5 of Cuba’s most underrated beaches (and within 20 km of Havana)


Cuba has some of the most unspoilt beaches in the world. With calm transparent waters, fine white sands, and a tropical beauty that remains intact the whole year, this is where you can find an “eternal summer”, to quote many locals.

Tourists often head directly from the airport to top Cuban beaches such as Varadero, Ancón (near Trinidad), Cayo Largo, Cayo Coco and Guardalavaca, where all-inclusive hotels take care of your paradisiacal needs.

The risk with this approach is that you’ll arrive, collect a tan, and head home again without discovering this beautiful country at all.

Our job at Havana Insider is to help you discover the island fully. And that’s where Havana’s East Beaches come in, with a quality comparable to those mentioned above, and only 18 kilometers from downtown Havana.


These super convenient beaches comprise more than 20 kilometers of sand on the north coast of the island. They are one after the other: Tarará, El Mégano, Santa María del Mar, Boca Ciega and Guanabo. Each is very similar to the next, so there’s no need to worry about choosing the best. Whichever you choose will be great.

Some tips you should know before you hit the best beaches near Havana:

  1. Aim to arrive early in the morning so you can leave at lunch time. Alternatively arrive after lunch and stay until sunset. The sun is strong throughout the day, especially at noon. Bring sunblock.
  1. These beaches are easy to get to, especially if you take a taxi, though that can be a bit expensive. Better is to head to Central Park in Old Havana, where tourist buses leave every half hour heading to the beaches. The fare is 5cuc for the round trip.
  1. There are usually locals guys selling piña coladas or saoco (coconut water with rum), but it can be difficult to find a cold beer. If beer is your beverage of choice, best to carry a cooler with your own six pack.
  1. Weekdays are much calmer than the weekends.
  1. Each beach has restaurants just meters from the sea, but the food is average at best. We recommend that on the way back you stop at one of these two restaurants, both very close to the beaches, for a real meal:

Ajiaco Café:

Casa Grande: