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Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba

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Best hotels in Cayo Santa Maria

Cayo Santa Maria may be one of the smaller coral islands strung along Cuba’s northern coastline, but it’s also one of the more beautiful. Famed for its diverse wildlife, the shores of its lagoons are aglow with vibrant pink flamingos, while its coral reefs flash with the vivid colors of a true marine spectacle. Even its landward tangle of coconut and palm trees inspires wonder, and is home to fierce-looking crabs, heavy-jowled hutia (tree rats), and candy-colored giant land snails. It’s no wonder that the whole of this island is included in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Jardines del Rey.

Things to see in Cayo Santa Maria

There’s plenty of wildlife to be spotted wherever you are on Cayo Santa Maria. But one of the best ways to discover this tiny island’s natural secrets is to hike around the Cayo Santa Maria Wildlife Refuge. This will take you from the unspoiled beaches of the Playa Las Gaviotas along shaded paths threading below its wooded canopy—the Sendero Aguada Baga—and onto the charms of the Ensenada de Santa Maria, a beautiful hidden cove. Iguanas, land crabs, and the pretty blue, red, and white tocororro, the avian mascot of Cuba, can all be spotted here. The Marina Gaviota Las Brujas provides harbor to boats that can be hired to explore the local reefs, while visitors to the Acuario Delfinario Cayo Santa Maria get a chance for a more intimate wildlife encounter at one of Cuba’s largest dolphinariums.

Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria

Despite the area's small size, there’s a good variety of Cayo Santa Maria hotels for visitors to choose from. Several modern resort complexes have been built here over the last 2 decades, and these offer a range of quality accommodation options. Cayo Santa Maria hotels tend to focus on luxury, and you'll find air-con, airport shuttles, fitness facilities, and superb Cuban cuisine at the top-rated establishments. Finding discount hotels in Cayo Santa Maria isn’t so simple, but you can get good deals by booking off-season.

Where to stay in Cayo Santa Maria

The island of Cayo Santa Maria forms a narrow strip on Cuba’s northern Gulf coast that’s only a few miles long from east to west. To the south, its meandering lagoons and mangrove swamps are uninhabited, but to the north there's a long line of hotels and villas. One cluster of hotels is found in the east, close enough to the Cayo Santa Maria Wildlife Refuge that you can walk there. Further west, the line of ocean-facing accommodations thins as you approach the local Las Brujas Airport, an area known for its secluded spots.

How to get to Cayo Santa Maria

Most choose to travel to Cayo Santa Maria via Santa Clara, flying into its international airport some 70 miles to the south. Transfers to the island itself usually take around an hour and a half. Another option, for those coming from Havana, is to book a domestic flight from the capital’s Playa Baracoa Airport which lands at Las Brujas Airport. It’s then only a short taxi ride to your hotel. Alternatively, you can get a Viazul bus from Havana to Santa Clara, from where a taxi, car hire, or another Viazul bus will complete the last leg to Cayo Santa Maria.