria (2014). A limit has been set for 10,000 rooms on Cayo Santa Maria, therefore approximately another 5 hotels will be built then development ceased. The idea is to maintain eco harmony and exclusivity for the island and avoid overdevelopment.
Where to stay on Cayo Santa Maria? Cayo Santa Marias’s 10 hotels are divided into the following capacities: Sol Cayo Santa Maria (300 rooms), Melia Cayo Santa Maria (358 rooms), Melia Las Dunas (925 rooms), Hotel Melia Buenavista (105 Rooms), Playa Cayo Santa Maria (769 rooms), Hotel Memories Paraiso (666), HUSA Cayo Santa Maria (1,308 rooms), Royalton Cayo Santa Maria (122 rooms), Memories Azul Beach Resort (1,386 rooms) and finally the Eurostars Cayo Santa Maria (846 rooms)
What is the main attraction of Cayo Santa Maria?
The primary attraction of Cayo Santa Maria is of course the predictable weather and its 8 miles of virgin beaches. Cayo Santa Maria was designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve due to the region’s exuberant flora, made up of 248 species, including 91 medicinal, 72 timber, 41 resin-producing and 40 ornamental wood species, along with vestiges of pre-Columbian cultures found in caverns near the beach, and beautiful underwater seascapes. If you’re not yet convinced, Cayo Santa Maria is a truly stunning location for a vacation. Flamingos, endemic lizards grace the pristine beaches and coves, along with mollusks and, favorite amongst birdwatchers, the island’s national bird – the Tocoroco – chosen because its plumage displays the exact colors of the Cuban flag. Cayo Santa Maria’s beach itself is one of the most tranquil in Cuba, stretching for 13 kilometers with its extremely fine “true white” sands, with calm crystal clear turquoise waters. The coral barrier reef, the world’s second largest after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, protects the beach from winds, meaning waves are never overwhelming, thus permitting a wide selection of marine life to make this Cuban beach paradise their home. If you’d like to see some of the Authentic Cuba, you can still do this by visiting Caibarien, a small city just 48 KM from the island and an ideal day out to mingle with locals, visit a Paladar or hang out on its trendy Malecon boardwalk boulevard area.
What type of Holiday can I Expect in Cayo Santa Maria?
Cayo Santa Maria’s main asset is its uniqueness. It’s a small island with little in the way of shopping and commerce. Besides the two so called shopping and entertainment “Pueblos” of Pueblo Las Dunas and Pueblo La Estrella, there is little else to separate you from your money. All the hotels are All-Inclusive; therefore, unless you really go crazy on tipping, spending more than the cost of a few Excursions in Cayo Santa Maria is going to be quite a task. Ideally, you will come to Cayo Santa Maria to relax on the beach, snorkeling, swimming and diving. Hang around on your resort or utilize the often free “Resort Passes” to discover an adjacent Beach resort managed by the same hotel chain you are staying at. Melia are famous for this but, Memories and Iberostar have now followed suit with their own all-inclusive day passes. As a place to unwind, laze around and just take in the natural scenery, Cayo Santa Maria is pretty hard to beat. Alternatively, if you’re looking for intense nightlife, tons of activities and attractions, with little downtime between each, you would be better off visiting Varadero or better, Havana.
Which other Islands in Cuba offer a similar experience?
To the east of Cayo Santa Maria there’s Cayo Coco, which is more developed but, also more commercialized. Then there’s Cayo Guillermo next to Cayo Coco, which was the first island in the Jardines del Rey Archipelago to be developed but, its much like Cayo Santa Maria.