Cayo Santa Maria is a small island (sixteen kilometers long and two kilometers wide) in the Bahia de Buena Vista, off the north coast of the main island of Cuba, in the « Jardines del Rey » archipelago. The King's Garden has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
Cayo Santa Maria is located only thirty kilometers west of Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Coco. These two destinations are also very popular. The first hotel, Guitart Cayo Coco opened its door in 1993.
We visited the « Isla Grande » several times, and we know very well this beautiful and safe destination in the Caribbean.
The island is connected to the main land by a forty-eight kilometers long causeway (called Pedraplen in spanish). The construction of this dike started in 1989 by « Campaña de las villas ». The beaches and hotels are all located along the North coast of Cayo Santa Maria. The south is made of marshes and mangroves. The first hotel, Sol Cayo Santa Maria administered by Melia Hotels International opened its door in Dec. 2001.
It is important to know that the sea in Cayo Santa Maria is often rough with high waves. It is not unusual to see red flag in Cayo Santa Maria. If you are looking for calm sea, you should consider Cayo Ensenachos (neighbor island), Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Coco or Varadero. These islands (not Varadero) are also in the King's garden. The gems in Cuba! The beaches in Cayo Ensenachos are the most beautiful in Cuba, Playa Ensenachos and Playa Megano.
What is new in Cayo Santa Maria ?
Since June 2014, the Spanish group HUSA left Cayo Santa Maria, only two years after its introduction in Cuba. During the transition, the hotel is managed by Gaviota (Cuban) under the name Gaviota La Estrella.
The next hotel in Cayo Santa Maria (adult-only 1,024 rooms) will be administered by the Spanish group Valentin hoteles under the name Valentin Perla Blanca. It will be the first hotel in Playa Perla Blanca (East sector). Click HERE to see photos of this area before the construction. It was the last virgin beach in CSM.
Cayo Santa Maria's main attraction is its magnificent 13 km long beach, but not in one stretch. It is the perfect place for walkers, swimmers in pristine turquoise waters or just to relax under the sun! Most of the hotels are located on the longest stretch of beach (6 km) called Playa Santa Maria. There are hotels under construction in the Eastern area of Cayo Santa Maria.
The tourism industry started in late 2001 with the opening of the first hotel, the Sol Cayo Santa Maria.
Since then several resorts have opened. Despite this development, Cayo Santa Maria remains a safe and quiet little island. In a short period of time, Cayo Santa Maria became the second tourist hub in Cuba, after Varadero.
Several projects are under development on the island and the surrounding area. For more information about hotels and services to come, visit the project section of our site. A golf course and a water park should be built on the island.
It is obvious that the ten years required for the construction of the causeway to connect Cayo Santa Maria to the main land were not for a single hotel. Keep in mind the future American tourists will require a lot of rooms after lifting the embargo since 1962. In case you do not know, it is the american government that prohibits its citizens to go to Cuba, not the Cuban government.
The land and hotels in Cayo Santa Maria are property of the Cuban government, as well as all hotels in Cuba. In Cayo Santa Maria properties belong to Gaviota Cuban Group, but joint ventures and administation contracts are given to international hotel chains (such as Melia Hotels International, Eurostars, Blue Diamond and Valentin) to help manage, promote and expand tourism in Cuba.
The Cuban President Raul Castro announced in October 2013 the beginning of the process that will put an end to the two currencies circulating for 19 years on the island. More information to come!
All about this very popular destination in Cuba.
cayosantamaria.info is online since spring 2002. Hundreds of web pages and thousands of photos are contained in this up-to-date website. It is THE most visited website about this sunny destination in Cuba. All you need to know about hotels, beaches, excursions, services and more. Enjoy!
Normand & Lily