Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo: The Best Beaches in Cuba

Immerse yourself in a corner of paradise in the Caribbean, where natural beauty combines with serenity and adventure. Cayo Coco, a hidden treasure in Cuba, is known for its white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and dreamy landscapes.

But the magic doesn’t end there; just a short distance away is neighboring Cayo Guillermo, home to the iconic Playa Pilar, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Paradise on Earth

Cayo Coco and the spectacular Playa Pilar, two dream destinations that will leave you breathless. Discover paradise on Earth and immerse yourself in the tranquility of these Caribbean gems.

Cayo Coco is known for its beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. The beaches are generally calm and less crowded, making it an ideal place to relax and enjoy the sea. Cayo Coco is part of a group of keys in northern Cuba and is an area rich in biodiversity. You can visit El Baga Natural Park and El Guanaroca Natural Park to observe birds and enjoy nature.

In Cayo Coco, you’ll find numerous all-inclusive resorts that offer a complete vacation experience with high-quality amenities. Cayo Coco is a quieter and more secluded destination compared to Varadero. It’s ideal for those seeking a relaxing getaway away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Cayo Coco

Where is Cayo Coco?

Today, I want to take you on a virtual journey to one of the most incredible destinations I’ve been fortunate to visit: Cayo Coco, in Cuba. Are you ready to be transported to a world of dreamy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and spectacular landscapes? Let’s go!

Cayo Coco is located on the northern coast of Cuba, in the heart of the Caribbean Sea, and is part of a group of islands known as “Jardines del Rey.” But let me tell you, this is not just a spot on the map. It’s a magical corner, where nature unveils its best self.

Imagine white sandy beaches as soft as sugar, waters so crystal-clear it feels like you’re floating in the air, and palm trees gently swaying in the breeze. It’s a true paradise!

But that’s not all, because a short distance from Cayo Coco is Cayo Guillermo, and here is the crown jewel: Playa Pilar. This beach is one of the most beautiful in the world, and believe me, it’s not an exaggeration. The water is a blue that words cannot adequately describe, and the sand is soft and warm beneath your feet. The setting is simply incredible.

Playa Pilar

But wait, there’s more. Both keys are ideal for nature lovers. You’ll be able to spot exotic birds and discover the biodiversity of the region. A true paradise for photography enthusiasts!

And best of all, Cayo Coco is very accessible as a long causeway built over the sea connects you to the mainland, so you can easily reach it, although I’ll tell you how to get to Cayo Coco next.

In summary, if you’ve ever dreamed of a dreamy Caribbean destination, Cayo Coco and Playa Pilar are definitely destinations you must have on your wishlist. This corner of Cuba is a gift from nature that you won’t want to miss! Ready to pack your bags and live the dream? Cayo Coco is waiting for you… 😎🌴🌊

Gaviotas en Playa Pilar

Interactive Map of Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo

Welcome to the wonderful duality of Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, two hidden gems in the heart of the Jardines del Rey archipelago. This detailed map will be your compass to discover the natural treasures and unique experiences that these islands have in store for you.

From the breathtaking white-sand beaches to the turquoise waters caressing the coast, Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo offer a paradise escape that will leave you breathless. This corner of the Caribbean is home to an incredible diversity of marine life, making it a paradise for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.

Explore the majesty of nature at Laguna de Leche, the largest in Cuba, or marvel at wildlife in El Baga Natural Park. Immerse yourself in local history by visiting the town of Morón and discover the authentic culture reflected in every corner.

This map will guide you through the most iconic places and best-kept secrets of Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo. From beautiful beaches to historic sites and unforgettable gastronomic experiences, each marker on this map tells a fascinating story.

How to Get from Havana to Cayo Coco?

To get to Cayo Coco from Havana, in our case, when we arrived, our flight was late, and there were no connecting flights or buses to Cayo Coco. Therefore, we had to negotiate transportation with a taxi driver and endure a 6-hour taxi ride from the airport to Cayo Coco. It was a bit exhausting because we had just landed and had already been flying for many hours, but we didn’t have many other options.

