About Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Santa Maria is a small island located off the north coast of Cuba, in the province of Villa Clara. Along with its two neighbors, Cayo Las Brujas and Cayo Ensenachos, they together form a mini-archipelago called “Los Cayos de Villa Clara” (aka Cayeria del Norte); and this little group of island is part of a larger archipelago called “Jardines del Rey” (King's Gardens). For further information on where Cayo Santa Maria is located and to view maps of the region, please visit our Location and Maps webpage.
Environment and Beaches
The northern coastline of Cayo Santa Maria is where are located its pristine beaches that extend for miles and miles of sugar-white fine sand and crystal-clear waters. For more information please visit our Beaches section. Cayo Santa Maria has no permanent residents (no villages, no cities, no farms). The hotel’s employees come to work by bus from the surrounding cities, such as Caibarién, Remedios, Camajuani and Santa Clara.
These cayos are part of the Buenavista Biosphere Reserve recognized by UNESCO. The Cuban government is recognized to be environmentally conscious so during the construction of the 48-km causeway (pedraplen), they built a bridge-opening every kilometer to minimize the negative impact of the construction on the local marine life. This connection to the mainland allows an easy access for supplies, but also an easy way for tourists to get off the cayo and explore the region, for further information please visit our To Do/To See section.
How to get there
There’s a small domestic airport on Cayo las Brujas (only a few kilometers from Cayo Santa Maria) but the Abel SantaMaria Airport (aka Santa Clara Airport, code: SNU) is the closest international airport to Cayo Santa Maria. For more details please visit our Airport webpage. The transfer from the Santa Clara airport to Cayo Santa Maria takes approximately 90 minutes. Transfers by air-conditioned bus are usually included when buying a vacation package. Taxis are also available, or you can rent a car. The first hour or so is through the Cuban countryside and small towns and villages, the last half-hour is on the 48-km causeway with the ocean on both side. At the end of the causeway you'll reach first Cayo Las Brujas, then the delfinario (dolphinarium), followed by Cayo Ensenachos, and finally Cayo Santa Maria.
The bus line VIAZUL serves Cayo Santa Maria from downtown Santa Clara, but not from the airport. For further information on how to get to Cayo Las Brujas by air, by car or by bus, please visit the Getting There section of our website.
The easiest and cheapest way to stroll around the three cayos is with the open-top double-decker tourist buses called Panoramic Bus Tour. They stop at every hotel, the pueblos (markets) and the Delfinario, and the cost is 2 CUC per ride. The schedule is posted in every hotel lobby. Taxis are also available, or you can rent a bicycle, scooter, car or jeep. For further information visit our Getting Around section.
Where to stay and Play
All hotels in the three Cayos of Villa Clara are resort-style and All-Inclusive, except for the small Villa Las Brujas 3* where breakfast only is included. The size of the all-inclusive resorts vary from about 100 rooms to almost 1,400 rooms (see here a Chart of the number of rooms per hotel), and their rating ranges from 4* to 5*. Many hotel chains are present: Melia Hotels (Spanish), Blue Diamond (Canadian), Iberostar Hotels (Spanish), Gaviota Hotels (Cuban), Valentin Hotels (Spain), Labranda Hotels (German), H10 Hotels (Spanish), Sercotel (Spanish), Banyan Tree Hotels (Asia). Visit our Hotels section for a detailed description of each resort.
Cayo Santa Maria is also home to three "Pueblos" (aka Plazas), they are commercial tourist centers offering a wide range of extra services (off-resorts) such as: restaurants, bars, discotheques, bowling, shopping, shows, and rentals. They are Pueblo La Estrella, Pueblo Las Dunas and Pueblo Las Terrazas. Another one is located on the neighbor island of Cayo las Brujas, it is called Plaza Las Salinas.
Lily & Normand