Some of the best beaches near Havana are located just a short drive from the city centre. You can easily spend a day relaxing at the beach and return to the city for a night out. Alternatively you can spend the morning exploring Havana and relax at one of the 7 beaches that make up Playas del Este. Along a coastline that stretches 30 kilometres to the east of the Cuban capital, you can find white sandy beaches with crystal clear waters called Playas del Este. If you are looking to spend a day at Cuba’s most popular beach resort, be prepared to venture further, but don’t worry, it is still easily reachable.
10. Bacuranao, Havana
Located just 15 kilometres from downtown Havana, Bacuranao is the first beach you will find east of the city. With roughly one kilometer of beachfront, it is a great choice if you are short for time but want to see the sea. Bacuranao is a popular spot for locals from Alamar, a suburb of Havana, so be prepared to be in a very popular place that is often crowded, but slowly gets quieter after 18.00 o’clock.
What to do in Havana?
You can reach the water by walking through 30 metres of thin white sand and coconut trees. The beach gets its name from a river that flows into the sea. It is frequented by Habaneros (Havana residents) all year long but is most popular from April to September. There is a touristic village with a store and some services nearby.
How to get from Havana to Bacuranao
Bacuranao is close to Vía Blanca, the highway that links Havana to Matanzas city and Varadero.
The easiest way to get there is to book a taxi to the beach online through ZunZunCar.
You can also take several public bus lines: P3 and P11 from El Vedado to Alamar (then walk to the beach), and A40 (previously 400) from Old Havana to Guanabo. If you take the A40 (public buses are just 40 cents, less than five dollar cents) just ask what the right place to hop off is. Bacuranao is clearly visible from Vía Blanca.
Do the same if you go to the old train station at La Habana Vieja and take a collective taxi, mainly old American cars called “almendrón” that you share with four, five and sometimes more people depending on capacity, and cost you one dollar (or a bit more when certain drivers see you are a tourist).
9. Tarará, Havana
Many locals consider Tarará to be the best beach near Havana. Located just 18 km away from the city, this is where the coastal strip known as Playas del Este begins. The beach is right next to the Tarará River and an exclusive residential complex built in the 1940s and 1950s for the high middle class. After the 1959 Revolution, the area housed camps for social programs for students and during the eighties and nineties a therapy and health recovery centre for children affected by the Chernobyl accident. These days, you will find a tourist residential lot, restaurants, shopping center, snack bar, pools and a marina.
Above all, you can find a place with idyllic features that travellers expect to find in the Caribbean: a white sugar-powdered sand wide strip, crystal clear turquoise waters, a quiet beach where you can enjoy your privacy and the scenery provided by coconut trees and varied coastal vegetation.
How to get from Havana to Tarará
The easiest way to get to Tarará is to book a taxi to the beach online through, which takes less than 20 minutes from downtown Havana.
Once you get dropped off the almendrón, you will have to walk a few minutes along a secondary road that takes you to the beach.
8. El Mégano, Havana
El Mégano is a small beach between Tarará and Santa María del Mar with beautiful dunes covered in plants and coconut trees. It is a popular choice with locals during the weekends, especially in the summer months. With a lovely natural setting, a few people and peace everywhere to enjoy under the rustic beach umbrellas. Some services and snacks are available at hotel Villa Mégano, located 100 metres away from the shore and there are “casas particulares” offering lodging and meals to visitors.
How to get from Havana to El Mégano
You can travel to El Mégano by taking the A40 along the Vía Blanca highway or taxi as well.
7. Santa María del Mar, Havana
Santa María del Mar, is the biggest and most popular Havana beach frequented by tourists. It also has the best tourist infrastructure among the Playas del Este beaches. Stretching 3-4 kilometres long, you can find many hotels with restaurants and stores, but also small independent stands selling food and drinks at lower prices if you are on a tight budget. You will see beach vendors selling drinks, coconuts, grapes and snacks.
How to get from Havana to Santa María del Mar
You can take a taxi from Old Havana (or book online). You could also use the hop on/ hop off tour buses that depart from Parque Central, near Gran Teatro de La Habana, hotel Parque Central and hotel Manzana Kempinski. The tickets for these buses cost 5 CUC (5 dollars), but once you buy the ticket, you can travel in any direction anytime between 9.00 and 18.00 hours. It is an alternative you could also use for Bacuranao and all of the beaches at Playas del Este.
6. Boca Ciega, Havana
If you walk east along Santa María del Mar, you will find the Boca Ciega River flowing into the sea. Once you cross it you will be at Boca Ciega beach, more than a kilometre of white sand and turquoise waters. The beach is more than 30 metres wide and there are palm trees, dunes that are several metres high, covered by vegetation. Restaurants, stores and “casas particulares” offer lodging, snacks and meals, as well as some street vendors selling fruits and drinks. Boca Ciega is a kind of brief haven between the two busiest and largest beaches east of Havana city.