However, on the way back, we flew from Cayo Coco to Havana with Cubana de Aviación, a Russian military plane that they were using for passenger flights at that time, which surprised us. Boarding was done from the lower part of the plane’s tail, as seen in the photograph.

Cubana de Aviación Flight
Plane Drawing

The fastest way to get from Havana is to take a flight from Havana to Cayo Coco with Cubana de Aviación. The flight time is approximately 1 hour. Airfare prices vary between 100 and 200 USD or more per one-way trip.

Aerial Views of Cayo Coco
Car Drawing

If you prefer the flexibility of driving yourself, you can rent a car in Havana and drive to Cayo Coco. The car travel time can be approximately 6 to 8 hours. Rental prices vary between 50 and 100 USD.

Havana - Cayo Coco

How to Get from Trinidad to Cayo Coco?

Car Drawing

If I had to go back, I would definitely take advantage of the visit to Trinidad to travel from there to the Keys. An option that may be more affordable and with less travel time would be to go from Trinidad to the Keys with your own car or by hiring a car with a driver. In this case, if you leave by car from Trinidad to the Keys, the duration of the trip is a little over three and a half hours (233 km), and the roads are in good condition.

Getting to Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo involves crossing the city of Morón, which is the closest town to the keys. It is advisable to fill up the gas tank in Morón before embarking on the road trip to the keys, as there are several kilometers of travel without gas stations. The distance between Morón and Cayo Coco is approximately 70 kilometers, while to Cayo Guillermo, it’s about forty additional kilometers along the same road. Right at the beginning of the stretch of road that runs over the water to the keys, you will find a toll booth that costs 2 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos). The road is of good quality and mostly straight.

Map from Trinidad to Cayo Coco
Bus

Another option is to take a bus from Havana to Cayo Coco. Viazul is a bus company that offers routes between cities in Cuba. The bus travel time is generally around 6 to 8 hours or more. Prices range from 30 to 50 USD one way.

It is important to mention that there are no bus services Vía Azul that connect Morón directly with the keys. The Vía Azul bus company stops in Ciego de Ávila, and from there, you would have to find a taxi or other means of transportation to get to the keys.

Therefore, if you plan to visit these keys without complications and without depending on schedules or bargaining, the most convenient option is to rent a car. This will give you the freedom to explore the keys at your own pace and without restrictions.

Cayo Coco Beach Access

Hire the Best Tours in the Keys

Binoculars Drawing

It is an ideal place to do a multitude of activities as I have mentioned, and here you can hire them directly, without complications and at a good price, even Free Tours that are free.

The best tours in Cuba, you can also hire transportation from the airport to the hotel or to the final destination you need to go to.

Cayo Coco Beaches

Of course! Cayo Coco is famous for its dreamy beaches, and here I will tell you about some of the most outstanding ones you’ll find on the island:

Playa Larga: This is the main beach of Cayo Coco, stretching along the northern coast of the island. It’s a broad beach with white sand and warm, shallow waters. The softness of the sand and the calmness of the waters make Playa Larga a perfect place to relax and enjoy the sun.

Playa Flamenco: This beach is known for its beauty and is a favorite among visitors. Its crystal-clear waters and white sand are ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Also, flamingos are often spotted in the area, giving it its name.

Playa Los Cocos: Located on the western part of the island, this beach is quieter and more secluded. It’s perfect for those seeking a more relaxed and less crowded atmosphere. The waters are shallow and warm, ideal for swimming and water sports.

Playa Jaula: This beach is known for its natural surroundings and beautiful landscape. It’s close to El Baga Natural Park and is an ideal spot to observe local flora and fauna while enjoying the beach.

Playa Caracol: Located on the eastern part of the island, Playa Caracol is a quiet beach with shallow waters and fine sand. It’s ideal for families with children due to the calm waters.

Now, What is the best beach in Cayo Coco? That depends on your personal preferences. If you’re looking for a broad and lively beach with a variety of services and activities, Playa Larga is an excellent choice. If you prefer a quieter and more natural environment, Playa Flamenco or Playa Los Cocos are ideal. Ultimately, all these beaches are beautiful and offer a unique Caribbean experience, so I suggest exploring several and deciding which one best suits your desires.

Cayo Coco beach

Cayo Guillermo Beach

Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Coco’s neighbor, is also famous for its stunning beaches. Here, I’ll tell you about some of the outstanding beaches you’ll find in Cayo Guillermo:

Playa Pilar: Undoubtedly, Cayo Guillermo’s crown jewel is Playa Pilar. This beach has been recognized as one of the most beautiful in the world, and for a good reason. The sand is as soft as talcum powder, and the water is of stunning turquoise blue. Palms and tropical vegetation create a paradise-like setting. It’s a perfect place for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the natural beauty.

Playa El Paso: This beach is another hidden gem in Cayo Guillermo. It’s smaller and less crowded than Playa Pilar, making it a perfect spot to enjoy tranquility and privacy. The waters are crystal clear, and the palms provide natural shade.

Playa del Medio: Located between Playa Pilar and Playa El Paso, Playa del Medio is another beautiful option. Its shallow and calm waters make it ideal for swimming and relaxation. You can walk along the coast and explore this beautiful beach.

Playa Larga: Not to be confused with Playa Larga in Cayo Coco, this beach in Cayo Guillermo is also beautiful. It has a considerable stretch of sand and offers a relaxed atmosphere. It’s perfect for long walks along the shore.

In Cayo Guillermo, Playa Pilar is undoubtedly the most famous and visited beach due to its beauty and worldwide reputation. If you’re looking for an exceptional beach experience, it’s the place to go. However, all the beaches in Cayo Guillermo are spectacular and offer dreamy landscapes, so it’s worth exploring them all to find the one that captures your heart.

Cayo Coco Beach

Playa Pilar is one of the most iconic beaches in Cuba and is located in Cayo Guillermo, one of the islands in Jardines del Rey on the north coast of Cuba. Here’s more information about this spectacular beach:

Sand and Crystal Clear Waters: Playa Pilar is famous for its white, talcum-like sand. The sand is so fine and white that it resembles sugar beneath your feet. The waters that bathe it are of a stunning turquoise blue and are incredibly clear and calm. It’s an ideal place for swimming and relaxing in the sea.

Playa Pilar is set in a stunning natural environment. The beach is surrounded by lush vegetation and palm trees that provide natural shade. This tropical setting creates a paradisiacal atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re in a dream.

Although the beach is known for its tranquility, it also offers water activities for those seeking a bit of adventure. You can go scuba diving or snorkeling to explore the nearby reefs and observe marine life. Additionally, there are options to rent water sports equipment such as kayaks or take boat rides.

Sonia diving with turtles

On the beach, you’ll find restaurants and bars where you can enjoy delicious Cuban cuisine and refreshing tropical drinks. Enjoying a meal or a cocktail with a view of this spectacular beach is an unforgettable experience.

Playa Pilar is accessible from Cayo Coco via a road connecting the two islands. You can take a short taxi or bus ride to reach this wonderful beach; I stayed at Meliá Cayo Coco, and they have a free bus that takes you to Playa Pilar. The best part is that if you’re staying on an All-Inclusive basis, they provide a wristband for you to dine at Meliá Cayo Guillermo, making it the perfect plan for a day on the neighboring cay.

Sunsets at Playa Pilar are simply magical. The sun sets over the sea horizon, painting the sky in warm and golden hues. It’s a perfect moment to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of this place.

Playa Pilar is a true paradise on Earth and one of the most stunning beach destinations you’ll find in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for a place to disconnect, relax, and marvel at natural beauty, this beach should be on your list of places to visit.

Playa Pilar

How to Get to Playa Pilar?

To get from Cayo Coco to Playa Pilar in Cayo Guillermo, you can use various transportation options.