How to get from Havana to Boca Ciega
You could take a taxi from the centre to Boca Ciega, which will cost approximately CUC $15.
Guanabo beach is located just 27 km east of downtown Havana stretches for more than 4 km. This is the right beach for those seeking to get in touch with Cuban everyday life while they enjoy the waters of the tropic and everything available for having fun in a relaxed environment.
More than 15.000 people live in this small city with a history dating back to the eighteenth century. The city grew rapidly in the second half of the twentieth, when it became home to a residential development and turned into a popular summer vacation spot. It is an urban centre where you can find shopping centres, small stores, restaurants and snack bars around, and many “casas particulares.” You can also find some markets here where Cubans buy vegetables and fruits. The main street runs parallel to the white powder sand strip, 20 to 30 metres away from the sea.
How to get from Havana to Guanabo
Tourist and public buses and taxis coming from Havana city leave Vía Blanca highway taking a turn to left and going down a road that links to Guanabo’s main street. You have a long way to decide where to hop off, what section of the beach looks more promising to you.
4. La Veneciana
East of Guanabo, La Veneciana is one of the small gems of this amazing collection of sea & sun experiences we call Playas del Este. Only 800 metres long, is a secluded beach often frequented by fishermen, who throw their nets from the water’s edge. It is not a beach of crowds, mostly is visited by a few bathers and people who travel alone, in couples or in family, but not in large groups. Maybe it is not as astonishing as Santa María and Guanabo beaches, but has the flair of tranquillity and perfectly suits the needs of travellers looking for a place to unwind. It is also a good choice for those wanting to have quality family time especially with small children.
3. Brisas del Mar
Brisas del Mar is an old residential and holiday spot developed back in the 1950s for wealthy class. You can even find green fields where you can sometimes spot cows and horses quietly grazing. It is a lesser known beach of Playas del Este with shallow waters, ideal for families with little kids. It is off the beaten path and perfect for those wanting to escape the crowds.
How to get from Havana to Brisas del Mar beach
You can reach Brisas del Mar with the A40 bus. The last stop is the point where the Brisas del Mar beach begins. Alternatively you can flag down a taxi or book a taxi online.
2. Jibacoa, Mayabeque
Crescent-shaped Jibacoa is for those who want to explore further off-the-beaten path. It is a great place to snorkel but also do some hiking, horse riding. If you are looking for a place that is more secluded, head to Playa de los Enamorados. Ideal for couples and solo travellers seeking privacy. You will find more beaches like this if you take the time to explore the area walking to the east. It is also a resort area with hotels and camping centres nearby in case you want to stay the night.
How to get from Havana to Jibacoa beach
Jibacoa is just 50 km away from Havana downtown. There’s a public bus (number 699) that departs from Old Havana to Santa Cruz del Norte thrice a day. Then you can get a local taxy to Jibacoa is by Santa Cruz (which will be cheaper than taking one from Havana).
1. Varadero, Matanzas
The most popular resort towns in Cuba frequented all year long by tourists. Varadero is also one of the largest resorts in the Caribbean stretching more than 22 kilometres. Renowned for its crystal clear turquoise waters, many regard it as the most beautiful beach in the world. Dozens of hotels, discos, shopping centres, marinas and many other attractions make it the number one beach destination in Cuba.
How to get from Havana to Varadero beach
To get to Varadero from Havana, you will have to travel 120 km by Vía Blanca highway.
The fastest and easiest way to get there is to rent a taxi, which costs between 100 and 150 CUC. You can book a transfer online for 120 CUC. If you are on a budget, you can also take the Viazul, which costs 10 CUC one way, and will take 3 hours, stopping in Matanzas and Varadero airport before its final destination.
Other Tips and Advice
Best time to visit Havana beaches
Sea & sun activities are better in Cuba from May to September, but even in autumn and what is considered the Cuba winter season (November to February or March) it is possible to enjoy the warmth of the water and the sun. Beaches are busiest on weekends and during Cuba’s holiday season (July-August).
Don’t forget to bring sun lotion to the beach
The sun in Cuba is really strong so the higher SPF your sunblock has, the better. A sun blocker with a 30 SPF or above is recommended to keep your skin protected. Try to avoid sun exposure from 11.00 to 15.00 hours.
Useful apps to get around
Apps developed in Cuba and suited to Cuban needs could be really useful during your stay in Cuba. We recommend downloading these, some of which you can use offline:
- AlaMesa to locate restaurants or “paladares”
- Habana Trans, in order to know about bus lines and ways to get to places.
- For more, check the webpage https://www.entumovil.cu