Bus

The most common way to get from Cayo Coco to Playa Pilar is by taking a taxi or a bus. You can find taxis at resorts and hotels in Cayo Coco or request one at your accommodation’s reception. If you stay at Hotel Meliá Tryp Cayo Coco, you’ll have free transportation from your hotel to Playa Pilar, and you can also dine at Hotel Meliá Cayo Guillermo, which is next to Playa Pilar—don’t miss the opportunity so you don’t lose the All-Inclusive; I’ll talk more about this hotel later.

The price of the taxi or bus ride is usually around 15 to 30 CUC per trip, although it could vary, so make sure to agree on the price before getting in.

Car drawing

Another option is to rent a car in Cayo Coco and drive yourself to Playa Pilar in Cayo Guillermo. The car rental can have a daily cost that varies depending on the company and the type of vehicle, but it generally ranges between 50 and 100 CUC per day. Additionally, you’ll need to add the cost of gasoline.

Excursion drawing

Some hotels and tour operators in Cayo Coco offer Organized Excursions to Playa Pilar in Cayo Guillermo. This can be convenient if you prefer everything to be planned in advance. Prices vary depending on the excursion and included services.

Public Transportation:

You can also inquire about the availability of local public transportation. At times, there are public buses connecting Cayo Coco with Cayo Guillermo, although frequency and comfort may vary.

Cayo Coco Havana

How many days do I need to see the Cayos?

The number of days you need to visit and fully enjoy the cays will depend on your interests and the type of experience you want to have. However, I recommend spending at least 3 days (2 nights) or if you have more time, you could enjoy 4 days (3 nights). With this time, you have more than enough to enjoy its wonderful beaches. The last time I went, I stayed for an entire week in this paradise, and it was a total disconnect.

What activities can I do in Cayo Coco?

Its seabeds are the main attraction you can discover during your visit to this incredible cay. Engaging in scuba diving or snorkeling is an unforgettable experience thanks to its exotic coral reef and its amazing variety of colorful fish.

Moreover, the cay has a dive center where they will assist you with equipment and a guide. With various diving spots, Cayo Coco is one of the most recognized diving locations in the world. Underwater caves, spectacular fauna, coral reefs, and much more in the depths of this wonderful corner of the tropical Atlantic, let yourself be immersed in its seabeds as I did, you won’t regret it!

Additionally, here you can engage in a myriad of activities, including catamaran rides, which offer a beautiful experience for both those seeking an adventure practicing snorkeling in its coral reefs and those who prefer a tranquil trip enjoying its beautiful natural landscapes.

Cayo Coco stands out for its natural character, and that’s why the Bagá Natural Park must be mentioned. With almost 13 hectares, this beautiful place is full of biodiversity that you can observe, such as flamingos and turtles.

Moreover, you can take the Boat Adventure excursion, where they let you drive motorboats through the channels south of Cayo Coco and near Cayo Guillermo.

For the more adventurous, there’s an adrenaline-pumping adventure: Rocarena Climbing Center. A modern climbing wall awaits. The climbing structure is a 13m hexagon with different levels for both experts and beginners just looking to have a good time. Undoubtedly an option to consider during your visit to Cayo Coco.

If you’re fascinated by dolphins, you can have an unforgettable experience swimming and playing with them at Cayo Coco’s Dolphinarium. In these facilities adjacent to the marina, you can fulfill your dream of swimming with dolphins. Additionally, there is a restaurant next to the dolphinarium to complete a perfect plan.

Access to Playa Pilar

Accommodations in Cayo Coco

The cays of Cuba, like Cayo Coco, are known for their impressive all-inclusive resorts that offer a wide range of amenities and services for visitors. Below, I will mention some of the best accommodations in Cayo Coco, along with approximate prices. Keep in mind that prices may vary depending on the season and availability, so it’s important to check the most updated prices before making a reservation.

Meliá Jardines del Rey

This resort is one of the most prominent in Cayo Coco and offers a variety of restaurants, bars, pools, and activities. The rooms are comfortable and modern.

Approximate price: Starting from $120 USD per night for a double room.

Meliá Cayo Coco

hotel drawing

We stayed at the Cayo Coco hotel, which is a very popular resort in the Meliá chain. This hotel is in a privileged location facing the beach, and both the service and facilities are highly recommended. I would return without a doubt, although the only thing I didn’t like much was the number of Canadian students, as they somewhat disrupted the tranquility and magic of the place, but otherwise, everything was fine.

Meliá Cayo Coco offers entertainment and water sports options.

Price starting from $150 USD per night for a double room.

Meliá Cayo Coco room

Iberostar Selection Cayo Coco

hotel dibujo

This resort has spacious facilities, a beautiful pool, and a stunning beach. It also offers an entertainment program and activities.

Approximate price: Starting from $130 USD per night for a double room.

Pullman Cayo Coco

hotel dibujo

Located on one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, this resort stands out for its architecture and relaxed atmosphere. It has various restaurant and bar options.

Approximate price: Starting from $100 USD per night for a double room.

Sol Cayo Coco

hotel dibujo

This hotel offers excellent value for money and is located on a spectacular beach. It is a more affordable option compared to some of the other resorts in the area.

Approximate price: Starting from $80 USD per night for a double room.

Remember that these are only approximate prices and may vary depending on the season, special offers, and room categories. Additionally, many of these resorts offer all-inclusive packages that cover meals, drinks, and activities, which can be an excellent option for those who want to simplify their stay and make the most of their experience in Cayo Coco.

Accommodations in Cayo Guillermo

Cayo Guillermo also has a selection of quality accommodations, including all-inclusive resorts and luxury hotels. Below, I mention some of the best accommodations in Cayo Guillermo, along with approximate prices. As always, keep in mind that prices may vary depending on the season and availability.

Meliá Cayo Guillermo

hotel dibujo

This resort is one of the highlights in Cayo Guillermo. It offers a wide range of amenities, including pools, restaurants, and water activities.

Approximate price: Starting from $150 USD per night for a double room.

Iberostar Playa Pilar

hotel dibujo

Located on a beautiful beach with crystal-clear waters, this resort offers a luxurious experience. It features modern facilities, gourmet restaurants, and entertainment.

Approximate price: From 170 USD per night for a double room.

Meliá Playa Pilar

hotel dibujo

This hotel is located near the famous Playa Pilar and offers comfortable rooms, first-class facilities, and diverse culinary options.

Approximate price: From 130 USD per night for a double room.

Sercotel Club Cayo Guillermo

hotel dibujo

It offers excellent value for money and is located in a privileged beachfront location. The facilities are modern and welcoming.

Approximate price: From 100 USD per night for a double room.

Hotel Playa Coco 

hotel dibujo

This hotel offers a relaxed and affordable atmosphere in a beautiful seaside location. It is a more economical option compared to some luxury resorts in the area.

Approximate price: From 80 USD per night for a double room.

Just like in Cayo Coco, many of these accommodations in Cayo Guillermo offer all-inclusive packages.

Merenderos en Playa Pilar

What to Visit: Cayo Coco or Varadero?

If you are asking yourself this question, it’s because you are looking for the best beach in Cuba. Here’s a brief summary. Varadero is a very famous area of Cuba for its beaches, almost all tourist packages offer Varadero. The problem it has is that it’s too touristy, we recommend that you visit some beaches in Cayo Coco, such as Playa Pilar or Playa de los Flamencos.

These are incredible and pristine beaches, that’s the charm of these beaches, direct contact with nature. It doesn’t have large and luxurious hotels. Therefore, if you want to do many activities outside of hotels or stay in luxurious all-inclusive hotels, we recommend that you go to Varadero. But if your goal is to disconnect, explore unexplored places, and enjoy postcard-worthy beaches, we recommend that you visit Cayo Coco for a few days.

You might also be interested in these posts about Cuba:

Do you know Cuba? Tell me what you think about my experience and suggestions to make the most of your time in Cuba. I hope you find these recommendations helpful!

Cuban Photographer

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